Guest post by Gail Ashton.
The life so short, the craft so long to learn. Who said that?
I have been in Geoffrey Chaucer’s company for a quarter of a century now, one way or another. I’m still no nearer than the merest echo of him, and, truth to tell, if we met in a dark alley I don’t know which of us would be more afraid. I read books the whole night long. Come morning I’m convinced I know less than I did the day before , and sitting here with my student copy of Riverside literally falling to pieces before my eyes I have a horrible feeling of déjà vu.
The event is Poet in the City’s “Chaucer: Modern Echoes,” held at Southwark Cathedral 10 April 2014. I have done this once before at a similar evening in September 2012 somewhere in the depths of the British Museum, London, where Patience Agbabi thrilled us with trial runs of her then work-in-progress Telling Tales. And I met Professor Helen Cooper into the bargain. All this name-dropping! This time Lavinia Greenlaw (A Double Sorrow: Troilus and Criseyde) is on the bill with Patience. You will have heard all this, dear reader. What you might not know is that at 7pm this coming Thursday, someone is going to ask me to talk about our Geoffroi.
When I open my mouth I fear I’ll have nothing to say and – heaven forfend – if I’m called as any kind of expert witness in audio-interview, then the world will see that after all I know nothing, and the only sound from this old house of fame will be but babble whirled into London skies.
If you can, be there. Just don’t expect any authority.
The others are worth listening to over and over. And the cathedral has cake, I’m told, if you’re early enough.