But on to the list I mentioned – and here’s the very good news. As well as Geoff and Lorri, Richard Jackson, and Michael, a friend who’s come down from London, we have Holly, from Surrey Uni, and six of her students, all with phones full of their poems or sheaves of typescript! Lydia, Robin, Annabelle, Sarah, Leah and Charlotte have decided to take the plunge, some of them reading in public for the very first time.
Geoff Pimlott, who reads regularly at our Spoken Word nights at the Bar Des Arts, comes up next, with new poems from a sequence called Songs of Palestine. We’re impressed by the feeling in these pieces, strong but not degenerating into ranting. We look forward to hearing more.
Michael (Unique Technique), who has come down from South London, gives us something completely different. This small, serious-looking poet performs to music as a rapper – his performance is a surprise to many. Michael seldom writes his poems down and the music enables him to remember and riff on his themes. Tonight he performs “Your Girlfriend’s a Magician”, a piece full of such inventive rhymes and ideas that we’re caught spellbound and laughing with him by the end.
Lorri Pimlott, dragged protesting to the “stage” next, reads one of the poems we published in the 2014 Anthology, and two new ones. The first is an account of Old Testament events from the point of view of a tabloid subeditor (we know Lorri used to be a journalist) at which we smile in recognition. The second, “This Is A Poem That Is Really Dirty” has us laughing out loud, especially coming from Lorri’s respectable mouth, and despite the fact that it contains no filth whatsoever!
David Evans (Blackbird) reads poems that he wrote in his own youth, full of Romantic angst and ending with a tale of “A Pauper’s Grave”.
Richard Jackson emerges from the back bar, with poems on lighter themes than we heard last month: I particularly like the title of “The Dead of Tuesday”.
Finally, Holly Luhning reads her moving poem from the Pop Up Anthology 2014, which is based on eighteenth century medical records of research that definitely wouldn’t pass the BMI’s ethical standards committee today. She tells us about her next Poetry Brothel night in London, too.
Now we have to make a hard decision – who should have their pick of the prizes Dónall has selected from his hoard of music, movie and comedy DVD’s? Dónall and I step aside to bicker a bit (sorry – discuss!) and we arrive at a decision as Cecilia Delatori takes the mike and enchants everyone with her songs and jokes about family, manners, Christmas, tea-towel and coaster use (ably assisted by Lydia with a tea-towel dance) and thoroughly recognisable dilemmas of that kind.
By now Geoff’s camera battery has expired too, so sadly I have no photos or footage of the last part of the night.
You’ll just have to believe me – everyone who performed was brilliant!
Oh, I nearly forgot – the winners this month were:
1st place - Lydia Skelhorn
2nd place - Leah Kelly
3rd place - Michael (Unique Technique)
But if everyone enjoyed the night as much as we did, everyone was a winner!
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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.