Went down to London yesterday for a day of culture – the Royal Academy in the morning, Poetry library in the afternoon and an evening with Edward Thomas.
The evening was not as the delightful Matthew Hollis pointed out at the start with the man himself but with his poems. After one of his previous sessions a couple staying in the same B&B were heard complaining at breakfast that they’d expected the first world war poet be there in person not just someone talking about him.
Actually with Thomas’ image projected on the screen at the front of the hall and with his wife Helen reading a couple of his poems (recordings obviously) I fancy that he was with us last night, listening possibly with some bemusement and not a little pride as a roll-call of poets read from his work and talked about how much it meant to them.
The poets were Michael Longley, Gillian Clarke and Andrew Motion together with Sarah Hall who was engagingly pleased to join the company of poets even though she write prose. But then so did Thomas and as well as poems she read from his war diaries. It was an evening full of riches. I took away from it one poignant moment when Thomas and Wilfred Owen are on the same railway platform. Owen has yet to be published and they don’t know each other so they don’t speak…
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