Our guests were Amy Neilson Smith, Natasha Moscovici (above) and Mike West. They offered us a marvellous mix of sensuality, wisdom and humour, individually and collectively.
We were glad to see Lorri and Geoff Pimlott back from their winter playground in Thailand, and almost all our other regular readers were there too, either reading or as audience.
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Dónall warmed us up with some of his new poems (video above) and then our old friend (and sometime featured poet) Ernie Burns took the mic and told of a Utopia for rats that turned into a dystopia (which struck us as a familiar scenario) and other tightly woven tales. (video left).
Liddy Brooks had taken time out from nursing a flu virus to celebrate with us her achievement in completing her MA assignment on “food” poems. Her “Search for Mecca” through the medium of food and poetry was short and sweet, like goodies we exchanged – nothing like comfort food to cure the sniffles!
Then it was time for our first feature, Amy Neilson Smith. Amy has a collection launched in May: “Dark Matter”, from which she read “Rain in Portobello”, a celebration of freedom, and a meditation on a caught raindrop whose emerging theme was love. The mango tree where in India two girls were hanged after a brutal rape was another moving symbol. In contrast, Amy’s celebration of gay and mixed gender love was direct and joyful. Amy also read from a play, “Shrapnell” about WWI that she wrote for the Orange Tree Theatre. Amy’s performance was fimed so we’ll look forward to seeing and sharing the video when it’s published.
Kyle's set was full of love and moving thoughts as he showed the way that possessions we leave behind for others to find will tell our descendants who we really were. In a meditation on landscape and walking, "There are hills for that," he assured us.
Eddie Chauncy had taken a night off from his research to bring three new poems: “Reluctant Jesus” to remind us how demanding on a human being any religion is, and an exploration of symbolism, simile and concrete imagery in “When the Rose Drops” (and what exactly might we retain from this world from our last moment of consciousness? he asks). Finally, Eddie had a poem dedicated to Louise Etheridge, appropriately an acrostic on her name on the subject of “Laughter”.
After the break, a “Poetry Couple” took to the mic: first, Geoff Pimlott with two very strong poems about conflict, which he calls “Protest Poems” (“This is no boogie-woogie”.)
Then Lorri had us shocked, amused and laughing with her “Terse Verse” (“That’s it” she said!), “Family Tree” and her “Filthy Poem”.
“I’ve spent time in the chokey
For groping a Trochée...”
The final reader of the evening was Stephen Davids, who by popular request read “Love Has a Name” with which he recently won the Interflora prize for romantic verse. It’s dedicated to his wife, Nicola, and here’s the video. Stephen’s final poem was part of his MA submission, so couldn’t be filmed or published yet. Stephen’s contributions are always varied and always welcome.