Today is the first full day of the Keats Festival, which is held at Keats House, Keats Grove, Hampstead. I spent yesterday evening at the launch event, listening to the poetry of Jay Bernard (Demon’s in Hell go on strike, in the most visceral meaty bit of poetry I’ve heard in a long time, very striking.) John Hegley (last year’s poet in residence – Keats fencing with sticks of celery, acrostics on the word LEAF from local school children – with audience participation; and a c&w song for Keats’ brother George) and Jo Shapcott (this year’s poet in residence – glorious bees inhabiting a life in extraordinary ways, and an incidental treatise on the use of the word Darkling).
Music of the Camden Young Singers led by Ros Savournin (very young, very together in all senses, brilliantly focused and bright sound. Great songs, particularly the song in praise of earthworms with bassoon accompaniment, from a poem by Harry Martinson. The only false note (for me) was Keith Waithe a Guianan flute player, who had a backing track instead of the rest of his band (Macusi). I’m not a fan of backing tracks, although he made some interesting noises when I could hear him.
The nibbles were excellent, the wine good and the company charming. A grand night out, well done all at Keats House.
Until Sunday week, Keats House will be full of writing, poetry, prose and performance, and talks and calligraphy and a bit of silliness here and there. You can join me for a writing workshop on Saturday morning, 10.30-1.30 and Arachne Press authors Bobbie Darbyshire and Tania Hershman, together with actors Will Everett (reading for me) and Kim Scopes (reading for Tom McKay) at 3pm the same day for readings of stories from Lovers’ Lies and our forthcoming anthology Weird Lies.
© Cherry Potts 2013