Monday, 23 March 2009

and stanza?

i'd suspected i'd maybe been being a bit curmudgeonly in my response to this years programme and so it proved to be. from the thursday all the things i liked were all in place and, if anything, i liked it even better than last year.

i didn't go to any of the main events. i've found that the daytime provides all the interest i could wish for and from scobie and mccarey onwards this was unchanged. i went to the poetry breakfast about 'young scottish poets' and while i didn't necessarily disagree with many of the points made there was a surprising lack of fireworks. perhaps, suggested the scotsman guy, whose name i forget, because it's a small country we lack the will or desire to criticise beyond a bland 'it's good' or 'i like it'. it was surprising how many times questions such as this resurfaced either at events or in the blethering.

jay parini certainly contrasted it in his highly entertaining homecoming chat when he described evening criticism sessions as a student. i liked his reminiscences re alastair reid and esp those in context of the visit of borges.

we saw young poets at roddy lumsden's session where we particularly liked jay bernard and adam o'riordan. o'riordan claims he's from manchester but it must be a strange polite and faintly posh bit i haven't come across! again tho, i was thinking about those young scottish poets and how they'd fit in. all this bunch were in it for the long haul and that fitted in with a view that poetry was somehow a career in which one would make money and in which validation came with publication which is fine but not a view i share.

listening to foreign poets is the bit of stanza i find i always come away with most from and this year was no different. i heard my first poem read in arabic, frustratingly can't remember who by, and never got the chance to speak to him. we heard lithuanian for the first time, t especially finding the sound of the language entrancing. not having any translations to read at the end of it was a real shame.

we met loads of people - sorlil was glowing (even when having to wait forever at the open mic), rachel attended with the whole family, claire was there and finally got a face and a name to put to the character of the boy. colin will looked very fresh for a man having to attend and organise so much and was especially resplendent at the market (we bought many things - of them, more later) in his kimono. it was good to catch up with robert alan jamieson even if, like so many others, there wasn't proper time for a blether

favourite session - stephen scobie
favourite thing - the syllabary. for me mccarey was hands down the most original and thought provoking thing i saw. never did get to ask him that queneau question tho!
favourite activity - barbecue on the beach listening to the radio
funniest moment - when rachel revealed her surprise that i wasn't a sixty year old woman
favourite reading - was some guy called john mackie (?) at the open mic reading about his late wife
favourite line - also at the open mic. one of the inklight squad called roddy reading a poem about an ex and combing sports trivia. he got most of the way thru it, then gulled us with the lines ' imiss her, i miss her...' i swear his voice cracked and then he said 'imiss her the way jimmy white missed the black in the 1994 masters final at the crucible...' genius.

so, another great stanza. i still haven't mastered pacing myself and was done by saturday. but, as before, what a great event


Rachel Fox said...

Glad to provide at least one of your highlights!

Sorlil said...

glad you enjoyed what you went to, I had a great time but none of the readings blew my socks off the way kenneth white did last year.

swiss said...

i have to say i agree but then again kw is going to be a hard act to follow!

Crafty Green Poet said...

there are faintly posh bits of Manchester, beleive me I'm from one of them....

I love listening to poetry in foreign languages, lithianian being a recent discovery for me too...

one day I'll get to Stanza, probably next year,

swiss said...

i don't know whether the dual language thing is a stanza policy but whatever, it's great

you definitely should go if you can, it's always great to put names to faces at the very least!