Wednesday 29 November 2023

Red Door Poets at Milton Keynes Lit Fest (Zoom)

Last night, online, I saw Mary Mulholland, Paul Stephenson, Lesley Sharpe, Fiona Larkin, Chris Hardy and Helen Ivory.

I may have got the titles mixed up, but I think the pieces I liked best were Mary Mulholland’s "pig town, o the shame of you", Paul Stephenson's "Button" and Fiona Larkin's "Beach". I've not seen Helen Ivory read before though I've read 2 of her books. I liked much of what she read without any particular poem standing out.

For slow listeners like me it was useful to have the text shown during the readings - about half the poets provided this facility.

I'm still thinking about the use of the chat facility. At this event the remarks were not followed up by the emcee or other attendees. Sometimes they mentioned particular poems. More often (understandably) they were lists of adjectives.

Sunday 26 November 2023

Zoom poetry readings - Acumen and break-out rooms

Acumen had an issue launch on 24th Nov. Over 30 attended. People who arrived early could chat, then there were 3 break-out rooms that people were randomly assigned to, giving us a chance to get to know some people. After a few readings (during which people were encouraged to type in the chat section) we went back to the break-out rooms with the suggestion that we could talk about the poems or about "what is poetry?" Muting and splitting was ably managed by Danielle Hope (who popped into the break-out rooms and alerted people to comments in the chat) with help from Kim Moore. The room I was in had Kim Moore and Rory Waterman, a treat in itself.

At live events during intervals, people break into clusters - some people catching up with friends, some people listening, looking around for familiar/famous faces. Break-out rooms are a simulation of this I suppose. I think the format worked well.

Saturday 25 November 2023

Some books

Rather than await an "eagerly anticipated" book, why not rummage on secondhand shelves?

Many of the books I buy are years old, found by chance in charity shops. Charity bookshops nowadays even have sections for "Short stories", which is more than some high street bookshops can manage. The books below aren't really neglected masterpieces, but they've stuck in my memory longer than the more recently published books I've read. Many of them are the author's first books, which may explain why I was impressed by them - they lack padding, and even the pieces that don't work for me have interesting parts.

Now I'm in recommendation mode, I'll mention a short story that impressed me - "Rinks without ice" by Jae Vail (The interpreter's house)

Tuesday 14 November 2023

350 today

Today I got my 350th acceptance - a triumph of longevity rather than quality, but I'll celebrate all the same. 221 poems and 129 pieces of prose. Poetry is tailing off, Flash is increasing.

Monday 6 November 2023

CB1, November

The CB1 poetry evenings go from strength to strength. Yesterday about 40 people attended, despite competition from fireworks events. No headline poets - it's all open-mic, and I think at least 25 read. The majority read from phones. There was rap, a sestina, a villanelle, poems just finished, old poems read from books. There were regulars and newcomers young and old. Few of the poems were "performance" or comic pieces.