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About Time

by on 1 July 2019

Memorable Images Unleashed

About Time

Arts Richmond Book Launch at the Mary Wallace Theatre, Twickenham, 29th June

A review by Gemma Craig-Sharples

As Roger McGough writes in his foreword, the poets have ‘unleashed some memorable images’ on the subject of time. The poems which make up Arts Richmond poetry anthology range from reflective and thought-provoking to abstract and whimsical.

dandelion-bess

This variety was magnificently showcased during the launch, when they were beautifully read in the intimate and atmospheric Mary Wallace Theatre. Some poets read their own work, adding to the intimate feel of the event and really bringing the myriad of poetic voices in the collection alive. A highly enjoyable evening was complemented by musical interludes from Ian Lee-Dolphin, Lucy Lyrical, and Kevin Taggerty.

For the performances, the poems had been grouped into categories such as linear time, time and the natural world, temporal illusion, and lingering shadows, and these groupings encouraged listeners to look for connections between the works and listen for the unrelenting tick-tock of time running throughout the poems. These diverse groupings also enabled listeners to appreciate just how thoroughly the anthology explores this abstract concept of time, revealing its complex and multi-faceted nature whilst providing an innovative structure to the readings which was highly engaging.

As is to be expected from the subject of time, which Roger McGough rightly describes as a ‘difficult concept’, the poems were wonderfully diverse. Several poems had a melancholy tone, notably Ian Williams’ The Spoon in the Bathroom, which dealt with memory and loss. Others were more playful explorations of memory and time, as in Heather Moulson’s The Summers of Hate, in which the speaker remembers ‘yearning for love whilst my overalls stank of fish’.

Lucy Lyrical

This wry humour also characterised by David Hornsby’s The Oldest Man Alive: the eponymous figure of the poem is a wily salesman of bottles of ‘eternal youth’. However, Simon Tindale’s Simon Must Be In Bed By Eight strikes a tragicomic note, and Tindale’s performance captured the whingeing, petulant tone of the child, as he reveals that Simon is 93-years old: what Philip Larkin described as that ‘whole hideous inverted childhood’.

In Tread, Alice Jacobs describes a Polynesian belief that life should be lived facing backwards, towards our ancestors, and this anthology should allow others to take guidance and inspiration from a new wave of poetic ‘ancestors’.

Gemma Craig-Sharples
July 2019

An abridged version of an article first published by Arts Richmond

Photography by Bess Hamiti and Lucy Lyrical

About Time can be purchased on-line at Arts Richmond

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