Saturday, 7 November 2015

Aldeburgh Poetry Festival 2015 (Post 2)

We have just returned from a second day at Aldeburgh Poetry Festival. We were mainly out at Aldeburgh, where there were some strong autumn gusts at lunch time by the iconic Scallop, followed by a stormy panorama as we left the town on our journey back to Snape this evening.

Highlights included an excellent and lively talk by John Burnside on the poetry of birds. We were riveted by his selected bird poems from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and by his engaging commentary. I particularly connected with the poems by Edward Thomas and Marianne Moore.

Alison Brackenbury delivered a delightful reading and brought great illumination to 'Christmas' by John Clare from December in The Shepherd's Calendar.

I have been particularly thrilled to find much of this year's poetry linking back to the land in a variety of ways. This, of course, is a personal preference, and perhaps it is not surprising that land in all its guises (edges, boundaries, borders, soil, seasons, owned land and wilderness ...) has played a significant part when you consider that one of the official festival themes for 2015 is 'poetry and freedom'.

Perhaps my ear was acutely attuned to this current (was it an overcurrent or an undercurrent? The emphasis seemed to waver) as a result of my visit only three days ago to the extraordinary exhibition of Ai Weiwei at the Royal Academy.  

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