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)…

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