We descended metal and glass into the heart of Fielding Johnson’s South Wing. This, we knew, was going to be good. In the midst of yet another frenetically successful Literary Leicester week, we were about to be treated to an hour of poetry, an hour of pure pleasure, and we weren’t disappointed.
Rory Waterman is no stranger to Leicester University having studied for his BA and PhD here. His warm, self-deprecating humour had us all smiling along as he regaled the horrors of life in the staff room, the agonies of teenage years and travels through cities remembered, reading from his latest collection, Sarajevo Roses, and his earlier collection, Tonight the Summer’s Over.
Douglas Dunn, we were told, had travelled down on the 5.30 am train from Scotland to introduce us to The Noise of a Fly, his first poetry collection in sixteen years. The book blurb promises a collection ‘brimming with warmth, mischief and humour’ which is absolutely correct. Dunn has not been labelled ‘the most respected Scottish poet of his generation’ for nothing. He treated us to his own style of self-deprecating humour which the first line of his poem 'Thursday' well illustrates: ‘Gave yet another lecture. God, I’m boring.’
His gentle delivery belied some gritty content. 'The Nothing-But' contains lines that speak of emotions few people have ever committed to words: 'To have kissed the lips of one who is dying / Is to have tasted silence, salt and wilderness.’
Of all the funny, fascinating and moving lines we heard that evening, if I had to choose a favourite, it would be Douglas Dunn’s line about a poem trapped in an empty fountain pen, because we all have poems like that … or is it just me?
About the reviewer
Rosalind Adam is a writer and student on the MA in Creative Writing at the University of Leicester. Her blog is: http://rosalindadam.blogspot.co.uk/