Emergency Shoe Shopping, Mangoes and Superman – Leeds blog

Emergency shoe shopping, Mangoes and Superman (Leeds blog)

First of all, Seven Arts is a cracking venue. Secondly, I arrived in Leeds at 3pm and had to go shoe shopping. I knew I’d forgotten something and after visiting 6 shops I found some suitable size 6 ½ wide-fit vaguely ladylike shoes. I didn’t cry. I always cry when I go shoe-shopping. Maybe next time I should go to a different city to buy shoes. The distraction of being lost makes the experience more bearable.

The traffic around Leeds was awful in every direction. This meant I arrived at the venue two hours before the doors opened. I had a lemon chicken breast burger and a pint of local ale. The leisurely (for me) start to the evening was appreciated and it was enjoyable to greet people as they arrived and ask people where they heard about the event. I thought working the door (as part of being host would not work, but maybe it is a good way of getting information back from people (without having to force everyone to fill in a questionnaire at the end when they are often rushing to catch bus/train/drive home).

The traffic issues meant a rush on the door at the time we were due to start. We started ten minutes later, but made this back by the break, as everyone stuck perfectly to the ten minute time slots. Consummate professionals.


Mike Barlow: Drove the “Starship Mazda” into “the beauty of peaty fog.” His “Four houses” poem has stuck with me – “the walls hung with mayhem”.

Caleb Parkin: I loved “The Ballad Morris Omies” and the details about the Polari Mission (a mission to save a bold and secret language). Oh and “Let us honour the Hangover Pig Angel”. http://skylabstories.net/about/

Emma Decent: Gave us “Advice from a Stone on traveling alone.” The line that has stuck with me even now is: “Your centre will hold you.” Good advice for life really.

Martin Vosper: Amused us with his Leeds prayer and “Superman writes poetry” – especially “allowing himself a little laugh”, “lingering over his lycra” and a “frisson of a fetish shared”. “The Ballad of Grayson Perry” is always a pleasure. No website details.

Ian Duhig: “The Lammas Hireling” was an excellent poem to take us to the break and I love the line “in a sack that grew lighter with every step.” Also the “instruments were anything we can reach to hit” – to me this sounds much like a three-year old in any superstore. http://www.poetryarchive.org/poet/ian-duhig

Bob Harding-Jones: Amused us with his “Imperfectionist” poem and ”Badminton of illnesses”. http://www.bobjones.co.uk/

Rommi Smith along with Laura Cole on keyboard provided the first poetry with musical accompaniment of the tour. “Gloria Silver” washed over me. http://www.rommi-smith.co.uk/

Mabh Savage: Performed a Volume piece written for the tour which included the lines: “Traps for hopes and dreams turned down to low” and “Silence is a gift you give yourself.” The last line rings particularly true to me as a Mum. http://soundsoftime.wordpress.com/

Steve O’Connor: took us with him and got us lost in the sounds of speech and landscape in “an embrace that sustains like the ocean’s roar.” and “the noise of clouds at sunset”, “ill-conceived judgements scribbled in the margins.” http://www.writeoutloud.net/profiles/steveoconnor

John Siddique: talked to us about how the poems choose the poet. His “End of the mango season poem” was powerful and moving and he ended with a lighter piece, which was an ideal to finish the evening, though it is the mangos that remain with me.


I will end with a celebration of the Yorkshire rainbow.

Revel under a Yorkshire rainbow.





Their rainbows always find me

The Manchester rainbow knows my haunts
hides from me
behind clouds
folds itself into wheelie bins
when it hears my footsteps

Yorkshire rainbows
don’t know the rhythm of my breath
my steady step
and the routine of my days

I surprise Yorkshire rainbows
into being more vibrant
having three more bands
than the ordinary type


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