Just a few minutes away from the British Museum is the lovely Bloomsbury Hotel. Unassuming on the outside, the inside is subtly art deco yet impressive (though I can’t speak for the rooms themselves as I didn’t see inside any of them) and the Seamus Heaney library is a jewel amongst other hotel meeting rooms that I’ve ever come across. The late poet laureate apparently loved staying at the Bloomsbury in the later years of his life, and this room became his namesake.
The lovely Emma at Adventures of London Kiwi invited me along to this event with her and I was thrilled to attend. Any long time readers of Rhyme & Ribbons will know that poetry holds a special place in my heart. I’ve had poetry published in several online magazines and my blog name is inspired by my love of it. Now, when an event aims to restore poetry to the same level of glamour as the theatre, I will definitely turn up with bells on.
The event was to celebrate the launch of a series of portraits of poets through the collaboration of Poet in the City with Lavender Hill Studios. After a warm and interesting welcome, we were shown a brief range of videos of some poets reading pieces whilst having their portraits painted. Then the highlight of the evening was a reading given by Leontia Flynn, a poet whose portrait is featured in the collection.
The Seamus Heaney Library at the Bloombury Hotel.
The portrait of the man himself, Seamus Heaney.
The portrait of poetess Wendy Cope is the one on the far left.
Leontia Flynn reading.
I’ll leave you with a wonderful poem by Wendy Cope that was featured in one of the videos.
Flowers by Wendy Cope
Some men never think of it.
You did. You’d come along
And say you’d nearly brought me flowers
But something had gone wrong.
The shop was closed. Or you had doubts —
The sort that minds like ours
Dream up incessantly. You thought
I might not want your flowers.
It made me smile and hug you then.
Now I can only smile.
But, look, the flowers you nearly brought
Have lasted all this while.
From Serious Concerns, Faber & Faber, 1992
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