Lavinia Greenlaw set for Edinburgh International Book Festival date

This article is from 2012

Lavinia Greenlaw set for Edinburgh International Book Festival date

Poetry collection The Casual Perfect addresses getting older

At 49, Lavinia Greenlaw is hardly ancient, but her thoughts turn to the experience of getting older in her most recent collection of poetry, The Casual Perfect. ‘I wondered for years, thinking, if the casual perfect were a tense, what would it be? Then I got older and thought, now I’m in the casual perfect time of life, allowing this incompleteness of knowledge and myself instead of trying to fix or understand it.’ Is she scared of getting older? ‘No, I just don’t want to waste time.’

A writer of novels, poetry and non-fiction, wasting time doesn’t figure in Greenlaw’s career. Her work on Audio Obscura, a sound installation in St Pancras and Manchester Piccadilly stations won her the Ted Hughes Award for new work in poetry last year. ‘I wanted to explore the illusion of thinking we’re not seen or heard in public. But we are constantly taking in those around us.’

Soon, The Casual Perfect will be publicly audible. Paul Smith of Maximo Park will perform Greenlaw’s poem ‘Essex Kiss’ at art collaboration project Space Invasion in Newcastle this September. So how does she feel about a rock star setting her poem to music? ‘He’s a very good reader,’ she says. ‘He understands how poems work and I’ve really enjoyed seeing it happen.

25 Aug (with Marie Howe), 10.15am, £10 (£8).

Lavinia Greenlaw & Marie Howe: Being And Nothingness

Alongside her exquisite poetry, Lavinia Greenlaw has written opera libretti, radio dramas and essays on art. Now she brings her interest in perception, thought and experience to an absorbing and enigmatic new collection of poems, The Casual Perfect. She is joined today by the celebrated American writer Marie Howe, whose…

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