Went to hear Jane Hirshfield and Robert Hass read at the PoetryNow 07 festival. I think Jane is a great poet, and her collection of selected poems from Bloodaxe is a must buy. The surprise of the evening for me was Hass. When I read him, I've done so in an internal voice that is sophisticated, and calm.... knowing. What comes across when you hear him read in person is the sense of nervous tension, the almost friable voice. This isn't the first time that hearing someone in person has changed the baseline voice for me. I heard Paul Durcan read at the PoetryNow 05 festival and I had a true sense of this Beckett meets Pinter-like suburbia, there was a dark laughter in the room, and I can say that for the first time in my life I "got" Paul Durcan. I am not a huge fan of readings in general, but when you have experiences such as these it is hard to argue that the readings serve a purpose.
Categories: poetry, ireland, irish, crit, literature, criticism, contemporary, american,