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Archive for June, 2013

ramayana Gruff (Photo of Gruff listening to the Ramayana.)

Just a quick blog in a snatched moment – my little son, Gruff Albert, was born two weeks ago, and is currently dozing against my chest in his Baby Bjorn. Gruff (pronounced Griff) is Welsh, in recognition of my husband Richard’s Welsh blood, whilst Albert was my father’s name. I have been having a fortnight of firsts – learning about nappy-changing, breastfeeding, baths and burping. I’m sure the rituals of childcare will soon grow repetitive, but at the moment I’m completely entranced by this tiny, wide-eyed creature with his long fingers and constantly animated face.

I haven’t got much work done, obviously, but I’m interviewing Daljit Nagra for Poetry London later this month, so have been reading an advance copy of his version of the Ramayana: the 4th century, Hindu story of Rama and Sita. I’ve read Narayan’s prose translation before (as well as a wonderful version for children illustrated by the poet and artist Sophie Herxheimer) but this free verse, poetic reworking is brilliant: a joyous Technicolor cartoon packed with life and lovely words, that I highly recommend when it comes out. In honour of its oral roots, I have been reading it aloud to Gruff, who seems to be enjoying it when I am Hanuman the giant monkey.

And I was very pleased to get a brilliant review for Ovid’s Heroines, my own take on an ancient text, in the Guardian this weekend. Thanks to all who have bought the book so far. Not to mention all your kind messages, presents and poems for my baby boy!

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