Quiet Compere Sundered Land (part of Sunderland Libraries’ Festival 2017)

The Quiet Compere Sunderland at Sunderland Libraries’ Festival
(16th October – 4th November 2017)

http://www.sunderland.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=10823

Thanks firstly to the festival staff for looking after us so well and for getting a brilliant venue for the event and finding some funding so I could pay performers a fee. 

Sundered

We champions of Pallion,

we builders of ships,

we pipework wranglers.

 

We sons of Hendon

and Roker daughters

caught by the nets

of a slaughter trawler

 

who stripped our streets,

shutdown our shops,

took food from the mouths

of the bairns of the town.

 

We stand sundered

but unbowed,

made from the stuff

the south cannot dream of.

 

The tide is ours

and it is due in.

by Harry Gallagher

 
Harry Gallagher:
Harry told us ‘the sun is a ghost’ and ‘Miss Cassidy chuckled at the softest of heroes ‘. Then, Harry  ‘puts an arm around midnight’ and ‘the dark is reclaimed by frosted foxes.’ Harry’s poem ‘Sundered’ above was written in response to a prompt to write a piece about the local area and he was so quick of the mark with it that is was used in the promotional material for the festival too.  

Link: https://harrygallagherpoet.wordpress.com/


Judi Sutherland:
Judi’s take of sundered land was a political piece that talked of  ‘the chasm running through us that is wider than a river.’ and ‘the toss of a coin that is double-sided’. In her  Jo Cox poem the line ‘ all your future selves collapse into a bullet-hole.’  stunned me.

Find more about Judi here: http://www.judisutherland.com/


Tony Gadd:
Tony’s poetry was largely about the fact he has had head and neck surgery and the value of having a voice.  Lines that particularly stood out for me were: ‘Still I’m honoured to keep my gift of a voice.’ and then about spoken words ‘My life, this voice, spoken words, I savour every one of them never knowing if it will be my last.’ I loved your line in the local industry poem about ‘bottle glass works offer gifts from the sea, of ultramarine amber and ruby gems.’

Tony’s page is here: http://tonygadd.com/about


Bob Beagrie:
I loved the refrain of a poem Bob co-wrote with children ‘We’ll send a ship across the sea from Sunderland’ and I particularly loved ‘a piece of sea-coal from Seaham sands.’ Bob’s poem about the National Day of Mourning in Estonia, Leinapaev  ‘the trees stand singing songs that run through their rings’. Oh, and the music in his words in other poems  ‘into each season’s amnesia ‘ and ‘murmurs the mottle logic of eggshells.’

Listen to Bob here with music by S J Forth: https://soundcloud.com/projectlono-1/leinapaev/


Juli Watson:
Juli stepped in 6 hours’ notice and so did not have a piece about the local area. Juli told us of her time spent working with adolescents in a secure forensic psychiatric unit ‘dress it with dignity, dress it as if it was your child.’

And she her talk of  ‘when we meet it , hot breath and cold glass – flashing your fishing-hook smile’ reminded me of a recent return to the world of ‘dating’ and the shock and melt of hot breath and contrast of fabric and skin. Then, Juli tells us of ‘spring amidst the grey winter of routine.’ A simple moment of pleasure when a patient who couldn’t communicate verbally seemed to ‘dance’ in her wheelchair.

Find Juli’s assemblage pieces here: https://juliwatson.weebly.com/poetry-assemblage.html

Poets who were  sadly missed due to lurgy and house moves were Pippa Little, Mandy Maxwell and Laura Lawson.

Thanks to Bob Beagrie, Tony Gadd and Juli Watson for stepping in at short notice. Thanks to Judi Sutherland (and Big Frank) for letting me stay and feeding me and Harry Gallagher for the pint on Newcastle Brown Ale.



The Quiet Compere and beyond Sunderland
I performed a short set too about belonging and movement. As I had never been to Sunderland before I wrote a poem about buses as I thought that was safe territory, rather than muddling up local myth and history and industries.  The bus poem is below.

What next for Quiet Compere? I have bids in to Huddersfield Litfest and am preparing one for Swanwick Writers School. I am a regular visitor at Marsden Poetry Village and hope more will happen in that direction over the next few months.

I have been quite tied up with moving area, house, job and Frank moving school and the pamphlet plans – launch is 24th November in Leeds.

Watch this space…

Park Lane Interchange

The classical music

and choreographed buses.

 

The mantras

that take

all the waiting home

or closer to that.

 

35A, Black Cats 2, 60 Drifter,

 

Stagecoach, Arriva, Go North East.

 

Silksworth, Marley Pots, Barnes.

 

Fred Stratton is missed

with his Marshall-bodied Dominators from Darlo,

Dennis Lancets from Blackpool

his Leyland Lynxes, Titans and Olympians.*

 

The classical music

and choreographed buses.

 

The mantras

that take

all the waiting home

or closer to that.

 

The movement

and the slow promise

of a destination.

 

*Redby of Sunderland Flickr

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sound of a stick trailed across railings or The Quiet Compere at Poetry Swindon

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Warning: This is longer than my usual blogs as it is trying to cover the Poetry Swindon weekend, rather than just Quiet Compere event.

 

I knew before I arrived at Poetry Swindon this was going to be the friendliest place to spend my 40th birthday weekend having met a lot of the crew at a Jo Bell, 52 workshop and reading day in Birmingham in January. I was collected from the station by Maurice, then I symbolically posted some work receipts. After we had negotiated the ‘roundabout complex of Swind’ Maurice showed me to my Holiday Inn room.

 

After rainbow-painting my nails I went over to the Richard Jeffries Museum. I arrived to a loving welcome and hugs from all directions. Friends from Exeter and Bristol, Oxford and Liverpool, Birmingham and Stone. And Swindon. Oh, and there was mulled wine. Hilda went to check if it was ready and there was one in my hand within five minutes. I walked into the Tent Palace of Delicious Air and found more friends there. I perched on a leather bean-bag with my mascot, Kendal. Stephen and Mark were jealous of my nails. After four hours travelling I was there and slightly dazed. I marvelled at the wall hangings, lectern and lighting.

 

I had to source a big stick shaped like a moose before Quiet Compere started and parked this outside The Sun Inn warning a local not run off with it, unless he wanted to write a poem about a moose and use it to perform that! This is the poem it was for and it is dedicated to Hilda and all the work, love and fun she pours into Poetry Swindon:

 

The hysteria that comes

 

I find it often melts Frank and I

and we are lost for minutes.

Gone.

Then, back even better for it.

 

I get the same with my brothers,

still,

even though I see them

half a dozen times a year.

 

The easy hilarity of closeness.

