May I?

And to the strains of Kevin Ayer’s louche (and now downright creepy) baritone classic, ‘May I?’, Les Loseurs lurch into May with even less news than usual…

But wait, Alexandra Buchler and I have just been to Turkey for a translation workshop, and I’ve blogged about it over here.

Meanwhile Akshay has been galvanising the troops toward the publication which will accompany the Ledbury reunion reading in July – can it be done in time? He seems to think so, and he’s got experience of how bewildered and unmotivated we can get. So hopefully more news soon.

And finally (for now), Meena Kandasamy has just arrived in Newcastle to take up a short residency at the University. We (the University, that is) have plonked her in the Georgian splendour of some flat around Leazes Park, from the pond of which a variety of ghastly objets have been recovered, including…a WW1 hand grenade, an original Victorian sign, a statue of Hygiena, and a strange cross-breed of fish, part goldfish, part-tench, caused by people throwing the goldfish they had won from the Hoppings fair into the pond on their way home.

Rumours that a mysterious two-legged mutant pike has been seen running around and around the refreshment hut demanding crisps and dandelion & burdock are regrettably no more than that. But welcome, Meena, nonetheless!

We (the Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts) hope she will give a public reading as well as take part in a few seminars, and also that the weather improves so that her impressions of the North-East aren’t dominated by the sight of icebergs gliding through the river-fog and a rat-infested crewless clipper crashing into St James’ Park.

So not too shabby – though there’s still time for that.


About Bill Herbert

Poet and pseudo-scholar W.N. Herbert was born in Dundee in 1961, educated there and at Oxford, where he completed his DPhil thesis on Scottish poet Hugh MacDiarmid, and now lives and works in Newcastle. He is Professor of Poetry and Creative Writing at Newcastle University, and his books are published by, among others, northern publisher Bloodaxe Books. He is also the Dundee Makar, or city laureate.
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