Chester has an organisation of poets. Most had printed off running order and had timed their sets to perfection. The venue was perfect for poetry and the only issue was a change of lighting which meant the poet was either blinded or in almost darkness. It was mainly a page poetry event. (I am thinking of going back over my blogs posts of the year and in a massive summing up naming what a group of poets would be in each town in my experience).
Angela Topping: wrote “The missing volume” with one day’s notice. I loved the Dr Who poems. John Pertwee was with her in puberty. “Levis, lace and scent”. “No TARDIS to travel back to myself” is a beautiful description of puberty!.
Katy Konrad Poet: was the first poet on the tour who attempted to rhyme Quiet Compere premiere with anything and chose “derriere”. Made me smile. I enjoyed her cosmetics to cosmetic surgery poem. Particularly “thighs sculpted. Confidence catapulted.” Your Bloodlines poem was stunning. “No longer a donor and no longer afraid of Dr Who. He protected them and made them brave.” http://www.writeoutloud.net/profiles/katykonrad
Edwin Stockdale: “Salt-water footprints” and “I peer at the brittle glitter of stars and my heart aches.” The apparent perfection in “Jane takes the night air” was potent. “A manicured house, a perfect life in a mirage.” http://www.writeoutloud.net/profiles/edwinstockdale
Jan Dean: from her description of birth as “the trick of clotting cell soup into ravelled flesh.” we take a swift leap through time to “now you are tall and the Living Room is full of legs.” I am always won over by an incantation of train and bus-stops. The everdayness of the stop names and the fact they become unnoticed to those who live there and exotic or scary to those who don’t. http://www.jandean.co.uk/
Christopher Coey: “Geography is greater on foot.” “We had covered more than miles on the scale of who we are.” Loved his delicate rhythm and rhyme. “We are the show. It does add up. Just not how we ever thought it would.” Universal themes delivered with ease and style, appearing effortless, yet so considered. https://www.facebook.com/AmpWirral/posts/576921439009084
David J Costello: took volume and made it about DNA. “Tutoring tunes” and “stubborn anthems” and the in the MRI poems the shock of “a mildewed void the size and shape of me.” and in the scans “I saw the darkest workings of myself.” http://www.writeoutloud.net/profiles/davidjcostello
Maureen Weldon: poems stuffed with sounds “listen to the wind, observe the sun” “the bump, flump, bump of the waves.” Midnight Robin launched in November. http://www.secondlightlive.co.uk/members/maureenweldon.shtml
Jake Campbell: The language in the “Siegfried Sassoon” poem looped around me and pulled me into the set.” The dog on the cliff poem was heart-ripping. “Cliff-side to a denim sky.” “He hopes never to be forced to carry a child this way.” Loved the variety in your set. Match poem “between Helly Hansen jackets and syllables that smell of Grolsch.” http://www.inpressbooks.co.uk/author/c/jake-campbell-7440/definitions-of-distance-1/
Jim Bennett: Performed an accomplished and varied set incorporating both page and performance poetry.
Gill McEvoy: described an “ochre stubble” of grass. Her rape poem was stunning and difficult “inside its boundary I have pared myself to the bone. ” Also her deep remission poem was incredibly honest and raw.
I didn’t write a specific poem while I was in Chester, but as it was a few days after Halloween will include the one below, to pull us back to Halloween and away from Christmas that is still a month away. Only one date left of tour of North in 2014.
Three notes and a black screen.
The amber glow of ritual.
Our lights off, candles lit
to fan the wings of fear within.
The 5/4 time of a synth playing
3 notes and a black screen
invested with menace.
Even the first time.
The familiar pumpkin
moving closer with candlelit intensity
until we are inside the carved eye.
Yellow font flashes red with threat.
We know Michael is coming.