So as some readers of this blog and my Twitter feed will know, I’ve spent the last three months writing a long poem, ‘Spring Journal’, in response to the coronavirus pandemic and other aspects of the news in 2020, but taking its cues from Louis MacNeice’s great 1939 poem ‘Autumn Journal’, in which the poet mixed reaction to the looming second world war with more personal reflections.
What started as an impromptu Twitter experiment was given more solid form when David Collard invited me to present the poem as an ongoing contribution to his series of online literary salons, ‘A Leap in the Dark’. So, from early April onwards I wrote a canto a week, and actor and novelist Michael Hughes read it, on Friday evening.
Now we are approaching the end of the project, as dictated by the 24 cantos of MacNeice’s poem, and David has magnanimously handed over an entire ‘Leap’ to mark the occasion, with a full read-through of the poem, to end with the first reading of canto XXIV.
This will take place on Friday 28th August, and will be – for me at least – a thrilling experience. Michael Hughes will be reading half of the cantos, with a series of guest readers doing the rest. There will also be a musical contribution specially composed for the event by Helen Ottaway.
Like all Leaps in the Dark this will be invitation only, for usual online security reasons. If you have already attended one of David’s Leaps you’ll be on the mailing list and so will get an invitation. If not, and you’d like to attend this special event, then please use the contact form below and I’ll pass on your details to David.
(The event will be recorded and attendance assumes acceptance of this. Attendees will be asked to keep their Zoom video feeds on, rather than blacked out.)
NB Please drop a line in the Message box saying how much you love Spring Journal so I know you’re not a bot!