Now That I Am in Swindon and Can Think

3 Oct

15

Roddy Lumsden at Swindon Arts Centre Studio

Poems aloud, stolen poems, painted poems, Twitter poems, poems for dancing to and a poetic actress from ‘The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover’, Swindon Festival of Poetry is back for its second year and has had an amazing first day. Things kicked off at the Central Library where Hilda Sheehan encouraged all comers to share their favourite poems on the National Poetry Day theme of ‘Water‘ and beyond. A healthy crowd heard and read poems by Anna Wickham, Ted Hughes, John Masefield, Lewis Carroll and Ghanaian poet Kofi Awoonor who was recently killed in the Nairobi shopping centre terrorist attack. Acclaimed poet and tutor Roddy Lumsden sparkled at the Arts Centre Studio, peppering his set with wisdom about the poetic process, creativity and the perils of naturism on the east coast of Scotland where people are ‘born fully clothed’. Drawing largely from his collection Mischief Night, Lumsden showed just why he is one of UK poetry most arresting voices and his honest assertion that as poets ‘we all steal’ was a refreshing take on originality – as he says in his poem ‘Letter from an admirer‘, ‘the red eyed hyena, padding the dust on a trail, has a conscience that swings between zero and nil’. BlueGate Poets launched their anthology of responses to the Swindon Collection of Modern Art at the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery in the afternoon. Poems that largely stemmed from a workshop led by Tammy Yoseloff earlier this year were read in front of the paintings which inspired them including works by artists Claude Francis Barry, Maggie Hambling and LS Lowry. The gallery buzzed with words all afternoon, as Anna-May Laugher poem ‘The Guests‘ laments, ‘We are disappointed with silence, with cold tea’. The day’s finale came at Lower Shaw Farm with the BlueGate Poets Open Mic Night hosted by Miles Deacon and featuring poets from Pindrop Press. Described as a ‘party atmosphere’ by Cheltenham Festival of Poetry Director Anna Saunders the night showcased all that is good in Swindon’s poetry world with excellent floor poets and diverse readings from visiting poets Jo Hemmant, Emer Gillespie (of ‘The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover’ fame), Garry Ely and Anna Saunders herself. Day 2 and a poetic snake along the M4 corridor before a reading by Roger McGough at the Wyvern Theatre now beckons, bring it on!

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2 Responses to “Now That I Am in Swindon and Can Think”

  1. Kathy Greethurst 4th October 2013 at 7:55 am #

    Roddy Lumden’s assertion that people from Fife are ‘born fully clothed’ is priceless!

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  1. Now That I Am in Swindon and Can Think | Festival Chronicle | Born again Swindonian - 4th October 2013

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