When the Poet Laureate is giving a reading less than five minutes from where you live, really it would be churlish not to rock up there! And when the reading is to raise money for a hard-pushed charity whose funding has suffered brutal cuts, well, all the more reason to join in.
On Saturday evening we popped round the corner to a local church where Carol Ann Duffy was guesting at an event hosted by the Metropolitan Community Church of Manchester on behalf of the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit.
The reading was small enough to feel very cosy, and was a sell-out with an audience of just under 200. Tony Warren, creator of Coronation Street and friend of Carol Ann for the past thirty years, welcomed her to the microphone. In the first half she read some old favourites, including a selection from The World's Wife. She also hinted at some surprise to be revealed in the Xmas Eve episode of the Street! After the interval she introduced new poems which will feature in her next collection, The Bees, due to be published next year. I'm looking forward to the new book. Over the past couple of years Carol Ann has read new poems at various gatherings and published them in newspapers. Poems such as John Barleycorn, Achilles, The Shirt, Premonition, The Human Bee - it will be exciting to see them as part of a wider, new collection.
I do believe everyone should have a Poet Laureate in their locality to read to them on a Saturday night....!