When poets read the spirit moves, abroad.
Tonight 7pm I read on stage with Martin Espada, Gabeba Baderoon and Paul Farley. http://www.paulfarley.com/ I last met Gabeba at The Durban Poetry festival in SouthAfrica and on being Writer in residence for this festival I encouraged Ruth to bring her to the festival. Ruth Borthwick head of literature at the south bank being the thorough animal that she is went to Rotterdam International Festival and saw Gabeba read. Andhere she is, my good artist friend a year after our first meeting. http://www.gabeba.com/ I can’t tell you how much I enjoy the company of writers and artists.
Many people – the largest section of the audience I think - have come to see the charming erudite angry and loving Martin Espada and he does not disappoint. http://www.martinespada.net/ It is his first time in England and Poetry International has done The South Bank and Britain a service by bringing him here. It won’t be the last time he visits. The audience love him and so too us the readers. As a poet and novelist hehass such a stride that his notes ring long into the public consciousness. It does not hurt that he is also a great reader of and is influenced by Pablo Neruda. http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1971/neruda-bio.htmlThis tradition (Naruda) is part of his history in that Espada is from that part of the world. This is what Poetry International is about.
Finally it is my turn to read. Various strange and wonderful things happened to me when I read. I walk onto the stage and read my works and for some reason mid poem “mourning Breaks” I find myself staggering then falling off the edge of a cliff ass the stage beneath me gave way. Fortunately I gripped the ledge. I heard the audience gasp. I have scratched my back – tore it. I am filled mid poem with a mixture of panic and elation, utter grief fear and a conviction that I will not fall. Never have. Never Will. Not fall. I somehow gather myself into myself and wings unfurl from my back. I fly amongst the audience, like fevers did - by trapeze - in Angela Carters books and I land gently on the stage for the final applause. You may only know what I am talking about if you were there. For me it was one of the most special readings of the year. “Why? Because I was growing wings all the time. And I can fly”. Back in the dressing room the ever caring andstrong Ruth asks “are you okay”. And I might have replied “what happened?”.maybe I should have ended the blog here but I will tell yo this. If you are new to poetry and you are reading this blog and hearing what may seem like exotic names from strange people from far flung places then it is worth knowing that all these poets are next door neighbours to someone; all these poets run out of milk for their tea; all these poets losetheir wallets and find stuff. We are salt of the earth. We enjoy life from the inside out and possibly from the outside in. We are in dialogue. We are lovers. We are pure. We are poisoned. We are lost and found all in the same moment. We explode and implode in the same breath cycle. We are intense we are ridiculous. We dance together and are broken apart in the same poem. The nature of pretension is pretence. We are thereal thing keeping it unreal. This is why I like to go to readings cause you just had to be there to see howw good it was. As the Irish brothers The Gallaghers suggested - Be here, now.