Friday, 22 February 2013

I Should Rococo

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.



  1. Returning the compliment...! I LOVE JSB! And looking at the various mutual interests you post in your profile I'm surprised that you don't ;-). Each to their own, I guess.

    But yes I didn't know Donne looked like THAT! He is indeed, as you say, HOT. I kind of want to say YUM but I guess that's exactly the kind of objectifying we hate when it's done to us... but looks AND a way with words, hey??

    Anyway, good to meet you in cyberspace. R

  2. PS When? I mean when is JSB/Baroque fest?

  3. 8th to the 29thMarch. Here's a link:

    Objectifying be damned ... ;-) I see your yum and raise you a phwoar!

  4. Thank you. And :-)!

    I've enjoyed v much the several posts of yours I've read, Deborah. I have a bit of a penchant for the Monmouth Rebellion - well, all lost causes, really - myself. Have you read 'Ferney', btw? (It only touches on it, but...)

    1. No, I haven't but I've just read the blurb and it sounds like my kind of thing so I'll seek it out.

      I remember my father telling me about the Hanging Judge as a child and what a terrifying figure he was. Now that's a psychopath for you! There's a story in Norton St Philips that when the rebels were being taken to be hanged, a young lad held open a gate for them to pass through, and for that consideration, he was hanged also.

      I'm hoping to spend more time in Devon this year as I have Dart to promote, so maybe we'll cross paths. Do you know Bob Mann, a writer and publisher who lives in Totnes? He does ghost tours as well, or used to. He's a writing friend of mine.