Monday, 31 October 2011

A Woman Walks into a Pub: Shindigs, Flying Geese and Hearing Voices.

Hearing Voices Issue 4 - Because you're worth it.
Doesn't time fly? A busy couple of weeks with some very tip top poetry events to talk about here. I thought I should probably write about these before we plunged into November. The new issue of Hearing Voices is out by the way, more on that later. On October the 18th The Flying Goose Cafe in Beeston opened its doors to a new season of readings, with Jack Underwood, John Lucas and Pippa Hennessey.

This was a lovely evening in a very cosy venue and all three poets, despite being rather different in flavour, complemented each other well. Pippa's reading was warm and memorable and there were some very memorable images in her work. I should really write things down, but there was one about planting a tree in childhood, almost by accident, which grows and flourishes in the future while everything else changes. John Lucas's readings always leave me feeling that I've learnt something worth knowing. John talked about poetry of the Second World War, and read a poem by the American Randall Jarrell. Controversially, John asserted that poetry of this period is the equal and in some cases the more superior when compared to the poetry of the Great War. This threw me, but then I've not read an awful lot of WW2 work, apart from the odd bit of Keith Douglas, so perhaps it's time I delved further. Jack Underwood was a treat, very individual and full of verve. Again I should make notes but I remember devils' mouths replete with slim legs and envy over the pre-pubescent obsessions of girlfriends, such as pet horses. Anyone remember that classic series for girls, 'My Friend Flicker?' I think he has nothing to fear.

Last Monday saw the launch of Issue 4 of Hearing Voices, (yes that’s Hearing Voices, every home should have one!) at The Western Pub in Leicester. The guest readers were Mal Dewhirst, Charles Lauder, Wayne Burrows and Jane Commane. All great, I could write and write but so many other people have done this for me, so I’d suggest looking at some of the blogs below for a more spirited version of events, as I’m a little red eyed and snoozy at the moment. Suffice to say that Wayne’s pop stars and space travellers, Mal’s nature adventures, Charles’ sonorous and quirky work and Jane’s race horses and school anthems were all warmly received by an audience so attentive and wonderful I don’t know if it would be possible to find their like elsewhere. It’s been said before, but I’ll say it again, the open mic at these Shindigs is superb. As Alan Baker put it: ‘Poetry is a participation sport; most readers are also writers of poetry, and the whole scene is democratic and unhierarchical. But this is not to say that standards have to be driven down to the lowest common denominator; there's no reason why that should happen, and the evidence of the Leicester readings is quite the opposite, with people generally trying to raise their game to keep up with others.’ There you go, proof.

Oh, did I mention Hearing Voices is on sale now? And you’d like a copy, well of course you would, you are after all very intelligent! This issue features work by Joanne Limburg, Helen Ivory, Todd Swift, Mark Mawson, Mark Goodwin, David Caddy, Jacqui Rowe, Lydia Towsey, Alan Baker, Tony Williams, Nathan Lunt, George Ttoouli, Jess Mayhew, Matthew Stewart, Deborah Tyler-Bennett and many others. Please send a cheque made payable to Crystal Clear Creators to Jonathan Taylor, Crystal Clear Creators, c/o Department of English and Creative Writing, Faculty of Humanities, Clephan Building, De Montfort University, Leicester, LE1 9BH, U.K. Postage and packing is free!

Gary Longden's blog is here:
Matt Merritt's:
Alan Baker's:

Very much worth a read! As is Hearing Voices, out now! You know the rest...

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Me and Mr. Jones

I'm very impressed with Ms Winehouse's ability to blend the sounds of a classic Jazz styling with a unique North London idiom. 'Fuckery' is an exqusite word; we may never see her like again.


Ok, let's begin. There's quite a lot happening this week. If I could, I'd be catching John Agard at WORD! in Leicester tomorrow, it should be a good evening. This Saturday also sees the Brummie version of States of Independence (West), which is utterly free. This will be held at the Eastside Projects Gallery on Heath Mill Lane in Digbeth. If the Leicester ones are anything to go by this one should be just as good with publishers such as Penned in the Margins, the Shoestring Press, Nine Arches Press, Happenstance, Leafe Press, Bloodaxe, Flipped Eye Publishing, to name a few, all represented.
As for moi, I begin my proudest writing commission of the year this Autumn; writing the script of my twin daughters' Christmas play to be held at their playgroup in December. I can't say much at the moment other than it will involve glove puppets; probably a dragon and a wizard. I expect to earn a mince pie or two. I'm also very glad that my review of Paul Kingsnorth's collection, Kidland, has been posted on Todd Swift's fabulous blog Eyewear. It's a pleasure to be involved with a blog that is actively raising the profile of contemporary poetry on the Web. You can read it here at:

I've also been reading a lot too, and can recommend John McCullough's 'The Frost Fairs,' definitely worth a look.