The picture of Tom Pickard and Connie illustrates an aspect of poetry readings, the figures in the audience (I shall come to the poets later). Here are captive models. There are men listening, but I don’t take much account of them. Often the women remain unattainable figures, remote objects of contemplation; sometimes, as in the case of the delightful Ann Bellingham, I make an acquaintance : “Three years at the university ? It’s gone like a dream. I had to take a General Degree, because of my social life, you see.”
From time to time my attention is caught by the poetry, or I recall my duty as recorder of the poet, but my interest always reverts. They are often students, though not always, as in the case of Audrey Cummings, or my regular stars Posy O’Neill and Patty O’Boyle.
Audrey Cummings at Castle Chare,
Audience at Paul Buck’s reading, Colpitts.
Posy O’Neill at Ed Dorns reading, Big Jug,
Posy O’Neill, Castle Chare,
‘Dark Beauty’, Castle Chare,
Martha Lewis, Castle Chare,
Audience at Anne Stevenson reading, Castle Chare,
Peter Porter reading, Colpitts,
Ric Caddel, Morden Tower,
The women fascinate me, and I take their pictures for their own sake. Sometimes, however, they form subjects along with the reader, and by their attention personify the attention of the audience. But where is my attention?