Hello Poetry Lovers! And welcome to the show! Today we have the wonderful and enigmatic poet, Ray Pool!
Now, settle down PL’s, we don’t want to overwhelm our lovely guest because here he is!!!!
huge huge applause Security nervously on standby as Ray gracefully descends the lighted stairs
Hello, and welcome to the show, Ray. Thank you so much for coming. And may I say I love that paisley shirt and matching tie. They go beautifully with those crushed velvet flares.
Aw thanks, Heather. I was a bit hesitant about mixing purple and paisley together
Nonsense, Ray, if you can’t pull it off, no-one can! Because you’re the most, ain’t that right, PL’s?!
rapturous shouts of agreement
The whole of the Top Twenty are on the waiting list for those shirts and ties!
Now, (brutally sweeps everything of her desk) let’s get to the facts – fill us in, Ray, on your rich background, and how poetry became a part of your life…….
Yes, I’m happy to spill the beans.
I’ve had a musical career for over fifty years as a pianist affording me the opportunity for a very interesting life meeting some famous people in that capacity, sharing the stage at venues tiny and huge by turn – on the QE2 and Buckingham Palace being notable!
After school, I made a serious attempt to start a career in photography, which got as far as printing and processing but not the David Bailey profile I was hoping for.
My interest in poetry really stemmed from having brothers who were quite academic and a knack for writing essays about current events (C 1960). One I remember that was well received was about Lady Chatterley’s Lover and the court case. We won’t go into that, though Mellors did.
I suppose poetry was always a way of letting off steam emotionally at difficult times or indeed romantic ones, so I kept books of the stuff!
Your photos are stunning, Ray. I can’t believe you’re not up there with the great names.
What a colourful CV! Such impressive places, and people.
Which poets influenced you the most?
I bought Betjeman’s collected poems in 1958, and found them very enjoyable, an easy diet compared with say Robert Graves or T S Elliot.
I have always been a collector so have tried the works of many poets, but the ones who influenced me the most were Ted Hughes, Louis McNeice and Edward Lear. I love nonsense poetry.
Oh me too! I love Edward Lear! That’s a great poetry background.
Now, your pamphlet Tales of the Unaccepted is moving and so personal. Tell me how long it took to compile that lovely collection.
Tales of the Unaccepted published by Dempsey & Windle was the result of a selection of what Janice and I considered the most original poems that had a quirky sensibility.
The overall timespan of its inception was about three months. A photo I took was used on the cover
Well, it’s a damn fine one. Your eyes are really drawn to that lonely abandoned car. It’s a very classy pamphlet, my personal favourites are Mum and Dad, Coat Hangers and Corners.
I think my perennials would be Hunter’s Moon, Birthday Treat and The Storm. But your choice I like because you like them! When someone you appreciate reciprocates interest that shines a light and brings value to your work.
Aw, Ray, that’s a lovely way of putting it. And I really love Birthday Treat. A very thoughtful piece.
Now, you know what’s coming next, don’t you? Tell us the best poetry gig you’ve done so far – then the worst…
My best poetry gig within an admittedly limited arena does stand out. A midsummer reading session at Cranleigh Arts Centre. The audience was great and the ambience was perfect.
The worst was also outstanding for all the wrong reasons. I was wrong footed by an audience with no interest in poetry but there as a sort of experiment before moving on to other delights. Children were a distraction and I felt a bit as if I had mistakenly entered a ladies toilet. That has happened a few times. The venue was an over managed jamboree in East Horsley. Too many organisers and clipboards.
Ooh, Ray, that sounded very painful and unjust. And doesn’t it seem to last forever?!
Oh, I’ve had good moments at Cranleigh too. Lovely atmosphere and poetry.
Now, thank you for answering these questions so beautifully
rapturous applause audience can no longer contain themselves security intervenes
Ray, you’ve got to get up to the Isle of Wight Festival this weekend, I’ve heard The Archies are appearing, possibly replacing Jimmy Hendrix.
Ooh no, Hendrix keeps phoning me, wanting to borrow my shirt (he’s on the waiting list as well!). He’ll hassle me all weekend. He can get his own! Think I’ll take it easy and watch Softly Softly.
Do you know that sounds quite tempting. Better than all that mud and everything! And Hendrix will play other gigs, I’m sure.
But if you encounter Simon Dee on the way home, guard that shirt with your life!!
Ray, what can I say? Thank you so much for coming in and giving us such great insight. Wasn’t he the most, Poetry Lovers?!
huge huge applause – security mumbling “oh no! not again!” Ray has to be smuggled out the building
For a real treat, Ray’s collection is available from demspeyandwindle.co.uk
Wasn’t that a fantastic interview?! Thanks for tuning in, PL’s. Next time, it will be another Memory Corner!
Same time, same channel……