My last poetry day out in Sheffield was a bid to take my mind off impending hip replacement surgery. It did the trick. Yesterday, with footie on the telly and two men with chainsaws in the garden, a day ticket to a Midsummer Poetry Festival was just the (ahem) ticket.
I love getting a ‘poetry hit’ as soon as I leave Sheffield station:
and again, with Andrew Motion’s poem, ‘What if..?’ on the ‘sheer cliff’ of a Sheffield Hallam building:
Bank Street Arts was my destination for the day’s events. The first was a workshop and reading by Cutting Edge Poets. A selection of their work is displayed on the wall in the atrium:
Glass cabinets house an interesting assortment of book/word-related exhibits. Here’s my favourite:
Next up, readings by Nia Davies, John Harvey, AB Jackson and Roy Marshall provided the small audience with diverse writing styles and delivery. I particularly enjoyed AB Jackson’s wit and polished performance. I hear Roy read regularly, so enjoyed hearing three new poems inspired by his former work as a cardiac care nurse. I admired Nia Davies’ feminist voice; hard-hitting poems.
These poems on postcards, by various published poets, were on display around the gallery space. I like the idea of a Keeper of Cards as curator (aka Peter Sansom, I think):
Technical issues beset Rob Hindle’s solo performance of Yoke and Arrow, a poem-drama about the Spanish Civil War and the death of Lorca. In fact, I found the documentary and news footage rather too distracting overall.
I enjoyed Matthew Clegg’s one-off performance of his poem series, Chinese Lanterns, aided by fellow Longbarrow Press poet, Andrew Hirst. A tea ceremony and the use of simple props engaged the audience from the outset..
The final event was an ‘orchestration’ of readings from The Footing anthology by Longbarrow Press poets. Again, I enjoyed the contrast of styles and voices, not least James Caruth, whom I enjoyed hearing for the first time last summer.
If you’re local to Sheffield or fancy a day out, the poetry festival has events throughout June. (Click on the link above for details).
On the way back to the station, a few more sights along the way:
This brick wall art is rather arresting, don’t you think?
and this cheeky ‘word art’: