Wednesday, 22 July 2009

want to write about...

... Manchester Book Market on Sunday. How the rain poured down. It was dripping from the gazebo, and shoppers, poets and poet friends squashed under the canvas ready to hear a few poems. I was first on the microphone in a smaller gazebo in St Ann's Square. The rain stopped for a brief time, so a few people stopped to listen, and sat on benches and hovered with their shopping bags. I read four poems. Mostly about love, slightly stalkerish, some self-harm, prescription drug use, and a little mental ill-health thrown in for good measure. I forgot when I chose my poems how this was a sunday afternoon, in the busy shopping area of a big city, that there might be children there and people who didn't want to be depressed by my wintry poems.

but people listened and it was nice to have a moderate crowd of people who clapped after my poems, and smiled in parts, and didn't wander off mid-poem to go to GAP or Starbucks or one of the other many American stores surrounding us... and I didn't need to worry about my material being ill-chosen, because the woman after me read poems with many swear words in and talked about exposing her breasts, so by comparison mine were jackanory.

I particularly enjoyed hearing Polly Atkin read. I thought she had a beautiful reading manner and I liked her poems about foxes or dreams about foxes, I also liked the fact she has written about other peoples' dreams, instead of her own, and hasn't told the people whose dreams they were. I liked the way her brother smiled in the crowd as she read the part about one of his friends boiling a fox's head in a saucepan. I spoke to her briefly afterwards and she was lovely, and I bought her chapbook Bone Song which I will write about soon...

I enjoyed Ian Seed's poems, as I've never heard Ian read, despite Ian being my publisher/editor. He read a wonderful poem with an Italian phrase in it that I loved. I can't remember the Italian at all so he might need to remind me. I do remember the way he read his poems, which was with such confidence and bringing to life his poems in a way I would really like to learn.

I enjoyed hearing Elizabeth Baines read her short story 'Daniel Smith Disappears off the Face of the Earth', a brilliant story. I loved her collection, but have never heard her read (despite meeting her numerous times at readings etc). I liked being in the rain listening to her read this story, especially the last sentences...

I loved Nick Royle's story about taxidermy, birds, and tweeting. It has a wonderful stalker quality to it. It's not the first time I've heard Nick read, one time he read another brilliant story about a tropical bird being regurgitated onto a dinner plate, and another time it was a stalkerish piece about a man coming home from a football match and hiding in someone's back yard. I feel as though I want to be part of a stalker 'school' of writers with Nick Royle at the helm. He reads them in a way that creates a stalker kind of tension, and also there seem to be elements of 'truth' in the stories, an authenticity (a character called Nick Royle, or a character that could very much be Nick Royle) who then does slightly worrying or disturbing things. I feel I could belong to this school of writing, as I write stalkerish fiction about characters that are sometimes called Annie Clarkson or characters that could very much be Annie Clarkson.

I saw many writers there, it was lovely to talk writing, hear writing, browse books,catch up, drink coffee, hear writers' voices compete with the sound of rain.

4 comments:

Mariacristina said...

Annie, what a lovely recap of the reading. You taught me a new word, "jackanory." I am going to look for Bone Song. It sounds great! I love incorporating dreams into poems. Anything absurd or surreal catches my attention.

Thanks for sending OR your beautiful poems! :-)

Michelle said...

"Mostly about love, slightly stalkerish, some self-harm, prescription drug use, and a little mental ill-health thrown in for good measure." Ah, a woman after my own heart. Really enjoyed reading about the different writers, Annie.

Megan said...

Sounds fabulous Annie - Congratulations!!
I'd love to hear you read one day (and can I stalk the stalker club?)

annie clarkson said...

Thanks all... it was freat fun, and Yes of course Megan, you can stalk us anytime!