Monthly Archives: July 2013

Post Box Poets: 25 July 2013

I’ll be honest: when I first saw the place I wasn’t sure. The Post Box Cafe is in part of what looks like, appropriately enough, an old Post Office and at first glance looked a bit on the compact side for a poetry night – but three hours later I knew that Sarah L Dixon, The Quiet Compere, had found another perfect venue for poetry! What changed my mind? Well, first of all Post Box Poets has exclusive use of the whole café, so the various comings and goings associated with sessions held in pubs and bars (by poets and general public alike!) weren’t there – but neither was the atmosphere completely hushed and sterile, the buzz of passing traffic and life on Wilbraham Road somehow creating the perfect background for urban poetry. Secondly, I quickly realised that its actually its size that makes the Post Box an intimate venue where poet and audience can easily connect; everyone feels part of the poetry, not slightly detached from it as can be the case in some larger venues.

Whether it was that intimacy, or simply that Sarah had chosen her line-up well, the evening simply flew by in a rush of poetry that was variously passionate, comical, touching, gritty, emotional, and often intensely personal. It would be wrong to single out any one poet – all played their part in a wonderful evening of poetic friendship and camaraderie that went by too fast. For the record, though, love and appreciation goes to (in no particular order): Zach Roddis, Cathy Bryant, John Lindley, Mabh Savage, Dominic Simpson, Jimmy Doxford, Steph Pike, Angela Smith and Sarah L. Dixon herself. I feel privileged to have been invited to read alongside such talented poets. Thanks again, Sarah!

I believe Sarah’s intention is for Post Box Poets to replace Lead Poets, and if that’s the case she’s chosen the perfect venue. The Post Box is fully accessible to all and perfect for those travelling by public transport, situated close to Chorlton Metrolink station. Future poetry events are already planned for 30 September and 26 November 2013 – my advice is to get there early, Post Box Poets will be popular!

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Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Writing Group

I’ve been messing with this poem for months. Every time I open it I seem to make changes, so I thought it time to go public with this draft. If you couldn’t guess, it’s after Wallace Stevens’ poem Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird. Written from experience? I couldn’t possibly say…

Maybe thirteen isn’t enough.

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Writing Group

(after Wallace Stevens)

 

1.
A platform for demonstrating
Academic background
And hence, superior intellect.

2.
She wrings her hands and apologises
Profusely for sub-standard work
That no-one could ever possibly
Want to read.

3.
Repressed anger and
Suppressed inhibitions
Explode from the page;
Debris is scattered everywhere.

4.
Of course, I only speak well of everyone’s work;
That way I hope I’ll hear only
Good things
About my own.

5.
D-e-n-s-e
Diff-
-icult
CoMpLex;
Hidden depths of the poet’s mind
Remain
Well-hidden.

6.
He makes frequent, obscure
Literary references,
Subversively deriding
Those less well-read than himself.

7.
F**k!
C**t!
T**t!
Sideways glances of outrage and disgust,
Then silence;
No-one dare complain:
We’re all open-minded here…

8.
Arguments about punctuation
Punctuate the evening;
Get to the point.

9.
Nod and smile politely,
Accept feedback gracefully;
Say and change nothing.
Submit the same next time.

10.
The merest hint of criticism
Is defended furiously;
He passionately explains
The obvious points
Everyone has missed.

11.
Chat convivially and persistently
About anything
Other than writing.

12.
New members must be published to keep
Our high quality untainted.
Next item: dwindling membership…

13.
Group therapy that reaches
The parts counsellors
Have failed
To reach.

© 2013

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