 

Not so often alone,

though on Sunday

I found a small dead tree

lifted it into life

for five minutes.

Held it to my forehead

and ran around the field

pretending to be a moose.

14522690_10157588241125711_3506957743260768959_n  Photo by Mark Farley

Quiet Compere:

I did a ten minutes set myself. Not that Quiet Compere then, but a few friends said “We want to hear more of you!” and I didn’t take much encouragement to step up there and give them ten minutes. I enjoyed reading some of the poem-a-thon poems I had rediscovered on the train and quite a lot of new stuff, never read.

 

Julia Webb gave us a bee-dress you could wear in humming praise of summer. Julia’s collection is called ‘Bird Sisters’ and she invented sisters and told us about the one who stayed up all night at the crematorium plaiting flowers into your mother’s hair. and water as ‘an inside out, a nothingness.’ and  ‘The moon thinks of itself as an emergency’.

 

Catch Julia here: http://juliawebb.org/blog/

 

Anna-May Laugher: read us a Wile Coyote poem a cartoon mother should never look down. and fitting with National Poetry day theme of the day earlier: the word message has its own chaos. In ‘The Crosby Men’ the line even my tears decay you hits me hard.

 

More about Anna-May: http://www.petersfieldwriteangle.co.uk/guests_annamay.html

 

Susan Utting:

I enjoyed the imaginary sister poem and the phrases mizzle morning, craggy ground and a clattering charm of jackdaws. Loved her dress too.

 

Susan has/is running workshops using the contemporary ceramics exhibition as inspiration . The link is here: http://swindonmuseumandartgallery.org.uk/event/from-where-im-standing/

 

Susan’s web-page: http://www.susanutting.com/

 

Sam Loveless:

In ‘Surburbian Alien VHS.’ Sam was playing science like conkers, smashing apart and noticing beautiful irrelevancies like 16mm film. Another poem about Leaving Swindon called ‘In my absence’ he gives us the advice to let anything grow that does not stunt another. And from ‘After the swings’: not forgetting how high/we swung. Where you landed.

 

Sam interviews Robert Peake here: http://www.robertpeake.com/archives/poet/sam-loveless

 

Angie Belcher:

I love the fact there could be something so important I will want to press the creases out of all my clothes for the week. I don’t own an iron and relate to this. I was only talking about Gladiators and trying you name them last week and Angie talks of watching Jet from Gladiator with quiche and jam tarts.

 

Find Angie here: https://angiebelcher.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

 

Quiet Compere: Hilda Sheehan took over as host for the second half

Hilda read us a couple of poems and in the middle of Hilda’s tube poem about her first vibrator the lights went out. I think she had intended the black-out as it resulted in some memorable photos. We may have overloaded the electrics with heaters and lighting and mic, but I like to think it was the shock of Hilda’s poem that did it.

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Here’s Hilda: http://hildasheehanpoetry.blogspot.co.uk/

 

Carrie Etter:

The attention to detail in ‘Home and Away’ stuns me, especially the line and when I moved afar he expanded his research accordingly, learned my temperature, precipitation, wind speed, and humidity. And from ‘And Now for a Kind of Song’:

 

a tune one murmurs in distraction, without thought

a song in the body, the body in Illinois

 

These are from Carrie’s manuscript in progress, ‘The Weather in Normal.’

 

Carrie is here: http://www.carrieetter.com/

 

Nick Lovell:

Nick tells us I meet you where waves end, where tears begin. And in ‘Bewildered Nick’ that I have heard before but is always a listening pleasure where death and bewildered Nick are subject to a horse-racing commentary style poem and death always wins by exactly one length.

 

Nick co-host a new night in Swindon here: https://www.facebook.com/OoohBeehive/

 

Cristina Newton:

Cristina immerses us into a world of gaps and bones with style and charm. Cristina requested I not share her lines.

 

Read some poems by Cristina here: https://cristinanewton.wordpress.com/

 

Stephen Daniels:

I fell for the idea of telling your mistakes you love them. And his instructions of how to act in nuclear war poem, particularly fold the tea. Wow and a pop-song duration remains. His poem about a friend who died was difficult to listen to, especially the line Volume up. Brightness up. And the moths her children in the wardrobe sit between cotton and wool./I tease. Watch you turn to dust.

 

https://stephenkirkdaniels.com/

 

Maurice Spillane:

Had his set hijacked by exes in the days before there are none more circumspect than former lovers. In his poem ‘The Game Parade’ there is no place more dangerous than the recent past… long joined up stories/like railway carriages…one derail/ could uncouple everything.

 

Website here: http://mauricespillane.ie/

Mark Farley (Photographer):

OK, so I am usually proud of the photos I manage to get at Quiet Compere events, but someone did it better this time. Mark Farley, I like the internal rhyme in his name too. Go on, repeat  it a few times. See what I mean? Also, this meant I have a dozen or so photos of me reading, with my ‘moose’ stick and listening in the audience (was a little concerned about this because I am not always sure what my watching face looks like). He has probably kept the gurning ones for bribery purposes, I know I do. 

 

Interval:

In the interval Sam led me to the kitchen, where there was a large box of ale, I thought he meant I could have a pint or two. “No, he said, it is all for you A birthday gift from me!” Ah! The loveliness continued again and again all weekend. I may or may not have had a constant half in my hand for most of Saturday and this meant I missed having an evening meal with John and Nina, but it also meant I got to have some of Maurice’s excellent curry and get a lift into town for the evening sessions.

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Poetry Swindon link: http://www.poetryswindon.org/

 

Saturday Day:

Andrew McMillan’s honesty workshop made me cry twice, but I came out with six new, strong, tough poems that may not have existed unless I had pushed myself to higher levels on honesty than I usually pour into my poetry. Anne-Marie Fyfe and Roy Marshall were both poets I had not heard or met before and Anne-Marie told us ‘the sea is always with me.’ I met an ant and beetle in the tent. Roy’s poems spoke to me as they were medical and post mortem (my 17 year NHS career came back through his words). I was a little distracted by Louise Campbell’s stunning red patent leather boots. Nina and I shared some of our poems from Andrew’s morning workshop on a bench near the boat in Richard Jeffries gardens.

 

Saturday evening:

I fully intended to join John and Nina for a meal in Swindon, but time trickled away in engaging conversations with a dozen poets and the ale box slowly and constantly filled my half pint glass. Maurice arrived with his curries for the volunteers and I managed to wangle a portion before we all climbed into cars to go into Swindon for Keith Hutson’s Troupers, a show about the characters in the golden age of  the entertainment industry and  then Cristina and Daljit presented the Battered Moon awards, it was good to see friend, Ken Evans won a prize in it.

