Monday, 5 March 2012

Of poems and canapes

Well, Roncadora and The Green Tea House in Moniaive are a wholly delicious combination. Not often enough are words inadequate to describe canapes, but they were on Saturday.
Hugh's art covered the big wall, the woodburner glowed on the other and all the little tables and rush-seated chairs were filled with poetry lovers. 
Andrew Forster read from 'Territory' and 'Digging' (after he'd reminisced about the lovely food he'd eaten in The Green Tea House when he was D&G's Lit Dev Officer).  Andy's work weighs every word carefully in its beautifully conversational cadences.  A treat.

Rab Wilson read from his recent collection 'A Map for the Blind' and from '1957 Flying Scot'.  All about a bike - and a passion:  'Finely bred racing greyhound of a bike'.  This Roncadora work of art comes with cds of Rab speaking, and saxophonist Ben Bryden playing the music he wrote for Rab's words.  (I'm listening to it now).
Hugh McMillan, widely acknowledged as a brilliant reader.  You brace yourself to laugh till it hurts (the letters excusing attendance at Culloden etc, due to difficulties with Apex tickets and the like. 'My heart bleeds in this Travelodge'.).  But Hugh does much more than funny.  He writes unerringly along some risky brink.  I often find it heartbreaking.  Look out for Hugh's New and Selected - A Thin Slice of Moon, published by Roncadora, and out Very Soon.

Hugh Bryden's listening.  But he did read too, (there's nothing Hugh B can't do).  Everyone liked the seagull poem (one for Dumfries, you see).  It went:
Sees gull
Seize gull

Here I am, reading from 'Lost at Sea'.  I do look as if I've just noticed a very large spider approaching across the ceiling, mid-line. 
But it was a lovely chance to try out new poems from 'The Dark Farms'.  I kept noticing how ghostly they are. I do hope they were scary. Here's a few lines from 'Names Spoken in Kirk':

And by the light of elder stars
I know the people of this kirk
have slipped their names.

O constellations hear our prayer.
There's no wood in this kirk any more.
It eyes the sky.  It's purely stones and air.