John Myers (aka Mister John) runs a regular poetry evening here in Eastbourne at the Underground Theatre cafe. I’m giving it a good plug not least of all because next month I’m the guest poet. And I do also want people to support the event, as we’re not awash with poetry events in Eastbourne (YET). The format of John’s events is to have a guest reader each time, sandwiched around open mic spots which bring in a decent audience.
So, with World Poetry Day coming up John had the idea of holding a special event to celebrate the many poetry workshopping groups in East Sussex – a showcase evening in which members of the different groups could each read/perform. Last night the event came together amazingly well, considering how many poets there were to herd.
I was there as a supporter, having connections with three of the five groups. Represented were Brighton Poetry Stanza, Rottingdean Writers, Downland Poets, Hastings Poetry Stanza and Mid Sussex Stanza. It was a convivial evening with only two or three people taking more than their allotted time (I’d like to say ‘they know who they are’ but sadly that’s not often the case). So we heard readings from around 30 poets, followed by an open mic, and John ran a pretty tight ship.
Not everyone gave their name (or full name) which was a shame. There was a big range of material, from the usual subjects (nature, death, family) to belly dancing (literally) and people pissing on doormats (not literally). I was so pleased to hear Louise Taylor‘s ‘leather bird’ and ‘bikini wax’ poems again, she is so funny and thanks to her brilliant timing I never fail to guffaw at the punchlines. Marion Tracy read from her impressive new collection Dreaming of Our Better Selves (Vanguard Editions) which I’ve been enjoying reading – more on that to come in a later post. Antony Mair gave a stonker of a reading, virtually from memory (but not the ‘stare straight ahead, speak quickly and look as if I’m trying to remember my lines’ way AT ALL). He told me it was down to an excellent day he’d spent at Live Canon, learning about how to deliver one’s poetry.