Saturday, 5 March 2016

'Poems That Make Grown Women Cry' at the National Theatre

On Friday afternoon the National Theatre hosted a small event in the Olivier Theatre before that evening's performance of 'As You Like It' (I still hate the ugly opening set). A new collection of poetry has just been published called 'Poems That Make Grown Women Cry' and, for 45 minutes, we'd hear some of the women who chose the poems in the book read them and talk for a few minutes about them.

The event was introduced by Kate Mosse and, after remarks from Anthony and Ben Holden (who edited the book), featured:

Edna O'Brien (first up and looking very glam and sparkly)
Jude Kelly
Maureen Lipman
Imtiaz Dharker (who has featured in 'Poems on the Underground' and I wrote about her poem 'Carving'  a few years ago)
Mariella Frostrup (reading a lovely Yeats poem)
Juliet Stevenson (looking very posh)
Elif Shafak
Vanessa Redgrave (reading Wilfred Owen)

The event was closed by Kate Allen, a director of Amnesty International that jointly published the book. She spoke about Chelsea Manning, an American soldier serving 35 years in prison for whistleblowing who wanted to contribute to the book but couldn't.

It was a lovely way to spend a Friday early evening, hearing the women who chose the poems read them aloud and explain what they meant to them. It was short and sweet and it was quite strange to be leaving the National just as most people were arriving for that evenings performances.

I got the book on the way out and was pleased see an array of other women who had contributed to the book, including Yoko Ono, Meera Syal, Olivia Coleman, Mary Beard, Julie Christie, Annie Lennox, Joanna Lumley and Bianca Jagger (who we saw in the foyer). Miriam Margolyes was also in the foyer but as a patron (it looked like she was going to see Ma Rainey's Black Bottom').

I shall enjoy exploring this book.

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