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This admittedly shouldn’t be noteworthy, but what I loved best about Liz Lochhead’s show, Apple Says Aaah – and Other Poems, Pommes and People, was that the room was filled with Scots. I think there were maybe a total two or three foreigners in the crowd, including myself. And it was amazing to see and feel that energy – Scots there to support a Scot, to listen to her poetry, to follow her as she reminisced and cracked the door on Scottish life and history.
Throughout the hour, Lochhead blended her own poetry with poetry from those whom she admires, namely Robert Burns and departed friends Adrian Mitchell and Edwin Morgan. There is a humbleness that exudes from someone willing to read others’ poems, and I admire her greatly for doing so. Her own poetry sits perfectly alongside the great poets she obviously respects. Her poems crack the door opened on Scottish life, offering us a glimpse into her childhood, a women’s guild (that sounds more like a gossip circle), and into the quintessentially middle class world of Josie Reilly, a character Lochhead originally created for a song. Throughout all of her poetry, she stood vividly on stage, reading her poems with energy and quite obviously having fun doing it. She ended the show with a poem dedicated to old vinyl records. She read the poem as Steve Kettley, a talented saxophonist, echoed the tunes.
It’s pretty clear to see why Lochhead is Scotland’s Makar or national poet. All her poems place themselves solidly in Scotland and allow her audience to connect to her, to her poetry. She reads her work as if she’s sharing a secret with her audience, telling them of the fond memories she has. It was bittersweet to feel a little left out as she laughed with the crowd at some bit of Scottish anecdote that I didn’t understand, but it was also a pleasure to watch a country (albeit a very small portion of it) connect under Lochhead’s poetry.
About Meghan Beller
Meghan is heading Litro’s membership and development campaign. A New York native, Meghan moved to the UK only a few months ago. She holds a BA in English Literature/Writing and Rhetoric, and is an avid reader, writer and explorer of her new home, London.