 

Turning 40:

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Back at base we all gathered in the Tent Palace and then in Hilda’s Lounge. I was handed a Babysham in a Babysham glass and Sam and Mark kept topping my pints up from the never ending ale box. I turned forty in a lounge that looked like my childhood among a raft of old and new friends and hugs and kisses were everywhere. I decided to spend the night in the Tent Palace and Sam piled up the blankets and asked me if I was sure I wanted to stay out? I did, and woke up on the morning of my birthday in the luscious tent. To be honest, I slept very little, it was cold and uncomfortable and around 5am I decided to go back to my Holiday Inn bed and grab an hour or two of sleep, before returning to the Museum to find Mike Pringle making me a bacon sandwich and Sophie and Tess had baked and decorated a cake for me. I was given a medal for services to Richard Jeffries Museum and a bunch of flowers from the festival. I left notes of love, thanks, the rest of ale and a couple of beer-mats with poems on and Quiet Compere badges as thankyous to all the lovely people at Poetry Swindon. I exchanged lots of goodbye hugs before a lot of friends went into Daljit Nagra Masterclass. I walked by the lake and returned to find  the masterclassers had been released for a break and I gathered another bunch of hugs before Maurice drove me back to catch my train.  

 

I left with a Swindon Skin and will be back very soon

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I will leave you on a final line from Maurice Spillane:  like the sun may catch you, hallowed in the dark room and wonder at the magic of it.

Robin Williams, apple sorrow and elephants in every corner (the blog of Quiet Compere at Worcs LitFest 2016)

Jasmine   Jess Adam

After a walk along Kleeve Walk beside the Severn and through the locks I found Ye Olde Talbot where I stayed last year and had a slow pint in the pub garden gazing at a small square of blue sky from the courtyard. As soon as I left to bask the rain pelted me until I took shelter outside an estate agents with a couple of dozen others.  

 

Martin Driscoll and a committee were all at The Hive when I arrived after an afternoon of pootling around Worcester and welcomed me with wine and organisation, a happy combination and below are reviews of the guest poets and some lines I liked from support poets and open miccers. I have included links to their sites where I know them.

 

Guest Poets

Jess Davies

In Jess’s Good Will Hunting poem I enjoyed Jess raising her hand to own up to borrowed lines, much less intrusive than mentioning it all the way through or not at all. From Learning how to cry: ‘Identify the elephant in the room./Name it ‘wolf’.

I do a little dance at this line now!

Jess made me cry twice. Her quiet style makes the poetry shout so much more. The words work hard and don’t need shouting.

http://jessmaydavies.tumblr.com/

Jasmine Gardosi

Ah! ‘as jumbled as a Brummie’s accent.’ and the image of the poetry teacher hiding behind the picture books. ‘a whole row of Elmers’ adventures. The elephant in the room ‘explodes in multicolour.’ Love the ‘twist of fate and paper.’

http://www.jasminegardosi.com/

Adam Horovitz

‘Take the same landscape in as if it were breath.’ ‘A stone-rush of butter and red-bricked memory.’ Loved The Pelican,a  pub ‘divided by accent and arrival time.’ and ‘cider shouting through me in apple sorrow.’ Wow! Makes me want to try some cider for the first time in 15 years! http://adamhorovitz.co.uk/blog/

https://littlemetropolis.bandcamp.com/merch

 

Support Poets

Holly Magill

For Holly tongued fingertips ‘sausage stumble the keyboard.’ and ‘time sloths’. ‘Wet-lipped uncles at someone else wedding’ Yuk!

https://clearpoetry.wordpress.com/2016/03/17/holly-magill-three-poems-2/

Ken Evans

‘an arc of arms throwing punches of light’ was so surprising and visual.

http://www.inksweatandtears.co.uk/pages/?p=6912

Leon Priestnall

‘with love I am begging for you to hurt me.’

‘it’s similar to a kiss, like the ones we share’.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysVRsytlFpo

Open mic

Polly Stretton

‘the scent of sweet apples gift-wrapped in old newspaper’.

https://journalread.com/

Nina Lewis

water described as ‘all claws, teeth and current.’

‘Our emotions carried on F sharps and B flats.’

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/

Kathy Gee

‘The weight of hours in his loft’ grabbed me particularly.

http://vpresspoetry.blogspot.co.uk/p/book-of-bones.html

Leena Batchelor

“I’m the girl who stepped into the black, And found a welcome there”.

http://pixiemuse.wordpress.com

Neil Laurenson

I enjoyed Adelstrop and Exclamation Marks and the Leaving assembly one.

http://silhouettepress.co.uk/shop/exclamation-marx-by-neil-laurenson/

Anne Milton

 ‘I would steer by the stars, but the constellations have moved.’

This was Anne’s first ever performance at a poetry event and there is no link for her at present.

Kieran Davis

‘a seduction, a secrecy and suggestions of stealth.’

Lacuna launch is here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1280938665267803/

https://blackpear.net/about/

Polly put me up and made me a fry up. It was lovely to meet Polly’s daughter and Mabel the dog too. They took me on a walk back from their house across Diglis Bridge and I was inspired by the love-locks and now have two poems of Love for Worcester (though I have only visited twice). Thank you Worcester. I will be back. xxx

More about Worcestershire Literature Festival here: https://worcslitfest.co.uk/



Worcs mascot

Oceans of Bisto, sausage rolls and mustard memories – Hebden Blog

Firstly, The Nutclough Studio was a perfect space for a Yorkshire-sized audience, the venue was truly a 12th performer on this night, adding it’s personality to the event and we had a visit from the lovely Fern Bast to check we settled in and again at the end of the evening to see if there were any issues with the venue. Settees, blankets, tall stools, a rainbow light with a tree in it and high windows all added to the evening. And all this before we add a line-up that had been making me a little giddy for a while! I hope to capture a flavour of the evening below in case you couldn’t make it.

 

Greg White: ‘We tend to spend our lives in the back rooms of ourselves.’  Then from Books  ‘And I, in turn, entrusted you/with my whole self in manuscript.’ and I like that by my reading of The Source, my new poem, I gave him permission to read Leaving, his follicular calligraphy poem. No link available.

