Friday, 7 May 2010

Red Squirrel poets

You can read Colin Will's take on the launch of his The Floorshow at the Mad Yak Café and Eleanor Livingstone's Even the Sea at Colin's blog.
I set one of my Orpheus poems at the Callander poetry festival, and it begins:
Poetry--starts
when Colin strikes the small Tibetan bowl.
The warmed and singing bronze awakes
a humming clarity

And so poetry started, with Colin's singing bowl.

It was indeed a great night, not only because the poetry books were good, but also because the readings were excellent - which doesn't always coincide. It was very well-attended - and yes, you two are indeed 'national treasures', justifiably well-known and well-loved, not only for your poetry, but for the help and encouragement you give to poetry in Scotland at large. You guys, and Sally Evans and Joy Hendry. Am I right?

I read the two books on the train going home (I know, but it was a long journey and a long wait before). Eleanor's poems are shorter, warm and witty, and deal with growing up, growing older, and the small intimate moments of relationships, but also have some beautiful clear snap-shots of nature and landscape. The poem that made most impact at the reading was It's my Party-- but the one I come back to, which I hope she won't mind me quoting is the introduction to part 2:

a Sunday in June
no bees in sight but listen
to the tree humming

Colin's poems are longer, less personal but deeply reflective. There are a lot about landscapes, Suilven and China, but the tone was set by some serious reflections about mortality and faith - or perhaps lack of it. It seems hard to strike the right tone in a society where we are pretty much in denial about death and a common belief or response is not a thing to take for granted, but these poems were calm, thoughtful and honest, deeply engaged, but not emotional. The only quarrel I have with this book is that it is too short!

You can get both of these books from Red Squirrel press.

1 comment:

alumpinthethroat said...

Thanks for the up-date. I was sad not to be able to attend myself, but you've really whetted by apatite.