On arriving at the Hive I met Steve Wilson (after so many phone calls and emails in planning stages) who was taller and didn’t have the right colour hair for my phone vision. The Hive and Steve were brilliant hosts. I discovered the venue was unlicenced and decided to grab a pub lunch with a pint before the event, low on time my cheap B and B/pub agreed to bring it up to me at no charge. Height of sophistication fish and chips on my bed in pyjamas with Porridge on the TV.
Catherine Crosswell: Catherine’s lively style that jumped between weird and dark and funny made her a perfect person to start the evening. Her tape measure that measures arms lengths is genius. She warns that ‘we will continue to auto-correct those who do not suspect/or believe.’ www.catherinecrosswell.co.uk
Mike Alma: put beautiful postcards of war on chairs to accompany his devastating poems, particularly striking the line ‘before insanity ploughed the earth and devoured souls’. He enlisted audience member, Moira, for the second voice in Letters to a soldier at the front both poems are in Mike’s book, Fragments of the Great War.
No link available.
Nina Lewis: I loved her matching ears poem about her nephew ‘I am your auntie – the one with the matching ears.’ Your poem about music was glorious ‘Our emotions are carried on F sharps and B flats. I let you carry me on melody alone. Cello notes absorb the darkness.’ Nina Lewis You Tube www.awritersfountain.wordpress.com
Jasmine Gardosi: Jasmine brought more weird and unsettling pieces (darker than Catherine). She performed a poem about writing in a night-club at the side of dance floor and broke up the sentences as if sound disturbance was doing this. I loved the idea of her beginning to ‘leave blueprints all over her left limb’ and the fact ‘she ignores the men as sticky as the floor – they would like to leave their digits on her wrist.’ – love the double use of digits here. I can safely say her take on the space theme to produce a piece about a family dying carbon-monoxide poisoning will probably be the only one. https://www.facebook.com/JasmineGardosiPoet and @jasminegardosi on twitter
Neil Laurenson: Loved the way Neil came on after the strange storm that is Jasmine and kicked off with a gentle intro poem where ‘he was so softly spoken that they thought he was miming’ and he was going to ‘perfect his talent of being unheard’. The tone of Shrinking of Shrugs was delicious. It listed the small things a partner has done wrong and ends ‘the purpose of this lecture is to save our marriage.’ Henry Reed’s poem Naming of Parts is one of Neil’s favourites, he said it was a joy to mimic it in some way! http://herecomeseveryone.me/hce-meets-neil-laurenson-wenlock-2014-poet/
I loved Adrian’s Number Ten zero hours cat and the rhythmic style that meant ‘you think by now I’d have a contract’ and the fact the cat playfully leaves a ‘message’. Adrian’s line in his Mum poem about having ‘nice neighbours and cheese omelettes’ amused me. What more could anyone want? He had left-handed version of a hedge-trimmer poem (after an accident). Genius.
Link for Adrian & The Very Grimm Brothers is https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Very-Grimm-Brothers/193869703992330
Myfanwy Fox: In Myfanwy’s poem about her grandma: “Dolly Windmill won’t eat margarine/It tastes of despair in its greasy slide -/ there she blows! A slick of death/spreading on an oily tide.’ https://myfanwyfox.wordpress.com
Claire Walker: Claire came in tough and told us we had to ‘Make me believe it/I want to see words on your lips’. Her mermaid poem was constructed of so many quotable lines I couldn’t record them all. ‘Don’t be fooled by my soft curves,/this tail carves the ocean with thoughts/that won’t be confined to land,’ and the line in Teaching your daughter to crack eggs ‘Tell her to remember not all broken things are wrong’ is going to remain with me for months. Beautiful and brief and knowing.
Claire’s pamphlet The girl who grew into a crocodile is available in Autumn 2015 here; http://vpresspoetry.blogspot.co.uk/p/our-poets.html www.clairewalkerpoetry.com
Carl Sealeaf: I love ‘we won’t need scratched graffitti to know that we are here.’ Genius to capture the quietness in a ‘restaurant crowded with separate silences.’ and the fact you could ‘use silence against each other.’ Advice: ‘Find a good mirror, or still water or a good dance track’. http://www.pangaeapoetry.com/
Clive Dee: read us a trees and death poem ‘a wood is made of death and through that death we live.’ In Unfolding Wings these lines sang ‘Mountains and valleys crease the paper/to fold a base to make a bird/neck and beak tail and wings/sunken paper muscled back/a thousand folds for luck’.
I continued my poetry weekend with a full day and night in Stratford for Jo Bell’s 52 group poetry picnic – the whole weekend felt like one massive poetry hug.
I don’t usually include feedback in the blogs, but this was so glowing I had to:
‘Thanks for constructing a beautiful listening post, a room for hearts & ears where we enjoyed a rainbow of styles & subjects from Botany Bay to Chemistry Kevin. You set a little powder keg under the palm tree and encourage the evening’s castaways to light the fuse. It’s perfect. You’re terrific. You do a lovely job. My but you work so hard and affectionately at this game of the imagination.’ Adrian Mealing, The Very Grimm Brothers.
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The Quiet Compere Tour is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.