On our wedding anniversary I try to pen something romantic and usually my efforts are appreciated by my wife, Clare. At a writing workshop at Queen’s University Belfast recently, there was a man whose life had dealt him some hard knocks and who had been inspired to try his hand at poetry. Poems to celebrate the life of people close to you who have died must be intensely personal to write, and possibly even harder to read out. My own efforts at poetry border on the trite and I have yet to write a commemorative poem for a human being, although I was reasonably happy with the poem I wrote for my son’s dead guinea pig, Pele.
Distance is hailed as an admirable quality in the aesthetics of artistic creativity, and perhaps it has its place. But I find the full on emotional outpourings of artists, every bit as enjoyable aesthetically as the more restrained works that omit such a human trait.