Vodka, patient ghosts and the key of self-destruct

The Bird Cage had a chippy that delivered to the venue. Happy Sarah installed with fish and chips and a Punk IPA. As Catherine Woodward was not available as the date moved nearer, she massively helped promote it but left me in the trustworthy hands of Rufus Lunn. Rufus was a lovely co-host and helped the event run smoothly as did Robbie (Tech for The Bird Cage), the venue was just the right size for the event. Every poet in the Norwich line-up had a different style, approach and theme. Kept the audience engaged and I thought there were only three types of poet until that night made me reassess my thinking. Ramona Herdman: @ramonaherdman The line that particularly struck me was “You look like you know the way out of the weight of the world” Loved all Ramona’s drink poems and the line “you hope it is a genie, but it is more like a ship.” And the poem about her Dad: ‘I leave a glass of Bells out at night – like kids, / I hope, still do for Father Christmas. It makes / the morning smell of you.’ Sophie Essex: @furlinedghettos Sophie’s set was sex themed, particularly the lines “somethings mouthed into her as though she is an orchard pregnant with tomorrow’s architecture” and love the juxtaposition of the care and the surrender in “red lips and wild caution.” Stuart Charlesworth: Stuart’s set was a medically tainted set. Having been a histology and post mortem secretary for 17 years and only ever known hospitals and hospital offices as a work environment his poems felt familiar.“It behaved like any wounded thing.” “it manifested over 6 weeks like a patient ghost.” “A cocktail of chemicals in your brain mimicked a power the moon had over the sea.” And “Two doctor’s signatures trapped your name.” Julie Gardner: Julie surprised us by “twisting the key of self-destruct” and made me laugh by having a character wooed “with homemade bread and poetry” Who would that not win over? Rufus Lunn: @LiveAndLunn As well as being a funny, organised and bouncy co-host Rufus performed an excellent set. From The Sentinel: “I swear by sword, or word of kiss. I will stand. Still.” Wow! And in Berlin, “Enclose me in a barbed wire embrace and prove to me you can disappear a person.” Russell J Turner:            The ‘Locking up Dancers’ poem stunned me. “shaking your sadness at the sun’s mistake.” “doomed to be the unwed wife who paints the walls of Plato’s cave.” And in The Dead Start Fires was the line “The dead have the consolation…of the quiet and the flames because the dead play games.” Julia Webb:                                        I enjoyed Julia’s sun theme. “You are on fire. You have accidently swallowed the sun… you could drink an ocean. You settle for a double vodka. The Sun approves.” I think the theme of drink ran somewhat deep in the sets on Thursday. The break-up poem “My account has been locked because of too many failed attempts.” Beautiful metaphor. And “The moon thinks of itself as an emergency.” Elizabeth Lewis Williams:                Elizabeth took us into Antarctic Convergence where “oxygen dances. It seems the water has swallowed the night sky.” “silence closes around the space you leave.” “slow spun tendrils of whale song.” and “Wilson’s petrels brooding over a universe of crushed stars.” Huni: No link available Huni was the hardest poet to make notes on because I was being pulled into the next line as I tried to note the one before. Lines I particularly like were “I am just a single breath in a hurricane, but I’m blowing though.” “I embrace the deeper parts of my unravelling.” “all the forests I burnt down creating space to plant new seeds.” “Let me at the horizon because I wanna soak up everything.” “I don’t wanna say too much, but I can never say enough, so I’ll let me actions do the talking and my tongue gather dust.” Richard Lambert: I loved the line from ‘Outskirts’ that has “sheets of newspaper cartwheeling to mishap.” And from ‘Swallow in the rain’ “ It is not that she likes me, more that the insects she likes rise at my heels.” I loved Norwich and the lanes and was reluctant to return home after a brief wander. I must go back for the poetry and the place.

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