Friday, 8 July 2005

...And We Must Go On

Life continues, amidst the dread. I am still reading tomorrow (Saturday) at the major poetry festival - Ledbury. It is an honour to be there, and the poet I am reading with sounds remarkable. I include her biographical note below.

Born in Sri Lanka and educated at Oxford, Pireeni Sundaralingam currently lives in San Francisco. She is co-editor of Writing the Lines of Our Hands, the first anthology of South Asian American poetry (forthcoming 2005) and Poetry Editor of the political journal LIP. Her own work has been featured in anthologies including The Oxford and Cambridge Anthology of Poetry (1992), So Luminous the Wildflowers: the Tebot Bach Anthology of Californian Poets (2003) and Risen from the East: the Poetry of the Non-Western World (2005) and is featured in the documentary film Veil of Silence. A PEN USA Rosenthal fellow, Pireeni was named as "one of America's emerging writers" by the literary journal Ploughshares in 2004 and her poetry is due to be featured in the International Museum of Women.

The poems I am reading will be a mix of the political and the less so. The timing makes me unsure about exactly what tone to strike. Ledbury is somewhat sheltered from the ravages of the last day, being set in lovely countryside hours from London, and so to be too solemn might be just as inappropriate as to be cavalier.

I shall simply try to read the best poems, in 35 minutes, that I have so far written. While I may dip into my earliest book Budavox, I will likely concentrate on poems from Cafe Alibi, Rue du Regard, and my latest, fourth collection, still in manuscript (many of these new poems written under the tutelage, at UEA, of George Szirtes and Denise Riley).

Rightly, the reading I was supposed to be a part of, last night at The Museum of London, was quickly cancelled in light of the attacks. It is doubtful that will be rescheduled.

It is curious and unexpected, but London has become the centre of the world in about a week - first Live8, then the Olympic bid win, and now the bombs.

One wishes London could almost find some blessed anonymity for a while.
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