at the Western Pub, Western Road, Leicester
This bi-monthly event is always worth stepping out for and tonight was no exception. The evening is hosted jointly by Jane Commane, Nine Arches Press and Jonathan Taylor, Crystal Clear Creators and is an evening of two halves, both kicked off with several open-mic slots, (which are always of a very high standard) rounded up by two featured artists.
The featured artists this evening were Dave Reeves, Julie Boden, Jayne Stanton and David Clarke.
First up was Jane Commane who welcomed us all and read a lovely winter poem by one of Nine Arches Writers – Andrew Frobisher, Remembering Becomes My Reason.
The open micer’s were Maxine Linnell who read Taking the Lead, about a man with a dog with a lead printed with the words – One of us is single… A delightful flight of fancy. Richard Birt who had us all musing over Christmas leftovers with his assonance and alliteration. Anthony Owens who read three poems full of memorable lines – Realising You Were Wrong For Me: clouds rolled with a rizzla on breastbone (…) like dusk, we haemorrage to bone. The Burning of No 8′s Wheelie Bin: sky charged confederate grey. And one about the nuclear bomb, Fat Man… your carbonised legacy… powerful stuff. Maria Taylor with The Distance, and one from her collection Melanchrini which I’d not heard her read before, Here’s To You: (…) His name is Vincent, like the artist./The V of his pelvis is as they say,/ All that. I wonder where the zip / would take me, somewhere starry (…) Lovely. Kate Ruse with one from her series; Someone’s got to love the child, called Bad Man, sadly a subject close to everyone’s hearts these days – the moon, an all night witness glares, then rolls its eyes away. Powerful stuff.
Dave Reeves gave us not only poetry – he brought along his squeeze box and made wonderful use of it accompanying a sad tale about waiting for the phone to ring on New Year’s Eve with his melodic, doleful and sonorous chords. He introduced us to black country vernacular and recited a Haiku for 2012, containing only one word, by the third line we all joined in… RAIN! We heard one about a young philatelist who progressed to working in a (machine) STAMP shop, accompanied by STAMPING feet, and ended on a ‘found’ poem using items requested for in libraries. Hugely entertaining.
Julie Boden, Poet in Residence at the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra treated us to a few from her latest collection, Love in Leamington and also sang for us! She did not, her opener, was a wistful take on love, followed by a ronda redoublé and a villanelle, very much in fine form, and ending on The Piano Tuner, a poem banned by the orchestra committee (for being too???), told from the point of view of the piano, it was both evocative and provocative for he (the piano tuner) spoiled her for life (…)
Break. Beer. Chat. And all that.
Jonathan Taylor introduced the second half with a reading of a tender poem about his father, which I really related to, telling of vintage dinky toys collected over years and later sold. His dad was saddened by the revelation and we have a sense of a greater loss in the line; I could never get them, or those WH Smiths afternoons back again.
Roy Marshall opened the open-mic with a couple of lovely seasonal offerings. Stand out line – horses (…) standing in a cloud of breath. Would love to get a read of these. Then we had Dave, and his cat, Shindig regular Kim Lyson, Matt Merritt with his condensed take on ancient mythology, oh and me somewhere amidst all that.
Jayne Stanton. It was very lovely to enjoy an extended reading of Jayne’s poetry. I heard some I’ve heard before, Tasseography being one of my favourites and Heat, then a couple of very new offerings, the titles of which were their first lines and I was listening so intently I forgot to jot them down, and we ended on a couple that Jayne has written since her exchange with The Cork Poets. These two were particularly good. Blow-in, about a heron/crane and Sin É (think that’s how it’s spelt, although I don’t know what it means… about music and the magical way it affects. I’ve since learned that this poem has been highly commended in The Gregory O’Donoghue Prize. Well done! And deservedly so. A fine poem. I look forward to being able to post a pic of Jayne’s book/pamphlet cover alongside a review. It’s only a matter of time.
Last up, David Clarke. Amongst other stuff, I learned that a hee-haw is an eighteenth century rent-boy. That will one day come in useful. I can feel it in my bones. On the strength of his reading I bought his pamphlet, so that must tell you something? Gaud, joint winner of the Flarestack pamphlet competition, and I can see why. I particularly enjoyed Copse – (…) scarred by after-mages of epilated bodies splayed for the camera’s glassy eye (…) though I must confess, I jotted down the title in my notebook as – Cops. And I’ve since fallen in love with the rest. From Scritti Politti: (…) that’s what the 90″s felt like – green Gartside’s forgotten voice shimmied from a tape (…)
And on my way home I got into my car, scrolled through the iPod and had a listen.
Yes. I was back there. And it’s an excellent pamphlet too.
A brilliant night as always. Thanks to all involved. See you again in March