A Group Review of Leonard Goldman's Reflections of Brighton

We briefly explore Reflections of Brighton: a poem in which Leonard Goldman shares his account of Brighton. His childhood there started over a century ago so his perspective is a unique one in todays world. 

A Group Review of Leonard Goldman's Reflections of Brighton

In this short review, myself and a few others (Alice, Dean and Abby) looked at a poem by Leonard Goldman named Reflections of Brighton. He’s not just any poet though, as he was 101 when he wrote Reflections of Brighton and spent his childhood as well as much of his adult life in the city. While usually we would hope to be reviewing live, local content such as that of the fringe, the current circumstances limit us to that which we examine without leaving the house and as such the review was (mostly) conducted in a group Zoom call. That being said, I certainly didn’t feel limited when reviewing content so rich in insight as this poem.

Leonard Goldman shares with us an intimate portrait of Brighton, his childhood hometown. He gives us a perspective through words that can only be spoken by a man with 101 years of wisdom, portraying Brighton for the everlasting city it is as, including its inevitable evolution.

A memorable moment from this poem is his love of the ocean and "lonely walks along the clifftops”. He witnessed the evolution of Brighton from schools transforming into drama societies to the demise of West Pier, Leonard loved them all.

Something important and that stands out is how close to home it was for him and the bits about places I have seen in person but then again, I may be a little bit biased as I have always lived in Brighton and also love it here. The Metropole and the Grand aren't as fancy as they used to be. I think this reflects a change in cultural identity. The decline of these staples of Brighton coincide with a lack of cultural importance being placed upon them. The poem exemplifies this change.

He alludes to the fact that much of this portrait of Brighton will not resonate with younger readers with the line "I'm talking of course of the famous West Pier, which perhaps you've not heard of for its no longer here". Kids now days (myself included) may not have a schema of Brighton, or indeed any hometown, as refined as Goldman’s. Although the internet and technology has connected us to the whole world, our immediate surroundings have become more foreign to us. Activities mentioned in this poem always seem to have a matching place in this poem – something not always necessary in the digital age. That’s not to say that kids no longer possess a drive for exploration, I know I certainly do, but we can go about it from our bedrooms. Goldman’s romantic reflection of his experiences is a time capsule and one that has reminded me of my surroundings importance and identity.

Growing up around all these remarkable elements of this city makes us thankful to live here alongside all the people and components that come with the seaside town we call home.

I highly recommend that anyone interested should watch the clip of Leonard Goldman reading his insightful and passionate poem:

Reflections of Brighton by Leonard Goldman, 2018: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=druV9wt5JWk

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Will Hughes

Will Hughes Local Reviewer

Student of psychology also enthusiastic about music, art and culture (as well as their respective histories).
If you have similar interests or like a post of mine feel free to comment / get in touch :)

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  • Will Hughes

    On 8 June 2020, 12:05 Will Hughes Local Reviewer commented:

    Also a great video of the 'Diving Lady' that Goldman references in his poem can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QthclUwbrFg

  • Sienna James

    On 10 June 2020, 09:53 Sienna James Voice Team commented:

    What a fab group review! It's a great insight into Leonard Goldman's mind and life, as well as perhaps what the city used to be. Thanks guys! :)

  • Will Hughes

    On 10 June 2020, 14:26 Will Hughes Local Reviewer commented:

    Thank you very much! :)

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