 

Stu Freestone: made us hungry: ‘You remember those crumbly sausage rolls that would just fall apart in your hands, almost like a paper waterfall folding its way through the cracks in your grasp’ and then ‘We are the graphite drawn from those pencil tips sketching picture perfect postcards.’ Hee hee! ‘seasoning pleases me… …I want to bathe in an ocean of Bisto!’ Course he does, I do too! Stu hosts Say Owt Slam! in Leeds. The next event will be on Friday 27th May at The Basment, York. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stu-Freestone-Spoken-Word-Poet/293008464226457

 

Rose Condo: Rose’s Sexual Assault Helpline poem was inspired and hard to listen to, it was an automated machine making all kinds of judgements about the caller, with no facility for response, talking them out of the claim before they had even made it.  Particularly through the lines questioning the caller’s ‘level of voice or intensity of eye contact.’ ‘Is he just known as an affectionate guy?’ Her Richard III speech was excellent and would have loved to make Shakespeare slam to see everyone’s take on the Bard. http://www.rosecondo.net/ Rose hosts Queenie’s Coffee House Nights in Huddersfield. The next is tonight with Tony Walsh and Alix Alixandra at 7pm.

 

Winston Plowes: Winston’s war series (first published by Square Chapel Centre for the Arts, Halifax in The Writing Room 2016) was moving as it took us through saying Goodbye to someone going to war ‘I’ve buried you like an/acorn in the foxhole/before the winter/burns me.’, how it was like for the person left behind ‘Gagging on every thorny paper kiss… my life is decorated with the long wait for you.’ and the third poem was on the return from war ‘Eyes that blink to orders/since the sand unmade you……you brought a war back with you/In your blood and thunder.’ I had noticed Winston’s Memory Box earlier and thought it was part of The Nutclough décor. He took lines from it in any order they came out and gave us snippets of memories ‘silverfish racing passed the gas-fire.’, ‘mustard mixed with a tiny wooden spoon.’ and ‘flying toys that collect dreams.’ http://www.winstonplowes.co.uk/

 

Clare Shaw: When thinking about the recent Hebden floods I had thought about the things, shops and homes lost, but not the people and that death was part of it. The resilience around Hebden and the messages of Thanks on windows made me cry and smile, Clare did too. The directness: ‘I am that one car, floating. I am the phone’s blank screen. I am the neighbour with the cigarette. I am too wet to smoke. I am the mother knee-deep. Clare also brought out one I remember from when I first heard her read from ‘Straight Ahead’ Bloodaxe, ten years ago, in which the protagonist dared  ‘to dance the wrong kind of dance with the wrong kind of man. To dance the wrong kind of dance with a girl.’   http://www.clareshaw.co.uk/

 

I got heckled for heckling! Apparently, I might have been a Quiet Compere, but I was a not so quiet audience member when Winston was hosting. The audience were so warm and open I decided to perform a new poem. Not my usual style or subject matter.  I am going to take this to Manchester monthly slam (Word War at 3MT) on June 7th. Terror and good butterflies mix in a giddy cocktail of anticipation.

 

Brendan McPartlan: I loved The Madman in the Corner, Brendan introduces us to the Madmen in the corner and gets us into the centre of the room and tells us “Well this room has got four corners and/I’ve shown you everyone,/so you’re probably thinking that the madman’s gone/ Well sorry, you’d be wrong/because tonight I have moved to the middle of the room because I wanted to talk to you.’ Love the family love in the Lenny poem ‘The boy catches me watching/he smiles a smile full of peas/ and says “More more more!’ This made me cry.  No link.

 

Hannah Stone: Hannah’s set had so many stand-out lines for me, why say pregnant when you can say ‘her belly heaves with legitimate pride and unfamiliar hormones.’

From ‘Reunion of the broken parts’, ‘Who can find one deity to hold it all together while his flayed back knits itself together.’

Hannah’s collection, Lodestone, is now available through Stairwell books here:  http://www.stairwellbooks.co.uk/html/collections.html#Lodestone


Matthew Hedley Stoppard:

Accents are hard to describe, but not to Matthew, ‘Round East Midlands vowels, as if my head’s been shoved in the hollow of an oak.’

‘Bruises beneath feathers, while holding a rook in a headlock’ made me smile.

http://www.valleypressuk.com/author/24/matthew_hedley_stoppard

Becky Cherriman: From Austerity: ‘You woke one morning, aching with it.’ Becky read a number of poems from her pamphlet from Mother’s Milk, Echolocation http://beckycherriman.com/?p=1142/

One of these was All princes were monsters once which held the line about her son: ‘It is as though this is the first accurate mirror/I have come across.” Wow!

http://beckycherriman.com/

David Jarman: Dave’s Stuff poem got me this time. ‘It’s form fell apart, it’s structure fell away’. ‘cut into the bark, stark, square, sketchy letters.’ ‘For we are never nothing!’ These lines in particular grabbed me by my slightly drunken ears and made me listen.  I also love his people on the route to work poem Against the Tide: ‘middle-aged looking five year old with her Mum.’ ‘nothing can wake me like mist on the tracks in the morning.’ http://www.jarmanpoetry.com/

The next day I spent an hour with mallards, pigeons and ravens  by the River Wharfe thinking about the floods and nothing and everything, watching the ravens have water baths. Then I had chocolate cake and wine and caught my train home. Thank you Hebden.

The Quiet Compere and Thursday Lates at Whitworth Gallery – 4th February 2016

Firstly, massive Crowd-funder thanks and shout-out to Mary R Crumpton who could not make it on the night.

Secondly, a Big Crowd-funder hug to all that have supported to make this happen.

I planned a workshop and made suggestions of art-work and how attendees could use it to create a piece, pointers rather than directions. I wrote two pieces in this time and performed them both on the night. One was in response to a Greenhouse with words on the outside and light shining from within and the second was in response to a piece that was a map, but if you looked carefully the contours made up names at their highest points.

The Grand Hall lived up to its name with tall ceilings and windows and a screen with Quiet Compere logo on it. We even had a stage for me to attempt to fall off between introducing performers! Many of the audience were not regular poetry goers and had positive feedback and said they will go to poetry events again.

Reece Williams:
Reece told us ‘spin doctors still have my dreams on quarantine’. and that ‘I was already spent on grief. my web of mourning was already drawing’. Also the phrase ‘arsenal of ambition’ was a powerful phrase when used in a poem about a young black boy who was killed.

copland smith:
copland treated us to three art-themed poems. From copland’s piece, How to paint a poem: ‘first you hammer out the framework… …as if you’ve never seen the world before. Do not let people watch, they will say that world does not exist.’ and the ‘brushes dunked in clouded spirit.’

Anna Tuck:
Anna was assured and cheerful and made me cry with her poem about wanting more from lovers. ‘I don’t want to be one part of a roving eye.’ and ‘I want to be loved up full, made whole with you halves.’

