Night Blue Fruit, Taylor John’s Vaults, Canal Basin, Coventry

There is something quite distinct about Night Blue Fruit. Most Poetry events in the Midlands go for early, punctual starts. Here, both when folk arrive, and the performance time, is arbitrary. As if to anticipate the arrival of Kalliope or Erato might offend them. As Stephen Dedalus remarked: “A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.” And so as night came down, and enfolded the earth in her dusky wings, so the host for the evening, Antony R Owen portentously read Tenebrae.

Those same shadows, and the darkness that Antony evoked, seemed to cast a spell on the evening. The audience half seen, the performer indistinct in blue light. The fragile frame of Janet Smith barely discernable, she delivered a mesmerising, austere set in the half-light of the pathology department, or the moonlight under which the Owl cried. John Moody spoke of Joseph , but was that Priestley or Chamberlain ? I thought that we were In Birmingham, but suddenly he evoked the spirit of the Easter Uprising in Dublin with, “The best lack all conviction, while the worst, are full of passionate intensity”, from Yeats. Then there was the knowing look as he enunciated “amnion”, used almost as a codeword ,in poetic cabal with Janet.

Barry Patterson treated us to an extract from Buddha of the Carboniferous which has no Buddhas in it, nor was there any specific reference to anything carboniferous, yet, like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, you implicitly understand what it is all about, even though it’s not about what it says it is. Anthony R Owen is a very fine contemporary war poet. But he is not dead, and he is not German. Mal Dewhirst rectified that by performing three of his own translations of the deceased German First World War Poet, August Stramm including, Kriegsgräberfürsorge and Angriff. The combination of the onomatopeia of the language with sparse form was compelling.

Sukhat actually spells his name Sucat, an archaic form of Patrick, but we both agreed that my approximation was superior. Rather disappointingly, unlike as in the past, he eschewed weighty writing pads which contained only one poem, for a more practical spiral ring binder. Yet his material was in no part diminished, with Sign Long Removed , obscure and wry. It was no surprise to discover that he is an aficionado of Television and Tom Verlaine.

To close the evening Andy Biddulph visited dyslexia, Welsh mountains and a rather good Evanescence ,before Antony R Owen finished with the chilling Eichmann, the imagery of the hangman’s noose tightening around his neck, and the dead man’s stare, lingers. Night Blue Fruit returns on 4/10.

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