On Monday 17th October I have the good fortune to be reading again at the amazing Anne-Marie Fyfe’s evening of poetry at London’s iconic Troubadour.
This will be my FOURTH (!!!) opportunity to share poems with the Troubadour’s fantastic audience. My life as a poet has been milestoned by those appearances. I have been remembering them – the poems I read on those spellbinding evenings, their subsequent adventures, the people I met, the way it all fitted together. Here is how it has worked…..
THE FIRST TIME
I remember reading Trust Your Instincts Not Your Baedeker for Magma. Years later this intricate villanelle was translated, immaculately, in all its formal complexity, in twenty four hours, by my brilliant Venetian translator Giancarlo Caine – thus putting my small skills in having composed it ( over many months ) very firmly in their place. Trust Your Instincts… appears in my Oversteps collection SAFE PASSAGE , which I shall be reading from on Monday night.
THE SECOND TIME
Michael Mackmin invited me to read as one of his Rialto poets. This gave A Leisure Centre is Also a Temple of Learning its first out-of-Bath experience, since when that poem has wriggled its way up to the FORWARD POEMS OF THE DECADE and the A level syllabus. It has shed a few lines since Michael published it, and made me a lot of online friends among the students and teachers who are now required to know why there are twelve older women in the changing room, and whether the word ‘temple’ relates to a classical, a christian, a hindu or a buddhist framework of belief. Also whether the poet envies her honey-coloured girl, or disapproves of her engagement with appearances. So far, my girl has been visited 7,500 times on this blog. She will probably have another outing on Monday night.
THE THIRD TIME
The third time I read at the Troubadour, I didn’t have the protective umbrella of an editor. I was having a Roman phase and read A Place Called Argentina, which appears in SAFE PASSAGE. Jeremy Sallon liked the lines about the starlings ‘funnelling their black murmurations in among the trees’ enough to invite me to read at the event he and Ernie Burns were running together in the Betterton Street Poetry Cafe , Platform One. The adventure of that reading introduced me to the talented performance poet Anthony Fairweather who subsequently came down to read at our Week of Good Poetry in Bath. I never read Argentina without thinking of that delightful triumvirate, and in particular what Anthony so kindly taught me about doing my best to memorise poems I plan to read. I have failed in that, but do my best to have them, if not by heart, at least at my fingertips.
THE FOURTH TIME……
Who knows what poetry adventures and encounters lie in store? How could Monday evening be anything other than magical when I have the privilege of appearing with Scarlett Sabet, Paul Casey, John Greening, Afric Mcglinchey, Heidi Williamson, Angela Kirby & Michelle Cahill. SAFE PASSAGE to all……