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  

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