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Tony Curtis and the Holy Grail

Posted 15th March 2012

While we're disappointed that we're not at Stanza this year, we're hoping to get some of the buzz through our collective consciousness as Arc board member, Christopher Reid, and Arc poet Tony Curtis will both be there. Christopher is reading with Jackie Kay on Saturday 17th. But to my mind Tony has the greater experience ahead participating in one of the Round Table events.

It can be no coincidence that these conjure the image of adventure, of the Grail quests. For Grail read imagination/intellect/ideas. Old school in their desire to promote a quality experience for the punters rather than aiming for massive audiences, these small discussions are famed for their entertainment, and, well, adventure.

Poets heading up the Round Tables this year include John Glenday, Matthew Hollis, Keston Sutherland, John Burnside and Tony Curtis.

Rumour has it the one with John Burnside sold out within minutes of the programme being released. Unsurprisingly.

A small group of people sitting together to read and discuss poetry is an incendary experience. While ideas and images exist in the book, in and between the lines, they'll change light when read by someone else, and again when shared with a third person. So to be brought back to the poet makes for new ignitions, silences leading to greater combustions.

I generally love Q&A at readings (some more than others). If they're dancing, the poet's imagination and experience shimmying around the audience, they never last long enough to allow to people to chew over the poems, the ideas, to develop them, articulate responses and feed the community. Which is when things get nice and hot or funny or disturbing or suddenly insightful.

So what event, beyond this discussion between creator and creatives, could be and truer to the art form?