Quiet Compere 2022 – Morecambe – Stop 3

Return to the bay

I went back to Morecambe, a place I fell hard for last year. One of the places I felt I could escape from the lockdown hangover and find pockets of normal, where I met such a supportive and friendly bunch of creatives. I return when I can. On arrival, I went for some drinks with my co-host, Matt Panesh and on my way home I found myself almost passing Popworld. I asked how much the entrance charge was and it was free so instead of seeing that as a reason not to go in, I decided to venture inside as I could leave when I was ready.

I made friends with a group who were out celebrating the birthday of their 23-year-old son and was dancing with son, sisters and their Dad. A good two-hour dance with a couple of Smirnoff Ice bottles. I was still up for a sea-swim by 10am and joined Matt in the cold bay. The hangover was banished!

Workshop at The Nib Crib

I ran a workshop at The Nib Crib with many of the creatives I had met on my previous visits and a couple of people new to the venue who were attending both workshop and reading at the open mic. The variety and quality of the pieces produced was impressive and some new poetry connections were made.  

West End Playhouse

We started with an excellent open mic section from LaGrif, Clodagh Delahunty-Forrest, Voirrey Wild, Jim Lupton, Louise Hart and Rebecca Mélusine Samuels.

Matt stormed the open mic hosting and treated us to a couple of his own poems from his book Tribe: Collective Monkey Poets.

Showcase poets: I loved the fact the event was so varied in style. I think, if I put a bid in for 2023 I will make the variety a part of it. 10-minute platform slots for storytellers, comedians, prose writers, short excerpts form one person shows, verse novellas, flash fiction, pretty much anything you can do with words in ten minutes. Zoe and JJ Journeyman’s sets in particular, had these bid-writing cogs seriously firing.

J J Journeyman

I enjoyed JJ’s props (a hi-vis poetry vest and eye pad – sigh! and a suitcase he took on his trip dowsing for poetry). I liked the playful rhyme of wiser and Trip Advisor. JJ stepped in at quite short notice when one of our other performers could not perform and he wrote the piece especially for The Quiet Compere Tour. At the end of JJ’s set Martin Palmer had one task to throw a Paddington bear into the suitcase…

I was amused by the fact Martin had to take to the stage immediately after failing to throw Paddington into a suitcase. I was impressed he remembered the name of The Quiet Compere mascot, Alex, the non-binary komodo dragon and greeted them as he took to the stage showing he has an affinity with some of the cuddly animal kingdom even if he was not able to throw them accurately. 

Martin Palmer

I love the music in Martin’s line ‘damp pet millipede on a doily’ a surprising contrast between doilies and insects and ‘the disused lidos of our dreams’.  Martin read poems about the sea air bringing ‘notions of childhood.’

I definitely feel more childlike when hanging around in Morecambe, scouring shores for sea-glass, taking brisk swims and swapping hats, which somehow became a thing during my two visits last year.  I did leave my hat behind at the B & B but the host sent it to me and said not to worry about the postage, so I sent some of my poetry books for his guest library. Bit of bartering.

Hat swapping – a new Morecambe tradition

Zoe Lambert

Zoe used props well – the coat, Awake! magazines and a Count Duckula diary. To me, as a teenager of the 90s there is a lot of charm in the references that date this piece (Duckula and Tammy Girl, to name two).  Zoe told us ‘at thirteen I know how to say no to boys’ but that resolve and confidence changes with age, which is telling and true.

Sarah Corbett

Sarah treated us to a poem stuffed with singing comparisons that was like a lullaby, ‘he was pulse to her beat’, ‘she was sky to his fall,’ and ‘a flower grown for a word dropped in soil’. There was a lot of detailed landscape in Sarah’s pieces and she told us of ‘closed in valleys, like gossip.’  

Peter Kalu

Such concise observation was apparent in Peter’s ‘this is how we say hello/this is how we say goodbye’ piece. The line ‘the sun rose on nothing new’ has stayed with me.  And the Ukranian refugees poem that tells us ‘you cannot erase a bird’s memory of flight’ was beautiful and fitting.

It amused me that after Peter’s money-throwing (he asked us to throw notes at him) and the universe gifted me a tenner on the prom the next day, blowing along with no-one chasing it, so I took it as tour income from the universe.  

Big Charlie Poet:

Big Charlie talks eloquently about depression and anxiety. ‘I don’t want to admit I am struggling at a time I should be happy.’ And ‘light will come if we just let it.’

