Monday, August 30, 2010

My Edinburgh Festival 2010

I’ve not been exactly highly productive on this blog over the last couple of weeks, but I’ve been busy locally. The Edinburgh Festival has been in full swing. I read at the Book Festival with Ron Butlin, Brian Johnstone and Jane McKie, which was a most enjoyable event. The rain came down in torrents during my reading and drummed loudly on the marquee ceiling, but the microphone and sound system was more than equal to it. It added atmosphere. A little thunder and lightning would have helped even more, but we had to be content with a firework that someone let off during Jane’s reading. I was given a pass to the author’s yurt, which contains rivers of free wine and whisky, and haven’t been back since. Must do better next time...

I did a reading as part of Utter! Spoken Word - a two-hour extravaganza of Salt poets. It was a terrific night, featuring Julia Bird, Simon Barraclough, Isobel Dixon, Mark Granier, Andrew Philip, Eleanor Rees, and Ryan Van Winkle, as well as myself. I got home about 2.30am that night... I’ll post something soon on the reading. I’d certainly recommend anyone to check these authors out and buy their books.

I also co-MCd two events called ‘Chaos Raging Sweet’ with Andrew Ferguson, part of the PBH Free Fringe, which featured poetry, prose and music, and sometimes blurred the boundaries between the genres. Some great performances at these events. I think, though –if I was too do something at next year’s Free Fringe – I’d prefer to do something more planned-out and sustained over a week or so, rather than just two performances.

I enjoyed the festival, as ever, but I’m glad it’s over. I have a few poems I want to write, one of which is edging its way towards completion at an alarmingly slow rate. And there is a deadline – tomorrow! But the poem won’t move forward any faster than it can...

I’m going to the celebration of Edwin Morgan tonight. He has been vastly influential on my own writing. I will try to say more soon, but the sheer range of his work, the bridge he makes between ‘mainstream’ and ‘innovative’ poetry, his ability to write both directly and with astonishing oddness on important themes, his simultaneous playfulness and seriousness, and the combination of both intellectual and emotional resonance in his work – all this, and more, makes him one of the most important poets of the 20th century, and also one of my own favourite writers.

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