If you are in Bristol during March and a classical music fan, do pop into St George's Church on Great George Street as it will be hosting the first Bristol Baroque Festival in association with BBC Radio 3. Its publicity claims it will 'unwrap an abundance of great music and artistry that flourished during the Baroque era, bringing it into the light of the modern day in a way that underscores its zest and glorious originality', with a particular focus being 'the musical genius of J S Bach'.
Now, if you know me, you will likely be aware that I have an aversion to all things overly curly, be it art, sculpture, architecture, interior design, costume or music - in fact, anything apart from hair. I don't even - whisper it - like Bach much. At all, in fact. So why am I bleating on about this festival? Well ...
... over the last seven or eight months the monthly Poetry Can workshop I attend has focused on Baroque poetry, and we have been writing poems in the style of certain of its practitioners and/or modern takes on the form. This isn't quite as horrific as it sounds. For one thing, the major poets regarded as writing in a Baroque style - John Donne, Andrew Marvell, George Herbert, Henry Vaughan et al - coincide for the most part with the first two phases of the period, rather than the excesses of the hateful Late Baroque period, also known as ... shudder ... Rococo, and I am mightily fond of some of their works. For another, I now have a better appreciation of the techniques they employed to make their poetry so distinctive from what preceded it - wit, metaphysical conceits such as far-fetched similes and metaphors, irony, paradox, intellectual rigour, etc.
The exciting thing about all of this is that thirteen poems are going to be displayed on big boards in St George's cafe bar for the duration of the festival, including one of mine about a street-sweeper, entitled 'The Dream-Catcher'. So if you want to be one of the approximately 3,000 people who are expected to pass that way and see them, make sure you drop in before the end of March. Added artistic value for money, see? And a distraction from all that twiddly stuff.
And now I am going to post a portrait of the extremely hot John Donne. Because I can.