Hardeep is your love

March 22, 2009

Just seen Hardeep Singh Kohli in conversation with Alastair Moffat. Siobhan Redmond had to pull out but the StAnza machine ground into action and snagged Hardeep, and beautifully entertaining he was too. The conversation broadly concerned itself with Scottishness and coming home, with Hardeep’s favourite poems woven in between. He read and talked about John M Caie’s  ‘The Puddock‘, Burns’ ‘Such a Parcel of Rogues‘, and Milton’s ‘On His Blindness‘. His fourth baffled the hardcore poetry-going StAnza audience – The Everthere, a song by Mercury prize-winning Elbow’s Guy Garvey, reckoned by Hardeep to be a poet of our times; it turns out our Robyn has her finger well and truly on the pulse – they’re already on her iPod!

His thoughts on poetry’s inherent orality, his inspiring schoolteacher Mr Ronnie Renton and the fact that Tam O’Shanter gave him nightmares (‘and only a really good poem can do that’) were refreshing and personable, and he revealed that Twitter has turned him into a poet: haiku for our times?

The poetry of Alastair Moffat’s face was dwelt upon briefly, and quite rightly – he proved to be a lovely co-conversationalist. Their chat wittily embraced other territory, including Hardeep’s penchant for corduory, the loneliness of the goalkeeper (his role in St Matthew’s ‘world-beating under 11 football team’) and his top ten favourite dishes featuring pork belly.

The mood is still high in the Byre Theatre; we’ve bidden farewell to many of this year’s participants (Jenny Bornholdt’s skirt safely stowed, to my disappointment), but there are still plenty of folk around, attending Martin Newell‘s bracingly lovely evening, and Peter Porter and Helen Dunmore for our last poetry centre stage reading. Keep an ear/eye out for our last festival podcast – a lovely mash up of last day interviews and soundbites. Tonight’s the party with Heeliegoleerie promises to be a right knees-up…

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