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Poetry on the Border

One of the reasons I like listening to writers read their work is so that afterwards, when I’m reading it myself, I can hear their voice in my head. (It keeps the others company. – just kidding!) What it does is help give me a feel for the rhythm of their writing, which, in turn, enhances my own reading of their work. Assuming, of course, that they read well. It doesn’t always enhance my enjoyment and understanding of their work.

No such concerns over having Don Paterson read his poetry to me. Driving through heavy rain for over an hour to get to the Drill Hall in Chepstow seemed like such a small effort to make in order to listen to him introduce and read a selection of his poems. He is quite brilliant. I do have a soft spot for his wonderful accent but it’s not that alone which makes him such an excellent reader. You truly get the impression when he’s reading his work that he lives and breathes it and understands it inside and out, backwards, forwards and every which way. He is, also, very entertaining in the links between each poem with what could be throwaway remarks and anecdotes but are, in fact, intelligent and witty insights into the inspiration behind his work and what they mean to him, the poet. I would drive a lot longer than an hour if I had the opportunity to listen to him read again. If you get the chance, seize it.

Check out the website to find out more about On the Border events

Creative Writing Workshop with Patrick Jones

I went to a Creative Writing Workshop at Garth Olwg Lifelong Learning Centre in Church Village today and, shortly after sitting down in the classroom, I almost bolted out of there and ran home. What was it that caused me to do this? Those fateful words of the tutor’s: “Today, we’re going to be working on some poetry.” Poetry. The one word guaranteed to strike fear into my heart and make me break out into a cold sweat.

Drowning, not waving, in Swansea

Last night’s event at the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea was a wonderful fusion of music, poetry and prose readings.  Before going, I’d been intrigued by how the evening might work.  Reading the promotional blurb, it sounded interesting, although with only one term of Welsh classes to my name, I was worried about the amount of Welsh language readings there would be.  I needn’t have worried on that score, as there were only a couple of songs in Welsh (and I have no problem listening to Welsh being sung) and all the readings were in English.  Not that I have a problem with things being in Welsh, I hasten to add.  It’s just that it frustrates me greatly that I haven’t taken the time and effort to learn it and events like this remind me of my shortcomings – or have the potential to do so, at any rate. Read more

Don Paterson is being forward again

Along with Simon Armitage, Don Paterson has to be one of my favourite living poets.  I absolutely loved his collection, Landing Light, which I keep handy  to dip into every now and then.

So I was delighted to wake up on this National Poetry Day, which happily coincides with my birthday this year, only to discover that he has won the Forward Prize for the second time with Rain, his most recent collection. Read more

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