And, from The Touch of you:

‘I know the touch of you

And how it makes me feel like I’m worth saving.’

And there was an after party, a hangover, a Sunday morning sea-swim and a long train ride home. Next up Bradford City Library on 11th June.

Oh! And I will be back in Morecambe for The Morecambe Poetry Festival in September.

Link to tickets here: Morecambe Poetry Festival 2022 Tickets | Morecambe Winter Gardens Morecambe | Fri 16th September 2022 Lineup (skiddle.com)

Chatham Quiet Compere (& Canterbury Stag)

On the way to Quiet Compere – Chatham, I called in to The Stag Café in Canterbury to perform my first live guest set since COVID started. It felt so good to be up there and engaging with an audience again. Brilliant sets from Tim Taylor, Christopher Horton, Gary Studley, Claudia Volpe, Kat Peddie, Sam Tate and Karen Smith. I loved it. Thanks for the invite and putting on a great event Gary and Christopher. I loved the sign as I feel a lot of us have been hungry for shared words, company and hugs in the past few months.

On arrival in Chatham I met up with my co-host and fellow ale drinker, Barry Fentiman-Hall. We had a beer or three and it was good to reconnect ahead of the gig. I bet Barry was quite relieved to see that I had arrived and he would not be hosting workshop and showcase himself 🙂

The Quiet Compere Live and Online Tour 2022 is supported using public funding by The National Lottery through Arts Council England.

The workshop sold out and a dozen of us wrote to three exercises and shared our pieces. The attendees were all ages and there were such a variety of takes on the prompts.

Open Mic Section

We started with a stellar open mic section with poems from Sue Puddefoot, Timothy Green, Zack Davies, Maria McCarthy, Richard Cooper and Sarah Tait. Zack Davies pointed out it was Shakespeare Day. Richard Cooper read a poem of Rosemary McLeish’s from I am a field (Wordsmithery, 2019).

Barry Fentiman-Hall

Barry Fentiman- Hall and my feet

Demonstrating our 2-metre distancing from performers. I performed some poems too but never get photos of myself so you will have to make do with the shiny shiny very bitey shoes and my skirt in the audience.

Barry had a lesson for life about knowing ‘the proper way of caring for Lego.’ and said ‘we all get our sunshine how we can’. His theme seems to be things are dark but there is some hope and it might be in the small things, so look carefully. His exquisite eye for detail was evident in the line ‘ It keeps the tiny ones amused, so that restless feet don’t wander in the life-stained footsteps of afternoon casualties’.

I think a jaunt to Kent is the way I get some of my sunshine from catching up with good poetry friends and making new ones.

Nina Telegina

Nina took us from intro to poem with an ease that tricked us into already being in the verse and shared such music with us in lines like ‘the journey gives up to the angering deep’ and ‘venture again into mist’. A line from her meme poem, ‘sipped Lipton with Kermit the Frog’, made me smile and I can’t stop saying this line over and over, give it a go, it is so satisfying.

Setareh Ebrahimi

Setareh shared with us several insightful pieces. I loved her description of ‘the exact moment you are new enough and actually alive.’ And later ‘in this moment, we are survivors’.

Christopher Hopkins

Ooo! The idea of ‘insects rubbing on the altar of the night.’ and ‘a pale bird in the wildling high’. Christopher’s set and delivery was spell-binding. And ‘sky is a grounded spell’ is a line I am still unpacking now.

Clair Meyrick

Clair continues the spell theme, actually I would say, if there was a theme running through the event it was magic or spells. Clair shared her poem Thread and she ‘gathers spider webs in the contours of her dress.’ and this poem ends with the gentle finality of ‘night closes with a catch’. Clair, then, gifts us the weird, but totally right ‘memory turns a corner with your mouth.’

Katy Evans-Bush

The spell-like rhythm of incantation is continued by Katy in the line ‘No antidote. No amulet. No way to avoid being charmed.’ And I enjoyed Katy’s description of ‘the sun itself in which the skin and heart both harden.’ from her poem Croonerisms from Broken Cities (Smith/Doorstop 2017). Katy also read a poem in honour of Shakespeare Day.

Nathaniel Oguns

‘I pick up blue-sky lilies from the shores of Tsushima.”  (Great game!) I had to look this one up. Sounded like more weaving of magical places, and it is, a virtual magic, but still magic.

