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.


In pursuit of Vagabonds in Ibrox!

After a quiet December over-indulging on Netflix, mid-January is witness to a wee bit more street activity with me taking the Glasgow subway (underground railway to the uninitiated) from Partick to Ibrox to make the acquaintance of Allan Cameron, owner of Vagabond Voices, a small independent publishing house in Govan. Over the coming weeks, I’ll be spending my internship with Allan learning about the various aspects of the business – from commissioning new works to marketing strategies.  In the meantime, I have been tasked with the job of writing a blurb for a new anthology of prisoners’ writings so right in at the deep end with this one!  Watch this space! TV OFF!!!