Bradford City Library Quiet Compere 11th June

The venue often feels like an extra performer. Bradford City Library (hosted by the excellent Dionne V. Hood) was no exception to this. They provide a cosy space between the shelves and a bust of Humbert Wolfe, a locally famous poet.

We had a good turn out for both the workshop and showcase event despite Arriva bus strikes. Two people from the workshop had never written poetry before and one attendee read the poem they wrote in the afternoon in the open mic section of the evening.

On the open mic Maz dedicated each of her four short poems to women in the audience who had been part of her writing journey which started in the last year or so. Yazmin read us a piece about quiet words and ended with ‘silence’. Steve shared a moving poem about how ‘the guys in here say I was born sad… I was born happy.’ Kellie gifted us a haiku.

Steve O’Connor

Steve was an excellent co-host and even invited me along to his workshop in the morning at the town hall and introduced me to the massive hot chocolates and Manchester tart at Café. Steve dedicated his poem Carrot Girl to Eileen Lumb and his mum. I enjoyed the defiant celebration of ‘We are people. We are here and we abound.’

And genius rhyme-play from Party to it:  

‘Eyes squint, upturned collar,

Desires and designs on you

As your mates dance on the sofa

Because your folks are in Corfu’

from collection, Extrano (from Flapjack Press who have a Spring sale on until 30th June).

Trevor Alexander

I enjoyed the rhymes ‘nervous/epidermis’ and alibied/inside. Trevor also read a positive and hopeful poem about health, ‘give me ten more years and I’ll think I’ve got a bargain.’

Nabeela Ahmed

There was such compassion in the poem Some Men, especially the lines ‘they remove slugs so you can be comfortable… Some Dad’s…create new stories each night, they teach you how to grieve the loss of failure and how to ensure victory.’

The phrase ‘don’t cramp her into a tiny jar of your expectations.’ ‘let her sing in the spring and dance in the rain.’ Such gentle and seemingly simple freedoms.

Nabeela performed a poem in Urdu with no translation and instructed us if we didn’t know the language we could enjoy the music of the sounds. This surprised me and made me think. Loved the fact Nabeela did not feel any obligation to share a translation.

Nick Toczek

I love the sad rhythm in the line ‘midges mass and mingle. We stay single.’ ‘Choke on your own hat/ charge you VAT’ made me smile. And the ‘ripples on love’s lake’ in your vibrating hotel rooms poem.

Sharena Lee Satti

Sharena shared a strong set of poems and particularly emotive lines were ‘Every planted seed is picked before it can blossom.’ and Sharena talked of sometimes being ‘just seen as a tick box in other people’s lives.’

Kathleen Strafford

Music seems to be one of the themes of Kathleen’s set. A rock n roll poem talking of ‘signing autographs on soft-skinned groupies’ and ‘how to stack a never-ending arsenal of 45s’. This reminded me of the time I found out I could load up more than one 45 and the Dansette would play them after each other. There as such tenderness in Kathleen’s poem about teaching her parents to twist ‘if twisting was their only foreplay I would have never been conceived.’ And in Things clouds get up to, ‘conjuring kidnapped mists into foggy lovers.’ A varied and strong set.

David Driver

Photographing David was a challenge because of how active he is. ‘a human goldfish, insanity season and the madness in bloom.’ I loved the 80s references in I want to be bionic – muppets, Dusty Bin ‘The Ceefax of all knowledge’. I remember following soaps and jokes in Ceefax. And from Barstool know it man ‘He’s welded up the Titanic. Been a Formula 1 mechanic. Tamed a Bengal tiger and didn’t panic.’ This guy is referred to as having ‘done everything and been everywhere’ whilst in reality he’s never left the pub.

Next up…

The next Quiet Compere gig is Wolves on Friday 1st July…

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