Christmas Day was ticking along as usual – I was about to sit down for our family lunch, in fact – when one of my dearest friends rang and yelled excitedly into the answerphone about having just heard one of my poems on the radio.

To my huge delight and even huger disbelief, the actors James Bolam and Susan Jameson, guest presenters of the Christmas edition of Radio 4’s With Great Pleasure, had apparently selected a poem from Creatures of the Intertidal Zone, to read aloud on the programme as one of their favourite pieces of writing.

Post-lunch, and still feeling deeply disbelieving (my friend must have got it wrong…must have been someone else’s poem…), I managed to track the programme down. And did indeed hear Susan Jameson mention the fact that she’d discovered my work earlier this year, that she appreciated my interest in environmental issues and had opted to read my ‘take on consumerism’, the poem ‘Tesco Extra’.

Other writers featured on the programme include Wendy Cope, James Thurber and U.A. Fanthorpe and you can listen to the whole show, available via bbc iplayer for the next few days, here. (Ignore the fact that this page asserts that James Naughtie is the guest presenter – this is a mistake! James Naughtie introduced an older show and the link will take you to the James Bolam/Susan Jameson programme from Xmas Day!)

Even now, three days on, I find it astounding not only that they should have come across my work (how and where, I wonder?) but also that they seemed to like it enough to share it. What a memorable Christmas!

4 responses to “With Great Pleasure

  1. Thanks you all for the lovely comments.

    Yes, Sue, you're absolutely right – we do feel we have to introduce every single reader to our work (and this part of the writing business, though rewarding and enjoyable, takes up so much time and energy) so it does, indeed, feel magical when something lovely and unexpected happens without us having to orchestrate it.

    Siobhan – yes, I think 'Tesco Extra' was chosen as an anti-consumerist take on Xmas. I never perform this poem myself so it was extra-wonderful to hear it read so beautifully by someone else.

    Wishing you, Caroline, an inspiring 2011 too – am hoping to see a Caroline Gill poetry collection one of these months…

  2. Delighted to hear this Susan – what a lovely Christmas present. It's wonderful to know that your work is out there in the beyond touching people you've never met. I'm guessing she chose the Tesco one as a riposte to all the Xmas consumer madness. well done!

  3. This is so wonderful! I think we all get so used to the idea that we personally have to introduce every single reader to our work, we forget that, actually, part of the point is to let the work out into the world so strangers can find it and give it its own life. When it happens, it feels astonishing — but your work so much deserves it! What a lovely Christmas surprise for you.

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