The night we left as wolves, slightly scumbled and with smudged hearts – Ulverston Quiet Compere blog

I could get used to having a committee of six (?) to plan for me. Caroline swapped a workshop (I came out with two strong pieces I have already performed) for a Quiet Compere t-shirt and drove me to get ale and to the venue. We arrived there ten minutes before doors to find the PA being set up and Antony on a book stall and a dozen people happy to help us set out tables and chairs (there was a detailed chair stacking diagram and 8 part instruction list that made me smile). Kim co-hosted beautifully and Mark morphed into the tenth poet at very short notice. As soon as we started there were complaints that the Quiet Compere was too loud. The mic was too loud, it was turned down and normal service was resumed. David Borrott: In his poem Wolf Fell, mountains were ‘air-fuddled in the distance’ and in Pigeons ‘pulling together to become a spun set of dancers…each giving way to the general pattern to become something more than themselves.’ we are treated to a pigeon dance. Antony Christie: took us to a mythical house, Applegarth where we met ‘a threatening blackbird, stiff as a dowager’ and ‘last Autumn’s windfall sheds pale worms.’ His comment on the work that needed doing: ‘It is whole. That is all we can say.’ And in his Ontario poem: ‘the new ice sings to itself.’ Neil Curry: I feel a gig has been a success if I go away having learnt something. Now I know Ulverston had foundry and rope makers. Sir John Barrow “wanted to be known/ as the man who filled in / those last little gaps in the Atlas” and I passed his Hoad monument both before and after the poem. From his poem Touch Wood : ‘Trees don’t even burn the same. / Some are generous with their heat / but give it out slowly…Nothing else on earth can be said to still look beautiful when it’s dead’ : Kerry Darbishire: From Army Blanket which won first prize in Grey Hen poetry competition the concentration and affection in the line ‘fold it like a lover’s jumper’. There were a number of painting inspired poems and here was one about life-drawing called Posing for Andrew: ‘bearing stillness in failing sunlight’. Kerry’s collection is called A Lift of Wings and is available here: Caroline Gilfillan: The line about her mother being ‘protractor angles of elbows and knees’ struck me as this is often what children feel like too. All edges and corners and awkward. In her poem Things he loved the line ‘eyes limpid with chalky loss’ shone out. Her two most recent collections are Yes (2010) and Pepys (2012) both published by Hawthorn Press. Barbara Hickson: I enjoyed the contrast of ‘heather and bracken, smoke and song.’ in Traveller. At Loughrigg Tarn we are ‘like a reflection on a lake, one cloud and we’re gone.’ No link available. Maggie How: dedicated her set to her father and it was a beautiful and moving tribute ‘I am the sunlight on the bar-tops of trees… I weave thoughts with the evening mist’ The heart-breaking phrase ‘You smudge my heart with your art of dying.’ I also found out a lonning is a small country lane. No link available. Ayelet McKenzie: From BLACK MAGIC: The ‘night/creeps in like a black widow spider,/devouring the daylight /as she goes…to form a rainbow…/arcing over the wilderness of the earth,/this planet that will not stay for ever.’ Ayelet’s set was punchy and there were a lot of short pieces. No link available. Sue Millard: Wow! Lines from Driver’s Girl: ‘I will let you go, trusting/ the otherness that swallows you.’ ‘the road, the day/ and all its business claims you.’ Mark Carson: I loved poem Synaestheticae (first published in Brittle Star 2014). ‘This poem is written in oils, I have been adding layers since May.’ And in Canafy, lighten up! we get ‘the tapered ignition of the dawn’. Beautiful. No Link Available. Kim Moore’s wolf poem was one of my highlights of the evening. ‘No sound I make will still be made of words’ is a stunning line, much stronger than the phrase ‘speechless’! ‘the sound of their slow breathing fills her house.’ Kim lifted me up and carried me into the story. A Poem and a Pint page is here: Quiet Compere Facebook page here: ENTS24 page here for future Quiet Compere gigs:

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