Monthly Archives: April 2014

Learning to Read

Last week saw my second attempt at an open mike, with rather better results. I chose a funny poem this time, which gave me greater confidence – further inside my comfort zone. As the prince says in Into the Woods, “I was raised to be charming, not sincere.”

I was drawn to the CB1 poetry evening to see Ann Drysdale, one of my favourite formalist poets and a pal from the Eratosphere website. She gave a splendid performance, warm and funny. And I liked the other poet also, Caroline Gillfillan, who wrote a book of poems based on Samuel Pepys’s diaries. It almost seems cheating to use such great source material. It was fun to think about the journey the described events had taken: from Pepys’s actual life to his cryptic shorthand to 19th century decoding to poetry (perhaps by way of secondary source material, such as Claire Tomalin’s excellent biography?); each person along the way adding a different colouring or slant. Would Pepys recognize his own life?

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