Sunday 30 January 2011

My TS Eliot Prize Reading in the Royal Festival Hall

Here is a recording of my entire reading at the 2010 TS Eliot Prize Readings in the Royal Festival Hall on 23rd January. This time last Sunday, I was nervously making my way to the Southbank and what turned out to be a two-thousand plus audience. Ian McMillan of Radio 3's The Verb introduced us all generously and warmly, welcoming us to that scary stage. I loved his joke about each poet speaking for only eight minutes, but not eight 'poetry' minutes.  

The poems I read from my shortlisted collection What the Water Gave Me: Poems after Frida Kahlo were 'Remembrance of an Open Wound', 'What the Water Gave Me (V)', 'The Little Deer' and 'What the Water Gave Me (VI)'

The Poetry Book Society has recorded all ten of the shortlisted poets' readings and you can listen to them all on one page here.
I'm looking forward to hearing them again, including Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney, and
Nobel laureate Derek Walcott, the winner of this year's prize, whose poems were read by Daljit Nagra.

There are three more of my poems from What the Water Gave Me, and by each poet from their shortlisted collections, on the Guardian website.

Monday 10 January 2011

Poetry from Art at Tate Modern: Gabriel Orozco

Gabriel Orozco made 'Black Kites' when he was laid up at home with a collapsed lung. He painstakingly drew this black and white graphite grid on a real skull, and has commented on how intense it was for him to live with the skull over a long period. Orozco is a Mexican artist, so I immediately think of the Aztec Tezcatlipoca smoking mirror mosaic skull inlaid with turquoise and jet in the British Museum, and the lifesize rock crystal skull carved from quartz crystal, reputed to be Aztec, though this is disputed.


Orozco is a playful, wide-ranging and inventive artist, with photographs, paintings, sculptures, and installations often featuring natural and found objects. A major retrospective of his work will open at Tate Modern next Wednesday, 19 January. I'm looking forward to my next Poetry from Art course which starts on 28 February and hope to spend one or two sessions in this exhibition. The course will culminate in publication of the participants' poems on the Tate Modern website. This course is booked out, but there are still a few places for the summer term, when the Miro exhibition will be on.

Dial Tone