How daunting it might have been to find that I was sharing my first ever extended reading of work-in-progress Letters from Mexico with the brilliant Connie Voisine, Associate Professor of English at New Mexico State University, for whom Mexico is not a poetically imagined unvisited space ( as it is for me ) but an intimately familiar place. And how beautifully generous of Connie Voisine not to daunt me about this!
Words & Ears last night was its usual vibrant, congenial self with a wonderfully attentive audience of accomplished open mic poets, all so different, all in their turn so worth the attentive listening. The Coach House at The Swan Hotel in Bradford-on-Avon is an excellent poetry space, compered with such relaxing grace by Dawn Gorman that the evening appears simply to run itself. ( It doesn’t. Nothing takes more skill than the organising of an apparently effortless happening. )
Connie had come to read from her third collection, Calle Florista. I was riven with anxieties of course, before I arrived in Bradford for this reading. Which nine of the twenty four sonnets in Letters from Mexico would tell the story best; whether to include the bit I like so much ( for all the wrong reasons ) about the humming sloths; whether I would get away with knowing so little about Victorian microscopes; whether it was true that in Mexico the moonstones came from mines – the usual things. It was such a joy to sit and listen to Connie’s sparse, vivid, enthralling poems and forget all that.