Lovely evening last week at the Red Roaster in Brighton, for the launch of Abi Curtis’s new collection The GlassDelusion. Not too crowded, some familiar faces and a really nice selection of work being read.
I’ve a soft spot for Abi ever since she and I were involved with the University of Sussex ‘Poetry Soc’ back in her undergrad days, when I was doing my digital media masters and half-wondering whether I should have been on a Creative Writing MA (which was the loser in my ‘either-or’ decision about what to study as a precursor to my new post-marketing post-corporate life.) Thanks to Abi I took part in my first poetry reading in the (now defunct?) Crypt student bar on campus. Very exciting for me to find out years later that she’d gone on to a career as a poet and academic. I loved her first collection Unexpected Weather and her reading/speaking style is gentle, measured and appealing (“It’s only a little poem, and it’s just called ‘Rabbit’…”) So far I’m enjoying ‘The Glass Delusion’ a lot. More about this in a future post.
Strangely enough, I think this was only the second time I’ve heard Catherine Smith reading her poetry – the last time she was at the Needlewriters in Lewes we heard one of her short stories. I have to say I really enjoyed hearing her, and the selection she chose included a very powerful one which she said some have called ‘an anti-marriage poem, but it’s not, it’s an anti-shopping poem’ which kind of made my ears prick up right away. I think it was probably from her collection ‘Lip’ which I need to seek out. Catherine also read from her forthcoming book, and one poem I recognised about her ‘imagined’ daughters, maybe I’d read it in a magazine?
I’ve really enjoyed John McCullough’s The Frost Fairs and John is an engaging reader. It was great to hear again ‘Reading Frank O’Hara on the Brighton Express’ and ‘Sneakers’ – the latter about a shipload of trainers that floated around the world, which I was a bit annoyed about because I’ve always wanted to write a poem about the ‘Friendly Floatees’ – but now it might seem derivative! Would like to have heard him read one of my favourites from the collection, ‘Sleeping Hermaphrodite’ – maybe next time 🙂