Andrew Philip and Rob Mackenzie, a flashy mirror, and Anne Berkeley
On 26th April after some afternoon punting Andrew Philip and Rob Mackenzie read at CB1 in Cambridge. They both published with HappenStance about 5 years ago (Andrew's book has sold out!), then published with Salt.
The evening began with an open-mike session. Peter Daniels and I (part of the new exciting Next-Gen wave of HappenStance poets) were amongst the performers. It's ages since I've read and by the time my first-minute nerves were over, so was my set. I dashed off "Iron Birds" and "Crows' Nests" to about 25 people. Nowadays I have to take off my glasses to read, which means I can't really see the audience, but I tried to look up anyway. And I sold a booklet.
The main attractions were likable (which always helps whether you're a stand-up or a poet) and delivered their pieces well (Andrew often from memory). Rob read a new sequence about his daughter.
I've read their books recently, which was useful because I'm not a good poetry listener. Andrew's work in particular benefited from being heard (he uses more repetition and presents it more dramatically). The evening made me want to read their books again.
I went with a non-native-English speaker (a non-poet) who used their first poem to get acclimatised to the accent but then found their work more accessible than mine. It helped that they read sequences of themed pieces, and told us when a poem was going to be rather episodic or tangental.