beautiful monsters: Festival

March 16, 2006


Robert Hass took my breath away, not for the first time, but this time from only a few meters away. I think his poem, one of his more famous ones, Meditations at Lagunitas, is perhaps the most inspirational and influential poems I have ever read. In terms of my own writing, that is, and how I think about writing. Itís one of the first poems that made me gasp, not because of the subject matter, but because of the way he uses language. The unexpectedness of words. That one line, the way her hands dismantled bread, has often been on my mind as I write. Are my words as perfect and as unexpected as that dismantled?


I have felt a little wistful at this yearís Readers and Writers festival. As though I am on the outside, looking in at all the Real Writers and their editors and publishers. Iím not talking about the guests so much as the usual Wellington Literary Crowd who show up to these things.

And I felt vaguely annoyed that on the opening night the VIPs who were allowed to go to the after party were all given red ribbons to wear Ė exactly like the AIDS symbol. They were red because that is the colour of the sponsor NZ Postís logo. It just seemed kind of wrong, to use something that is known to be the symbol of such a serious cause, to use it to denote who the in crowd were at a party.


Tuwhare was a great gig, and so much more. The musicians suited their chosen poems so well, and the poems seemed as though they were meant to be sung, as though they were always part of the songs. It was touching to see people of so many different musical genres, different ages, different ethnicities, coming together to create such a beautiful tribute to this amazing poet.


Over the Rhine were awesome tooÖ I just wish Iíd been able to go with someone. Itís always a bit lonely going to a gig and then having no one to share it with.

Posted by Fionnaigh at March 16, 2006 09:16 PM | TrackBack