Poetry & Music at the Abergavenny Writing Festival

Rufus Mufasa (2)The Abergavenny Writing Festival began last year, but I wasn’t able to make it, so I was determined to get to at least one of their events this year if at all possible. Life is busy! But I managed to get to the grand finale – an event which combined music and poetry. It was a beautiful drive up into the Welsh hills, to the Kings Arms Hotel, where we sat in a cavernous room with unusual acoustics to hear from some talented local musician-poets.   

I’ve heard Paul Henry read his work once before, and particularly like his poems. (Read my review of his book Ingrid’s Husband here). It was interesting to hear him read some more recent work, and my favourite verse of the evening was one about an old chiming clock that he bought from the Pumping Station in Cardiff, which never told the right time and never chimed correctly. It’s always fascinating to hear poems which are already familiar read aloud by the person who wrote them – you catch phrases and rhythms that you never noticed before.

Paul Henry

Paul Henry

Rufus Mufasa is a force of creativity, a kind of human whirlwind of poetical enthusiasm. I’ve seen her perform before, but only in small snippets. This performance was full of energy and improvisation. She told us that in Europe, she is called a ‘literary activist’, a title which suits her because of the political nature of some of her work, which is both hypnotic and powerful. I loved her piece entitled ‘Molly Mufasa’ after her young daughter, about seeing the world as if for the first time, through the eyes of a child.

Rufus Mufasa

Rufus Mufasa accompanied by musicians on guitar and double bass

Due to exhaustion, the fact that the event started late and included rather long breaks, and the distance from Cardiff, I’m afraid I wasn’t able to stay until the end, so I missed the performance by Kizzy Crawford, but what I did hear was well worth the trip, and I’m sure there’ll be some excellent events next year as well.