The Quiet Compere Hull – Meet me at the nose of this cow a week on Friday. Bring Cake (Sue Lozynskyj).

I had never been to Hull before and enjoyed a jaunt around the Arcades and the indoor market, complete with the Hull Wall of Fame including The Housemartins, Philip Larkin and others I knew of and surprisingly, to me, Reece Shearsmith. I found Ye Olde White Harte on Silver Street. A striking building built in 1550. The locals furnished it with stories too. From the man who was calling the doctor for an urgent appointment for heart palpitations with a pint in front of him, the man who was asking his wife if a cheque had arrive while ‘having a coffee’ (pint) to the three women who were happy to chat with me about the ghostly goings on in their respective workplaces – radios turning on, strange figures. In the evening it should have come as no surprise to me when two of the audience had to leave (due to emergencies) before the end of the first half and two performers left before I could pay them. Life was happening in stereo the day I visited Hull Alyx Tamminen: In her poem Fight Flight or Withstand about escaping an abusive relationship the woman was ‘not worth the air she was done breathing in’ and wanted ‘a home where her bones won’t break on the soil.’ No link. Wendy Pratt: In one of Wendy’s poems ‘the air span diamonds out of sea fret’ and she instructs you to ‘stop folding the sky through the creases of your skin.’ I loved the idea of mourning the phasing out of the fog-horns and the fact they could ‘lull a child to sleep from ten miles away’ and ‘the salt-code inside’ us. Pamphlet Nan Hardwick Turns into a Hare and her full collection Museum Pieces are both published by Prolebooks and her new one, Lapstrake is published by Flarestack Poets. Johanna Boal: Johanna read The Drowning, a revisited poem in response to Calais refugee news. Then she took us on a Hull Carnival ride. This poem is included in Johanna’s pamphlet Cardboard City published by Poetry Space. Miki Higgins: The lines that struck me most were: ‘The floor he made from his jealousies and fears/The bars from empty promises’ and ‘There is no colour, there is no colour…The soul is a savage thing…’ No link. Anarchist Rob Eunson: I loved the line from What the world wants me to be about the ‘correct theatrical gesture – left hand over knitted brow to convey deep thought’ and the concise ‘we are all damaged inside. I think even you can see that.’ Carol Robson: The lines that struck me particularly were from Old School about ‘hard, but damn well happy times.’ the fact that Women’s Space in Spoken Word: ‘is genderless’ was Carol’s response to ‘space’ theme. Sue Lozynskyj: ‘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’ and this takes the audience off in all directions in our heads. ‘There is nothing so musical as an ambulance siren when you know it is coming for you.’ Bernie Cullen: After the emergencies in the room ‘searching for connect and steady mode’ after a life upset felt right. Her tsunami poem was moving, especially the line ‘hair had been cut, teeth mended, your smile a little different’ and my favourite the line ‘a history of the world’s pain distilled to perfect complaint.’ Jim Higo: I love the rhythm of the line: ‘I’ve got a funeral suit and christening trousers’ and the sadness of the repetition in There is a man lost in the supermarket and he is shopping for one. The title line repeated as a kind of alarm call. Jim hosts Away with Words: Catherine Scott: Catherine performed Thanks for that, we’ll have that! poem about Greece ‘the rest of the world looked away, but still went there on holiday.’ and the poem about the miners’ family holidays in Rhyl. The night was intense and for a gathering of a couple of dozen humans in a room there were a whole lot of emergencies going on with several audience having to leave early.

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