Before I read my poem I gave a quick explanation of Blake’s illustration of Dante’s second circle of hell (Canto V), reserved for adulterous lovers. The flash of light above Virgils’ head encompasses the lovers Francesca and Paolo, granted amnesty from their sins after Dante faints beneath them in pity.
A snippet from my poem:
Hell’s weather is pigmented with
fevers, adrenaline, tempers.
Egg Tempura holds the flush.
Blake gave form to Dante’s fourteen
Thousand lines. Lovers rhyme
In couplets tethered to the punishment
of a pious poet and a visionary
who burned away sin then salved
the damned with albumen, an amniotic
caul in cream and eggshell.
The Blake exhibit was packed; depending which room we read in, we read to audiences of 30-50 people. It was such an enjoyable day, joined by talented local poets Julie Forth, Nick Owen, Merryn Williams, Mary Stableford, and Derek Summers. Several local poets came out to support us, too. A representative from the Cheltenham Literary Festival approached me after the reading (as I’ll be taking over the Ashmolean readings in April) and expressed interest. Exciting stuff!
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting – Kundera (my copy is outrageously loved, underlined, cracked, curled, kissed, cuddled, laughed at, laughed with)
Perfume Genius (I’m in love with the singer and videos, everything – he is my aesthetic epiphany and delight).
Mouse’s daily gratitude journal (I’m grateful that she and so many others share their lives so transparently with an infinitude of strangers. I’m trying to be more vulnerable and transparent but timidity often rules the day).