At long last, the February edition of Spoken Word at the Bar des Arts flowered last night, after our holiday interfered with the usual schedule. And it was worth waiting for, everyone agreed.
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.
A “Bar Des Arts Virgin” was up next. John Edwards is a veteran writer of scripts who claims to be new to poetry performance, but his lines on “Jigsaws”, family days “out and about” and Bible thumping didn’t show it.
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!
Our second feature, Natasha Moscovici, spins words from her soul as a spider spins silk. She wrapped us in words that gave comfort to everyone in the room who was older than forty with her poem about her breasts (“a good way to introduce myself to new friends.”) Tasha managed to make her lament about what she saw as her fading physical attributes into a universal message about life and the nature of beauty. Her directness and apparent ease of delivery spoke to all of us about the pain and reality of being human. It certainly was a good way to introduce herself to us. Her poems about motherhood (and her own decisions to avoid this and other challenges in favour of the challenges she had actually taken up) and her final loving poem dedicated to her parents, left us in no doubt that we knew Tasha’s heart. Here’s our video.
Mike West, our third feature, nearly killed me with his brilliant “Work Placement Presentation”: an irreverent riff on a notional problem of religious correctness for junior aides to the Prime Minister. I was laughing so much that I had to go out, coughing, and catch my breath. His second poem was a true Shaggy Dog story, and the final tale, based on the legend of Finn McCool and the Salmon of Wisdom, gave Mike the chance to show off his versions of four separate Irish regional accents!
Next up was Alex Twyman with three sombre poems: bitter words about suffering and betrayal by and of women, including among the victims his mother. “The after-dinner enema” is a phrase that won’t be forgotten easily.
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.
Next month at the Bar des Arts - "Bloodlines"
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Janice & Dónall Dempsey
We are poets, writers, spoken word performers, editors and organisers of spoken word events, based in the United Kingdom.