Ken Evans:
Ken performed a response piece to an Edvard Munch woodcut (1899) ‘The Lonely Ones’ from The Whitworth collection – which depicted two people on a beach looking out to sea.
‘The only man-made thing seen/from space is the distance/between a man and a woman’ ‘she…shorn of understanding as the stone/that holds him.’

http://campus.poetryschool.com/primers-shortlist-ken-evans/

Ken Evans first collection ‘The Opposite of Defeat’, is due out with Eyewear in September.

http://www.eyewearpublishing.com/

Leanne Moden:
The promise in Leanne’s line ‘If you need me to I will lace my fingers to build your first step up.’ This is an assurance we could all do with sometimes. ‘we’re luminous with ambition.’ And Leanne talked of listening to music and it being a way to ‘take breaks from the aching of everyday lives.’

Blog here: http://tenyearstime.blogspot.co.uk/


Kate Bendelow:
I particularly liked the lines about ‘catch the wind and smother it until it is barely a cough.’ and in the poem My Girls a parent being as ‘pliable as Playdoh.’

Simon Howarth:
Simon’s ‘First Date’: ‘He cuts his pie as if his Mum’s watching.’ and his poem You’ve been to Bali, but you’ve never put a cigarette out on your arm. always gets me. ‘You’ve never seen the city from a bird-high lip.’ ‘cried yourself inside out watching the sun set and rise and set again … maybe if you had you’d feel more alive.’

Kate Garrett:
I knew Kate would take us into worlds of fairies and magic. She didn’t disappoint:
‘fairytale blooming / in the scrape of her nails / against my cheek.”, ” I love the alliteration and rhythm of: ‘we’re months and miles away from Monday night.’ and “And if the truth / had a bouncing soul / like my best pair of boots”

Editor at: http://threedropspoetry.co.uk/
First collection
‘The Density of Salt’  http://www.indigodreams.co.uk/kate-garrett/4591581784

Hannah Mackay:
From Roast Potatoes ‘For you, walnut tart is an act of devotion; I need more explicit expressions of emotion.’ ‘ and in Lavender – about parenting “Cross little boy, Red face Curly hair…I’m searching for something, Something I can give you; I can give you The smell of purple.”

Melanie Rees:
Mel gifted us a Lowry poem ‘with a tick-tock beat inside my chest, I understand Lowry’s need for vagueness.’ ‘so he painted love in the red of his matchstick men.’ ‘at shift end, going home to dance.’ I am entranced by the idea of holding a wasp: ‘I held a wasp. I wanted to hold the sun – one time.’

Melanie’s collection with Sara Miller: http://www.flapjackpress.co.uk/page20.htm/


This was a large venue with an attendance of around 100, high ceilings, a mic, overhead projector, stage and ten performers.

The next event will be at The Nutclough Tavern in Hebden Bridge, a much smaller venue, cosy and beautifully decorated on a smaller scale. There will be no stage, possibly no mic, definitely no need for overhead projection. There will be ten poets, an appreciative, if smaller, audience and a compere who enjoys the differences between venues and settings as much as she enjoys the variety in the performances and audience sizes.

Quiet Compere End of of Year Review (4/4) featuring Ulverston, Chesterfield and Cheltenham.

Ulverston – Committee of poets My poetry highlights: Mark Carson: ‘This poem is written in oils, I have been adding layers since May.’ Maggie How: Performed her set a tribute to her father. The heart-breaking phrase ‘You smudge my heart with your art of dying.’ Kim Moore was the 12th poet in the room: and her wolf poem was one of my highlights of the evening. ‘No sound I make will still be made of words.’ My non-poetry highlights: Having a committee (it was a Poem and a Pint takeover and Kim Moore was my co-host): Caroline invited me to her workshop and drove me to pick up some ales and by the time we arrived the rest of the committee were setting out chairs and the PA. We helped with the chairs and it was much quicker with 6-8 of us involved. Two Workshops by Caroline Gilfillan and Geraldine Green. I have some poems I really like from both of these and one I read regularly. The lines that stuck with me: David Borrott: From Pigeons: ‘pulling together to become a spun set of dancers…each giving way to the general pattern to become something more than themselves.’ Caroline Gilfillan: From, Things he loved the line ‘eyes limpid with chalky loss’ shone out. Sue Millard: Lines from Driver’s Girl: ‘I will let you go, trusting/ the otherness that swallows you.’ Kerry Darbishire: Posing for Andrew: ‘bearing stillness in failing sunlight’ Chesterfield – a blur of poets. My poetry highlights: Ailsa Holland: Someone stole into a garden on Paradise Street/discreet as an assassin/took down the clean washing/folded it with cold-blooded precision/ and left it in a basket under the back porch/just before the rain started./ (from ‘Fixer’ Strikes at Heart of Community) Charlotte Ansell: addressed the post-election malaise with: “This is why we can’t have nice things. It took just weeks to demolish the Bohemia… They will smash up what even in the first place wasn’t much…” John Mills: Little Louis, a poem about a brain-damaged child was tough on the audience and performer. The sing-song rhythm of it made the truth even more shocking. The damage happened because his Dad hit his head against a wall when he was 12 days old. I have written in my notes BASTARD!!!!! Mavis Moog: While listening to her poem Plum Sunday I could smell the mint at my feet and the feel the weight of the plums as I reached up to test their ripeness My non-poetry highlights: Sarah Thomasin: I loved The Quiet Woman and the story about the bus-stop being labelled the The Quite Woman and the reason she was Quiet is because her head chopped off. One way of stopping a compere going on, I suppose. Trying to capture Midnight Shelley on a still photo and the amusement of not doing! The lines that stuck with me: ‘A piece of me will always be in the forever space with you.” Midnight Shelley In ‘Black Holes’ he described people who are “taking everything from everything.” Chris Woods Cheltenham – a finale of poets I will start with a link to my guest blog on Sarah Snell-Pym’s site (more about here below) that explains why the final was in Cheltenham, several reasons including it being the first place I ran an event away from home (somewhere I had never been and knew no-one in the area) four years ago and I have run them yearly since – the night before Medicine Unboxed and a little about what that is and why I keep going back. Guest blog: http://wopowrimo.wigglypets.co.uk/?p=802 My poetry highlights: Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s story about Tiberius being rubbed to death with scales of a fish: ‘rubbed til we bled each other out and lay milk-eyed on marble.’ Sharon Larkin: From Venit, vidit, fugit, about alien relations: ‘He came suddenly. / Departed in an instant / leaving a note: / “Recalled to my native galaxy. / Thanks for all the probings”‘. Michael Scott: His poem My Dad painted by Francis Bacon was striking “We wait all night for 3 studies of the human head to dry back into my Dad.” My non-poetry highlights: Another thoughtful and inspiring Medicine Unboxed Students event. As ever, Medicine Unboxed (Mortality) was a masterclass in how to run an engaging, varied and challenging conference on how art and medicine interact. Meeting Dan Cooper, designer of my logo and the flyers that have become so recognisable as part of The Quiet Compere tour. Sarah-Snell Pym’s space dress and mini pamphlet of her space set with a dedication to me. Big smile! Sharon Larkin’s husband also took over some of the photography for me, which helped me concentrate on taking notes and listening and timing poets. The lines that stuck with me: ‘nothing is all there is/ and silence feels as if it’s loud.’ Brenda Read-Brown ‘Maybe all these nothings added up to something and maybe that was me.’ Chris Hemingway. ‘Playing chess, you stripped to distract me. An illegal move.’ Mark Blayney Michael Scott on Quiet Compere format: “it was a lovely intimate night. I love the ‘Quiet Compere’ approach, there is so much fluff and noise attached to poetry that sometimes it just seems like a jumble of achievements and posing, minimalism wins every time for me.” ‘Never stop at endings!’ (Susan Castillo 2015)… Help The Quiet Compere continue into 2016: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/the-quiet-compere-poetry-and-gallery-tour-2016

