A warm summer evening and it was a select audience that gathered in the Bar Des Arts to read poems and enjoy the work of Claire Booker, Hugh Greasley and Elaine Stabler, our guest readers.
There were seven open mic readers, though we missed Kyle, who is having an operation on his back, and Andy Low who no doubt was roaring around Surrey in his beautiful car, Alex de Suys who was probably busy teaching girls to fight, Liddy who is recovering from all those exams, and Andy Frost, who has had trouble with his bike (and his back, I believe) But we did enjoy hearing from Graham, Ray, Geoff and Lorri, Eddie, Richard, Alex T and Michael, a Bar Des Arts Virgin who transmuted into a non-bar-de-arts-virgin Goth quite early on in the evening.
Dónall's introduction was wide ranging and relaxed and included a great new poem, "Hamlet at the World Cup" which I think will become one of his favourites. Here's the video.
This was Claire Booker’s first visit to the Bar in her role as poet, though she has brought her excellent 15-minute plays to Guildford in the past. In a strong set her subjects varied from her brother's inevitably doomed efforts to emulate Canute, to a moving poem about her father's dementia ("again and again I walk him past his life / then pack him in a box") and from the sublime through to the ridiculous, taking in along the way sights from the streets of London in “Street Furniture” and “Speeding Sari".
Graham Brown, released from the role of Trincolo in The Tempest (the run in Newport Isle of Wight has just finished) but still bearded, was in good form though he didn't look “Twelve Years Old”. “Rossetti line- dancing with a machete” was a most memorable image. He had some interesting lines about the weather and an apology for clouds, too, which we hope they've accepted.
Michael Cutchey, arrayed in Gothic costume and looking eight feet tall in his hat, evoked dungeons, death and other grim stuff in the two poems with which he lost his Bar-Des-Arts virginity. (Below. That's me in the corner, trying not to look too scared!)
Lorri Pimlott read an elegy for a friend, a "filthy poem" and a lovely lyrical piece.
Richard Alleyne complained that Dónall sometimes makes him wait till last in the open mic (though he was reading early tonight) and urged us to plant seed for the future and to share.
Ray Pool had a sad trumpet player and war memorials in mind, as well as memories of little Johnny's music lessons.
Geoff Pimlott came out fighting for Liberty and Marianne “with phallic symbol lifted high”.
Eddie Chauncy puzzled in easy conversational sonnets about puzzles and bird baths and asked, "What then? Aristotle?" (below)