I was thinking, as the weeks have gone by, of the Poetry Symposium that we ran on May 19th. Again and again I keep coming back to seven wonderful moments. So I thought I’d share them.
- Annie Foster is a great poet – of course. But she is also an amazing reader of her work. I used to think that ‘live’ performances were the best you could get: better than recordings, or things nailed onto the page. But down the years, I am sure that you -like me- have witnessed countless poets and musicians perform their own work so badly in front of your eyes and ears that they came close to smothering the regard you had for their work. With Annie Foster’s work this is not so. The poems are truly great, and the performances make them even greater. I have in front of me now ‘Flambard New Poets’ (which, incidentally, the pop-up bookshop sold out of during the day); the poems she read in her set (like ‘Post-Ironing’) were electric. No one who saw Annie perform her poem ‘The Gap’ that day, will forget it. If you need a little reminder, you should seek out ‘Flambard New Poets’ (here). However, even that formidable reading isn’t the moment I will remember best. And neither is the superb way that her twenty minute reading was itself crafted. Instead, I will remember most the applause after Annie had finished her reading – which was lasting, yes, but it was more than ‘just’ applause: it was an affirmation. The Symposium could not have had a better opening.