On Thursday, members of Leicester Writers’ Club gathered to welcome poet Mark Goodwin as their guest speaker for the evening.
As adjudicator of the club’s Autumn/Winter Poetry Competition, Mark gave insightful comments on the winning entries and presented prizes, followed by entrants’ readings of their placed poems.
Mark Goodwin, who describes his work as ‘other stream’ rather than mainstream in style, talked about his recent project as Leicestershire Landscape Poet in Residence. (I was lucky enough to participate in collaborative scapeshops at Loughborough University campus and The Brand, Swithland last summer). He also talked about his fascination with the ‘rurban’ or ‘rimmage’: where urban meets rural. (This was the focus of a walkshop I attended, facilitated by Mark as part of Southwell Library Poetry festival in July 2010).
We were transported as Mark read poems from his collections Else and Back of a Vast (Shearsman): poems about place, often using playful language and innovative word or line breaks, evident in the voicing of them. In the ensuing discussion, one member likened this style to stop-frame animation. The poet went on to say how breaking words gave opportunities for being creative with word meanings. He also welcomed coincidental sounds occurring during the reading of certain poems.
Mark mentioned poets who have influenced his writing: Lee Harwood, Peter Dent and Geraldine Monk. Click here to read poems by the latter two poets, and Mark’s tribute poems, in Litter online magazine (Leafe Press).
Mark ended by reading Song of Shoes from his latest collection, Shod (Nine Arches Press), which won the East Midlands Book Award 2010. A modern parody about a shoe messiah, Shod is strongly narrative, lyrical, innovative. I found it compelling reading – a real page-turner.