On arriving at the Hive I met Steve Wilson (after so many phone calls and emails in planning stages) who was taller and didn’t have the right colour hair for my phone vision. The Hive and Steve were brilliant hosts. I discovered the venue was unlicenced and decided to grab a pub lunch with a pint before the event, low on time my cheap B and B/pub agreed to bring it up to me at no charge. Height of sophistication fish and chips on my bed in pyjamas with Porridge on the TV. Catherine Crosswell: Catherine’s lively style that jumped between weird and dark and funny made her a perfect person to start the evening. Her tape measure that measures arms lengths is genius. She warns that ‘we will continue to auto-correct those who do not suspect/or believe.’ www.catherinecrosswell.co.uk Mike Alma: put beautiful postcards of war on chairs to accompany his devastating poems, particularly striking the line ‘before insanity ploughed the earth and devoured souls’. He enlisted audience member, Moira, for the second voice in Letters to a soldier at the front both poems are in Mike’s book, Fragments of the Great War. No link available. Nina Lewis: I loved her matching ears poem about her nephew ‘I am your auntie – the one with the matching ears.’ Your poem about music was glorious ‘Our emotions are carried on F sharps and B flats. I let you carry me on melody alone. Cello notes absorb the darkness.’ Nina Lewis You Tube www.awritersfountain.wordpress.com Jasmine Gardosi: Jasmine brought more weird and unsettling pieces (darker than Catherine). She performed a poem about writing in a night-club at the side of dance floor and broke up the sentences as if sound disturbance was doing this. I loved the idea of her beginning to ‘leave blueprints all over her left limb’ and the fact ‘she ignores the men as sticky as the floor – they would like to leave their digits on her wrist.’ – love the double use of digits here. I can safely say her take on the space theme to produce a piece about a family dying carbon-monoxide poisoning will probably be the only one. https://www.facebook.com/JasmineGardosiPoet and @jasminegardosi on twitter Neil Laurenson: Loved the way Neil came on after the strange storm that is Jasmine and kicked off with a gentle intro poem where ‘he was so softly spoken that they thought he was miming’ and he was going to ‘perfect his talent of being unheard’. The tone of Shrinking of Shrugs was delicious. It listed the small things a partner has done wrong and ends ‘the purpose of this lecture is to save our marriage.’ Henry Reed’s poem Naming of Parts is one of Neil’s favourites, he said it was a joy to mimic it in some way! http://herecomeseveryone.me/hce-meets-neil-laurenson-wenlock-2014-poet/ Adrian Mealing: I loved Adrian’s Number Ten zero hours cat and the rhythmic style that meant ‘you think by now I’d have a contract’ and the fact the cat playfully leaves a ‘message’. Adrian’s line in his Mum poem about having ‘nice neighbours and cheese omelettes’ amused me. What more could anyone want? He had left-handed version of a hedge-trimmer poem (after an accident). Genius. Link for Adrian & The Very Grimm Brothers is https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Very-Grimm-Brothers/193869703992330 Myfanwy Fox: In Myfanwy’s poem about her grandma: “Dolly Windmill won’t eat margarine/It tastes of despair in its greasy slide -/ there she blows! A slick of death/spreading on an oily tide.’ https://myfanwyfox.wordpress.com Claire Walker: Claire came in tough and told us we had to ‘Make me believe it/I want to see words on your lips’. Her mermaid poem was constructed of so many quotable lines I couldn’t record them all. ‘Don’t be fooled by my soft curves,/this tail carves the ocean with thoughts/that won’t be confined to land,’ and the line in Teaching your daughter to crack eggs ‘Tell her to remember not all broken things are wrong’ is going to remain with me for months. Beautiful and brief and knowing. Claire’s pamphlet The girl who grew into a crocodile is available in Autumn 2015 here; http://vpresspoetry.blogspot.co.uk/p/our-poets.html www.clairewalkerpoetry.com Carl Sealeaf: I love ‘we won’t need scratched graffitti to know that we are here.’ Genius to capture the quietness in a ‘restaurant crowded with separate silences.’ and the fact you could ‘use silence against each other.’ Advice: ‘Find a good mirror, or still water or a good dance track’. http://www.pangaeapoetry.com/ Clive Dee: read us a trees and death poem ‘a wood is made of death and through that death we live.’ In Unfolding Wings these lines sang ‘Mountains and valleys crease the paper/to fold a base to make a bird/neck and beak tail and wings/sunken paper muscled back/a thousand folds for luck’. I continued my poetry weekend with a full day and night in Stratford for Jo Bell’s 52 group poetry picnic – the whole weekend felt like one massive poetry hug. Feedback I don’t usually include feedback in the blogs, but this was so glowing I had to: ‘Thanks for constructing a beautiful listening post, a room for hearts & ears where we enjoyed a rainbow of styles & subjects from Botany Bay to Chemistry Kevin. You set a little powder keg under the palm tree and encourage the evening’s castaways to light the fuse. It’s perfect. You’re terrific. You do a lovely job. My but you work so hard and affectionately at this game of the imagination.’ Adrian Mealing, The Very Grimm Brothers. Keep track of Quiet Compere Tour here https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Quiet-Compere/523455994408580 https://www.ents24.com/uk/tour-dates/the-quiet-compere or on twitter @quietcomperemcr The Quiet Compere Tour is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
