Tonight Sean and I attended a poetry reading at the Blue Boar in Witney in honor of the centenary of Dylan Thomas. Nick Owen put together a great night and a great group of poets (Alan Wynne Davies, Tony Isaacs and his wife Barbara, Peter Malin, and Nick and his wife Gabrielle). The poetry was top-notch. Lots of exquisite soundplay and musicality.
The canoodling was top-notch too.
Amazing that so many of us have visited Thomas’ “wordsplashed” hut in Laugharne, Wales. We all read Thomas poems, as well as original work. I read stanza two of Unluckily for a Death -which has always been a sort of prayer of the body to me- from Thomas’ book Deaths and Entrances, easily my favorite collection of his (particularly Vision and Prayer, which is one of my all-time favorite poems, along with Dickey’s Under Buzzards).
As for my own work, I decided against reading my poem written on the Taf Estuary while barefoot beneath Thomas’ hut–it just wasn’t ready yet–so I read Sweet Little Comforts instead.
I was happy to meet poets I hadn’t spoken with very much before. What incredible stories and lives all these folks have! Forget the poems: I would’ve been happy just hearing all about their lives, their travels, their adventures. One of last night’s poets performs in Shakespearean plays in Stratford, one writes choral lyrics, one is the current Director of poetry readings at the Ashmolean (who is handing the torch to me in April) and another writes ekphrastic poems in London art galleries. Just amazing people. The way we live our lives is the highest form of poetry, I believe; who was it who wrote that a true poet needn’t write a single line? John Clare? John Gray? Matthew Arnold? Hmmm….anyway, I agree wholeheartedly.
Sean and I ended up tipsy and kissing the whole way home, tasting like warm peppery red wine; an appropriate and swooning tribute.