A Mutual Friend: Poems For Charles Dickens is as much a response to Dickens’ life as his legacy and its Salford-based editor Peter Robinson, Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Reading,brought a number of its contributing poets to Manchester with him for an evening of live poetry and discussion which was a feast for poetry lovers.
My day began with meeting Mairi MacInnes off the train from York. As this was her first visit to the Portico she carried a copy of A Mutual Friend: Poems For Charles Dickens so she could be recognised! We returned to the Library to meet her fellow poets and had a very civilised afternoon tea made by our wonderful cook Kathy. Jeffrey Wainwright said they were the best scones he had ever tasted. If you want to see if you agree with him you could always pop in to the library to sample Kathy’s cakes and scones. Yum! Yum!
The poets talked about their work and what is going on in the world of poetry at the moment. As The Portico’s resident literary groupie, I listened in rapture! The evening began with wine and nibbles -the poets believing it important to relax the audience before a poetry reading. Our own Alan Shelston, long-time member of the Portico, introduced the poets and delighted us with his tribute to Dickens in poetic form:
This is an early entry for our Dickens poetry competition. Do you think it has a chance of winning? It is certainly in the spirit of the occasion of Dickens' bicentenary as is A Mutual Friend.