All part of ‘Pighog Plus’ and this week, Astrid Alben opened the programme. A warm personality and lyrical style. The audience warmed to her immediately with her poem about a tree in Kew, another poem called ‘I go on Safari on TV’ came about when she got stuck with her writing and watched a lot of TV. I love the honesty of her line ‘poetry is hell’ repeated several times in this poem and what a title for another poem called ‘Thank you and please remain seated until my death’.
Like the seasoned poet she is we were treated to some new poems including ‘Man on a Train’ . Later came ‘Why’ and ‘Corner of the Universe’ about walking her street in London and describing an old woman in the language of a sculpture. So many memorable poems ‘Ai! Ai! Pianissimo’ is published by Arc.
Equally popular and a Pighog favourite Maria Jastrzebska, who was born in Warsaw and grew up in the suburbs in Britain. She appears to wander a rich landscape for her thoughtful poems. A line l loved was ‘dreaming ships in an ocean of hours’.
She talked briefly, too, of a woman who once told her one of her poems ‘had made all the difference’. “If it touches one person it it is worth the effort of writing” she assures us. Surely ‘Wooden Bird’ would have come into this category a poem about soldiers carving birds out of lime and the journey of one of the birds. So many poems that I would happily listen to again and again must buy her book!
After the break MacGillivray launched into her debut collection from Pighog. Here was woman of both considerable intellect and passion. Her research into the Scottish identity inspired her collection ‘The Last Wolf Of Scotland’ which retells the story of Robert McGee famous for being scalped in the Wild West. He survived attack and slaughter, and came to Scotland with Buffalo Bill’s cowboy shows. A woman of considerable talent, MacGillivray’s knowledge of her subject was truly daunting, the words on the page often painful.
Her recent doctorate in performance led her to deliver her poetry in quite an intense whisper. I found myself following the drama of her words in her book as she spoke and getting more from it by so doing, but it is all a matter of personal preference I guess.
Enthusiastic Open Micers, were happy to take the stage to give us an interesting range of subjects and tones but please note there will be no open mic spots next time.
However they have the wonderful Pighog Pamphlet winner next time with the launch of The Old Madness by Kate White, plus a reading from Jackie Wills, launching her new collection from Arc. on the 28th November.
I heard Kate read at Troubadour in Brompton Road, London (right) a few weeks ago and she was very well received. She has a poem about her birth mother and another about The Foundling Hospital in London.
I used to be a volunteer for The Thomas Coram Foundation on Saturdays when I was about 12 or maybe a bit older My job was to push a black pram with two or three babies in it around Tavistock Square. I think it must have been a nursery by then, but I have still have a book given signed by the matron at the time!
Dina, lovely marketing manager for Pighog, had the task of persuading us to buy poetry for Christmas presents, with some success judging by the sales table later. Redroaster as ever, brought cheerful service of coffee, cake and alcoholic drinks in the interval. What a great venue!
Do check the Piggy website for the latest videos of their poetry events. This week there was no ‘streaming’ but it will be on line soon and don’t forget to come along next time.
An award winning blog for ‘a blog that brightens our day’!
Whoops, sorry punters missed a trick. just added two days later and incase you miss comment below. Pigbaby from Tuesday 26 to Saturday 30 November – all at Redroaster 7.45 for 8.15pm.