The summer season is proving to be a busy one, and our publishing activities as Dempsey & Windle events have overtaken us this month so this blog is rather late and may be quite short. That’s not to say that the Keep Open Mic was not memorable. J S Watts and Bryan Baker, our two guest poets, couldn’t have been more different from each other, and we enjoyed both. We had a full complement of open mic readers, too, and heard some brilliant poems.
Dónall led the night with his recimatation (sic) of “The Cremation of Sam Magee”, Robert Service’s shaggy-dog story ballad which was a popular turn in Victorian and Edwardian circles. It’s a great tale, set in the Yukon, by someone who came from Preston, Lancashire, but never set foot in the Yukon (though he did go to Canada). Still in storytelling mode, Dónall followed this up with “Fairy-tale”, a poem of his own about the Irish myth of “The Children of Lyr”.
J S Watts read a first set from her new pamphlet, “The Submerged Sea”. These poems celebrate the sea in all its aspects, physical and geographical, psychological, emotional, mythic and spiritual. As she says, “The sea birthed us, feeds us, entertained us, gives us our climate and geography”. Her poems reflect the sea’s moods, from the moody misty changeable British coast (“Night Notes on Sea”; “The Purbeck Isle”) to the gulls that fly above it (“Is everything sea to a gull?”) and down into its depths (“Full Fathoms Five”) and the meanings that the sea holds for us as an island nation with a history of sea-faring and as human beings on a journey between birth and death.
The next Open Mic at the Keep is on September 3rd with Patrick Osada and Alan Franks. On July 9th we have the launch of "What the Elephant Said to the Peacock" with 28 contributors reading, including Jeremy Loynes, Ray Pool and Richard Hawtree, and in August we're taking a break while everyone's enjoying their summer. Have a happy Summer Holiday - see you in September!
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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.