Experimental women writers (and their multi-gender audience) crowded the halls of Greenwich University yesterday, and indeed they will be crowding it now, as I write this on my new mauve tortoise shell covered laptop in the back of Aunt Lily's Bentley. We're racing toward Hampshire to begin this weekend's celebrations in honour of the virgin saint, Marcellina, and if it weren't for my prior commitments and raging (although somewhat lapsed) Catholicism, I would have been delighted to stay for the entirity of the festival, which goes on until the last female poet finishes her noodles in a Greenwich eatery on Friday night. If you're not similarly occupied or don't, god forbid, have to work, I strongly advise you to 'tfl' your route at once and go along in time for the lunchtime recess. A menagerie of delights await you, and I'm not just talking about the sandwiches.
If you were there yesterday, you might not have seen me, as I was crouching in the back row behind Justin Katko who, thank goodness, is so tall that he didn't notice me! You'll excuse my reticence, fellow wordwrights, but due to an unfortunate incident involving a bottle of Frangelico, my face and the floor, I am partially disfigured at the moment (Emmeline says it is merely a 'largish bruise along one side of my face', but I won't let my fans down by letting them see me not 'at my best').
Amongst the wholly enjoyable performances, I was delighted by Caroline Bergval, who seems to be able to unmake and remake language at will, like an illogical egg, opening up all of its little foibles to scrunity and exploring its political and sexual connotations, like a comprehensible Derrida. Marianne Morris' utopian love and disgust soared in a delightful Canadian lilt above electronic beats like the thinking (and then thinking and then smoking and then some more thinking) woman's George Pringle, and if it is possible to want to take out a rental on a Brooklyn appartment with someone purely based upon their solo performance of a multi-voice play after a nine hour transatlantic flight, then Corina Copp would be the woman to do it with. I would simply like to have a conversation passing her in the hall to the bathroom in the morning, She has some of the best sentences I have ever heard.
In other news, Mike Weller was there with the best shirt I have ever seen (apart from one I have seen on Jow Lindsay which depicted a fountain) and Luke Roberts managed to field the most ridiculous questions I have ever misheard from an audience with a level of humility and restaint rarely seen in today's distopian times (ps. yes men were allowed to speak at the conference, we're feminists, not monsters!)
I am only sorry that I have missed (because it is probably taking place now) or will miss performances by fellow lady poets Sophie Robinson, Francesca Lisette and Frances Kruk who are as feminist as it is possible to be without being, well, me. Emily Critchely is a genius (she is the conference's organiser, along with Carol Watts) and will be given the keys to a feminist poetry city in the heavens when we all finally reach it.
Perhaps I will dedicate this weekend's celebration of St. Marcellina to female poets everywhere. If I had not been given freedom of my pen, who knows, maybe I would have turned to the spiritual life instead. There is clearly a connection between female creativity and faith, if only because a religious life was one of the few escapes from the mind-deadening baby-farm of marriage in the middle ages and beyond and before. Even though I suffered the perils of a Catholic schoolhood (and the subsequent breakdowns) I would happily consign my body to Christ to avoid hideous ownership by a patriachal Lord, or even worse, a peasant. Although I would look the part, in the citadel of my mind, I would be writing poetry!