Waterstone’s Piccadilly was the venue again for our monthly poetry drop-in on Tuesday 6th September. Despite the awful weather, several Poet in the City stalwarts, as well as some lively first-time attendees, braved the wet to enjoy a glass of wine and a great selection of poetry, much of which we were privileged to hear from the mouths of the poets themselves. Sally Gethin was there and kindly provided this write-up after the event:
‘Anticipation’ was the theme of the drop-in this month. This lent itself to a wide selection of poems dealing with apprehension, expectation, a sense of doom, or the excitement of love.
Calling the first taste of autumn weather that evening ‘a naughty night to swim in’, John Mole launched the drop-in with a handful of poems, some his own. His first poem, ‘A Game of Croquet’ recalled a game enjoyed many years ago with friends on their lawn, dedicated to their eldest son who at that time was still in the womb. Mole recalled the readiness and radiant anticipation of the expectant mother, ‘knowing her baby as if already in her arms’.
The reverse, an anticipation of death, was spelled out in numerous readings throughout the evening, including the ‘Smoking’ poem by David Neita anticipating the inevitable demise of the smoker with the perpetual refrain ‘inhale/exhale’. He drew a loud round of applause.
Other poems lamented the intolerable nature of anticipation, such as my own, ‘The House of Waiting‘. As John Mole commented, anticipation is such a fertile emotion with such a sense of potential, it could describe the ‘very nature of life’. And the Larkin poem ‘Next, Please‘, read by Stephen Jasper, captured the duality of anticipation, when it promises but ‘never anchors’.
The biblical Psalm 42 which expresses spiritual longing but resolves in faith was read by Liz and then challenged by a response poem from Tia Azulay, ‘Psalm 42 Revisited‘, which evokes a sense of longing, thirst and desolation.
Michael Low explored in his Mind Games the disturbing experience of being held in a foreign jail anticipating freedom when the only form of escape is in the mind.
And from there to the poignant personal, when love is forever anticipated and never delivers, as in Angela Kirby’s ‘Your Letter Never Came Today’, recounting the seven ‘non-existent kisses’.
Tom Deveson read his own ‘Park Concert’ comparing his idyllic Summer of 1994 with a more ominous ‘fierce bright sun on parasols’ 80 years before – which pre-empted the outbreak of the First World War. He recalled the sense of nostalgia coupled with unease at what was to come.
Another reference to the ominous sense of war was created by Mira Mehta. She had created a love story ‘partly based on truth and partly fantasy’ recounting her grandmother’s Czech experience prior to the Second World War.
And following on from this theme of love was Eve Pearce’s heartrending ‘The Spinster’s Song’, when the heart continues to believe in a romantic deliverance that never arrives.
This ultimately was an evening of storytelling, which seemed to leave a deep resounding impression on both readers and listeners.
Next drop-in Theme: ‘London’.
Host: It will be hosted by Mario Petrucci as John Mole is taking a sabbatical.
When: Monday 3rd October 2011, 6.30pm
Where: Waterstone’s at 203-205 Piccadilly, London, 1st Floor, Poetry section
Cost: FREE OF CHARGE.
RSVP: Phone Waterstone’s 020 7851 2419 or Email firstname.lastname@example.org
With such a rich theme, there is huge scope for many different takes on this wonderful city in which we live, write and read. Please find a poem, or write a poem, about London, and come and share it with us.
Poems read at Anticipation drop-in on 6th September
If any are missing from the list below, or if you can supply links to any of the poets or poem texts online, please tell us in a comment below this blog post.
John Mole – A Game of Croquet, To a Blackbird at First Light
Matthew Sweeney – The toothbrush seller
Pablo Neruda – Ode to Wine
Wallace Stevens – The Emperor of Ice cream
Sally Gethin – The House of Waiting
Philip Larkin – Coming of Spring
Emily/Charlotte/Anne Bronte – Anticipation
David Neita – Smoking, For You
Philip Larkin – Next Please
Tia Azulay – Psalm 42 Revisited
Angela Kirby – Your Letter Did Not Come Today
TS Eliot – Rhapsody on a Winter Night
Michael Low – Mind Games
Mira Mehta – own poem
Tim Blore – A poem based on Collector by John Fowles
Zlatka Stankova – own poems untitled
Eve Pearce – The Spinster’s Song
Ergin Gunce – A Selection of Poetry translated by Gulay Yurdal-Michaels
Tom Deveson – Park Concert, 1994