2020-21 - Ode to Poetry
Back in 1966 the finest British and American poets were reading at Morden Tower, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne at a time when they were unheard elsewhere in England.
In this ancient candlelit medieval turret room in the once walled city of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England; poets were given a forum to read their poems aloud, and to intimately connect with a deeply appreciative audience.
Poetry, like music, is to be heard
The Tower readings were started by Connie and Tom Pickard in the summer of 1964 with an enthusiastic Tom soon seeking out local modernist poet Basil Bunting — who studied with Ezra Pound in 1920's Paris — to join in the readings. Inspired by the counterculture he found at the tower, 65 year old Bunting started writing again and penned his modernist masterpiece Briggflatts, giving its debut reading at the Morden Tower in 1965.
Meanwhile the American Beat poets like Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsberg and and Black-Mountain poets Robert Creeley and Ed Dorn were lured to read at the tower by Tom Pickard - one of the few places outside of the US that welcomed the reading of Post-modern American Poetry.
The poetry revival was well on its way.
Morden Tower was smaller than I expected and less comfortable to sit around in, but I was so excited by the idea of reading with Bunting in the audience that I read for 3 hours.