On February the 14th Poetry at the GRV held a night of poems inspired by the Song of Solomon. Each poet had been given one line from the song and had written a poem in response to that particular line. The Newcomer and I went along to review.
Some people might be a bit wary of going to a poetry reading on Valentine’s Day – they immediately expect the “cringe factor”. What were your feelings?
For me poetry is intimately connected to emotions and with love, so poetry on Valentine’s Day is perfect. And who else was going to read me a love poem?
The set up for the Song of Songs Project readings is different from the other readings you have attended. How do think the poetry being themed shaped the evening?
Firstly I will admit that it is a long time since I last opened a bible and I had no idea what the Song of Songs is about so I had no prior expectations. What I found interesting about a themed night is the very different ways in which each poet interpreted the theme. Every emotion from humour to sadness was included. And the theme was explored in many ways from cooking to Dolly the Sheep to nature. I also liked that each poet introduced their reading and explained how they came to the reference and how their allocated verse of Song of Songs sparked their thought process. For me the themed evening was a great success, everything hung together but was still very varied and surprising.
What did you think of the readers? Did any stand out for you?
I was extremely impressed by the very high standard from all the readers. I enjoyed every single poem. As a non-poetry expert I have no idea which were the “best” poems but a few did stand out for me, mainly those with humor as I am not really the sentimental type! I very much enjoyed Eleanor Livingstone’s poem telling the different stages of a relationship by the state of the couch, Alan Gray’s Song of Leith Walk painted a very vivid picture, Tessa Ransford’s “memory cupboards” looked a love of family rather than romantic love.
Would there be anything you’d do differently?
Only make sure there was some heating in the room! It was so cold in there
From starting as a complete novice in poetry you’ve been attending more and more readings. Do you feel differently towards poetry as a result?
I am still a complete novice in poetry! However each of the readings has been very different so I am beginning to get a flavor of wide variety of poetry and to develop ideas on what I like and what I don’t like. The main difference is that before if I thought of poetry at all it would be as an irrelevance but now I can see that it does have an importance in modern life and should be even more influential.
I was actually one of the poets reading that night, and The Newcomer and I came to a gentlewoman’s agreement not to include my poem in the reviewing process. I want the reviews to be as honest as possible, as reviewers should be, and I felt that she may feel uncomfortable reviewing a friend. Therefore, unfortunately I am not included in this review.