Quiet Compere Review of 2015 3/4 featuring Camden, Hackney and Hull events.

http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/the-quiet-compere-poetry-and-gallery-tour-2016 Camden – Outbreak of poets The sound of the sewers under the streets was eerie after reading about in The Ghost Map (Steven Johnson) In the 1853-4 epidemic having a pint was safer than trusting the pumps (as they had their own water source). I found the site of the Broad Street Pump and had a pint in the John Snow. I also bought myself some badges. My poetry highlights: Fran Isherwood’s story of the successful singer who gave it up to own a tripe shop in Bolton ‘..to the stages of London, Paris and Rome. but Bolton, Lancs, was always his home.’ Cathy Dreyer’s poem about motherhood: ‘life was so much heavier and faster than any one of us ever expected. We are their early universe. Trying to make the bouncing be dance.’ Ella Jane Chappell stood in with four hours’ notice. The fact all her poems were space or science-based was a happy coincidence for the space theme. I smiled at the rhythm of the phrase ‘fool-hardy carbon’ and the poem Hokum Sands where ‘thoughts only of the goodbyes we need to say, and the wind that will sweep them away’ and then, ‘She tastes of a note echoing in the hallway.’ ‘A thunderstorm within a marble. My non-poetry highlights: The Ghost Map tour I led myself through. Photography by Andrew King and partner was striking and the venue had at least six types of chair. Joshua Seigal’s account of doing a gig when his parents were the only audience. The lines that stuck with me: ‘We’ve all spent nights under glitter ball stars in red stilettos!’ Emma Simon ‘There are stories she needs to tell that don’t stop at fingertips’ Zelda Chappel ‘we all fall off the edge and get smaller.’ Laura McKee Hackney –an attic of poets My poetry highlights: Clarissa Aykroyd captures a lack of choice beautifully with ‘He had to fly into the storm, because there was nothing but storm.’ Gary from Leeds: Had a poem about an Allen key ‘he’s called Allen, frankly it suits him.’ Still smiling now. Natalie Shaw: Clytemnestra is steeped in passion and the raw anger ‘If you knew what it was to stretch yourself to fit a life, to watch a body you have made find itself and move and grow, you’d not make this, this nothing.’ My non-poetry highlights: Finding the shard after looking for it in its shadow for a good five minutes. Stumbling up a 300 year old staircase to The Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret. There are poems waiting to be written about this place and lots of photos. An afternoon in The Poetry Library on the South Bank with new and old friends and so many magazines to choose from – my favourites is still The Interpreter’s House and I discovered Popshot Magazine is gorgeous. The buzz of the picturehouse venue. Though how to garner a healthy audience in London when not based there eludes me. The lines that stuck with me: Nicky Phillips: ‘Deep below the chatter and excitement of a London Monday morning’. Tom Gill: ‘Let’s invest in a dress for anorexic buyers. Bring out a new Size 5 and pretend that that’s fine.’ Susan Castillo: ‘Caress their spines… never stop at endings.’ Hull – a reality of poets – there was much more of the real life in the room that night than a percentage would have suggested. Even with numbers depleted by it being the same day at The Freedom Festival. My poetry highlights: Sue Lozynskyj: I didn’t know Sue before the event and she blew me away. ‘Let dance listen until the last note – rocks decorated by drops of pitch’. I love her instructions to ‘meet me at the nose of this cow a week on Friday. Bring Cake.’ I smiled at the dishing out of the flags and how one is bestowed for ‘the most imaginative use of seaweed’. Carol Robson’s take on space as Women’s Space in Spoken Word: ‘is genderless’. My non-poetry highlights: The Hall Wall of Fame: I found Philip Larkin and was surprised Reece Shearsmith was from there. The Charity shops. Ye Olde White Harte pub – the doors, the spaces, the people who were in having pints and ready to share their stories. The lines that stuck with me: ‘stop folding the sky through the creases of your skin.’ Wendy Pratt ‘The floor he made from his jealousies and fears/The bars from empty promises’ Miki Higgins ‘we are all damaged inside. I think even you can see that.’ Anarchist Rob Eunson ‘a history of the world’s pain distilled to perfect complaint.’ Bernie Cullen A poem by me about how the tour is now part if me, including Hackney and Hull – seems fitting to place it here: Places dress me Small axes lie at my neck in Knutsford. Hull tattoos roses and lisianthus on my skin. Hackney ties my legs with trails of hearts trips me into the sting and pulse of playground knees. Leeds provides heels and feeds patent leather needs. Sarah L Dixon 2015 Never stop at endings! (Susan Castillo 2015)…

Quiet Compere Review of the Year 2016 2/4 – Features Worcester, Halifax and Exeter

