September 3, 2013

William Letford // NEW BLOOD

The Poetry Tent at Latitude Festival was a great place to rest our weary aching legs and also see some pretty great poets perform. A month later I’m still raving about seeing William Letford on Saturday afternoon.

He has a broad Scottish accent, and in his clipped, thick brogue, the words of his poems wiggled and leapt out of his mouth and into our ears as if they had been electrocuted. My favourite poems were ones that at first sounded like free-styling nonsense, like as ‘There’s hunners o burds on the roof’.

Letford asked that we didn’t clap between poems, and it made listening to his poems much more immersive; I enjoyed the hushed pauses that gave us room to digest each poem. Casting a spell over the room was part of Letford’s charisma as a performer, and I felt myself falling into a poetry daze.

Like most poets William Letford has an occupation beyond writing; his is as a roofer. The title of his first collection of poetry, Bevel, gives a clue to this. Bevel describes when a structural joint meets at a slant rather than 90 degrees. Several of Letford’s poems were about working as a roofer, and in his poems he mixes the hum drum of everyday reported speech, wry humour with beautifully crafted imagery.

It was delightful listening to Letford recite with wry humour and in a very down to earth manner. With a couple of awards and a published collection of poetry under his belt already I’m looking forward to seeing him again in the near future.

William Letford, Bevel: Cabernet Press (2012)

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