I’m just back from the moveable feast (in more senses than one) that is the Callander Poetry Weekend. This year we were lucky with the weather, so most of the readings were outdoor ones in Sally’s garden – I like hearing poetry in the open air. As ever, there was a mixture of regulars and newcomers, and Sally and Ian made us all welcome. I’m not going to go over all the readers and readings – there were too many for that – but I was delighted that the audiences were large and appreciative. There were some excellent and innovative sessions this year – Ian talked about bookbinding, Brian Johnstone gave a wonderful themed reading on his mother’s life – The Home Service – with Dave Burnett playing and singing period music as counterpoint. It was brilliant. Maureen Weldon and Edwin Stockdale presented a spell-binding recital of poems and clarsach music. On the Saturday evening we had our own tribute to Eddie Morgan, with readings from the audience. It was both moving, funny and celebratory, as these things ought to be. At one point Ian brought on a piece of goatskin from the bindery, and he and I improvised a sound poem suggested by the wrinkles in the skin – pure Eddie Morgan. Sheena Blackhall had brought along her ‘hold-up’ cards of the Loch Ness Monster’s song, so we all had the chance to join in. It was hilarious and memorable. Sheila Wakefield’s Red Squirrel set brought Andy Jackson, Eleanor Livingstone, Kevin Cadwallender and I together for a reading which was very well received, and my own Calder Wood Press authors were well represented, with Anne Connolly, Geoff Cooper, Judy Taylor and Marion McCready (a 2011 book) all reading well.
It’s amazing what an amount of poetry can be squeezed into a single weekend. Thanks again to Sally and Ian for their legendary hospitality.