Worcester – a hive of poets I met the lovely Steve Wilson, who is in charge of the event at The Hive and stayed in an old inn with sloping floors (who let me eat fish and chips in my room while I got ready because I was short of time). My poetry highlights: Catherine Crosswell’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. I can safely say Jasmine Gardosi’s take on the space theme to produce a piece about a family dying carbon-monoxide poisoning will probably be the only one. It was! Loved the way Neil Laurenson 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’ My non-poetry highlights: Mike Alma’s beautiful war post-cards and his two header poem with Moira. Meeting Adrian Mealing who was as lovely as our email correspondence had suggested. The lines that stuck with me: ‘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 From Teaching your daughter to crack eggs ‘Tell her to remember not all broken things are wrong’ Claire Walker Again finding it so hard not include every poet – another showcase! Halifax – A den of poets My poetry highlights: Simon Zonenblick and Freda Mary Davis both performed full space-themed poetry sets to kick off the tour! And Simon’s ‘grottoes holed out of the tangles’. Nasser Hussain’s set and the fact he stood in at such short notice (3 hours!). Loved Gaia Holmes’ idea of going up to the wind-farm to scream. ‘We stopped trying to talk and raised our arms and screamed…….’ My non-poetry highlights: Arriving in Halifax four hours early expecting to find something to do – the only recommendations I got from locals were pubs! Staying with Steve Nash meant having someone to share the mini bottle of prosecco with and the poetry buzz that always keeps me up until at least 1am! We had got to know each other through interviews online – I think his on me ran at about five pages of A4! I then fired some questions back to even things out a bit. He was just as I imagined from his banter and grilling. The lines that stuck with me: From, Lass Grenade– ‘less of a woman and more of a lass grenade’ Geneviève L Walsh on Midnight Shelley. From, Cuckoo ‘They name bars after illness around here’ John Darwin Exeter – A coven of poets – hard to review – I want to mention every one! My co-host, Alasdair Paterson was brilliant and lively and his poetry was entrancing: In Pier Head, Liverpool is ‘a good place to get your heart broken and find a song to patch it.’ My poetry highlights: Hannah Linden’s poem The Stars Are Cherry Stones that Have Lost Their Colour that was about her son and how “The idea/of no one counting up to the beginning of time frightens him” Matt Harvey: After hearing Where earwigs dare where Matt ‘first went freelance, then gently feral.’ I want my own shed to go feral in. His time lapse love story with flowers was genius and reminded me of one of my favourite authors, Magnus Mills. Rebecca Gethin: in Owlography published in Three drops from a Cauldron ‘valleys of their anatomy, tours of their feathers’ ‘calls rip apart the vertebrae of stars pencilled on to the night of this map’. My non-poetry highlights: Staying the Jean Brodie room with separate Brodie bath-room and the fact this meant The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie was in my bedside cabinet and I had to buy a second copy to read on the train back. The fabric and flair of the Witches’ Ball that was the same night as our event – they became a little raucous near the end but added something to the night too. The lines that stuck with me: ‘lurking in dark, he was badger, dust-scuffed and branch-strewn, sunrise turned him into a dazzled vole’ Susan Jordan From These threads are the singing: ‘the curse of being melts from you in torrents.’ Gram Joel-Davies ‘all scuttle and fluff’, wild boar ‘all snuffle and bristle’, beavers ‘all chisels and paddles’ Mark Totterdell In case you might have missed this. I am determined to make at least four events happen next year. Pledge here to help and get great rewards: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/the-quiet-compere-poetry-and-gallery-tour-2016  

Quiet Compere 2015 Review of the Year (1/4) – Part 1 – Durham, Oxford and Norwich and an apology to Exeter and Manchester 52 gatherings for no blogs

Firstly, an apology to the poets at both 52 gatherings I organised around the tour dates. I fully intended to write in-depth reviews of these events, but life and other poetry admin got solidly in the way, to a point when it felt like an after-thought. I loved every minute of the Manchester gathering at The Lloyds and the Exeter gathering at The City Gate from the moment Jinny Fisher arrived with a smudge of berry on her new jumper (and proceeded to pour almost a full cup of coffee down her pale tan trousers). Check out the tour video and pledge or share to support Quiet Compere 2016 here: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/the-quiet-compere-poetry-and-gallery-tour-2016 Three dates on the 2015 tour were sold out – a couple were small venues and brought their own character and became like an eleventh performer (twelfth if you count the compere!). Durham – A wash of poets The Old Cinema Laundrette in Durham was a very cosy space and for the size of audience we were with I was torn between feeling the audience had an exclusivity due to the fact only 40 could attend that event and thinking it was possibly a bit uncomfortable for a two hour poetry event where only half of the audience could be seated. I was comfortable cross-legged on the floor, but I know this is not ideal for everyone. My poetry highlights: Ira Lightman’s dating poems. Ira had become a friend at the beginning of the 2014 tour in a Manchester pub for two hours the day before my first gig away from home in York. He provided much needed distraction and we have stayed in touch since then. I had never seen him perform live until Durham though. Jessica Wortley’s poems from As if we were the trees. Everyone one stunning. With lines like, ‘for her, the width of the sky would never quite be big enough’ and ‘the wind would steal her breath,/ but it would not matter,/ for she would not need words’. I had forgotten about this and it will now be added to my Christmas wish list. http://rubywolfpress.com/authors-2/ My non-poetry highlights: Staying with Judi Sutherland and Big Frank. Main memories involve a massive cheese toastie when we got back from the event and bolognese and wine before I caught the train back. The line that stuck with me: ‘To touch the cache in the dark of you’ (Michael Brown) is a line that grabbed me from and keeps returning. Oxford – a milling of poets Dennis of the Albion Beatnik Bookshop was welcoming and obviously used to running this type of event. I checked where the venue was in the afternoon so I wouldn’t get there late and then totally mistrusted my sense of direction and followed Google walking Maps on my phone which took me to the Pitts River Museum (which was shut) rather than to the venue. I arrived to find half the poets happily milling around in their natural habitat. My poetry highlights: Ben Parker: The magical poem about ‘fashioning your searching hand into an approximation of the lost object’ and ‘the way to hold your hands for love’ was potent. Hearing Samir Guglani read a poetry set: ‘Look at how we start, like fortune-tellers, at the hands. Here by the window, where ward meets world, I examine this man’s, turn them over like found leaves.” Samir Guglani is the curator of the incredible and stunning conference, Medicine Unboxed. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medicine_Unboxed I have seen him mastermind this four times, but had only seen him perform one or two poems of his own. It was good to see him outside the Medicine Unboxed mania and relaxed. My non-poetry highlights: So many poets going on afterwards for snacks or meals somewhere local and at least half of us onto a bar until late. Meaning I could share the poetry buzz I often while away on Facebook or looking through feedback forms with a mini bottle of Prosecco in a basic B and B room. Also, Sarah Bryson brought me a small glass vase with wild flowers as a gift. As I was traveling back by train I decided to leave flowers around Oxford on the way home the next day. So I left a rose on a bike, some cow parsley in a phone box and weaved cornflowers through the railings of a disused toilet. The lines that stuck with me: ‘The house is dragged apart by the absence of your smiles.’ Claire Trevien ‘Wealth hopes us into a corner.’ Hilda Sheehan ‘Peat and iodine burn of a single malt drunk from an antique flask’ Alan Buckley Norwich – A ‘variousness’ of poets (I know it is a variety, but I prefer this!) I knew very few poets in Norwich and Julia Webb pointed me the way of most of the poets I found and told me a bit about them all. I attempted to book as a varied a line-up as I could and succeeded. Every poet in the Norwich line-up had a different style, approach and theme. Kept the audience engaged and I thought there were only three types of poet until that night made me reassess my thinking. My poetry highlights: I loved Ramona Herdman’s drink poems: ‘You look like you know the way out of the weight of the world.’ More drink theme from Julia Webb: “You are on fire. You have accidently swallowed the sun… you could drink an ocean. You settle for a double vodka. The Sun approves.” And as well as being an excellent co-host Rufus Lunn gave us The Sentinel: “I swear by sword, or word or kiss. I will stand. Still.” My non-poetry highlights: Finding out the local chippy delivered to the pub The Bird Cage and meeting Rufus (co-host and Robbie (tech)) before the event. A short wander in the lane. I will be back. However, it is not somewhere you can easily find yourself by mistake from Manchester! The lines that stuck with me: “sheets of newspaper cartwheeling to mishap.” Richard Lambert. “I embrace the deeper parts of my unravelling.” Bimble Bee, Huni Bee. “It behaved like any wounded thing.” From Stuart Charlesworth’s medical set. The Quiet Compere Tour is ‘Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England’  

