I’ve always thought that there’s a natural affinity between a poem and a single-pitch rock climb – in that they’re both sets of instructions for the body, or for the voice, in some way. You can’t paraphrase them; if you could paraphrase them, you wouldn’t have written the poem.
Helen Mort and Dan Richards were at the shop to talk about poetry and mountaineering. Mort read from her latest collection from Chatto and Windus, No Map Could Show Them (a Poetry Book Society recommendation), which recounts in Mort’s inimitable style the exploits of pathbreaking female mountaineers. Afterwards she was in conversation with Dan Richards, whose book Climbing Days (Faber) explores the writing and climbing exploits of his great-great aunt and uncle, Dorothy Pilley and I.A. Richards.