Yesterday, as a “member” of the English Society, I went along with the group to Ferens Art Gallery to see amazing performances from Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy and poetry band, LiTTLe MACHiNe. Although I am a science student, I do have other interests and in the case of this event, literature. Although my tastes in literature don’t broaden past sci-fi/fantasy fiction, Shakespeare and a few classics, my girlfriend Hannah is always showing me how interesting literature is.
In all honesty, when I first heard that the event was Carol Ann Duffy, my mind hadn’t clicked who she was. However, many of us students may have read her work at one point in our lives without realising. Carol Ann’s work has been widely used in GCSE and A-Level English Literature and after hearing her poetry last night, you realise why. Throughout her performance, she read from many of her collections but the ones that I enjoyed the most were from “The World’s Wife” where she has taken characters from texts that focus on men and conveyed them through the voice of their wives. One of my favourites was Mrs Faust, which tells the life of the wife of Faust who sold his sole to the devil for unlimited power and knowledge. The whole poem portrays a woman who is just as greedy and selfish as her male counterpart.
Going off topic for just a second, I have recently seen a film with a storyline that is based on The Phantom of the Opera, The Picture of Dorian Grey and Faust called Phantom of the Paradise. I recommend it.
Another very-short poem from the collection is one called Mrs Darwin. I actually laughed to myself at this one. Here it is for you all to enjoy:
7 April 1852.
Went to the Zoo.
I said to him –
Something about that chimpanzee over there reminds me of you.
– Carol Ann Duffy
From what she read to us all, I must say that her work is just incredible. While people claim her to be a feminist, it doesn’t take away from the fact that she is an amazing poet and one that is respected. I’m definitely going to be reading more.
Now to the second half of the evening. LiTTLe MACHiNe are an amazingly talented South London band, consisted of Walter Wray, Steve Halliwell and Chris Hardy, who turn poetry, new and old, into song. Walters amazing ability to express poetry through his vocals combined with the classic rock sound of Chris and Steve makes the band so unique. I find it hard to really compare them to any particular band but what they do is incredible. Here’s their performance of Mediocrite in Love Rejected by Thomas Carew, unfortunately not from the night but it was a song they played:
They played a number of poems during the night, two of which were based on poems from Carol Ann Duffy herself. Like Carol’s work, these are another that I am going to keep listening to. They ended the night with a very witty and clever poem by John Rety called The Poet Offers His Wares, enjoy:
I really enjoyed the night and I’m sure that everyone else did too. I’m also enjoying helping out with and being a part of the English Society this year. I must get round to paying for my membership…
If you want to listen to some more music from LiTTLe MACHiNe on their website here: http://www.little-machine.com/ and even download their album, Madam Life, from Amazon! I also urge you to read Carol Ann’s work which you can get from Amazon too: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Carol-Ann-Duffy/e/B001H6WSF6