Bloomsbury Festival

One of my favorite lines in poetry comes from “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot (not included in the excerpt above):

I have measured out my life with coffee spoons…

T and I went to the Bloomsbury Festival today, a small but delightful outdoor festival in Russell Square. There were a number of interactive arts displays, like the Poets’ Path, where you could create and walk among your own poetry by rearranging words from several selected works. Sort of like magnetic poetry, but much larger.

It was fun, and I wrote a line that went something like, “How certain and mellow that ask…” Mostly, though, I was worried I’d get papercuts on my face. The poetry pieces were made of quite heavy cardstock, and the breeze kept them whipping at you from every direction as you walked through the arbor.

There were also musical performances, including the premier men’s chorus from Georgia, a Senegalese band and an African jazz group.

Food stalls filled the air with mouth-watering smokey scents of meats and other dishes, and there were picnic tables with colorful tablecloths where people could sit and eat. I got mushroom risotto for five pounds—delish! It was very savory, and had a surprising spicy kick to it.

Russell Square Gardens reminded me a bit of Madison Square Park… from using it as an arts space, down to the strung lights and the smokey air from cooking meat. Ahh.. Shake Shack! I do miss NYC at these moments. But there was also something quite different about this festival, and how folksy it felt. I’m not sure how to capture or describe the difference, but the vibe felt much homier than a similar event might if executed in New York. Maybe how family-friendly the event was designed to be, with kids running barefoot around the fountain or sitting on their dads’ shoulders to see the stage; or the tables large enough that strangers would sit down together.

In simple terms, I’d say the festival had a more Brooklyn vibe than a Manhattan/Madison Square Park vibe… even if it did leave me craving Shake Shack!

Take this dreadlocked dog, for example. So hipster. So Brooklyn.

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2 thoughts on “Bloomsbury Festival

  1. Thanks for coming along to our installation! Poets’ Path: Poetry Under the Arbour was designed and produced by Urban Brew Design Collective for Faber Academy. more information can be found on our website http://www.urbanbrew.org #underthearbour @urbanbrewdesign @faberacademy and on the faberacademy or urbanbrew design collective facebook pages.

    Upload your photographed poem to faber academy facebook by 4th november to be in for a chance of winning a free poetry book.

    Urban Brew

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