Thursday, January 8, 2015

An Evening of Poetry

Andrew Motion, Owen Sheers & co
So, after a long and welcome break, it's back to work - and, lest I forget, the start of UK in Mexico 2015. Tonight we had our first event: a poetry evening with Sir Andrew Motion and Owen Sheers. I'd met Motion once before, in Tokyo over ten years ago, when he was Poet Laureate, but Sheers was new to me. He's Welsh, brought up in Abergavenny but now lives over the hills near Talgarth. He also writes novels and plays. Expecting nothing, I said that my father was from that part of the world and I spent a few holidays in the hamlet of Llanthony where my uncle and aunt Jim & Gaynor Elliott still live. 'Oh really', he said. 'I know them'. Turns out he wrote a play in their holiday cottage a little further up the valley. Small world.
Anyway, it was a pleasant evening of both of them reading selected poems and a conversation afterwards with a surprisingly large audience. I say 'surprisingly' because poetry, at least in the UK, does not have the mass-appeal that prose (let alone other art-forms) enjoys. But poetry figures quite prominently in Mexican culture, a point backed up by the fact that the poet Octavio Paz is, so far, the only Mexican to win the Noel Prize for Literature.

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