Spoken Word Events in the area are in rude health. Recently Poetry Alight at Lichfield, Shindig at Leicester, and Spoken Worlds at Burton have all enjoyed strong attendances, and so it was tonight at Fizz in Polesworth. A balmy summer evening brought out summer dresses, barely used shorts, and milky white legs. Fizz always has an intimate feel, enhanced by the setting of the historic Abbey. Host Mal Dewhirst is an indefatigable promoter of local poetry. Fizz itself pretty much represented a curtain raiser for “Dig the Poetry” an inspired initiative whereby poets interface with professional archaeologists as they excavate new areas around the Abbey. Established authors regularly headline Fizz. Yet there is a wealth of local talent, nurtured by some of the aforementioned events and writing groups who rarely get their moment in the sun. This time Terri Jolland from Repton had the opportunity to showcase her writing skills, which she has thrown herself into developing in the past few years.
Terri clearly relished the chance to stretch out a little with the extra time a headline slot affords, taking in nostalgia, nature and a trademark comedy sketch with her husband Ray. Tender, affectionate and in turns wistful and playful in tone she seized her opportunity in style, an example of her work stands for posterity on the Polesworth Poetry Trail in Pooley Country Park.
Life has its cycle, and a quirk of fate illustrated that truism tonight. Dea Costello and Peter Gray have been distinguished and much valued members of the local poetry scene for some years now. Dea’s fine writing has always impressed, and her headmistressly bearing always commanded attention ( although she does have a racy side too!).Remembering You was a poignant epitaph to her time in the Midlands.Peter always presented himself as an apprentice poet after a long career as a scientist, but his forensic approach to his writing was no less a pleasure. So it was with some sadness that they delivered a valedictory performance before heading south to Stroud to set up a new home. I wish them well. They will be missed.
But as Dea and Peter disappeared into the sunset so a new voice appeared at Fizz, that of Gemma Hogg. After her impressive debut at Poetry Alight she has clearly got the poetry bug and read four poems mainly inspired by Glastonbury, however it was her ruthless dissection of Lichfield’s Boley Park estate in Legoland which lingered in the mind.
Barry “the Bard” Patterson made a welcome return delivering summer poetry with his usual spezzatura , one of the few men who can say “fuck” poetically, Margaret Torr was cool with The Tundra, Jayne Stanton continues to embed herself in the local scene and remind me what tasseography means.
Old hands Gary Carr and Tom Wyre add value to any evening, whilst Roy Marshall paid a first visit to Fizz leaving us wanting more after a double helping of Sill and On loan. Fizz next fizzles at the Heritage Open Day of 8th September. For more information on Fizz and Dig the Poetry at Polesworth Abbey: