We did it!! And I made it to everyone and thoroughly enjoyed splitting some of the responsibility and tasks with my co-hosts and Nina, Super online event Tech. Co-hosts were sorted so everything could go ahead if either of us went down with COVID but we were very lucky and I caught it in a break from tour time in mid July and we made all nine dates with full complement of co-hosts too.
Co-Host Emma Purshouse
I love Emma’s Black Country words. I definitely use some of them, ‘mithering’ and ‘firtle’ and I wonder if these were passed down by my mum’s family. The rhymes in Art school Annual picnic are inspired and this piece is brilliantly crafted. ’Salavador Dali/Harley’ and ‘Van Eyck/on a borrowed bike’. Emma finished her set with a walrus singing song which made everyone rush off to listen to singing walruses in the break 😊
Mark’s delivery was just the right side of languorous which had us waiting for what was next… The poems were sensual with exquisite detail, holding us in the moment of the poem. The keying of a car, an action that could not be taken back ‘so he applies the key-tip until the metal concedes a slow dimple’. And in the nettle-pit alone and ‘the only sound was the slow laugh of a crowd and wind like applause through ash trees’.
Jennifer A. McGowan
Oh! Shrapnel was such a fitting poem for Remembrance weekend. Measured and personal. And in Jennifer’s love poem, The Boy who went back to Singapore ‘we’d both slept through, waking with imprints of the other on our faces.’ Such variety here in a short set.
The incantation of ‘Kallax, Klept, Empak, Ransire, Finskuron’ made me smile. I loved The Beekeeper’s wife and am hoping it will be in the Wordsmithery Bee Anthology. After following a lot of Mark’s recent American adventures, I enjoyed ‘New York state of mind’.
I was so glad George could make it to the event. His univocal poem was beautifully-formed. His rhythm, repetition and delivery style made for an engaging and lively set. I especially enjoyed The Imp of Distraction and The Yarn Spinner. My favourite stanza is:
‘He used to work for MI5, but he keeps that on the low
He used to be a roadie, went on tour with Status Quo
He used to be a boxer, trained in the States with Smokin’ Joe
Plus, he played all the instruments on Enya’s Orinoco Flow
He’s the Yarn-Spinner, you know him’
One of the massive bonuses of hosting online events is the chance to share poems like Misophonia on the page. The way it is chaotic and then pulled tightly back by the repeated mantra ‘make manifest’ and with lines like
‘you can corn dolly their hearts,
twists like straw,
set intentions like love potions.’
Alex the mascot having fun loitering about the mic and drinking ale.
There was definitely a witchy and magical theme running throughout the event and after a short break I read a few poems and we continued with Helen Ivory’s witches:
Oh yes! I loved the fact Helen shared so many of her new witch poems with us. Th incantatory nature of her poetry was compelling. Especially in lines like ‘you cannot sing grass sweet’ and ‘a quiet pandemonium emanated from the apple.’ I enjoyed the brevity and precision of Scry and can’t wait for the new book.
I was hoping to see Linda at a real-life gig but when she couldn’t make it I was delighted she agreed to perform at one of the online events instead. Linda’s attention to detail is exemplary, particularly in the Ancoats poem. My Dad is from Ancoats and I could just visualise everything. I loved the Philomel poem stuffed full of bird sounds too.
Yes! A set by Penny after seeing the process of her poems being crafted in workshops so many times (Penny has become an online friend over lockdown). And more witchiness and fairy tale from Penny including the line ‘my lying tongue is tart with poisoned apple craving.’ And ‘Inside me, moor fires burn brighter than ever.’ And this block of text from Uncharted Waters is glorious:
a truth which could not be stopped
nor changed, nor denied.
He left behind in the untidy cabin
enough of both the truth and lies
to splice his tale together.
Jack’s loss haiku was beautiful and haunting and I loved the idea of ‘Hallmark-induced sunstroke’. I felt like that in stuffy, heated charity shops when I was younger. Stonewall was necessary and well-crafted piece., especially this section:
‘Larry Grayson, shut that door!
And to top it off,
thanks to Alan Turing
we even won the fucking war.’
I enjoyed the playfulness as family/cultural history embedded in If Shakespeare was Jamaican. and I love the line ‘I still like listening to song in a language I don’t know’. I listened to some Ukrainan song and Ukranian poetry with and without translation at an event recently and will look out for more bilingual and multilingual events in future.
One of the massive advantages of hosting an online gig now is that I can bring all the people I have discovered the work of or learnt and heard more readings by in lockdown could all be brought together and make more connections with each other.
Thanks to all for making the tour possible – venues, poets, co-hosts and supporters and ACE and of course audiences.
Still to come this year
Readaround Saturday 10th December 5-630pm FREE event on Zoom to make up for missing open mic sections online (as events would have run too long with open mic section).
Group poem made up from lots of single words audience members have given me – I will perform this on Facebook but I have to write to first!
Lots of final report writing.
Coming in 2023
The Quiet Compere will be hosting events at River Lit in June 2023 and Morecambe Poetry Festival in September 2023. Watch this space!
6 random favourite photos of the tour (they’d be different if I chose them again tomorrow)
Attending Quiet Compere Tour events is a truly joyous and uplifting experience. The wonderfully refreshing format of the events allows attendees and contributors alike to enjoy a uniquely varied, engaging thought-provoking and entertaining blend of poets and performers from across the country. It shines a spotlight on everything that makes the spoken word scene so spellbinding. The fact that the Quiet Compere Tour also included several online dates was very positive and profoundly appreciated as those virtual tour stops made these already refreshingly diverse events even more inclusive by giving those of us with disabilities, medical vulnerabilities, health and/or mobility issues the opportunity to access and enjoy a top-quality live show. As a full-time wheelchair-user with Cerebral Palsy, I know first-hand how sadly rare fully accessible and inclusive arts events can be. The Quiet Compere is working hard to change that by embracing technology to bring people of all backgrounds and abilities together to share our love of poetry. Many more event organisers could learn from the Quiet Compere’s example and leave the virtual door open so that people with disabilities can relish new and exciting arts events in a medically safe and powerfully inclusive way. Bravo Quiet Compere, long may your shows continue to enthral and inspire!
A brilliant mix of poets of all experiences. Sarah’s informal approach is very welcoming. We had a chat afterwards too, which included the audience. A very enjoyable evening.
And thanks to the venues…
Until next time…
I love everyone who made this possible xxx