August 07, 2009

All the Twenty–Ones: The Wolf, Poetry Review and Aldeburgh Poetry Festival

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A lot of 21-themed happenings are happening. Yesterday I returned from the Poetry Society in London havingWolf by Thomas Roche at Flickr howled my poems to help launch the 21st issue of "The Wolf", a wonderful and truly international magazine of contemporary poetry edited by James Byrne.

James Byrne is the real thing - an incisive, classy editor who is also a wonderfully-gifted poet; and it was an honour to read alongside two other poets I admire - Paul Stubbs and Valeria Melchioretto.

I felt a bit of a popinjay - because as I began reading, jolly music started to rise from the streets and pubs outside; so I changed my set of poems to chime better with those noises off.

Showmanship of this type is something I always feel guilty about after the event, but sometimes it's necessary for the moment and in the moment.

The new "Poetry Review" is striking as it builds to Volume 100. The editor Fiona Sampson has kindly given a good home to another of my long poems (long poems are tricky to publish and I've been lucky so far).

This one's written in an invented 'coming of age' stanza of 21 lines (there are six pages of them). The poem's called 'The Circling Game'. It's another Romany tale, utterly subverted, and goes to one or two dark places before - yes, I was as surprised as anybody else - closing with what can only be described as a happy if nervy ending.

The UK's leading annual international celebration of contemporary poetry has revealed its programme. The Aldeburgh Festival's 21st birthday will be an inspiring weekend of readings, discussions, workshops, craft talks, exhibitions, open mic plus Wonderful Beast theatre company’s celebration of Adrian Mitchell and so much more. Full programme, illustrated by my pal and esteemed Warwick colleague Peter Blegvad, is available here

I'm delighted to be doing several things for the festival this year - a day-long 'Workshop of the World; a blind criticism with the excellent Pascale Petit; a reading in the Jubilee Hall with Maureen Duffy and Ciaran Berry at which I'll be reading from and launching a new pamphlet from Nine Arches Press called 'The Night of the Day'; a craft talk about the poetry and birdsong in which I'll be mixing and matching a lot of bird calls with the music of poems; and an exchange with the brilliant Richard Price about 'What is Worth Preserving in Poetry' (any comments appreciated on what is worth preserving are welcome and will be credited!).

A festival such as Aldeburgh is more than the sum of its events. I'll be looking forward to meeting a lot of oldBoat at Aldeburgh by James Clay Flickr friends among the poets and the audience. I am a great fan of Britten, bookshops and bleak beaches.

There's a magical fish and chip shop in town and I intend to attempt to host a poets' picnic on the beach or, if it rains, the Larkinesque beach shelters.

Anybody who reads this blog and wants to meet up for this informal, non-ticketed and bring-your-own-chips attempted picnic event, let me know. Audience or programmed poets both.

I'm sure Benjamin Britten and George Crabbe would have approved. Maybe not Peter Grimes though.

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  1. Amrita

    Hi !

    Nice Post!

    With Regards

    10 Aug 2009, 13:27

  2. Jane Holland

    If I can possibly get down to Aldeburgh this November, I shall. It all depends on cash flow and child-minding issues … as usual.

    One year, maybe I’ll actually get a spot there myself, instead of always having to weigh up such issues before deciding whether or not I can go. I live in hope!


    11 Aug 2009, 02:38

  3. Aishani

    Best wishes for the launch of “The Wolf”. Thanks for sharing your experiences at the workshop and the festivals.

    17 Aug 2009, 08:15

  4. Pascale

    Love this post, the wolf pic, and account of the launch, it’s a great magazine isn’t? Both serious and young feeling.

    I’m looking forward to Aldeburgh, and getting to know you more. I love the sound of your workshop, if I wasn’t doing one at the same time I’d want to come! Hope to make some of your events, maybe even the picnic one.

    24 Aug 2009, 10:15

  5. janarchy

    Aye, you can take the lad out of Blackpool, but you can’t take chips out of the poet!!

    19 Sep 2009, 09:17

  6. Kate Sandford

    I shall be there – booked my tickets today.

    Looking forward to it.

    21 Sep 2009, 19:19

  7. Philip Neilsen

    David your blog is a wonderful window into the dynamic UK poetry scene – much appreciated here in Australia. You shelter on the beach with fish and chips, we in Brisbane are currently surrounded by bush fires and have just had a once in a century dust storm that turned the sky orange for a day. I’d rather be on your beach. And at your workshop.

    29 Sep 2009, 14:24

  8. Sally Goldsmith

    I love fish and chips. I love poetry. I’ll be there.

    23 Oct 2009, 21:20

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