Lorna Goodison, Jamaica’s makar, in conversation with Louise Welsh in Bute Hall, GU

From atoms of a shared consciousness…

There’s something quite magical and transformative about listening to a seasoned poet reading from their vast ouevre, unbidden and from memory. When it’s in the architectural splendour of Glasgow University’s Bute Hall in Gothic Revival and that poet is the Jamaican poet laureate, Lorna Goodison, in conversation with Louise Welsh, writer and Professor of creative writing at the University, then you know that for the next hour you’re in for something of a treat. Within a minute or so of introduction, Lorna is in full poetic flight reading firstly ‘For my Mother (May I Inherit Half Her Strength)’ (raising much laughter in the audience) before dropping into the corpus of the collection with many more readings; aptly closing with one about Bob Marley and Robert Burns in ‘And I Hear From Two Rabbies’. Lorna’s poems are words of praise, paeans to Nature and everyone and everything connecting to it; teeming with a superabundance of fruit and flower imagery – mango, daffodil, bougainvillea are just three such examples. Together these exotic blooms of spoken words, powerful as they are, form almost as a new Jamaica in the vast cathedral of space above our heads before falling as confetti into our shared consciousness. The Botanic’s Kibble Palace might have been more suited for such a show but on this cold March evening the warm ambience of the Bute Hall, in the falling light through stained glass, tawny and familiar, is just right for transcending our ordinary lives.

Ian

2 thoughts on “Lorna Goodison, Jamaica’s makar, in conversation with Louise Welsh in Bute Hall, GU

  1. Ian, the way you have written about this event made my heart swell – seriously! WHY was I not there? And I like also the brevity of your account – enough to make me feel like I missed something quite magical.

    1. Thanks Tracy. It was magical. The ticketing was free through Evenbrite with a good turn out. Aye Write festival is on in Glasgow right now so it might have been part of that. UofG Writing also put on regular free lunchtime events as part of their Creative Conversations programme. The next one is Monday 18 March at 1pm in the University chapel with Andrew O’Hagan in conversation with Louise Welsh. Should be interesting.

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