A Couple of Readings

There has been a bit of a hiatus in this blog: life has been complicated over the past month or so. We have moved house, moved country, reorganised our lives. Now we are living in Cambridge, UK, and trying to find out how we fit here. I used to live in Cambridge; my parents still live in Cambridge; my two brothers live in Cambridge as well: the challenge is to find a way of living that doesn’t involve switching back to adolescent patterns of behaviour simply because they are what I know of life here.

But, those are challenges for the future, or the immediate present. Meanwhile, some more self-promotion, or at least a record of things I have done over the past couple of months.

April. I was lucky enough to be invited to give a poetry reading at the beginning of April, a couple of weeks before we started the process of moving house. It was one of a regular series run by my friend Hasier: second Thursday of every month in Dolores y Lola, a pleasant restaurant in Malasaña. They open a little early, sell beers, a poet does a reading and it’s all wrapped up before the crowds start to come in to eat.

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I read in English and Spanish, and therefore needed to get someone to translate some of my poems. Two poet friends, Jordi Doce and Ignacio Vleming, offered to help: they are both skilled poets and intelligent translators. Here is one of Jordi’s translations:

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Then, after the whole kerfuffle of moving and shifting the contents of a house, and ten years of our lives, across the Channel, I came back to Madrid at the end of May for the last large-scale commitment of our time in Spain, to work for a fortnight at the Madrid Book Fair. The day before the Book Fair started I read at Desperate Literature (a place I already miss a great deal) with Richard Scott, whom I have known for about four or five years. His pamphlet, Wound, is beautiful; his translations of Verlaine are beautiful, even ze orchestra is beautiful…

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Afterwards we went out for tapas and beer and I ordered deep-fried sea anemones without telling anyone what they were.

I read the English version of the poem above:

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And then, after the Book Fair was over and I was back in the UK, I was invited to participate in Poets Poets, a day-long seminar on poetry and technique at UCL, where nine poets read their work and then talked about it. It was extremely enjoyable, and most of the audience stuck it out for the whole eight hours. I read the same poem again, because I quite like it. If I get the time, maybe the next post (because this blog is essentially a form of autoerotic ego-massage) will be a larger-scale discussion in detail of some of the things I wanted to say at the time but didn’t have the time to say. But for the time being, this is a fair summary of what I did in my holidays. Back to work now.

 

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