Friday, May 29, 2009

Dannie Abse

Dannie Abse, Wales' greatest living poet, gave a reading of poems from his new book before a rapt audience.

One woman dares to chatter to her companion while he searches for the next poem and he whips his specs off and glares in her direction. She goes bright red and never says another word.

Afterwards I join the queue to get my two books signed.

Except in the queue I am joined by Arnold Whesker and his entourage of friends behind me. My courage fails me. No way could I begin to explain about Craig-y-nos with Whesker standing behind me.
So I wave them through.

In fact when I look at the long queue I decide to wait until the last.

Finally I am face to face with Dannie Abse.
He is charming.
He expresses surprise at the book "Children of Craig-of-nos" ( " I don't know anything about this") so I explain that it has only just been published and I show him his quote which Carole Reeves had picked to introduce the book.

He's delighted. He accepts a copy and he seems genuinely pleased to receive it.

Then he signs the two books: one for Carole and one for myself.

For Dannie Abse was a doctor, a chest specialist, before he became a poet.

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