1st of May (2014): Drama and Poetry, Southampton

It’s the first of May, and self is spending a few days in Southampton with Joan McGavin, who she met two years ago in Hawthornden.

Joan and her husband are professors at the University of Winchester and are two of the kindest, warmest people on the whole planet.

Joan is the Hampshire Poet 2014, and is busy organizing all sorts of workshops, plus a literary festival in September.

Last night, Joan took self to a play presented in a PRISON, dear blog readers.  The prison’s official name is Her Majesty’s Royal Prison of Winchester.  The play, about conscientious objectors during World War I — it’s the centennial of The Great War, after all — was performed by actual prison inmates.  The Mayor of Winchester was in attendance, and he wore a great gold chain around his neck. Self had never seen the like.  Not, at least, in America.

There is a very strong historical role played by this particular prison in World War I.  Read about it in The Huffington Post.

Anyhoo, we arrived home very late, past 10 p.m.  When Joan’s husband learned we hadn’t yet had dinner, he stepped out and got food-to-go from a Chinese take-out place around the corner.  The chow mein was delicious!  We had it with a bottle of French wine!

Self has been hugely enjoying her stay in England.  Can’t believe she’s been here a week already!  Time is just flying by!

Joan is teaching a workshop this July, in Normandy:

Joan is teaching a poetry workshop July 11-15  in Normandy

Joan is teaching a poetry workshop July 11-15 in Normandy

The workshop, including tuition and accommodations, is 380 British pounds (US $640).

Self, looking over Joan’s teaching materials, finds a book by Mary Oliver.  She opens to the chapter on Imagery.  Oliver writes:

The language of the poem is the language of particulars.  Without it, poetry might still be wise, but it would surely be pallid.  And thin.  It is the detailed, sensory language incorporating images that gives the poem dash and tenderness.  And authenticity.  Poems are “imaginary gardens with real toads in them,” said Marianne Moore.

What a wonderful image!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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