Last Thursday, 27 April, I took part, with Alistair Elliot, Sean O’Brien and Josephine Balmer, in a presentation called ‘Ancient Verses, Modern Voices’, to students and staff at the University of Durham.
It was a most enjoyable day and many thanks to Professor Edith Hall and Dr. Jennifer Ingleheart for inviting me.
I concentrated my reading on extracts from ‘Oyster Baby’ and ‘The Works’. Many of the poems in these collections were influenced by the ancient Latin writers, Ovid and Horace.
Those of you who follow my web entries will know that I continue to work on my interpretations of Horace and I took the opportunity on Thursday to try out some of my work in progress.
It was pleasing to be told by one young man, that my renderings of Horace had really brought the work to life for him, because I do still tend to worry that maybe I move away too far from the originals for classicists to accept. Up to now, that has proved not to be the case and I continue to be much encouraged by the response I receive.
Now then, I hear you ask – what has the sword to do with all of this. Well nothing actually, except to say that I am about to embark on a project with Preston Hall Museum, (armoury section).
I will be working with what seems to be a very lively group of teenagers and we will be using the armoury as a source of inspiration for writing. The young people will then go on to work with the Artist Blacksmith and a brand new sculpture will be created using the text generated in the writing part of the project to help inform the sculpture.
So I’ve spent the past few days trying to get my head round different kinds of swords, (not literally!), and develop some ideas for writing. The young people have chosen the title, ‘Beyond the Sword’ for the project, because we want to look past the guts and gore associated with killing and consider the traditions and artistry connected with weapons as well as their original purpose.
So, from now until about mid July I will be living by the sword, let’s just hope that I won’t…………..
you know the rest.
Off to the Lit & Phil in Newcastle next Thursday to read with Bill Herbert as part of the Poetry and Science Experiment. Public reading kicks off at 7pm if anyone is interested.