MA Creative Writing 2016-18
On Friday 16 February I attended the Verve Poetry Festival in Birmingham for the first time, courtesy of Birmingham City University (BCU) who had sponsored the event and offered free tickets to students. Staged amongst the hardcovers on the second floor of Waterstones Birmingham, it featured the poets Mir Mahfuz Ali, Karen McCarthy Woolf and Sasha Dugdale.
Jo Bell, chairing the event, opened by asking the three readers who their ‘desert island poet’ would be – and as Jo observed, each chose a poet reflective of their own talents and interests. Mir Mahfuz Ali named Rabindranath Tagore, admiring his ability to find depth in the simplest subjects, though regretting that translation does not do justice to his verse. Sasha Dugdale chose Pushkin, another poet better appreciated in the original, who would offer many years of reading material, while Karen McCarthy Woolf preferred the more concise work of Louise Glück, commending her hypnotic, lyrical style built on a range of complex structures. Karen added that if she were to take a poet simply as a companion, though, her choice would be Joy Harjo, who after she heard Karen make wolf noises at a sound check invited her to travel to America, dance around a fire and howl at the moon together! Continue Reading