Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The smaller the text, the more confused the meaning. - Angus Dunn

I'm sunk into a sofa in the morning room of a 19th-century hotel, listening to a man read his poetry in a Highland lilt, watching the sun set behind the Highland Cathedral into a bright pink (ash-induced?) sky. There are only six of us this week; the lowest turnout yet, but it's a lively bunch. Instead of polite quiet between poems or stories, questions pepper the air. Instead of polite applause, hands are shaken, pints are bought. The harsh cawing of trumpets and trombones wafts from the bar in the back of the hotel; our Tuesday night competition begins, and I love the jazz juxtaposed with literature. It fits.

Angus writes to capture a moment. He writes because the moment doesn't seem real until it's put into words. He writes because 'now' will soon disappear into the cluttered closet of memories; 'now' won't be found again without a lot of digging. He mentioned something I hadn't thought of before - how difficult it is to tell strangers why he writes. Generalizations, like the ones in this paragraph, verge on the cliche. But it's nobody's business why he writes. The reasons change every day, with every circumstance.

Angus writes powerful haiku. It's a beautiful form; the control of language and syllables makes for especially poignant pieces (or especially horrible). He mentioned the innuendo and subtext in smaller poems and stories, how they can easily be misconstrued - like text messages: you think you're saying something and it's easily misinterpreted. People seek meaning in smaller texts, seek the subtext. Interesting idea.

I needed last night. I've let work and life get in the way of creativity. I suppose that's the idea behind this Literary Salon - to inspire. Seven people - mere acquaintances - discussing literature: bliss.

1 comment:

Simon Varwell said...

Sounds like a great night. Sorry to miss it - am not on the mailing list so didn't hear about it.

Look forward to the next one.