I could get used to having a committee of six (?) to plan for me. Caroline swapped a workshop (I came out with two strong pieces I have already performed) for a Quiet Compere t-shirt and drove me to get ale and to the venue. We arrived there ten minutes before doors to find the PA being set up and Antony on a book stall and a dozen people happy to help us set out tables and chairs (there was a detailed chair stacking diagram and 8 part instruction list that made me smile). Kim co-hosted beautifully and Mark morphed into the tenth poet at very short notice. As soon as we started there were complaints that the Quiet Compere was too loud. The mic was too loud, it was turned down and normal service was resumed. David Borrott: In his poem Wolf Fell, mountains were ‘air-fuddled in the distance’ and in Pigeons ‘pulling together to become a spun set of dancers…each giving way to the general pattern to become something more than themselves.’ we are treated to a pigeon dance. http://www.poetrybusiness.co.uk/shop/901/porthole Antony Christie: took us to a mythical house, Applegarth where we met ‘a threatening blackbird, stiff as a dowager’ and ‘last Autumn’s windfall sheds pale worms.’ His comment on the work that needed doing: ‘It is whole. That is all we can say.’ And in his Ontario poem: ‘the new ice sings to itself.’ www.antony-christie.com Neil Curry: I feel a gig has been a success if I go away having learnt something. Now I know Ulverston had foundry and rope makers. Sir John Barrow “wanted to be known/ as the man who filled in / those last little gaps in the Atlas” and I passed his Hoad monument both before and after the poem. From his poem Touch Wood : ‘Trees don’t even burn the same. / Some are generous with their heat / but give it out slowly…Nothing else on earth can be said to still look beautiful when it’s dead’ : www.neilcurry.com Kerry Darbishire: From Army Blanket which won first prize in Grey Hen poetry competition the concentration and affection in the line ‘fold it like a lover’s jumper’. There were a number of painting inspired poems and here was one about life-drawing called Posing for Andrew: ‘bearing stillness in failing sunlight’. Kerry’s collection is called A Lift of Wings and is available here: http://www.indigodreamsbookshop.com/#/kerry-darbishire/4586916905 Caroline Gilfillan: The line about her mother being ‘protractor angles of elbows and knees’ struck me as this is often what children feel like too. All edges and corners and awkward. In her poem Things he loved the line ‘eyes limpid with chalky loss’ shone out. Her two most recent collections are Yes (2010) and Pepys (2012) both published by Hawthorn Press. www.carolinegilfillan.co.uk Barbara Hickson: I enjoyed the contrast of ‘heather and bracken, smoke and song.’ in Traveller. At Loughrigg Tarn we are ‘like a reflection on a lake, one cloud and we’re gone.’ No link available. Maggie How: dedicated her set to her father and it was a beautiful and moving tribute ‘I am the sunlight on the bar-tops of trees… I weave thoughts with the evening mist’ The heart-breaking phrase ‘You smudge my heart with your art of dying.’ I also found out a lonning is a small country lane. No link available. Ayelet McKenzie: From BLACK MAGIC: The ‘night/creeps in like a black widow spider,/devouring the daylight /as she goes…to form a rainbow…/arcing over the wilderness of the earth,/this planet that will not stay for ever.’ Ayelet’s set was punchy and there were a lot of short pieces. No link available. Sue Millard: Wow! Lines from Driver’s Girl: ‘I will let you go, trusting/ the otherness that swallows you.’ ‘the road, the day/ and all its business claims you.’ http://www.suemillard.f9.co.uk/ Mark Carson: I loved poem Synaestheticae (first published in Brittle Star 2014). ‘This poem is written in oils, I have been adding layers since May.’ And in Canafy, lighten up! we get ‘the tapered ignition of the dawn’. Beautiful. No Link Available. Kim Moore’s wolf poem was one of my highlights of the evening. ‘No sound I make will still be made of words’ is a stunning line, much stronger than the phrase ‘speechless’! ‘the sound of their slow breathing fills her house.’ Kim lifted me up and carried me into the story. https://kimmoorepoet.wordpress.com/ A Poem and a Pint page is here: http://www.apoemandapint.co.uk/ Quiet Compere Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Quiet-Compere/523455994408580 ENTS24 page here for future Quiet Compere gigs: https://www.ents24.com/uk/tour-dates/the-quiet-compere