I arrived in Newcastle city centre to find there was a home match on last night. Before the reading the crowds were streaming away from the ground and along the streets. Fortunately the walls of the Tower are very thick, so the noise outside didn’t penetrate.
For those who haven’t been to the venue before, it’s small, circular, intimate, and steeped in poetry history. Hugh MacDiarmid, Ted Hughes, Allen Ginsburg, Basil Bunting and many others have read there in the past.
As the flyer in the previous post says, we were eight – an octopoet reading, to coin a phrase – four from the Newcastle area, and four based north of the Border. I’ve got Newcastle connections going back a long way, and I knew the local poets and some of the audience members, so I felt at home.
For my own reading I decided to experiment, by pulling out one of the themes from the collection – the broken relationship thread – as a reading group, followed by a selection of some of the other poems. So my set list was:
Erosion, The To-Do list, Don’t, and Thin, followed by Spermsong, Sealskin, After Fire, Hide and Find, and A Short History of Xi’An.
A good night, and a privilege to read in this venue, and with such outstanding poets.