|Bricks or cobbles? At any rate, tres urban.|
It's been two years since I decided to get serious about poetry and it was two years ago I started buying pamphlets, primarily over collections, simply because they felt more accessible and you could buy a few at a time and read works by different authors; then you'd buy the 'album.' Nine Arches have published some very attractive and desirable pamphlets for instance, The Sopranos by Roz Goddard and The Night of the Day by David Morley. I should also mention the work of Smith/Doorstop (click!)at this juncture who produce remarkable poetry pamphlets too and have done for a very long time. I am currently reading The Sea and the Forest, by Sally Baker, lovely.
The Salt project seems rather ambitious due to the amount being published in a relatively short space of time, but that seems to be a Salt trait, something to do with capturing zeitgeist, I suspect. Beeston's Flying Goose cafe was one of the many venues up and down the country showcasing this new series. Four readers: Emily Hasler, Shaun Belcher, JT Welsch and Adrian Slatcher, as well as a single poem at the end by Tim Cockburn as well. Very different in subject matter, but I felt that a similar cadence seemed to resonate through some of the readings, so there was almost an incantatory tone to the evening and bound the readings together rather effectively. Welsch took us to the movies, which was rather exciting for a chilly December night in Nottinghamshire. Belcher's poetry seemed reflective and sonorous; Slatcher's were lyrical and seemed to focus on smaller details in the context of a global experience. It was great to hear Emily Hasler again who read from her pamphlet Natural Histories.
Hasler's opening poem was 'The Cormorants':
You scan the bay and always see one -
plumped like a discarded coat on some
purposeful post of sea-bleached wood.
Hasler has also appeared in Salt's The Best British Poetry 2011, with a poem called 'Valediction', a very memorable love poem which finishes:
The weekend laid out - a mahogany table - I know
where it is; I know where you are. When it rains
the earth smells like it's been there for years.
I always enjoy Emily's readings and have been lucky to catch her twice this year, Natural Histories is a very readable and enticing publication. There was also a chance for us non-Salty beings to read a poem of our own, so Deborah Tyler-Bennett and Roy Marshall had a go amongst others. I lowered the tone with a poem based on teaching Larkin, called 'Larkin' oddly enough.
The drive home was equally memorable for different reasons, lost on the A52 with three poets in a car, headed for some far-flung corner of Derbyshire and not Leicestershire,where we actually live, with 'The Organist Entertains' on Radio 2. Yikes.