This evening I was fortunate enough to go to a poetry reading by Carol Ann Duffy. Now I know a lot of people might think of a poetry reading as a stuffy, dry affair but this was far from it.
My expectations were high because I am a massive fan of Duffy’s work. I bought The World’s Wife when I was the tender age of nineteen. I loved it. It was funny and clever and thoughtful. I had previously never considered that poetry could be this much fun. I’ve bought every collection she has had published since. I have to say I think it’s fantastic that Duffy’s poetry is studied in schools now, I kind of wish it had been when I was there.
So back to the evening: less than ideal sound levels meant that she was stooping over towards the microphone to ensure we could all hear properly, and she did it with grace and humour, although it can’t have been a comfortable position to stand in for an hour. The poems, funny on the page, were hilarious when read by their charismatic author. And the stories she told us about how the poems came about, or things that had come from writing them were similarly entertaining. I dragged along a friend who had never read a word of her poetry, and I think he left a convert. It was utterly thrilling meeting her for a book signing afterwards and it was a marvelous evening. If you ever get the chance to hear her, I suggest you do so.