Wednesday, 14 October 2015

The Poetry Society Annual Lecture by Rita Dove - and other Poetic Events

It has certainly been a poetic few days!

I was in London last night, listening to Rita Dove as she delivered The Poetry Society Lecture for 2015. Rita served as Poet Laureate of the United States and Consultant to the Library of Congress from 1993 to 1995 and as Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia from 2004 to 2006.

'How does a shadow shine?' ... such an evocative title

Rita Dove preparing to begin at King's College, London, 13 October 2015

Taking questions at the end, helped by Judith Palmer

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Last weekend included a lunch event at The Wentworth Hotel in Aldeburgh to celebrate the 2015 winners of The Crabbe Memorial Poetry Competition organised by the Suffolk Poetry Society. Here are the winning poets, with Caroline Gilfillan taking First Prize. Robert Seatter was the judge.

Overall Winner, Caroline Gilfillan with the Rose Bowl; Robert Seatter on the right

In addition to a lovely lunch, we were treated to a reading of the winning poems. Robert Seatter also read us a poem from each of his three collections.

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Some days ago I attended a stimulating poetry workshop led by Gregory Warren Wilson on the theme of Textiles. I came away with work to polish and at least one poem still to write, though it just might be the beginning of a series.

I took a piece of my Scottish family tartan to the workshop as a prompt. I saw more tartan and other Scottish items yesterday at the current exhibition at the British Museum on the 'Celts - Art and Identity'. I was excited, but not surprised, to find displays relating to the poetry of 'Ossian', linked, of course, to James Macpherson (1736–1796), who came from the same Kingussie area of Scotland as my ancestors. You may well have read in the press about the recent discovery of the Kingussie time capsule, dating from a century later.

The remains of Ruthven Barracks (built from 1719), edge of Kingussie

And finally, working back in time to National Poetry Day, I had a Haiku on the theme of 'Light' in the Paper Swans online presentation, which you can watch and read here.  

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