Recent Reads #1

How I envy Gary Longden hearing Phil Brown reading from his newly-published first collection, ‘Il Avilit’ (Nine Arches), at Cheltenham Poetry Festival.

Having read an extract here, I purchased Brown’s Debut collection at States of Independence last month.  I read it over two coffee stops, finding it a real page-turner.  Two poems, in particular, made me smile: ‘Poetry Library’: ‘…the nepotistic quarterlies lining the walls/a paper network of favours/I will never be able to anything offer.’ and ‘On the way to Torriano’ – I love the audacious idea that performance giant Hegley might learn a thing or two from an eight year old boy, missing his gig into the bargain!

I very much hope that Brown will read at Leicester Shindig! in the near future.

Now re-reading…

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Leicester Shindig!

Monday 23rd January: poets and poetry lovers packed out The Western pub for the first Leicester Shindig! of 2012.

This bi-monthly event is co-hosted by Nine Arches press and Crystal Clear Creators.  Its winning formula: open mic slots and guest poet readings; an evening in two halves with an interval for catching up with friends in poetry, meeting new faces, re-fills at the bar and a browse at the book table.  (I came away with my planned purchase of David Morley’s The Night of the Day).

Open mic poems I enjoyed included Maria Taylor’s Larkin: a cautionary tale about the dangers of over-teaching (click here to read it).  David Calcutt’s reading was particularly captivating.  There were a couple of dual-voice poems and, in a timely homage to the Bard of Scotland, Nick Leach recited Robert Burns’ To A Mouse.

Guest poets:

John Lucas read extracts from his current project and several poems about mice.

Jessica Mayhew transported us to other worlds, reading some poems from her forthcoming Crystal Clear Creators pamphlet (added to my list of ‘must haves’).  A talented young poet with a bright future.

Helen Calcutt‘s guest spot was the highlight of my evening:  beautiful images, sculpted sounds, superbly articulated.  Her first collection will be published later this year by Perdika, London (another for the list).

Unfortunately, Phil Brown was unable to attend, but you can purchase, or read an excerpt of, his Il Avilithere (part of the Nine Arches Debut new poets series).

Remaining Leicester Shindig! dates for 2012:

Monday 19th March

Monday 21st May

Monday 16th July

Monday 17th September

Monday 19th November

Visit Nine Arches online: several titles are reduced in their January sale!