Friday, 8 July 2011


Where has the last week gone? Sunday was the big day for me. Despite the first reading taking place at 11 am on Sunday I had an impressively well-attended event. I was in the mood and managed to produce the necessary degree of fire in my belly. I started the day with a quote from one of Robert Hunter's poems, 'Three-Legged Mare';

Bridled and brindle,
blinkered and sway,
hobbled and hamstrung,
no more nor less than
a three legged mare,
the horse is yours.
Always was. Ride her
with bells in your heart.

That inspiration was sufficient to dispel the doubts and to enable me to proceed with full commitment. That and my observation of Michael McClure when he came to stay in last year's poetry festival. He was unwaveringly serious about his own work. By that I mean he took his work and himself seriously, not that he was without humour.
I have had some great comments from many quarters since the performances, the second of which I found heavier going (although still acceptable). The posters have been selling and the swifts still chase each other amongst the alleys and roof tops of old Ledbury, screeching with the delight of the free.
On Tuesday we hosted Adam Horovitz who was launching his first collection of poems on publication day. He gave a very affecting and effective reading that evening, followed by the eccenticities of Michael Horovitz, his father, which were delightful.
On Wednesday I joined the circus that is the Ledbury Lyricists at the Prince. Some fine performances, but there seems to be a diminishing number of visiting poets and perhaps too much music. That, coupled with a late start, reduced the scope I think. But, it is always enjoyable and good to be able to spend the evening in the pub without having to worry about getting up for work the next day!

Friday, 1 July 2011

The Preparation Vortex part 5

Well, the days are slipping by. Only 48 hours to go. Yesterday evening Martin and I, under the expert eyes of Claire and Phoebe, stuck the posters up on the wall at Tinsmiths. They look excellent, even though I say so myself. That is due to Martin's skills rather than mine, and of course includes one each from Mark and Claire de la Torre. The wall has truly become The Talking Wall. It looks as though the weather will hold for Sunday. We are in with a chance of pulling this off!
The posters went on sale on line on Tinsmiths website on Thursday. Martin rang me in great excitement to report that four had been sold by 9.30 am. Once people start to see them on the wall, how will they be able to resist?
Later in the evening I read as one of 4 poets at the Tree Frogs gig at the Retreat. A good evening was had by all. As first poet up at the mic, I believe I had the distinction of being the first poet to read at the venue under the present management. I had a good encouraging response, and liked what I heard of Jai Hill and Amy Rainbow. Mark Stevenson's stuff is well-known to me and as I listened I realised that I knew it better than I thought I did. Familiarity in this case breeds deep appreciation. Nick Trigg suggested from the stage that we should start a fringe festival, which received cheers of approval. I go along with that.
I now need to make sure the microphone is working properly for Sunday and check my list of material. I have chosen my spot to stand so that I am within touching distance of the wall.