Wednesday, 12 November 2008

II : Listening Women

The picture of Tom Pickard and Connie illustrates an aspect of poetry readings, the figures in the audience (I shall come to the poets later). Here are captive models. There are men listening, but I don’t take much account of them. Often the women remain unattainable figures, remote objects of contemplation; sometimes, as in the case of the delightful Ann Bellingham, I make an acquaintance : “Three years at the university ? It’s gone like a dream. I had to take a General Degree, because of my social life, you see.”

Tom Pickard & Connie, Morden Tower, 29/01/1971

Ann Bellingham, Colpitts, 18/11/1977

Ann Bellingham, Colpitts, 12/05/1978

From time to time my attention is caught by the poetry, or I recall my duty as recorder of the poet, but my interest always reverts. They are often students, though not always, as in the case of Audrey Cummings, or my regular stars Posy O’Neill and Patty O’Boyle.

Audrey Cummings at Castle Chare, Durham. 18/01/1980

Audience at Paul Buck’s reading, Colpitts. 19/01/1976

Posy O’Neill at Ed Dorns reading, Big Jug, Durham. 12/06/1981

Posy O’Neill, Castle Chare, Durham. 02/05/1980

Patty O’Boyle, Castle Chare, Durham. 20/02/1981

Patty O’Boyle, Castle Chare, Durham. 19/10/1984

Bron Frith, Castle Chare, Durham. 07/05/1983

‘Dark Beauty’, Castle Chare, Durham. 29/04/1983

Martha Lewis, Castle Chare, Durham. 09/03/1984

Audience at Anne Stevenson reading, Castle Chare, Durham. 07/02/1986

Peter Porter reading, Colpitts, Durham. 10/11/1978

Ric Caddel, Morden Tower, 14/02/1975. In the background Connie Pickard & Gael Turnbull.

The women fascinate me, and I take their pictures for their own sake. Sometimes, however, they form subjects along with the reader, and by their attention personify the attention of the audience. But where is my attention?


AidanSemmens said...

Just a point of interest, Jeremy - in the picture identified as Ric Caddel reading at Morden Tower, 14/02/1975, the cheerful bearded chap behind him is the excellent, highly influential (and, like Ric, sadly late) poet Gael Turnbull. Two nicer men you could not hope to meet.

Roger Cornwell said...

Fascinating -- I just stumbled upon this. The man in the picture captioned 'Audrey Cummings at Castle Chare, Durham. 18/01/1980' is David Burnett.