A Cheltenham Finale, trial by video and a Sarah who wears space

I will start with a link to my guest blog on Sarah Snell-Pym’s site (more about here below) that explains why the final was in Cheltenham, several reasons including it being the first place I ran an event away from home (somewhere I had never been and knew no-one in the area) four years ago and I have run them yearly since – the night before Medicine Unboxed and a little about what that is and why I keep going back. Guest blog: http://wopowrimo.wigglypets.co.uk/?p=802 Celebration of Quiet Compere so far video and crowd-funder: See the outcome of my one-week self-taught crash-course in video-making in this video about the tours with photos, quotes, chat and the story of the rainbow scarf here: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/the-quiet-compere-poetry-and-gallery-tour-2016/ Kiran Millwood Hargrave: Twitter: @Kiran_MH Kiran told us a story about Tiberius being rubbed to death with scales of a fish. “rubbed til we bled each other out and lay milk-eyed on marble.” I liked how she engaged with the space by mentioning the pomegranate wallpaper and the line “something like happiness misting our epiphany.” I loved her pig with a “tassel of a tail”. Website: http://www.kiranmillwoodhargrave.co.uk/ Chris Hemingway: Chris, so understated with impact here: “maybe all these nothings added up to something and maybe that was me.” And in your poem about Personal space: “fools himself he is passing through, he spreads books across the adjoining seats.” The Supremes “lyric with a sub-text of abandonment.” A poem here: http://threedropspoetry.co.uk/2015/10/07/rumplestiltskin-by-chris-hemingway/ Sharon Larkin: I was impressed Sharon did a full space set. She explored the sexual appetite of an alien in Venit, vidit, fugit ‘He came suddenly. / Departed in an instant / leaving a note: / “Recalled to my native galaxy. / Thanks for all the probings”‘. And from Island Fever: ‘I chart the tide’s ebb, flow / ebb, flow / as a heartbeat’ and ‘hope appears to rise with each dawn’. Her blog, Coming up with the Words, is at: https://sharonlarkinjones.wordpress.com Dan Cooper: I was pulled into the refrain in Infinity Pool: “Mum drives us to school. Dad’s got an Infinity Pool.”. and a phrase that grabbed me was “harnessed in drama”. I have said it over out-loud several times just now – it feels good. “Holy runs thick like Tewkesbury mustard.” and “Forgive me because I have sinned. I took my own sweets into the cinema.” I do that and always feel guilty! Ian Whiteley: I always enjoy Ian’s Craiglockhart and 666 poems and the rhyming of ‘cat in’ and ‘latin’. Ian’s page is here: http://www.thecrowsofalbion.com/ New tracks here: https://soundcloud.com/the-man-at-the-back-1/ Brenda-Read Brown Brenda performed three pieces about landing on the moon, with the line from one of them being: “If I could slip through the lace of clouds below.” and suitably for Quiet Compere “nothing is all there is/ and silence feels as if it’s loud.” She also performed a piece about the space left by a teenager who has moved out: ” broken jewellery, like teenage tears,/ has become one with the carpet near the door.” “It takes me two full days to clear each room and yet they’ll never quite be empty, because I don’t want to forget.” http://www.brendaread-brown.co.uk/ Michael Scott: I love Michael’s punchline in My neighbour speaks in Daily Mail headlines and the way it is easier to avoid conflict and “I said (LONG PAUSE) You missed a bit!”. His poem My Dad painted by Francis Bacon was striking “We wait all night for 3 studies of the human head to dry back into my Dad.” I heard the rooms joint intake of breath at that point. Find out more about Michael here: http://www.littleusherette.com/ Sarah Snell-Pym Sarah is obsessed with space and even bought a space dress and made a space pamphlet of poems for the occasion and gave me one with a dedication in to The Quiet Compere! Brilliant! In her poem Microcosm “in a puddle patterns are repeating. In the stars patterns are completing.” Onward to the edge. ” A code within a code/a mystery that is never solved/It is the universe that unfolds. “We find questions to answer another time.” http://www.snell-pym.org.uk/sarah/ Peter Wyton Peter performed a poem about the beginning of time, Back to the Drawing Board  “They wanted oceans/so I gave them oceans/They befouled them/and made a cesspool of the Seven seas… Now they want space. I’ll give them space/ and in the void/I’ll give it a second try/Any God can make a mistake.” Disposal upon pre-request was funny. ” Let the Severn do what it likes with me. Be a devil. Drop the urn in as well and sod the environment agency.” https://peterwytonpoet.wordpress.com/ Mark Blayney “Playing chess, you stripped to distract me. An illegal move.” Mark’s space was the space left behind by a person: “You left your jeans on the radiator and I woke finding half of you.” Shakespeare results read like Football Pools had a receptive audience! He read a poem about his son: “my son destroys flowers. He does it with such love – bringing me the pieces.” http://markblayney.weebly.com/ Sharon’s husband also took some photos to relieve me of one task in the evening. It was a pleasure to be able to listen, time and take notes, without having to get a good shot (I take about 40 per poet) of each performer. Extra thanks also got to Dan Cooper for his simple and striking design of Quiet Compere logo and flyers. The finale. So this is it for 2015. Or is it? I will be doing my summing up of the year in three parts like I did in 2014. Looks out for these posts in the weeks before New Year’s Eve. Have a Happy festive season. xxx Michael Scott on Quiet Compere format: “it was a lovely intimate night. I love the ‘Quiet Compere’ approach, there is so much fluff and noise attached to poetry that sometimes it just seems like a jumble of achievements and posing, minimalism wins every time for me.”