Icelandic Embassy, 26 November 2010
Jón Örn Loðmfjörð
Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl
This was the best reading I’ve been to in a long while – surreal, a range of poets, sense of hysterical.
Tim Atkins intertwined the river Wandle, his (present) daughter’s phrase 'Go home bees’ and Horace.
Bryndís Björgvinsdóttir opened with (lovely title) ‘New Place, Same Difference’, before covering fair-trade beans and Google China – very funny, herself.
Visual poetry read by Ragnhildur Jóhanns and her boyfriend in Icelandic.
Artist and writer Tamarin Norwood was Chris Morris surreal.
The highlight of the evening was the exuberant Holly Pester mixing descriptions of terror warnings with the traffic light systems on food: possible, possible, possible, IMMINENT, IMMINENT, IMMINENT, moving on through, moving on through ...’ as she dropped handwritten pages written in red ink to the floor.
In a full-on performance, Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl’s delivered ‘English, Icelandic and 17th century mad Icelandic’ poems.
Lots of poets take inspiration from other writers. Jack Underwood’s wonderful ‘Weasel’ poems originate from a description of Alison in Chaucer as ‘weasel-hipped,’ which prompted Underwood to seek to redress the negative image of weasels. The poem also uses a repeated phrase ‘it has come to this’ to great effect. His work is full of great lines which have resonance outside of their immediate context: ‘there’s nothing left to call.’
So cheers to the Icelandic institute, and their great chilled white wine and crayfish sandwiches. Next year they are hosting Swedish and other themed readings. I will definitely be there.