Last night I drove over to Leeds to read at the Heart Cafe alongside Jim Caruth, Andrew Wilson Lambeth, Cora Greenhill, Mike Barlow and Jane Routh. This event was the last in the series for this year, the organisers are having a break in August and recommencing in September.
It was a great night – it’s always reassuring to arrive at a venue and find the place already pretty full, and by 7.30 there were no spare seats in the cafe. I volunteered to go first – for purely sefish reasons. I often find it hard to concentrate on the other readings before I’ve done my set, as I spend the time worrying about it, so this way I thought I could get my reading out of the way and then settle down to listen to the other poets.
Andrew Wilson Lambeth was the only complete stranger to me – and what a wonderful discovery his poetry was. He told us he had only written 12 poems – but has already had two shortlisted in the National Poetry Competition last year. I was impressed with how he used rhyme to make the poems hang together, without hitting you in the face with it – I think he is definately one to watch – someone who is doing something interesting and different with language.
Cora Greenhill was on the MA with me at Manchester, but I’d never heard her read, again I really enjoyed her reading and poems that travelled from Crete to Sheffield and back again. And of course, Mike, Jane and Jim were fabulous as usual.
I sold five copies of my pamphlet – bringing my total copies sold up to 116. Four were bought by complete strangers, which always feels nice.
I tried something different in my set last night – I read at the Heart Cafe not long ago, and I’ve got in the habit of starting my set with the same two poems ‘The Wolf’ which I can launch into without any introduction, followed swiftly by ‘Tuesday at Wetherspoons’. However I decided not to last night just in case there were members of the audience that had heard me read previously, so I started with a brand new poem, that I wrote at the Poetry Business workshop on Saturday. It was quite nerve wracking, breaking out of my normal routine, but I think, ultimately good. I think the time when you get so comfortable with the poems that you’re going to read is probably the time to shake things up a bit.
All in all, a great night, and lovely to catch up with friends from Leeds I don’t see very often. I bought David Agnew’s new collection ‘There Are No Such Things As Seagulls’ available from Valley Press (www.valleypressuk.com) and am now looking forward to settling down to read that today.
I have my sister’s dogs staying with me at the minute while she swans off to a wedding in Portugal, so at the minute, have four terriers in the house and one very disgruntled cat, so how much relaxing reading I’ll get done I don’t know!