Having arrived a couple of hours early I took my book The Ghost Map with me and searched out some streets on the map from the cholera epidemic of 1854. It was eerie listening to the sewer noise on the streets that suffered so much from not having this infrastructure. I had a pint of ale in the John Snow (the safer drink of choice in 1854 as the brewery had a dedicated water supply and this was not contaminated by the Broad Street pump). I had a pootle around Soho and bought some badges –like a teenaged Sarah! Then the venue. Phoenix Artist Club has twenty different types of seats (including aeroplane seats) and a low and heavily fabric-draped ceiling making it feel like a cross between being inside settee and being hugged by a huge bear. Emma Simon Emma started the night with a poem about inappropriate shoes “We’ve all spent nights under glitter ball stars in red stilettos!”. In I loved the lines from The Circus of Possibilities “I’ve recruited women who dance with tigers and fire-eaters (perhaps too many fire-eaters).” and ” need the bite of winter on your skin, the struggle to pin down guy-ropes in a storm.” And I am not surprised The Parts of Ourselves We Leave With Former Lovers was commended in 2015 Battered Moons competition http://batteredmoons.com/2015-winners-and-commended-poets/ Laura McKee @Estlinin on Twitter In Laura’s space poem she says “I’ve lost the moon.” and “we all fall off the edge and get smaller.” In Secondary Modern you had perfect skin more space appears in the edible line “as if I were splattered with chocolate milk, as if I were made of stars.” Laura’s poem He asks me to call him was nominated as Best Single Poem in the Forward Prizes this year: http://neonmagazine.co.uk/?p=5710 Fran Isherwood http://www.franisherwood.co.uk/ From Safe as Houses “perspiration races down faces of lace-petticoated window panes.” and the 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.” And a space clerihew or two: “Captain Kirk/Travelled to work/By being teleported/No traffic jams were reported.” http://www.writeoutloud.net/profiles/franisherwood Zelda Chappel http://zeldachappel.wordpress.com In Deciphering the sea for my baby so many lines grabbed me, these ones particularly, “she is the expanse we feel slipping through our digits. The clarity of cold would draw you up.” and ” a scream between two caves” “There are stories she needs to tell that don’t stop at fingertips”! From Love begins in Winter “so show/ me spring through tiny frames.” The Girl in the Dog-Tooth Coat by Bare Fiction is available here: http://www.barefictionmagazine.co.uk/buy/books/girl-dog-tooth-coat-zelda-chappel/ Joshua Seigal http://www.joshuaseigal.co.uk/ The line about the most embarrassing moment ever ” I wanted the sea to wash over me like a shallow rock pool and I never wanted to cuddle anyone again.” Ahhhh! He got a lot of empathy for that one. And the comment about his only audience being Mum and Dad – I think every poet knows that gig!! Loved his best heckle “if you were a monkey, what kind of astronaut would you be?” Susan Evans https://www.facebook.com/Susan-Evans-Performance-poet-485340264922817/ All of Susan’s poems that grabbed me are published so please have a read of #Irony about the person who could not afford to go on the austerity march here: http://proletarianpoetry.com/2015/08/25/irony-by-susan-evans/#more-1201 Silly Shoes is here: http://www.inksweatandtears.co.uk/pages/?p=7334 From her poem Brighton published in Prole 15 the line ‘It’s little London by the Sea, it’ Bombay Dreams, it’s Gay Paree!’ Cathy Dreyer No link available The poem for two voices with the contrast of the peril of not quite following a recipe correctly and life in balance was striking. And the poem about her girls: “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.” Lucy Furlong http://www.lucyfurlong.com “Look at electric constellations, drifted into space, vanished, came down as someone else.” Spaces between rings of Saturn have names – I love the space between things and find this a fascinating concept. “I fell through existence.” “I counted all the moons and became friends with all the satellites.” Ella Jane Chappell Twitter – @ellajchappell Ella 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”. Jamie Spracklen I like the fact being told he couldn’t read made him a poet. I felt the rawness in these lines about anniversaries “navigating grief – The final tragedy which tattoos you,/Eternally, in some sort of frozen grace… Undone and naked/ By the sheer fragility/Of your final fire.” “I found your embrace again/ In the quiet of the unhurried sky”.