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Footnotes to an evening of poetry [Jul. 27th, 2017|09:30 pm]
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Each year S. spends a week in Durham at a Classics Summer School, and each year she invites us to gatecrash the evening session at which James McKay, one of the tutors and also, in his own words, a 'poet and reciter', reads poetry. This is fairly loosely connected to the themes of the summer school - one year, I recall, he simply read Sohrab and Rustum in its entirety. On Tuesday the menu was more mixed: some of his own stuff, some Byron (not for the first time) and a generous helping of 'my latest crush', James Elroy Flecker (hooray).

He began with The Old Ships (it is the obvious gateway drug) and ended with To a Poet a Thousand Years Hence ("I'm not going to do The Golden Road to Samarkand - you can look it up!") and plenty more in between. His reading was a little over-emphatic for my taste - readings almost always are, I'd rather you let the words do the work - but it was a pleasure to sit back and listen. Here's a sample:

(On Soundcloud, if that embed is not working.)

Of his own poems, I particularly enjoyed the one in which he used dactylic hexameter (not from the forthcoming collection, apparently, but the one after): I hadn't even known that was a thing in English, but yes, apparently so, and McKay recommended A. H. Clough's Amours de Voyage (article links to the Gutenberg text). But, wait! There's more, because that article also refers to Clough's The Bothie of Tober-Na-Vuolich, a phrase I know as part of my father's vocabulary - though I never knew where it came from, and couldn't have spelled it.

The evening ended with a chunk of Byron's Beppo. Which was fun, but a bit of an anticlimax.

This entry cross-posted from Dreamwidth: comments always welcome, at either location.

[User Picture]From: desperance
2017-07-28 05:57 am (UTC)
When I was a kid, all the walls were indeed black and monastic. But then they washed them. These days they're all honey-stone.
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2017-07-28 04:22 pm (UTC)
Oh, right! As with Newcastle...
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