Drop in reading at Waterstones Piccadilly: “Storm and Struggle”
By Nina Thommensen
“Storms are the perfect metaphor, but in their real form (in torrential rain or out at sea, or huddles inside against the elements) they force us to get back to nature and remember who’s really boss.”
On Tuesday the 4th of March we gathered at Waterstones Piccadilly for a drop in poetry session on the theme “Storm and Struggle”. As one of our host poets, Louse Warren pointed out, it seemed like “An apt title to end this winter of discontent”. Setting the tone for the first half of the evening Louise read her own poem “I Should Have Kissed Her if the Raid Had Lasted a Minute Longer” alongside “Blashy Weather” by a Scottish poet, and ‘A Thunder Storm” by Thomas Hardy.
As the evening unfolded the participants’ interpretations varied from mesmerizing depictions of destructive weather that unfolded the poetic beat of the thunder, to describing stormy minds tormented by their inner brawls. Whilst some readers captured the potential advantages of a storm, such as of playing in puddles, seeking shelter and warmth or clearing one’s mind after a proper blowout; others related it to the terrors of war, the destruction of a torn marriage, or the consuming forces of mother nature.
Towards the second half of the evening Alan Price read his own poem “Fathoms”, followed by a reading of John Clare’s “I Am” which demonstrated how the forces and sufferings a man experiences externally also leaves its marks on the inside. Moreover, Alan’s reading of Stanley Kunitz’s “The Portrait” and “The illumination” illustrated the contrasts between light and darkness a storm often plays on. Although a storm sometimes brings destruction, when it clears, there always seems to be a notion of redemption.
Whether the poems were read with a sense of nostalgia due to remembering the stormy nights the reader spent as a sailor, or with a literal intonation that constructs a storm out of words, the evening was not close to a struggle, but rather a stormy success.
We hope to see you all at our next drop-in session on the 1st of April where we will be exploring the poetic possibilities within the theme “War Music”.
An overview over the readers and some of the poems they presented:
- Louise Warren - “Blashy Weather” – her own poem, “A Thunder Storm in Town” – Thomas Hardy
- Ingrid Leonard – “The Storm”
- John Snelling – “Forecasting” – his own poem
- Katherine Lockton – “The Day the Rain Falls” – her own poem
- Tim Ward – “Tree at My Window” – Robert Frost
- Simon Koppel – “First Storm and There After” – Scott Cairns
- Janette Innis – “The Basics of Life” – her own poem
- Michael D. Walker – his own poem
- Tom Deveson – “The History of the Flood” – his own poem
- Nick Eisen – “Steam Hammers” – his own poem
- Jennifer Johnson – “Storm in the Black Forest” – D.H Lawrence
- Graham Buchan- “Porphyria’s Lover” – Robert Browning
- George Maudgil – “Come Spring” – author unknown
- Kevin Murphy- “Strange Meeting” – Wilfred Owen
- Steve Rushton – “I Hope His Name was Jim” – His own poem
- Alan Price – Fathoms – his own poem, I am – John Clare, An extract from “Book of Jobe”, “The Portrait” – Stanley Kunitz
- Eve Pearce – “Storm and Struggle” – her own poem.
- Ingar Palmlund – “Hurricane Season Little Compton Massachusetts.
- Timothy Ades – Florentino Y El Diablo – Author unknown