Thursday, October 19, 2006

Under the belly of the whale

It's not often you get the chance to hear a poetry reading while surrounded by stuffed animals and skeletal swimmers, but that's the Manchester Literature Festival for you.
American poet and well-known liberal Sharon Olds paid her first visit to Manchester last night for an exclusive reading, held in conjunction with The Poetry School. The event was a sell-out with a queue of hopefuls hovering in hope of a returned ticket for what was proving to be one of the events of the festival so far. After mingling in Cafe Muse, the crowd were led, school crocodile fashion, up to the Animal Gallery of Manchester Museum where they were sat under the skeleton of a whale. Yes, the skeleton of a whale. A more impressive or unusual setting you couldn't have asked for. Despite a few initial technical difficulties (the sound men were given their own round of applause when the microphone was finally persuaded to work), Sharon Olds soon had the audience entranced with readings from her Selected Poems and previews of new works. A Q&A session gave an insight into Old's techniques and influences before it was time to be let out, blinking, onto Oxford Road, heads still full of poetry and taxidermy...

1 comment:

John said...


I am glad to hear about Sharon Old's poetry reading in Manchester. And you say it was a sell out? Great! I am a poet myself and blog at Do visit.