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January – ugh! Thank goodness for poetry events…

As the wind howls outside and the next five-day block of rain chunters towards our heads, I’m feeling very grateful for some poetry relief this dark month.

Last Thursday we got things going at the Poetry Cafe in London, for the first Telltale Press & Friends reading of 2016. It was super to hear Faber poet Jack Underwood perform a set that included poems from his collection Happiness which I loved reading, plus some great new material. He is so original and interesting, as well as being a thoroughly nice chap. And two other thoroughly nice chaps also read – Telltale’s own Peter Kenny and Siegfried Baber. Great to see Sieg settling into a lovely reading style. (I got some nice footage of PK and Jack on my new teensy video cam, and I can see myself getting a lot of mileage from it this year.) Our fourth reader was Kitty Coles, who’s very widely published but relatively undiscovered. A talent worth looking out for – you’ve probably already seen her work in various magazines.

Then this coming Thursday it’s the first Needlewriters event of the year, in my old home town of Lewes, featuring the lovely, talented and hard-working poet Clare Best, debuting yet another of her many projects, this time a collaboration with David Pullan. Really looking forward to that. Also on the bill is Tara Gould, and in the second half a tribute to the late Irving Weinman. Irving was a founder member of the Needlewriters and was working on his eighth novel when he died aged 78 in October.

Tomorrow of course is the Big One – the TS Eliot Prize readings at London’s South Bank. It gets more glittery and sold out every year. Can’t wait to see and hear the mighty DP, whose 40 Sonnets has just won the Costa poetry prize, and my newest hero Sarah Howe reading from the wonderful Loop of Jade (here’s my short review.)

Peter Kenny and I have second row seats this year, so we’ll be up close and personal with the poets reading. Not as up close as I’ll be the following evening though, at the award ceremony. Oh yes, Robin shall go to the ball!



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Robin Houghton 2024