Agenda Poetry Festival – Patience Agbabi

06ba0f86-b9ba-11e3-_559816kI have spent the afternoon at the Agenda Poetry Festival with Patience Agbabi. Well, I wasn’t with her as such, but I was listening to her and then took part in a workshop she led.

Held at Mayfield School, which is fortunately just up the road from me, she read a variety of her poems, including the multi-layered Eat Me which is now on the A-Level syllabus. We were treated to several poems from The Ted Hughes Award shortlisted anthology Telling Tales which is a re-telling of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. To be fair, ‘re-telling’ doesn’t do it justice at all. In addition to the twenty-four poems/tales, she includes Harry ‘Bells’ Bailey’s Prologue and Back Track as well as Author Biographies for the ‘pilgrims’ including Mozilla Firefox who states “I adore the heroic couplet but free verse is OK, as long as you’re wearing adequate protection.”

TIMG_2310he workshop explored the theme of food and pulled on the senses and the pleasures and pain of eating. I’m not sure my poem about spaghetti bolognese will make it to my draft pile, but it was fun to write
and made me think about placement on the page, white space and synaesthesia.

Tomorrow, the festival continues and I am going to the evening performance to hear Daljit Nagra, Grace Nichols and Robin Robertson. I am almost as excited at the prospect of catching up with some old and new poetry friends that I have made in the Kent/Sussex area. Total poetry immersion; a baptism of words.

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