Managed to get to a couple of really stimulating sessions at Ledbury Poetry Festival this weekend. One of the themes of this year’s festival is Scandinavian and Baltic poetry – having travelled in, and written about, both these regions, I was very keen to listen to some of the visiting poets. On Saturday, I saw Swedish poet Gunnar Harding and Finnish poet Merja Virolainen. I particularly enjoyed Virolainen’s work – she read a series of linked dramatic monologues, each character with a fresh perspective on the theme of ‘want’. A teenage girl wanting to be an orchestra conductor. A man wanting to become a father. A chef wanting quick and immediate sexual release…

On Sunday, it was the turn of Latvian poet Juris Kronbergs and Danish poet Pia Tafdrup. Kronbergs read from ‘Wolf One-Eye’, a wonderfully imaginative collection which started as an autobiographical response to an operation for a detached retina, but which developed into an extended meditation on exile and alienation. Brilliant.

Wish I had time to go back to Ledbury for more festival sessions this week, but I’ve got too much work to get through, unfortunately. Will just have to make do with reading some of the many new collections I bought!

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