The soldier, the cauliflower, the walking, the monkey and the man’s bottom


Sitting over toast and marmalade with Peter Sansom yesterday morning he said to me: ‘I don’t bother with novels any more. Poetry and short stories, that’s the stuff.’

He’s right, of course.

The proof of it was there to see at the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival launch on Thursday night in the Peter Pears Gallery.

Five poets read one poem each, each of them perfectly pitched to its origins of experience, idea and observation.

Five poets. Five poems. Finuala Dowling’s ode to a cauliflower. Dan O’Brien’s harrowing poem of reportage about the body of a dead US soldier being dragged around Mogadishu. Ellen Doré Watson’s poem in praise of walking. Thomas Lux’s dissection of the physics of monkeys who do (or do not) swim.

And stealing the show already, Adélia Prado, reading in Portuguese and translated by her friend Ellen Doré Watson, about nothing more complex than her neighbourhood but ending with a ripe description of a man’s bottom.

I feel I know all of them already, even though I met them only hours ago.

Friends for life, in one reading, how is that possible?

I am already pinching myself to be here.


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