Blue Gnus, woofers and tweeters and The Old Dungeon Ghyll – Lancaster blog

I have had a couple of comments by audience at other venues that none of the poets rhyme and they would have been content with the number of poets who rhymed and rhymed well, without strife/life and rain/pain making any kind of appearance within couplets! Steve Fairclough’s first volume poem was called “Reference Red” and set in a library. He also read a second one called “Woofers and Tweeters”. An excellent title and a poem about those people who turn up their volume to fill a room, or more often for me, a tram! He ended the set with a tryst in a library poem. His set could have all been based on volume and he wasn’t the last poet to achieve this feat in Lancaster. Erfan Daliri: was the first poet on the tour who has managed to fill their ten minutes with one poem. Everyone IS looking for a place “where they no longer have to shoot down stars to fulfil their heart’s desires.” “Love will be the smile we give away for free.” and the line “they drink so they don’t have to cry.” Heart-breakingly honest. Rich Davenport: I love the Blue Gnu Haiku and when he “caused a palaver in a brown balaclava”. Trev Meaney:. I love your Just for Men poem too! Poem about chicken with a disclaimer. “No chickens harmed in this poem”. Not a veggie in the room when asked. I imagine the number of hands in the air at a Chorlton event would have been much higher! Jennifer Copley: She fell in love with a word. Beautiful.  The volume of feathers worked well “untroubled, white”. Ashley Lister: More clever rhyming here. Erotic fiction. Wakes some up and shocks others. Ashley kindly agreed to fill in for Lisa Bower who could not make the event. Pauline Keith’s slaughterhouse collection was well-balanced and provided a different tone to the evening, full of variety. She thought she had no volume in there, but I heard: “Distance silenced all sound but the wind” and we could also count the volume of animals passing through the slaughter-house. Ian Seed: I loved “Sometimes a city is shown its own reflection in the sky.” Elizabeth Burns: Austerity and the decadence of “fresh grapes and flowers in winter” by those “fuelled by love”. and from her Wuthering Height poem:  “transmute them, lace them with honesty and cream.”  I loved the Icarus poem. Especially the line “then the fine onion-skin of her dictionaries will turn to wings” Rachel McGladdery:  Her whole set had a volume theme! “Syruped by sun slant and felt like almost joy”. After the Old Dungeon Ghyll was a poem about a folk night. It started: ”night is a moist blanket which we leave to dry and creep in through the crawlspace to a hum a hive of smoke and sweat and song.” “yaddering drumming”  “Deafened by the thrum of silence”. This poem drips volume.  She finished the night on a high note. My learning curve: Don’t mix performance and page quite to this extent. I think the order of the poets was part of the problem with the night not hanging together as well as other events. One issue with this is working out what type of set poets intend to perform. Some poets are so versatile they perform comedy sets, out-and-out performance sets and more reflective quieter sets depending on the day. I don’t want to be prescriptive, but I may ask poets vaguely what style they are going to perform in next year so I can balance the running order better. A cancellation on the morning meant I did not get to check out one poet’s material and work out where to fit him among the other ten. I arrived at venue quarter of an hour before the event started and Big Char lie Poet and Colin Davies had kindly laid the room out. I make a rule of arriving at any venue a couple of hours before the event to address any issues I may not know about until seeing the space and the light, etc. On this occasion I had to work Sunday afternoon before traveling to Lancaster and time was unavoidably tight! Next year I will book holiday well in advance and do everything possible to see the venue two hours before the event. Also, I am going to enlist local poet/promoter/venue liaison from one of the performers of each event, with it being a national tour. Poem  The poem below partly came about because of Rich Davenport’s Blue Gnu haiku:  Seasonal Affective Disorder If I was a wasp. Found myself in November I’d sting everything.

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