Hot on the heels of States of Independence came the bi-monthly poetry event jointly hosted by Nine Arches Press and Crystal Clear Creators.
The first open mic poet to the floor was yours truly, reading He Came To Me from the current issue of Under the Radar and a recently re-worked poem about the Old Man of Hoy. Next came Charlie Jordan, former Birmingham poet laureate, with Words. And what a treat hers were. I liked ‘Peel your words like a ripe avocado’s thin tarmac skin.’
Kate Ruse followed, reading two poems about Nijinski (the dancer, not the racehorse)from her forthcoming Original Plus pamphlet. Knowing something of its journey, as a fellow member of Leicester Writers’ Club, I’m looking forward to reading this. I enjoyed Deborah Tyler-Bennett’s homage to Ian Dury’s Reasons to be Cheerful. Lindsay Waller-Wilkinson’s beautiful love poems, I Know and Scars I remember featured on her blog. Charles Lauder’s Coffee also appears in Under the Radar, and 69 in his newly-published pamphlet, Bleeds (Crystal Clear Creators).
Michael W Thomas was the first feature poet of the evening. He entertained us with a poem about his father’s decrepit car ‘[squatting] on the driveway like a bulbous toad,’ ‘clearing throats of arterial roads’ so its passengers ‘[prayed] for Rhyl before the brakes gave out.’ He also paid tribute to the outmoded Especial and read from a sequence about childhood.
I enjoyed Jonathan Davidson’s humour, in particular On learning a Poem by Peter Didsbury (whilst walking along a ‘knife-narrow lane’).
After the interval, Jonathan Taylor introduced the Crystal Clear Creators’ half with Things Not To Be Mentioned at Antenatal Classes: a Guide for Fathers-To-Be. Refreshing to have the male POV! Gary Longden followed with a rant/response to the death of pop stars (a spectator sport). Good to hear open mic poems from Jane Commane and Matt Nunn, too. The elephant in the room was the subject of a newly-penned poem by Matt Merritt. I’d like to hear this one again/see it on the page.
Two of the Crystal Clear pamphleteers crowned the evening as feature poets. Aly Stoneman defined Lost Lands as places imbued with memory, childhood landscapes. Having just finished reading this, I enjoyed hearing a small selection read by the poet herself.
Andrew ‘MulletProof’ Graves, referring to Citizen Kaned as his ’first album,’ read his favourite ‘track,’ Middle-Aged Mod. I remember hearing MulletProof read this at Lowdham Book Festival in 2010; my first encounter with one of my favourite performance poets.