Catching up

There’s always so much to do when you’ve been on holiday! I’ve been busy. Dealing with the emails has taken quite a bit of time, of course, and unpacking and washing; that’s nearly finished now. I got my accounts up-to-date, and paid the income tax bill that was waiting for me, and did some prep for the Ledbury Poetry Festival, and proof-read the book of pieces from my group in Ross… in fact, on Thursday, I actually did all the jobs on my list for the day, which happens very rarely.

On Friday I had to go to the bank, and I decided on the set list for my gig in Rugby this week, and prepared for a Poetry on Loan meeting. And The Son came home for a little while. He had said he was bringing me a small present – nothing to get excited about, he said. It was only an iPhone 4! He gets cross with the limitations of my iPhone 3, so he decided to move me forwards by getting me a new one. It’s secondhand, in fact, but looks brand new, with its box and all the bits and pieces untouched. Not only that, he spent an hour or so setting it all up for me. Coo! Thank you, The Son.

He came home to get some stuff for going glamping (posh camping) on a hen weekend. Yes, a hen weekend – he and another young man and ten women. Hmmm. They’ve all been friends for ever. He took a penknife with him, so that he could at least look the part of being the useful male. And he helped me make some flyers for the slam in Lydney later this week.

I went to the launch of the Ledbury Poetry Festival, with an introduction by the lovely Naomi Shihab Nye, who is poet in residence for the festival and a really nice person. And in the evening I typed the whole of the one-act play I wrote on holiday so that I could enter it for a competition whose closing date was Sunday.

It’s been a Poetry Festival weekend. Apart from a bit of time at home with The Bloke, netting the fruit bushes, mending the loo, and getting out my fancy ladder (yes, I’m about to start going up ladders again), I’ve spent most of the time this weekend in Ledbury, managing events and catching up with old friends and new poets.

The event on Saturday night included three very tall poets. We had a bit of a problem before it started – artistic temperaments and the hot weather combined with a communications failure – but the event itself went off well and everybody there enjoyed it.

On Sunday morning I heard two Scottish poets who were new to me. The first had a dry wit and lovely soft Scottish accent; the second was, I’m afraid, so softly-spoken that I could hardly hear him from my place right at the back of the hall. This was probably just me; my hearing always takes some time to recover after a flight. I managed an event of nonsense poetry; which I must admit I don’t really like much – I wanted to find out if there was something I had been missing in at all, and I came to the conclusion that no, there wasn’t, and I don’t need to bother with it any more. I caught half of another event. It was a Japanese poet. I’m sure that many people in the audience found his presentation inspiriting. To me, it seemed effete, irrelevant, pretentious and self-indulgent – to be blunt, up itself.

On listening to a Japanese poet presenting his work
He says
that he does not write poems.
He listens to an outer voice
and translates what it says 
into his poetry.

How unfortunate it is
that the outer voice that he translates
talks bollocks.

This is not a word I usually use, but it just seemed appropriate. Oh well  – we can’t all like everything, but it’s good to give new things (and poets) a try.

In the evening I managed the poetry slam; it was unusual for me to be able to listen to the poets in a slam without the barrier of nervousness, knowing that soon it would be my turn to perform. We heard some poets who definitely connected with the audience –  real people, with real poems, unlike the one I had heard earlier. The winner was the excellent Ben Norris, who is far too young to be writing such good poetry! I have to admit that I have not just been caught up but in fact overtaken by the crop of fine young poets I have heard recently.

And that’s it. Loads to do today, so I must try to catch up with the jobs on the list. I have no chance at all of doing them all.

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