Is there a Female Poem? And if so do women write it? To mark International Women's Day 2010 – Monday 8 March – The Poetry Trust have produced a new podcast. This is an edited version of the discussion chaired by Jo Shapcott during the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival 2009. Maureen Duffy, Annie Freud and I discussed, amongst other things, the horror of being labelled a 'female poet', whether the male poem is the default position, the importance of 'outsider art', why ‘miserable guys stalk the poetic world' and whether Donne, Keats and Wyatt wrote 'female' poems. The discussion took place at 9am on a Sunday morning, in front of an audience of over 200.
Here is a link to the podcast: http://www.thepoetrytrust.org/poetry-channel/
The event was supported by The Poetry Society, so it was appropriate that Jo should chair it. I've long been an admirer of her poetry, and look forward to reading her forthcoming collection Of Mutability (Faber, July 2010), influenced by the sculptor Helen Chadwick, whose installation Of Mutability I saw in the 80's and also much admired. I'd heard Annie Freud read at the King's Lynn Festival and loved her originality and boldness, and had just met Maureen Duffy for the first time that morning at the breakfast table in our wonderful B&B with its vast panoramas of the sunny Aldeburgh seafront.
The event was so popular that it sold out as soon as tickets went online and had to be moved to a larger venue, the Jubilee Hall. The above photo of Jo was taken by the festival photographer Peter Everard Smith. If you're thinking of going to the 2011 Aldeburgh Festival (5–7 November) I urge you to book as soon as the programme goes online as many events quickly sell out.