More bounty because it's time for that annual opportunity to win yourself a visit to the Faber archive in the basement of their plush London offices in Bloomsbury as part of their Museums At Night competition. Last year's event a great success and I'm mentioning it again this year because you have just a couple of days left to enter the competition (closing date Sunday May 8th) and score a chance of winning one of those five places.
I can't recommend the Faber archive experience highly enough, Bookhound and I have both spent some time there (right next to the British Museum)... me to furtively stroke the Ted Hughes books, Bookhound to talk much more sensibly about all things archival with Faber archivist, Robert Brown, but I can report that the sight of all those familiar cover designs is manna to the book-lover's soul.
The evening itself will be next Friday May 13th at 6.30pm and will include a poetry reading by Jo Shapcott, winner of this year's Costa Prize for her collection Of Mutability.... oh you very lucky winners.
I have been reading Of Mutability through this year as part of my endeavour to keep poetry high on my list of reading priorities and will write much more about it eventually. The trouble (if you could call it that) with reading and then writing about a poetry collection on here is the time it takes to finish one, especially if firstly and foremost I am to enjoy it, and then to do it justice with slow and repeated readings before gathering some thoughts about it...
'By turns grave and playful, arresting and witty, the poems in Of Mutability celebrate each waking moment as though it might be the last, and in so doing restore wonder to the smallest of encounters.'
I can't think of a better reason to read poetry can you, and here Jo Shapcott tells at a slant her own encounter and journey through a serious illness. At a slant because that illness is only ever hinted at, never quite mentioned yet still somehow an ever-present shadow that sometimes must be faced, at other times deflected...
'Look down these days to see your feet
mistrust the pavement and your blood tests
turn the doctor's expression grave.
Look up to catch eclipses, gold leaf, comets,
angels, chandeliers, out of the corner of your eye,
join them if you like, learn astrophysics, or
learn folksong, human sacrifice, mortality...'