Monday, June 25, 2007

Write Out Loud Poetry at Middleton 24th June 2007

From the top: poets Gemma O'Neill, Greg Rodrigo, Gordon Zola and Carol Pickering.

A warm welcome was given to some newcomers at this WOL event . We all hope that they will read next time. Only about 20 people this time, but quality work was performed. After MC Paul Gonzo Blackburn’s introduction, the first session started as Dave Morgan read ‘Promotion’ a witty rhymer about getting on and being ‘a complete and utter bastard’. Then Greg Rodrigo did his ‘London’ an interesting view of the impersonality of the southern capital. Gonzo delivered his ‘Economic Refugee’ where as usual he asks people for money.

Katie Haigh then read us her ‘Searching’, a thoughtful piece. Norman Warwick’s ‘The Cost Of Gold’ looked at funding for the Arts going down the drain while the Olympics gets everything. but who will ‘paint their portraits, tell their story’?

Carol Pickering’s sociopolitical piece ‘Reflections On Life’ looked at different individuals who cannot be made to write. Gerry O’Gorman’s ‘Engerland Expects’ dealt in nice juxtapositions: ‘there’s carnations round the lamp post and there’s holes in the road’. Then Mr G Zola performed his ‘Food Of Love’. This was excellent, typical, Cheese at his best. Seamus Kelly’s first telling, witty piece was called ‘Flash’. Gemma O’Neill read her ‘When I was Five’ a very good local accent piece that I’ve heard before. I read ‘The Keeper of Turton Tower’.

After the first break, we read in reverse order, so I started with one called ‘Leon’, then Paul did something which may have been called the Best Poem or it might have been his Intro Poem – sorry I missed the title. Gemma did her ‘Location, Location, Location’, good, competent stuff: ‘Everyone knows my street’. Amongst others ‘a middle-aged mini-skirted lush’ lives there.

Seamus read ‘Only In My Dreams’, a very good, powerful piece about habitat destruction in Western Ireland:’unnatural lines of unnatural trees’. Then Mr Z did his ‘Mr Tambourine Man’ ‘Not even Coldplay could fix you’. Gerry read ‘The Regal’ about past times at the cinema:’a panavision treat’. Carol did her ‘Lost Love’, a formal piece, (possibly a pantoum?) . I liked ‘in my Icarus fantasy I flew’. Norman gave us a chilling tale about a preacher who puts fornicators to the sword. I don’t know if it was deliberate but there was a distinct reference to Dante’s Paolo and Francesca for me in the line ‘He saw two souls that took to flight’. Katie’s ‘Awake’ struck a chord with her fellow insomniac poets: ‘Will I ever escape the madness, the chaos awake.’

Greg then gave us his political piece about Tony Blair’s smile which went down well. Dave finished the second session with his ‘Arrested Poetry’ a useful snipe at the ether-breathing upthemselves who cast nasturtiums at those of us who don’t write arcane, twisted-imaged, uppity bollocks: ‘doing time for committing rhyme is the doggerel poet’s fate’. The final session was a random one where Gonzo stuck a pen in the list to choose who read next. Briefly, because this is already a long review, Gerry: ‘I’m the joiner. When I’ve finished, it works, it’s fixed’. Danny Sleddon’s (hope the name’s right) ‘Slow To Go’ was also read by Gerry. We hope Danny will write more good poems and read them next time. Katie’s ‘Musicbox’ personified beautifully the little ballerina model in the box. Seamus gave us an excellent ‘Just Too Much’ with a killer last line.

Greg talked of war: ‘I am in the middle of reality’. Dave delivered an irreverent, punful ‘David Attenborough’s Deep Blue Sea’. Gemma read a piece about the leader of her gang ‘All she ever got at home was a Dad who was drunk’. Greg did more of his engaged approach to the world.

Mr Z then became Terry Dactyl in a plea for dinosaur equality. Loads of puns and dino jokes. I did my ‘Fast Crowd’ about locals in rough pubs. Norman finished the evening with a love poem called ‘This Is The One’ which really hit home: the safest road running south out of hope and north out of fear’.

My apologies if any of the names or quotes are wrong. This joined-up writing takes time. This was the first time I had heard some of these poets and they were as competent as any. As some of the newbies commented to me, there was a really good range of styles and deliveries. Middleton is not an event to be missed, people. My favourite of the night was Norman’s last one but there were many others that came close.

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