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StAnza 2010 – Heaney by the Sea

What transpired with Seamus Heaney last night at the Byre Theatre is the stuff my memoirs will be made of. Without giving it too much gravitas, the performance of the twinkly-eyed man from across the water was simply electric. I spoke to him briefly afterwards with a kind of fan-boy incoherence, both apologising for and simultaneously indulging in rhetoric about how big a fan I was. This man is poetry as far as I am concerned. I know I have been conditioned by the Scottish Qualifications Authority, but conditioning or not, that poppy bruise made me aware of the existence of something extraordinary. It was poetry.

I don’t think I rambled that much to the big fella’ but it can’t have been far off. He signed something for me, a collection I guess, but I wasn’t really paying attention to the book. He is a lovely man, and signed for hundreds of people while no one really listened to the slots at the open mic.

Ryan Van Winkle arrived yesterday and we engaged in a succession of grand statements, mostly involving our athletic prowess and tan spray. I think if Ryan were to lose the beard and get contact lenses, he would resemble a kind of Spanish-language Bruce Campbell. He seemed less convinced. Ryan read along with the jazz band, I had to make do with the low-volume microphone. He’s in a different league really. A proper poet.

We drank until the bar closed and then I headed off to the student union to see how the final night of electioneering was going. If I wasn’t a bad house guest before, I most definately am now…

(The poem I read last night is called, I think, pixels)

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