On Friday I watched the brilliant performance by Geraldine Monk and Alan Halsey here with my 13 year old niece - her immediate reaction was ‘Why can’t we have this poetry in school!’ Indeed, why not. Her encounter with poetry so far in secondary school has been Carol Ann Duffy’s ‘Valentine’ which she described at the time as ‘weird, I didn’t get it’. A thirteen year old girl, especially one who lives with her brother and her dad, isn’t always into love poetry!
The Monk / Halsey performance, which might seem more unfamiliar to my niece as being a ‘poem’, grabbed her from the off. She certainly didn’t question it as a poem. There was something in their performance that she recognised, something that she connected with more than the theme of love - or onions! - in the Duffy piece.
Certainly for me the ‘call for papers’ that the Monk / Halsey performance begins with is a reminder that the Robert Sheppard Symposium is approaching (8th March at Edge Hill University, Ormskirk). There are a range of events (an exhibition, a symposium and evening of readings) which comprise this celebration of Robert Sheppard’s work. Details of events here.
Robert Sheppard's collaboration with Ian McMillan at the Leeds Enemies below.