The Autumn's coming and poetry events are starting up after the summer break, so we've been out and about, reading and listening, at spoken word events outside our home town of Guildford. I'll tell you about them in reverse chronological order.
On 26th - last Friday - we were at Fourth Friday at the Poetry Cafe in Betterton Street, Covent Garden, London, the music and poetry night hosted by Hylda Sims. This was a great opportunity to see Stephen Boyce, who's coming to read at the Bar Des Arts on October 21st, and also Alison Hill, who hosts (but seldom reads at) "Rhythm & Muse" at the Ram Jam Club. We'd spent the previous Saturday down in Winchester, where Stephen was one of the organisers of the very successful Winchester Poetry Festival. Fourth Friday was a really enjoyable evening, with music provided by the brilliant City Ramblers Revival. A highlight for me was their rendition of Tom Lehrer songs from the 1960's, including "Vatican Rag". All the poets were very strong, and we've resolved to go to this event more often. It was a lovely evening.
The atmosphere at R & M is very friendly and the balance between poetry and music is excellent. Steve Pottinger, a friend who has often read at the Bar Des Arts, was featuring this month, and as always he delivered satirical, warm, perfectly written poems about life, some politics and last night a great poem about love - inspired by moving house ("You ask me what kind of house I want") which caught everyone's imagination.
The next milestone in our month (working backwards) was the readings at the Artists and Makers' Guild Festival in Holy Trinity Church, Guildford, on Saturday 20th. Karen Izod and Eddie deserved a medal for reading - and reading well - in the hubbub of the sale! You can read about it and see pictures and a rather noisy video clip of Dónall's performance, on my last blog.
Going back to Tuesday 16th September, that was the brilliant night at the Bar Des Arts which I wrote about a week or two ago. ("The Pursuit of Happiness").
The plan was to have a group photo taken by a photographer from Trinity Newspapers, to publicise the forthcoming launch. Seventeen supportive poets, including the Dirty Carols who are performing at the Launch, turned up at the Bar that Tuesday, half an hour before the event was due to start, epecially for the photo, which was duly taken. Most people stayed on to read that evening, so we had an absolutely brilliant night, with our talented feature readers and Tom V & friends' musical piece as well. Here's a snippet of part of Cathy Flower's performance that night. Cathy had travelled down from London to be there.
And so we go back to Friday 12th September when Dónall was very pleased to be invited to host the PoetryJam at the Tea Box at 7 Paradise Road in Richmond-upon-Thames. We invited Eddie Chauncy, one of the most skilled and moving writers and readers we know, to feature. This was another evening of magic. Eddie's thoughtful, elegant poems held the audience spellbound.
Richmond's open mic readers proved as exciting as our Guildford group, and just as varied in poetic approach. Dónall read his poems about his mother, which always draw smiles and tears in equal parts.
Mike has invited us back to host PoetryJam again, on October 17th and Alex de Suys will be the headliner that night.
Dónall has a great poem called "Singing the River" in which he as a child and his Uncle Michael walk home backwards "for the Yes of it" - and here I am walking backwards through September. We're down to the Keystone Slam now - I wrote at length about that evening in "Slammin' With the Antipoet" - a night that began heart-in-mouth and turned to joy and fun - especially when the Boys (Ian and Paul) arrived with their blend of satire and downright ranting - sweetened by Paul's triangle and Ian's eyebrows and double bass.
Here's Jen McGowan, the winner of the contest that night, reading her winning poem (which has since been accepted for publication.)
and Elaine Stabler who came a close second:
And now, back to the present and the future. In two days' time, on Tuesday 30th September, we have an extra Spoken Word Night to launch the Anthology in Guildford's Bar Des Arts, when many of the contributors will be reading, and the lovely Dirty Carols will be strutting their stuff - with some new songs, Louise has told us. There'll be an open mic to allow everyone who feels like sharing poems to take to the Bar Des Arts platform alongside the 100-year-old grand piano and the stylish chandelier, and do just that. Here's the list of confirmed readers at the Anthology Launch:
Tom Vliestra, Grim Chip, Geoffrey Pimlott, Lorri Pimlott. Andy Low, Ingrid Andrew, Alex de Suys, Pete Jardine. Cat Randle, Karen Izod, Martin Jones, Kathy Tytler, Richard Alleyne, Bryan Baker and Mark Gilfillan
Everyone's welcome to come along and read, listen and enjoy the last 1000 Monkeys event for September 2014. More coming up in October.
Thanks for reading this far!
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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.