Monday, November 15, 2010

Celebrating MacCaig in style

This is The Library in Waxy O'Connor's pub in Glasgow, where I spent a delightful evening with seven others reading and discussing poetry in honour of Norman MacCaig's 100th birthday. The interesting thing was that I'd never met any of these people before (except Mr B - I met him 43 years ago), and that the medium of communication that brought me there was Twitter. (That makes it sound as if there was nothing else to interest about the evening, but don't be fooled)

I am grateful to Bill Boyd for instigating this evening on several counts. Let's begin with the prosaic. Instead of the usual Sunday of getting the dinner in the oven, eating it and then dozing in front of the telly till it was time for bed, we hied off to Glasgow, ate wonderful tapas in Café Andaluz (ah, the green chillies!), had coffee with Duffy (an irrepressible FP - again arranged via Twitter) and then realised a long-held ambition to visit the building with the flaming torches outside the portico. What is more, we both stayed awake, didn't yawn, and talked all the way home.

And, less prosaically - indeed, positively poetically - I found the desire to write welling up again. I realised how seldom I have the chance to share poetry, to enthuse and be understood, to listen and to discover new things and revisit old friends - and all this in the company of a group of people whose link was the poems of one man. Somehow that cut out all the distractions of shared lives, all the small gossipy details that distract, leaving us with the words, the ideas, the mastery and the mystery that is great poetry. We didn't need to be polite, to make small talk, to organise anything, and that was a release.

Of course it couldn't last. But we were outside in the freezing street before Bill realised that I was a certain Ewan's mother. And then we weren't discussing poetry at all. We were roaring with laughter. And that too was good. A good night, in fact. I look forward to the next one.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, that sounds like such a delightful meeting. It is so wonderful to meet up with others that share a passion and feel as though there are no barriers, only a comeraderie that exists between you and those who understand you...