Yesterday, I visited Edinburgh and the Edinburgh book festival to see a couple of events – one was Lionel Shriver, talking about her new book The Mandibles, the other was about ranting poetry, called Stand Up and Spit, with Luke Wright, Attila the Stockbroker, Tim Wells and Bridget Minamore.
Ruth Wishart introduced Lionel Shriver as a prescient writer, having written about a child who kills in America, the obesity issues the country faces and now the economic and political worries of present day Americans. I learned, listening to this that since the 2008 financial crisis we have only stepped back from the abyss but not yet solved any of the root problems.
The Mandibles, is set in the near future (2029 – 2047) in an America that has become bankrupt, where the President is Latin American, and people are ordered to turn over their gold to the government. There are children called Willing, Goog and Bing and Enola who returns to America from Europe and does 3000 jumping jacks a day into her nineties.
I also finally got round to finding out why Lionel Shriver is called Lionel. I looked her up on Google and Wikipedia entry states that she changed her name at 15 from Margaret to Lionel because as a tomboy, she felt it suited her better.
I had not been aware of ranting poetry as a medium prior to this event and so it was a surprisingly enlightening event. The poets – Luke Wright, Attila the Stockbroker, Tim Wells and Bridget Minamore – wrote poems as commentary on public matters, such as Brexit as well as poems on private things, such as their family relationships. What struck me most was the powerful delivery of the poems recited by the players and the emotional power of the writing, whether it was political or private. They all described themselves as angry and turning the anger to poetry which seems a very good conduit, considering other expressions of anger in the world.