Spoken Worlds, Old Cottage Tavern, Burton on Trent

This open-mic event is now established in its ability to draw attendance from far and wide. Under the skilful stewardship of MC Gary Carr, the standard is high, and the evening always moves on at a brisk pace. It also tends to be quite diverse through happenstance, tonight was no exception. A strong body of poets was on hand to present their wares, and it was material from books which dominated proceedings.

Ian Ward, from Lichfield Poets, has read several times before. This time he chose to present his first collection, Light and Darkness ,(United Press) for its debut outing, which contains over three dozen poems. A social worker by profession Ian’s work is eclectic and off beat. Fantasy horror, contemporary pop culture and love are all visited by his pen. Stolen Away a piece on dementia, stood out.

Barry Patterson presented mainly from the second edition of his successful , Nature Mystic , a collection which reflects his interest in the relationship we have with our environment. Astronaut will resonate particularly with those old enough to remember the moon landings, whilst Advice to a Geordie Miner Lad in Pooley carries an authenticity which transcends the need for having had to have been there. A part of the permanent Polesworth Poetry Trail, Barry reflected that it was a contribution which had come easiest to him over and beyond others to which he had committed more time. Yet it is that immediacy and cohesion which makes the poem such a pleasure to hear, particularly when delivered with a Geordie accent.

Mal Dewhirst took the opportunity to introduce us to the work of some contemporary Irish poets, having just returned from a trip to the Emerald isle as a guest of O’Bheal in Cork City for a three day visit of readings as part of the Cork-Coventry Literature exchange. The first was the Galway Poet Elaine Feeney. He read from her collection published by Salmon, Where’s Katy, the highlight of which was Urban Myths and the Galway Girl, which was constructed from the ephemeral observations of one of her co-workers in a Hairdresser’s salon . The second was Teri Murray whose work Mal sampled from Where the Dagda Dances (Revival Press). A playwright and Editor of the Revival Poetry Journal the book contains new work and selected favourites from previous collections, now out of print. Warm and reflective, her poetry was distinctly Irish fondly echoing the past.

In addition to the reliably strong core of open mic poets, we were also treated to two short stories, one a Peak District fable, The Nailer of Belper, the other, by Richard Young, a traditional Japanese Ghost story representing a departure from Richard’s previous appearance in which he had focused on comic verse. Spoken Worlds meets again on 16th September at 7.30pm, free entry.

19/8/11

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