Here we are, halfway to December’s 1000 Monkeys Open Mic at the Keep in Guildford, and still no blog written about November’s get together with Timothy Adès and Wendy Falla as guest readers. Now to put that right, here’s what happened…
Dónall was hosting as always, with an introductory set that included poems from his own new collection, Gerry Sweeney’s Mammy and a poem inspired by the painful tooth he was waiting to have extracted that week, which he called “M.O.T” – which concluded that at least his hair was in good shape, if nothing else was! But his hosting mechanism was as functional as ever. Here’s the video.
The open mic readers were of a high standard. In Josiah Anderson’s “Instagram Life” or “Hashtag” he wryly commented on life lived through social media. He also read “Psyche”, an allegory, "Commute"and “Oh, how you’ve grown” was a perennially true comment on the generation gap.
Bobby-Jo delivered her dramatic poem pleading for mercy on “Mother Earth”. Her delivery was impassioned, her word-picture of global pollution and climate change apocalyptic, an impressive performance.
Richard Hawtree's poem “Helping Syllables” was a meditation on those extra syllables used by Celtic English speakers to soften clipped speech and in “Shedding Tears” he recalled a schoolboy’s response to Book 11 of the Aeneid.
We were pleased to see Trisha Broomfield, from Cranleigh, with her drily funny story poems. I recorded a clip of her reading but sadly I had a problem uploading the clips and lost the recording. I hope Trish can come back to read again soon.
Gareth Toms had come up from Portsmouth again and read his poem about woodlouse Immigrants, a political parable.
Marcus Belassie (above right) had cut and pasted Donald Trump's speeches into a poem of his own, and the result was more Trumpish than Trump's own speeches! We fell about laughing!.
Rochelle Parker was in serious mode this evening. Her poem about her father-in-law who “demonstrated how to be human” and “The Last Gardener in Aleppo” were thoughtful and poignant.
Eddie Chauncy read “Off”, a plea for pause, for quiet contemplation and silence to “let the evening speak / make you afraid…” and “get used to your mind until it’s part of you”. In “The Job Interview” Eddie imagined Eve being interviewed for the job of Adam’s partner in Eden. This made all of us smile.
Michael Cutchey read a record-breaking poem – record breaking, that is, for the length and pomposity of its title! (The poem itself broke the record for brevity.)
Kyle McHale read two new poems: “Scraps” “inspired by two very Surrey ladies” ; “Jurassic Coast, “where it all joins together” and “The Ruin”, a poem edited from one that Kyle claimed I had rejected unceremoniously from his pamphlet, And no Bird Sings. He’d fixed it up nicely, anyway.
Andy B J Low had been given enough notice of the event to bring along some finished poems (rather than writing then five minutes before reading, as he said!) In “Self-doubt”, “Love Creates the Dream” and “Cathedrals of Your Mind” he was his romantic self. In his poem inspired by girl-talk in a hairdressing salon Andy seemed to be taking a leaf out of Becky Fury’s book for his subject matter, (Becky will be guesting again in May with her sometimes raunchy satirical poems. )
Richard Alleyne was back after several months away, during which time he’d suffered a heart problem, but he was looking very well and delivered socially- conscious poems about equal pay for women and the conditions for “Civilisation”. Our final reader was Ruqqayya.
Next month is almost upon us – on Monday 4th December we welcome John Wheeler back as a guest, alongside Marc Brightside, the author of Keep it in the Family (Dempsey & Windle 2017).
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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.