It’s been one of those weeks when everyone (including our elderly cat, poor boy) has wanted an extra piece of me – mostly in a good way, I hasten to add. This weekend has been a full-on music-poetry combo, and sensible folk might have opted for a lazy Sunday, in readiness for another week at the chalkface (at end of an over-long spring term). But I rarely take the sensible option (as those who know me – er, know) and ‘life is short’ is a maxim I live by (see previous post here). And there was absolutely no way I was going to miss the Eyewear launch of The Best British & Irish Poets 2017 anthology.
I couldn’t have ordered better weather for a London jolly. With time to kill before the event, I walked from Brixton station to The Windmill in warm sunshine, sporting varifocal sunglasses and minus a cardie. The early birds amongst us then sat outside until the bar opened (my, it was nightclub-dark in there).
Eyewear’s Todd Swift ably steered us through the afternoon, keeping pretty much to time considering this involved cajoling everyone back inside at the end of each brief break in proceedings.
Luke Kennard spoke about judging the 900 or so entries and read some of his recent work, including a ‘Brexit morning’ poem and finishing with one from ‘Cain.’ It was good to talk to Robin Houghton, say hi to Jill Abram and exchange a few words with other contributors in between readings. And Luke Kennard talked poetry and life stuff with me as I rested on a bar stool after a long stint of standing. And he said nice things about my poem.
I chose to listen/watch rather than follow poems on the page during readings. I particularly enjoyed Alan Buckley’s ‘Miracle’ for its arresting images and its delivery, Niall Bourke’s ‘Marbletown’ for its satirical humour, and Jessica Mookherjee’s ‘Vernal Equinox’. There’s a real range of subjects and styles in the anthology to enjoy reading at my leisure.
The anthology is available from Eyewear Publishing for £10.99. To purchase (and browse the other publications, while you’re there), click here.
Before catching my train back to Leicester, I met my youngest sister for a catch-up over a bite to eat – serendipitous that we both happened to be in London for the day. We hadn’t seen each other in over three years! When did life become so busy…?
Having typed most of this on the train journey home, I’m finishing and posting this on Monday morning. After a much-needed early night!