Tag Archives: Poetry Swindon

Spoke and word

18 May

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Part of the attentive Poetry Swindon audience at The Sun Inn, Coate.

 

Swindon Literary Festival this is not, this is Swindon Festival of Literature.

As Matt Holland made clear in the inaugural Kaye Franklin Memorial Lecture, Literary Festivals are all about books; a Literature Festival is about writing, good writing.

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Cold War Nairobi and the Thing that calls itself I

5 May

So this Swindon Festival of Literature evening involved a spot of dancing to a cheesy tune, being stuck in a car park, and a wild-ish haired professor. Sounds like a good plot for a book.

Which leads into the first event’s theme, Poetry Swindon 78s, where the Richard Jefferies Museum’s writing class used scratchy old 78 RPM vinyl records as a creative prompt. At Swindon Central Library, we heard the tunes and the writers read their work.

Nairobi, a bubbly 1958 Tommy Steele number, became a Cold War spy tale by Ben Holloway. Ben’s nervous rapid delivery and breath-catching apologetic gaps suited the memories of a paranoid molehunt.

I had enough time to catch Anna-May Laugher’s Ready for the River from a 1928 track by The Rollickers – ‘Want to drown my troubles / and leave just the bubbles’. I was glad I bought the accompanying 78s book and could get to know this poem: a five-part account of a river, a living thing, accepting and eating anything thrown in it – dead things, oar cuts, memories – before it is consumed by drought.

Regretfully, I crept out and then spent 10 minutes stuck listening to the bleep of a Swindon car park help button (‘hanging on the help button’ flash fiction coming up) before I could head up to the Arts Centre, which meant I missed the first half of Roger Scruton. So apologies if crucial information is notable by its absence. Continue reading