30 April 2007

meeting a hero

Tony Harrison

Saturday evening I met one of my heroes. My favourite living poet, Tony Harrison.

He read his poetry and talked. It was an incredible evening. His words are so jam packed with truth and emotion. It was a stunning evening and I was euphoric to have heard him and been able to speak to him afterwards.

As you know, my moniker of kumquat comes from my favourite TH poem; 'A Kumquat for John Keats'. He read 'Bookends' that evening and the power of his voice was electrifying. I hope you appreciate it too;

Baked the day she suddenly dropped dead

we chew it slowly that last apple pie.

Shocked into sleeplessness you're scared of bed.

We never could talk much, and now don't try.

You're like book ends, the pair of you, she'd say,

Hog that grate, say nothing, sit, sleep, stare…

The 'scholar' me, you, worn out on poor pay,

only our silence made us seem a pair.

Not as good for staring in, blue gas,

too regular each bud, each yellow spike.

At night you need my company to pass

and she not here to tell us we're alike!

You're life's all shattered into smithereens.

Back in our silences and sullen looks,

for all the Scotch we drink, what's still between 's

not the thirty or so years, but books, books, books.

3 comments:

Rehan Qayoom said...

Harrison is also my favourite poet. Unfortunately I have been unable to attend any of the recent (rare) recitals he has given due to being violently attacked by what he'd call "A bunch of niggers" who broke my leg! This particular recital was fully booked but I'm glad you were there and posted about it.

I've a bunch of Harrison books to give away if you want, since I now have the complete editions.

kumquat said...

How interesting. What books do you have and how have you managed to get them for giving away? Of course I would love one if I don't have it already.

Thanks for commenting on my site.

By the way, when did TH use that expression? I can only assume it wasn't his own voice!

Rehan Qayoom said...

I've still got some spare Harrison copies lying about. Let me know where to send them.