Alice Oswald at Nottingham Festival of Words

Nottingham Festival of Words with Alice Oswald

Nottingham Festival of Words with Alice Oswald (left)

Alice Oswald was in Nottingham on Friday 15 February performing her new collection Memorial (a re-imagining of Homer’s 3000-year-old epic poem, the Illiad) at Nottingham Festival of Words. I had the opportunity to interview Alice over the ‘phone for LeftLion the previous week, which was exciting as Alice is a poet whose work I connect with more than any other writer I can think of. It may partly be because she lives in Devon and captures, without sentimentality, the vivid life and wildness of the  landscape where I grew up, but equally I enjoy the rhythms and fierce language of her work and find both her subject-matter and ethics inspiring. Tonight Alice warned us in her introduction that Memorial is a  ‘long and violent poem about a long and violent war’ (I’ve paraphrased this slightly) which made it all the more astonishing that she recited the book-length poem by heart. It was an incredibly powerful performance, holding the audience enthralled through the power of words, without any recourse to theatrics. It was also great to meet Alice afterwards – she is a friendly and warm person as well as a very talented one, and generous with her time. A fantastic event to kick-off the final (main) weekend of Nottingham Festival of Words.