arts \ ego blog — cccp

Last week’s CCCP 14 (23rd—25th April) was good, even if, in a fit of financial incompetence, I failed to get paid beforehand so had to beg money off participants to spend down the pub afterwards. Apologies to all those tugged, especially Keston Sutherland and the organisers.

I didn’t find this years CCCP so exciting as that last year, mainly because last year was my first time. I’m not writing a review; immediately after the conference I caught a nasty head cold which reduced my brain to dim song. I lost my notes and forgot what I’d seen. Well, expect for what’s here.

Forrest Gander and Kent Johnson presented work from their translation of Immanent Visitor: The Selected Poems of Jaime Saenz. My God, was I impressed.

David Bromage presented intelligent poems from his recent collections. He is clearly held in great respect by most of the audience, although he was completely new to the ignorant me. His poetry has great depth. He tops my follow up list.

My first problem was Richard Burns’ “The Manager”. The performance, although excellent, lasted too long. I expected twenty minutes, I got an hour and a half. Unfortunately, it highlighted some weaknesses in the poem, which I fear needs the challenge of an acerbic editor. Burns must have used poor rhyming for effect, but I found it counterproductive. This poem remains impressive commentary on the attitudes of the Thatcher era.

My second problem was the translation of Astrid Lampe’s work was not just incomplete, it wasn’t even started. The result was shambolic. I felt truly sorry for Lampe. Her work deserves proper attention. In the end, Dutch speakers on the floor joined Lampe and Kevin Nolan on stage to translate the poetry on the fly. It was interesting to see how translators worked, but the arguments over the meanings of Dutch words and the thrown off–the–cuff translations of her devious and clever poetry informed me nothing. This event was as subtle as stabbing. I do hope they invite her back next year and do the job properly. Here they are, published online by fascicle.

I remember being impressed with a number of other poets, but that damned head cold means I haven’t a clue who they are. Apologies.

As a personal aside, I wish, I wish, I had taken the opportunity to read one of my poems in the open–mic session. My problem remains a lack of confidence reciting to such an impressive audience.

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