This long running event continues to prosper under the careful curatorship of Anthony R Owen who this month had invited Sarah James from Worcestershire to be guest poet. Sarah is a sought after performer at these events due to her polymath poetic talents. She is based in Droitwich Spa where she runs the Poetry Society’s Worcestershire Stanza and is secretary of Droitwich Arts Network. Widely published ,Sarah’s first full-length poetry collection Into the Yell was published by Circaidy Gregory Press in July 2010 and won third prize in the International Rubery Book Awards 2011.
What always impresses me about Sarah is both the breadth of her subject matter, and the care in her language. How to Dress was a very strong opener with a well developed cactus metaphor, Je Ne Sais Quoi a bitter sweet reminiscence of her time spent as a student studying French in France. Instrumental , about her young sons, typified her material, clever but never highbrow. That standard was mirrored by a strong supporting cast. Gary Carr, from Burton upon Trent’s Spoken Worlds relished the opportunity to perform, rather than organise, delivering a well crafted set from his impressive Monday to Friday through to Octopus.
From Birmingham University, Janet Smith performed what is becoming a formidable and well tested set, to which Meadowhall, which I had not heard before, had been added, and was a welcome addition to her performing repertoire. Forging his way on the circuit, and a Night Blue Fruit debutante, Chris Wayne wisely played safe with the short, but effective Faithless and a longer piece about alcoholism written as an observational piece, because he does not drink.
A strong student contingent brought an eclectic and diverse range of poetic offerings to the stage. Vocanoes ? Fuck Em was inventive, Oblivious a powerful poignant warning on date rape. Photography student Adele Reed made quite an impact. Uncertain as to whether she wanted to read or not she invited host Anthony Owen to read for her, who was handed a handwritten notebook in which the poem was written backwards, not an auspicious set of circumstances! Furthermore Adele decided, upon reflection, that she wanted to read after all, and delivered an extended piece with the epic ambition of Spenser’s Faerie Queen.It was dense and lyrical, although I am not entirely sure what it was all about. A sure fire way to attract an intrigued audience. With the wind in her sails Adele went on to read about a rabbit whose fluffy or mechanical properties were ambiguous!
Night Blue Fruit next meets at 8pm on Tuesday 5th June.
Gary Longden 1/5/12