Every couple of months Waterstones hosts a poetry evening called “Examining Poetry”. For a random Tuesday evening, a surprisingly large crowd of committed poets from the vibrant literary community descended on the 7th floor of the Waterstone’s building, in the historic city of Amsterdam. The building was designed by renowned Dutch Architect HP Berlage and located on one of the busiest pedestrianized streets in the world called “the Kalverstraat”. This shop draws in English-speaking locals, expats, and tourists all united in their love for reading. The shop has a well-stocked collection of fiction and non-fiction works along with a children’s floor complete with toys. And, for those missing England, some quintessential British products such as teas, jams, shortbread, and much more can be found inside.
Tim Butler, a bookseller, and an enthused poetry reader read extracts from a mixed bag of 18 poems ranging from Simon Armitage’s “Andromida”, describing an innocent victim caught in a ransom case; Billy Collins’ “Putting down the cat” where he describes the sadness and loss of his dearly beloved; Wendy Cape’s “Tich Miller”, describing the pain surrounding the death of a 12-year-old girl; Denise Railey’s “A Part Song”; Sinead Morrisey’s “Perfume”; and many more.
Tim feels that some modern poetry can rival the classics written by the likes of Oscar Wilde and John Donne centuries before. When asked the question, “How does poetry add to our lives?” Tim says it makes us more empathic and helps us make more sense of the world that we live in. Plus, finding time is not a problem since poetry is portable! Tim has encouraged the community to reach out and experience other poets, not just staying on the well-trodden path of the known but urging them to venture towards the unknown. The evening had a relaxed, informal, light-hearted, and surprisingly uncommercial atmosphere. That said, the tills were ringing!
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