1. Wednesday evening to Loose Muse at the Poetry Café, for some stimulating and varied readings from women writers. A mixture of open mic spots and longer readings from the two featured poets, Karen Head and Katrina Naomi. I was particularly taken by the poems Katrina Naomi read, which were quirky, a bit edgy, perfectly pitched. Answering questions at the end, she talked about how she’d hated poetry at school, and hadn’t read a poem until she was 30 and discovered Sharon Olds’ work; her love/hate relationship with her home town Margate; and mentioned amongst her favourite poets one of mine too – Robin Robertson – for his austere and dark poems.
2. Friday morning I plunged into the sparkling water of Tooting Bec Lido and swam 16 invigorating lengths. My toes turned purple. Thawed out in the sun. Then a speedy cycle ride home.
3. Friday evening to the Hayward to see the Tracey Emin retrospective Love is What You Want. What is it I respond to in her work? So much. Her honesty; the use of language, unusually, as mostly I don’t like text-based art, but Emin definitely has a way with – a feeling for – words, their power, their corruptability; her use of materials and crafts, embroidery, crochet – delicacy and vulnerability; the humour, and the painful rawness; how she finds beauty in the ordinary, the strange and ugly; her commitment to her art; the Margate connection. Amongst other things.