And Nathaniel ended the event with the line “I’m just playing and acting out fables of generations past.”

Thanks and Morecambe is next on the 14th May

Thanks to Barry and Chatham Library Hub, showcase and open mic poets and to all who attended the workshop or reading or shared the event for us. Thanks to the Arts Council for the funding.

It was so lovely to have some time with poets in The Command House beer garden after the event too. So often I spend the time after a Quiet Compere gig in my hotel room looking through feedback forms and drinking a small bottle of Prosecco.

I went for an affordable and really filling and tasty turkish meal at Taze. I would highly recommend it.

Bios of all poets are available on this site under the Chatham Bios blog post.

Publication History 2021

January

‘Road-signs’ in The Journal #63
25th ‘Book-fort haven’ Haiflu haiku 



Haiflu – Liv Torc (9 photos as part of this project too)
 
Stream A Northern Idol (for Clare Shaw) by Sarah L Dixon | Listen online for free on SoundCloud

March 

‘Happiness in my lockdown sock drawer’. Ink, sweat and tears. 
**Shortlisted for March Pick of the Month  (online)**

Sarah L Dixon on Mother’s Day | Ink Sweat and Tears

‘Questions
from a five-year-old’ Up! Magazine Childhood edition
‘The place I go to get away’ Poetry Wivenhoe (online)

Events | poetrywivenhoe.org

June

‘The only monsters I am scared of are those I invent‘ Poetry Village 7th  (online)

Sarah L Dixon – The Poetry Village

July

‘Woodlouse’ Dreich – Summer Everywhere anthology 
‘Lockdown sundial’ Lighthouse Literary Journal #22
‘Kathi makes heart-shaped toast’ Spelt 2
‘Moving counties.’ Prole #39
‘2020 by the Colne’ The Lake Literary Review

The Lake – contemporary poetry webzine – July21a (thelakepoetry.co.uk)

August

‘To Frank, on going to high school.’ Ink Sweat and Tears

Sarah L Dixon | Ink Sweat and Tears

September 

‘The Leadboilers practice alchemy’ Ink Drinkers (online)

Issue #4 – FOLKLORE – Ink Drinkers Poetry

October 

‘Valley lights’ Lighting out Beautiful Dragons Anthology

Upcoming publications: Rialto #97, Rainbow Poems.

Thanks for reading, your comments, support and feedback. Sarah x

2021 Dates



Photo credit: Sharon Larkin 

Cafe Writers – Zoom Norwich – 11th January 2021  (guest)
Yes we cant – Zoom Walsall – 7th February 2021 (guest)
Marble Issue 8 launch – Zoom – 8th February 2021 (reader)
Speakeasy – Zoom Worcester – 11th February 2021 (6 min set)
Locked Down Launch – Zoom – 29 April 2021 (reader)
Poetry Wivenhoe – Digging into the past – 27th May 2021 (guest)
Broken Biscuits Dog Rescue pamphlet launch – 11th July 2021 (host/reader)
Wednesday Writers – Todmorden – Zoom – 18th August 2021 (5 min set) 
Tunbridge Wells Poetry Festival – 21st August 2021 (guest)
Yes We Cant – Walsall – Zoom – 5th September 2021 (open mic)
Jackanory – Wakefield – Zoom – 19th September 2021 (guest)
IronBridge Festival of Imagination – 25th September 2021 zoom (slammer)
Big Poetry Weekend – Swindon – Zoom – 21st – 24th October (volunteer) 
Poetry Wivenhoe – Thursday 28th October – (1 poem) 
Poetry Bites – Leeds – Zoom – 14th November 2021 (guest)

The Poem Place – Episode 3

Hi All,

I am delighted to feature in this podcast hosted by Matt Chamberlain along with Bethany Goodwill and David Dykes.

https://www.buzzsprout.com/680696/2790415?fbclid=IwAR3GbjcIjhMOYK9OE7JEJkwy_QqEQcJBZSBVlkEoSTjOgk2OJRH7UqHE29E

My poems from the podcast are below:

I could talk of childhood beaches

of the rock-pools at RhosColyn,

saltwater rashes

and the eel that brushed passed our legs,

eliciting squeals and a swift, slippery exit

across weed-draped rocks.

 

But then I wouldn’t be here in Broadstairs,

one-fifth of a mile from Dicken’s holiday home

but only caring for the lap of brine,

to lean into the waves, to lie back and be uplifted,

to be pulled and pushed

to be part of the tide.

