We caught the tail end of the Ledbury festival on Sunday. For once, it wasn’t raining, and the little Herefordshire town looked stunning. First event was Simon Armitage, talking about his new book Walking Home in which he describes walking the Pennine Way, contrarily from north to south. He’s an engaging speaker and very funny too. He read a few of his Stone Stanza poems which are about water, in all its forms, and how it shapes the landscape. He has a great turn of phrase, for example, describing mist as ‘water in its ghost state’. Brilliant.
Next was my Prof, Andrew Motion, speaking about his new novel Silver, a sequel to Treasure Island. I’ve read it and enjoyed it, it’s very true to the Stevenson original in tone; a Ripping Yarn with deeper issues to consider. Motion says he gets up at 5.30 every morning to write. I’m full of admiration for people who do this in order to get at some of the things in their subconscious mind. I struggle with that time of day.
Sophie Hannah was funny and quirky; Helen Dunmore was thoughtful and elegant. Lastly we saw a group of poets reading together in a show called ‘What We Should Have Said’. Hannah Silva works with sound, right at the edge of meaning. Some of my friends don’t think this is poetry at all. I’m still mulling it over.