Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Carol Ann Duffy and John Sampson - Poetry and Song : A Celebration



Had a brilliant hour and a half this evening listening to Carol Ann Duffy reading a selection of her poetry from works spanning the last decade, accompanied by John Sampson, a virtuoso musician who played a wide variety of pipes (including, at one point, two recorders at the same time!)  The event was billed as Poetry and Song: A Celebration, and it was good to hear Duffy's beautifully crafted poems interacting with the sometimes playful, sometimes elegiac playing of Sampson.    

The (free - hooray!) event was to launch the brand new Bristol Poetry Institute, a venture dreamed up by the University to bring together 'scholars, students, poets and poetry-lovers across the University of Bristol and the wider community.'  Bristol has a very lively and varied culture of poetry outside of the hallowed halls of academia, so it will be interesting to see how successful this outreach is.  If it means more freebies like tonight, count me in!  

I've long been fascinated by the way poems by different poets converse, but over the last year I've become increasingly interested in the interaction of poetry with other arts also.  I was lucky enough to be able to launch my collection, Communion, with accompanying songs by maestro Reg Meuross, and more recently, one of the most enjoyable parts of last month's Bristol Poetry Festival was the encounter between Hazel Hammond's poems and Alison Wills' beautiful nocturnal photos, entitled 'The Woman Who Slept With Bones'.  Still to come is the evening celebrating the collaboration between poets associated with the Bath Poetry Cafe and three portrait artists from Bath Artists' Studios, entitled Faces {Bath}, which is due to be held on November 3rd at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution.  

One of the most moving parts of this evening was when Carol Ann Duffy read her recent poem about Hillsborough and the findings of the Inquiry, while John softly played Abide With Me in the background.  After the event I had the opportunity for a few quick words with her, and told her how grateful I was that we had a Poet Laureate who was writing about 'the things that matter, rather than ... you know ... Prince Harry'.  Then, having thought for a moment, I added that actually there were probably lots of poems in that lad, and she confided 'Yes, I've written quite a few rude ones!'






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