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Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Borders patrol

I read at Borders today, as part of the Kingston Readers Festival, organised by Sandra (Sandy) Williams, who does an amazing job. Often, as you will know, readings in book chains are under-attended and poorly planned. This one was great. I had over forty in attendance, at lunchtime, and sold ten copies of my new and selected, Seaway. The audience listened well for over 45 minutes of poetry, asked questions, were supportive at the end, and was a genuinely wide-ranging group, of writers and readers of all ages, from about 20 to I'd say 75. It seemed the model of the sort of event one would want in one's own town. The Borders, in Kingston, is one of the only places to stock my work, so do support them, by getting a copy there, at Market Place, Kingston-Upon-Thames.

One slightly sad aspect was how everyone expressed their delight at hearing my poetry, and saying how well I'd read it. After my reading on 30th May, I have no events booked for the rest of 2009, in the UK. I have read at Ledbury once, years ago, and at Cheltenham, via Oxfam - but since then, nothing. Meanwhile, my Seaway has had no reviews in Canada, and, as far as I know, just two in Britain. I am a sort of invisible man, though people tell me "I am everywhere". Well, everywhere but in bookstores. Basically, Irish and Canadian books don't get much distribution in shops, as we know.

The lack of interest in my poetry, after two decades writing it, is stunning, and, frankly, wearying. What is moving is that good, decent, smart people, when exposed to poetry well-read, enjoy it.
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