We had a widespread group for the workshop on the Tuesday (I had to move it to the day before as I have started a full-time job and run out of holiday days).
After a brief panic because both Zoom and Eventbrite were being glitchy we had a great turnout, considering we clashed with Nine Arches triple book launch. I think the choice to reduce the length of the event and not have an open mic, as there was very low take up on this last time, helped with audience numbers. I may well run a double open mic read-a-round session in November ahead of the finale.
Dave Pitt – Dave performed a poem about Hillsborough and provided brilliantly brief yet insightful introductions to all poets in the first half.
Ruth Kelsey –
Ruth shared two poems about her journey. I felt honoured she shared them with us. They were the most concise and direct poems of her set. The lines:
‘like making up the words to hymns
By mouthing shapes we think might fit, and hope no-one will notice.’
particularly chimed with me as capturing that feeling of unbelonging with such precision.
Nicky Longthorne –
One last cigarette and endless cups of tea stood out for me as a poem that had a bouncy rhythm, that contrasted well with the content and I think the lines running into each other until that final line and giving that space worked so well and I was glad we could see that on screen, one benefit of being on Zoom instead of live.
Jonathan Kinsman –
Such breathlessness in ars poetica and I started writing down lines to comment on and ended with two-third of this poem in my notes and the line ‘at what age did you begin to feel an indescribable falsehood inside?’ provided such a invitation to intimacy in that one question.
Liz Mills –
I loved Liz’s Scottish accent. The poem about Clarice Cliffe pottery was accompanied by a piece on the screen as ‘the poor girl from Tunstall, a mover of clay mountains.’ And Aunt Winnie was exquisitely described.
Siegfried Baber –
There was great detail in Siegfried’s family-focused poems from ‘a tender seam of blue sky.’ AndApplying Bruce Lee’s three principles of Kung Fu to my grandfather who has dementia was at once moving and compelling.
‘he hangs like a shadow
from the branches of a chestnut tree
until his arms ache and his grip finally falters.’
The scent of honeysuckle by itself and think the combination of ‘the scent of fireweed, honeysuckle and dark peppery nettles.’ may be quite overcoming.
I then performed a brief set including my epic love poem (shrunk to 2 pages from 6) to some of the people and some of the places. This is one of only two poems written since starting a new job eight weeks ago. I am finding it difficult to balance full-time work, single parenthood and tour admin and find time to write. I am hoping that a return to work and school routine will mean more time for creative ventures, be that playing an instrument, collage, colouring or writing. I have read a book of poetry a day in August and loved immersing myself again in this way with the moments I have found.
There are wonderful observations in the pieces Olivia chose for her set. ‘Perhaps poetry isn’t what I love, but how I love’ and from the Stim poem ‘O, secret metronome of me.’ I have not heard stimming tackled as a subject beforeand as one easily annoyed by repetitive noises this poem challenges me to have more empathy.
Hannah Linden – Hannah’s Childhood poempinpointed one elegant and important purpose
‘Today the only job I have
is keeping the blackbird quiet.’
and she delivers searing social commentary in the poem about the neighbour’s treatment of the wasp nest.
‘I hadn’t minded the wasps myself. They come back every year and have never stung anyone. I’m guessing they might want to sting someone now. Oh how my country has changed.’
Gill Lambert –
The whispering of salt was surprising, while also being spot on and
‘though she throws spilled salt over her shoulder,
whispers it, like prayer, into cooking water.’
and at the end the tender giving away:
‘How her father loved her,
gave her away, like salt.’
I loved the variety in Gill’s set too as she brought us snow, salt and summer.
Finola Scott –
Finola’s poems describe a place with a child as ‘a sweet oasis in a careless city.’ And the idea of ‘time worn thin’ grabbed me and stays with me now. And I loved the music in the line ‘unstackably awkward on Formica shelves.’
Sharon Larkin –
We seemed to have a honeysuckle theme tonight and how subtle the honeysuckle scent is, yet so recognisable.
‘honeysuckle smuggles her scent,
no more than a whisper at the start.’
Marsden Mechanics up next Friday 16th September
The next event is my first local hosting since I moved to The Colne Valley five years ago and I am hoping for a good turn out at Marsden Mechanics.
Tickets available here: