Sunday, 5 April 2009

The Entangled Bank

This has been a week of readings, one at the end of March in Hebden Bridge library, reading from the anthology "A Twist of Malice" ( a collection of 'uncomfortable' poems by older women, published by Grey Hen Press, edited by Joy Howard) in which I have 2 poems. Pamela Coren and Gina Shaw were my co-readers and we all had what I call '4 boiled egg' minutes, that is, 12. Hebden Bridge library has just been refurbished and the upper room where we were reading was light, spacious, and had beautiful exposed beams. It was cold in Yorkshire, minus 4 on Saturday night, with a light flurry of snow! Beyond the snow you could still make out the stars in the half-clouded sky - it could almost have been snowing stars, it was so glittery.

Then on Weds April 1st I and two friends set off for Shrewsbury to an event called The Entangled Bank, a celebration in poetry of Darwin. In this bicentenary year Shrewsbury has pulled out all the stops and is celebrating Darwin fulsomely. This was the grand finale of The Entangled Bank, (a quote from Darwin's own work which refers to the rich turmoil of living things in a thickly covered bank of plants). The project began in February with poems being displayed in the Park and Ride buses around Shrewsbury. 24 poems had been displayed, including one of mine called Oak, and that was the reason I was invited to Shrewsbury for this particular event. It was a wonderful evening, some excellent poems by members of the Anglo-Welsh Poetry Society, and all interspersed with readings from Darwin's own memoirs, including his deliberations on the pros and cons of marriage. It was like being fast-tracked through Darwin's life, brilliant! The three of us had a good time and were made very welcome. It really was a most enjoyable night.

The week came to a close with another reading , more local this time and with the group I belong to called Words and Biscuits. We are a mix of prose writers and poets and we used to broadcast on BBC Radio Merseyside quite regularly but the programme we were recorded for got axed in favour of sport - sign of the times! So now we take our work to the world by visiting W.I groups in Cheshire and entertaining them with our stories and poems. (One of our group is a W.I member). It can be great fun sometimes; we go to some very tucked-away places, meet all kinds of people and occasionally, as on this night, get plied with huge slabs of home baked fruit cake!

But the week didn't quite come to a close with that: on Saturday night I went off to Theatr Clwyd yet again for another evening of dance; Scottish Dance Theatre this time, an energetic and exciting performance with quite acrobatic moves on the part of the dancers. And in the interval I was lucky enough to get another good look at the North Albanian photographs taken by Rhodri Jones; they had not yet been taken down. So, a thoroughly good week, all in all.

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