Technically, it was a big deal for me – suddenly in the world of Google Hangouts – but my live, online reading on Sunday night for Transatlantic Poetry turned out to be a really enjoyable thing. It helped that the knackered laptop in my life had been upgraded to mark a recent (and significant) birthday, so I felt a lot more confident when I switched the necessary equipment on. And of course guidance from the two delightful hosts – Robert Peake and Robert Harper – was invaluable. Transatlantic Poetry is the brainchild of Peake and a wonderful thing it is too, pairing poets from around the globe for readings, available to view live, on the internet. Harper is editor of Bare Fiction magazine, and has published four new poems of mine, in the most recent issue. My thanks to them both for inviting me to be part of Sunday’s event.
I read from my sitting room in Suffolk, thankful the dog remained snoring on the sofa throughout. Poet Dan O’Brien read from his home, on a bright morning in LA. I read Dan’s Forward Prize shortlisted book War Reporter earlier this year and still think about it. It comes in flashbacks. Harrowing, honest, brutal and necessary, the poems about the Pulitzer prize winning war photographer Paul Watson, and O’Brien’s unique acquaintance with the man, make vital reading in our times.
During the Q&A afterwards Dan described himself as lucky to have met Paul Watson. I think Paul Watson is lucky to have met Dan. I wonder how Watson’s experiences would have been articulated if he had not met the poet? Could anyone else have got to the core of what he saw and felt?
Do watch the reading below, Dan is a terrific reader, and remained very calm during an early technical hitch. I would have wept. I follow him, beginning with a batch of new poems, which felt good to air, after quite a lot of Her Birth stuff of late.