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Poetry & music at The Core

It was a great pleasure to read at the Swindon Shuffle event on Thursday. Our co-host was the lovely Hilda Sheehan of Blue Gate Poets. As well as being a fine poet and prolific writer, Hilda is clearly a major driving force for poetry good in Swindon, and I’m hoping to be able to reciprocate sometime soon and invite her down to Lewes for a reading.

I took with me both my husband and my brother- & sister-in-law who told me they’d never been to a poetry reading before, which made me a tad nervous. I needn’t have been though  – the mix of poetry and music, together with several breaks, meant it was perfect for poetry ‘virgins’.

In the first half we heard talented local up-and-coming Jadine Eagle followed by the experienced and widely published Anna-May Laugher from Reading, and an acoustic set from auralcandy which went down particularly well. Stephen Payne and I read after the break  (great to hear his set – Stephen was picked by Smith’s Knoll for mentoring and publication, so clearly a fine poet) and the evening finished with a two-piece called Wave Dance, playing what my sister-in-law confidently knew to be surfer hippy music (from her cheesecloth and VW Campervan days) which I really enjoyed, especially the fascinating array of percussion instruments, ranging from a hotel desk bell to vintage Fairy Liquid bottles filled with rice.

Swindon Poetry Reading
Top: Robin, Hilda Sheehan, Jadine Eagle. Bottom: Anna May Laugher, Stephen Payne, The Core

I think the four poets each offered something quite different, and mixing it up with music was really fun. Plus, my non-poet guests said they’d had a great time and hadn’t been scared off by anything too hardcore, so that was gratifying. A success all round!

My only reservation about the evening was there not being any alcohol available (The Core is a juice bar) – even though the atmosphere was chilled, people were very friendly and the juices got good reviews. Personally I don’t drink before I read (could’ve killed for a glass of Chardonnay afterwards though), but I appreciate an audience that’s, shall we say, a little loosened up – perhaps that’s churlish of me? Sadly I missed the post-event drink in the pub, as we had to get back to Newbury, but next time hopefully!

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  1. i’ve heard great things about your reading and the event from the Swindon end, mostly on Facebook (Stephen, Hilda and Michael Scott are FB friends). If you had a Lewes event as you mention I would love to hear about it – I am often in Sussex, Pulborough – then I could meet you and Hilda! As well as hearing you both read?

    • Hi Meg – thank you! And yes I’ll certainly let you know when I get some Lewes readings off the ground, I have a few ideas in the pipeline. Would be lovely to meet you 🙂

  2. Jay Jay

    Hi Robin. It was a great eve and good to meet you 🙂 I loved everyone’s readings as it was all so varied, and the music topped it off (loving the whistle!). Your poem about Scrabble was my favourite of the evening. Agree on the wine, def could have had a nice chilled glass after. I look like I’m opera singing in the photo…now that’s something you definitely don’t want to hear me do!

    • Thanks so much Jadine (or is it Jay?) and I’m glad you liked ‘Ellipsis’. Opera singing – ha ha! Well at least you have a neck and chin, I don’t know what happened to mine 🙂

  3. This sounds like a wonderful evening and I’m sorry to have missed it. I hope more of the same will be arranged although it might have to be a case (literally) of BYO 🙂

    • yes – a case, women after my own heart (or liver).

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Robin Houghton 2021
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