Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Parmesan and poetry

Yesterday, day 11 in Charlotte Square and a list! To the gardens, to the press pod (spotted en route: Russell Brand teetering on cowboy boot heels surrounded by massive entourage; heart-shaped balloon scudding along South Bridge): banana and chocolate chip cupcakes, courtesy of freelance journalist (and domestic goddess?) Senay Boztas. Good start! 6.30pm; sun; then rain, suddenly; vast, snaking queues for Shirley Williams' event, then poet Tim Turnbull, met on the walkway, drinking coffee in preparation for the long drive north and home, having just performed his most unutterably sad sack routine at Utter, had one punter tell him that the sky still in place was reason to be happy, following that. To the Studio Theatre for the 2nd Edwin Morgan International Poetry Competition ceremony - and how fab to see poetry competitions given such a platform: 2 runners up - Kiwi Laura Solomon and Edinburgh-based Diana Hendry, 3rd: Sheenagh Pugh; 2nd: Emily Hasler; 1st: Paul Batchelor, for the very lovely 'Comeuppance', a poem about his grandmother's superstitions (there's now more about the winners on the Vital Synz website). Speaking of grandparents, in the middle of the post-event reception, a quick call to my grandfather on his 83rd birthday - he requested a few bars of the Fields of Athenry - I obliged: if you witnessed this, I wasn't being Irish, drunk and maudlin - just singing a birthday present down the phone, as you do. Meanwhile, back at t'party: Valvona and Crolla goodies - we applauded the parmesan on retro sticks and mini pizzas, nice red and fine chat from Emma Turnbull and Nat Edwards, prize-winning poets Paul (and brilliantly be-striped partner Rachael of Inpress Books) and Diana (and partner Hamish Whyte) and Emily Hasler and judge Polly Clark. To the Yurt, to warm our hands by the fireside, to admire David Bishop's shoes and Sam Kelly's dress, to muse upon the question, can writing really be taught? and to congratulate Loïs 'Logocop' Wolffe on the many lovely parties. A phone call: press pod's Claudia: come to Bramble! 'Mint 500'. 'Gin and Jam'. Something with bananas and liquor, all in stemmed china cups. So it was that the night ended as poetical and bananas and lovely as it had begun.