 

I could talk of a Maryport sea-wall

in October,

the wind from the North

almost blowing us over.

 

But then I wouldn’t be here in Margate

swimming with friends I made half an hour ago

and drinking a Margate mule.

 

I could talk of childhood beaches

but I am always a child when by the sea.

315 fine line horizons.

Two dozen seaside sunsets.

11 actual swims in the oceans

unable to touch the bottom.

Properly deep.

 

I could talk of childhood beaches

but in shell years, in sea-glass time

I am not yet even one.

(First published on Thanet Writers, 2019)

Sold out, closed down

You can buy a table lamp for £39.95

but you cannot afford to light it.

Instead, you spend hours gazing

at a stained-glass glow

you can never own.

 

A haircut at the barbers is a fiver

but you and your money are turned away

because you are a woman

requesting a crop cut.

Your cut should take longer,

be coloured and curled

and be more costly to maintain.

You resort to hacking your hair with scissors.

Buy an over-priced pint with the note.

 

They close

Abdul’s corner shop,

the libraries

the smaller schools.

Then the good old standards go:

Marks, Debenhams, Peacocks.

Those who complain

only ever buy online.

It is cheaper and delivery is free

if you keep spending.

 

The NHS

is dismantling itself

one over-worked nurse

or PA at a  time.

 

Community disintegrates

as the lonely find a self-serve checkout ,

a machine for train tickets,

an instruction to disembark

at the centre of the bus.

The smiles and civilities have been sold

to the same place the grit is

and tarmac for potholes.

 

I am reminded of the time Kwik Save closed for good.

We ripped out the shelves with youthful relish

unplugged the freezers.

Glad we wouldn’t be going back.

 

But now when places close

the shelves and freezers stay in place.

No new buyers

to make these air hangars better, brighter, vital .

These high street windows

are dead-eyed and down-cast.

 

The heat chokes us.

The rain soaks us.

There is no comfort

 in this summer.

We are all red-eyed and irritated.

We itch for a revolution.

 

We are hungry for it,

but we are tired

our cores are built from broken promises

and specks of guttering hope.

These used to be what made our eyes shine

they are now lit, sometimes,  by wine or whisky.

Soon to be dead and dull

for good.

 

For all the good will have drained

from even the most optimistic minds.

Optimism thrives

when possibilities are many

as each runway, PROW or freedom

is grown over, boarded up or denied

our hopes are put out

with the small metal hat

that used to countdown to Christmas

but instead of building excitement

this time

each extinguishing hurts

and is permanent.

 

We seek relief in the cloak of songs

from when we were fourteen.

We watch superhero films

to convince ourselves

it will all be okay.

But it isn’t.

And it won’t be.

There will be good moments.

Blissful weeks away from reality.

 

The world is dying.

There are no buyers.

We are the dinosaurs  this time

hoping for a meteor

before bland-faced, blond-mopped stupidity

ends us instead.

(First Published by International Times, 2019)

 

Adding wax patterns to Wednesday launch – 30th November 2018 – Three Drops Press


Launch at The Lloyds, Chorlton, Manchester Friday 30th November 7.30-9.30pm

Special guests: Simon Howarth. Chris Woods and Kate Garrett.

FREE ENTRY

‘Here dance the figures of anger, frustration, resentment and desire, following the skewed steps of Surrealist spells and charms for coping. Dixon’s pithy and often unsettling poems are populated by creatures and people on the threshold of metamorphoses, having been pushed to the limits of themselves and in doing so reach for revelations that lie beneath the rational order of things.’

Bob Beagrie

A cabinet of curiosities, Dixon casts her spell in spilled wax and wash days, roses pegged to washing lines and days that start without knickers. These poems search for alchemy within the domestic, they dig through the ash to find stars.  Angela Readman

Sarah Dixon’s second book is one of dizzying, dream like fantasy, edged with vulnerability. These strange, often humorous, often moving poems swim like goldfish in a pond, rising to the surface to greet the reader in flashes of light and love. This is a collection of sharp surprises and tongue in cheek observations of life and love, where one is never quite sure what is real and what is not. A perfectly lovely collection of Monty pythonesque poems. Wendy Pratt

Electric rain sparks off Wedgwood carpets as the everyday is made strange and startling. These poems nestle together in a mosaic of dedication as tributes to transformation, and the testing (and shattering) of boundaries.   Steve Nash

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/



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