I’ve been given a copy of the BBC documentary Massacre at Virginia Tech. It was on air this week. Lucinda Roy, Director of Creative Writing at Virginia Tech is in it. About fifteen years ago Lucinda’s first book was published here in London and I read at her launch. In the BBC documentary Lucinda talks about teaching the boy who would eventually, heavy with guns and ladened with ammunition, storm into the university campus killing his fellow students. Another teacher at Virginia Tech is the amazing Fred Daguiar who is in
the dedication to my first book. He’s bringing some students to England in June and I shall be reading for them: I am looking forward to this as Fred was very important to me at a crucial point in my early development.
A few of the things that happened this week: The cover of my next book Listener
shall now be a piece by my friend the artist Whitney McVeigh. I don’t think I could be
with a better publishing house in the whole wide world. I’m with Canongate and I’m proud to be. On Thursday I attended a British Council strategy meeting at The Commonwealth Club. On Thursday night I saw three brilliant poets Don Patterson, Caroline Bird and Tobias Hill at The Wellcome Trust for an event called Poet In The City . Had a fantastic
lunch with Rachel Holmes the head of literature at The South Bank. I went to the theatre Wednesday to see Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf and this week I had the quite
incredible news that I shall be joining the cape farewell team to travel to the arctic in October.
And on Friday I had the most amazing time at The South Bank. First I saw the jaw
droppingly beautiful and enthralling dance directed by South Bank Artist in residence Maresa Von Stockert at The Purcell Rooms. It was a piece inspired by Glaciers and climate change. Then afterwards at The Ballroom of the South Bank I got to see the extremely talented artist Yemisi Blake. The ballroom was packed with youthful energy
and vibe. After that The Journalist and a couple of friends went up to the sixth floor of The South Bank to wind down.
This is just a small selection of what was this week. If an alien were to arrive on earth it is art that would show the truest reflection of the human experience, the needs, aspirations, present condition and all. I’m reminded that art helps one to live a happy life. Amongst the weighty deadlines and the constant need to oil the wheels of day to day life art makes
you feel good – is enriching. From Whitney McVeigh to Caroline Bird, from Fred D’Aguiar to Yemisi Blake, whether surreal or naturalistic, bitter or sweet, dance or poem, artists and their creations make life better.Art of itself is a statement against globalisation. To create something original is a statement against globalisation. And to view it, to seek it out, is to be a part of that statement. I got that thought from poet John Burnside.