Portsmouth Festivities opened with a fanfare

Portsmouth Festivities opened with a great fanfare, literally, courtesy of John Sampson. He was part of a duet with poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy. Carol said The Queen gave him to her, which was greeted with laughter and that very much set the tone for the next hour.

First, Portsmouth Poet Laureate, Sam Cox, read her newly penned poem Pages of Possibilities. I love her sing song delivery and phrasing.  In this poem I love the line 'tapestry of people colliding' and I thought this is the poem that would inspire people to want to write their own.

Carol Ann Duffy read from her book The World's Wife, which was published in 1999. This was a collection inspired by stories she heard in her childhood. She gave a voice to the women involved in the stories.

The first she read was from Midas' wife, who recoiled from his great gift, afraid to be immortalised into a gold statue and finally assigning him to a motor home.

I was delighted by the twist in the ending of her poem about Faust. She put mythical stories into modern day setting and imagined what the various wives would say to their husbands' folly, with humorous outcomes.

Carol Ann Duffy has a dry sense of humour. She hardly smiled, but she added a few comical entries, while John Sampson played various wind instruments, as intervals to her reading.

Carol Ann Duffy also tackled various current topics in her reading. She read her poem about the Christmas Truce and also gave a nod to the World Cup, apparently her favourite topic of conversation.

Tickets to the event sold out almost as soon as the box office opened and I was privileged to be among the audience to witness her talent and to take part in some enjoyable audience participation.

Review: Carol Ann Duffy, Friday 20 June 2014, 2pm at the Portsmouth Grammar School


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