Poets are magicians, conjuring ephemeral crystalline structures of verse mid-air, forming worlds as large as solar systems, or as condensed as the thumbnail of a child. They twist prosaic words into emotive language than can leave you fulfilled or desperate for more, not sure why.
Leontia Flynn bared her soul to us, reading aloud from a misleadingly simple paperback, the passage a study of her late father’s mannerisms. She only used the barest whisper of pages, but conveyed something that most people would struggle to share spread through pages of a whole novel. We were spellbound as the weather howled outside, the entire poet in the city audience rapt. We felt as if we had known him in some small way, this loved Irishman.
The lovely Amanda and I had been invited to a poetry reading with a difference – an unveiling of a portrait gallery in the Bloomsbury Hotel, celebrating the magic that a frission of couplets can induce. There we stood with friends, strangers and brief accomplices, all caught together in the magic of a moment that words can weave.
I’ve never been fortunate enough to hear poetry straight from the heart and lips that created it, at least not whilst being old enough to appreciate the emotional colouring their phrasing could bring. In the crimson hallway, enigmatic half smiles of artists, inside their words ringing throughout the book lined walls of the Seamus Heaney Library. Bloomsbury is infamous for literary links, and it felt as though the evening’s collaboration between Poet in the City and Lavender Hill Studios (featuring video interviews of the poets whilst being painted) added another touch of historical patina.