I was thrilled to be part of Carol Ann’s ‘warm-up act’ at Durham Town Hall last Friday night, 30 October and to have shared the stage with four great north east women poets.
It is so encouraging to read to such a big audience and everyone was so marvellously attentive. This north east region has been rich in poetry events over the past two months. The Seamus Heaney nights in Newcastle in October were magical. Seamus is such a gracious man despite his profile – wonderful.
At Durham I read from my latest collection, ‘Chasing the Ivy’ [which has its official launch at the Lit and Phil in Newcastle on 11 November at 7pm. At half-time we did book signing and I assumed that everyone would probably keep their hands in their pockets until it was time to buy Duffy books [and who could blame them, she’s terrific], but no, I’m glad to say that I had to sign quite a few and loved receiving comments like, “my husband is a classicist – he’ll love these”, “gosh I didn’t realise that the contemporary poetry world had so much in common with ancient Rome”, “he sounds like a great guy, this Horace of yours”. I’m so glad that my latest collection, like ‘The Works’ which preceded it, is appealing to classical scholars and the wider public – job done!
Earlier in the day I went into Low Newton Prison to give a workshop and read. This group was so appreciative. The prison had taken the trouble to obtain copies of all my books and the women were ready with questions about my poems and willing to discuss them. Today I received an email from the prison telling me about the response to my workshop – it was a lovely email and makes doing this sort of thing really worthwhile and satisfying.
Onwards and upwards now – must put my mind to the official launch – NEXT WEEK!