A Night Out with John Cooper Clarke

Hello Poetry Lovers

Yes, I thought that title would make you stop and look. It is actually true, we had a night out with Mr JCC himself, only we shared him with at least 300 others! And we were grateful for even that much intimacy.

My lovely friend Trisha Broomfield and I were lucky enough to get tickets for the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford. My first visit to this highly reputable place, and I wasn’t disappointed. Beautiful venue

I couldn’t believe we were going to finally see this legendary Punk Poet.

Introduced by another legend, Johnny Green, former roadie for the Sex Pistols and other iconic bands, now JCC’s tour manager and close personal friend, we had the delight and support of Luke Wright.

I have loved this poet since Mondeo Man and have regularly followed him. He introduced us to a poem Ron’s Knock Off Shop using only the vowel ’O’. So clever, tender and sordid – and sad. A concept that Trisha and I have treated as a challenge, but more of that later.

Luke also did a beautiful long and heartfelt piece about Chris, a chip shop owner’s brief marriage. Marvellous poet, and worth looking out for.

After a brief interval and ice cream, the man himself came on. Looking marvellous and svelte for his 73 years, he sauntered on and launched into witty repartee.

From his latest collection The Luckiest Guy Alive he took no prisoners and gave us the joys of brutally titled pieces such as Get Back on Drugs, You Fat Fuck (bless him.) The title poem itself, Home Honey, I’m High, I Married a Monster from Outer Space – a nod to that iconic science fiction film. The random energy, speed and pace was palpable. Also angry, Beazley Street – a gentrification of a childhood street and Thatcher’s Britain, was read with full force.

Apparently Pam Ayres’ favourite poem of his was the 1979 piece She’s Got A Metal Plate In Her Head. Although he told us this in an ironic tone, his pride shone through. In fact, there were genuine moments of tenderness with Mr Cooper Clarke, such as the way he spoke so fondly of his wife. And with that, he read I’ve Fallen In Love With My Wife so poignantly while still keeping his sardonic humour and Salford wit.

My own favourite from his latest work is The Hanging Gardens of Basildon, but he can’t include it all. I cheered when he read the wonderful You’ll Always Get A Guy With A Pie. That is Mr Cooper Clarke at his best. After a great encore of three more pieces, Mr Cooper Clarke left the stage, leaving us with a lot to think about!

Mr CC is on an extensive tour through to September, including Edinburgh and Milton Keynes. Catch him when you can.

Thanks for tuning in, PL’s, we have a lot of poetry things coming up, including a book review and an interview.

Stay tuned!

Triolet Corner

Hello Poetry Lovers

Today I couldn’t resist going back to Triolet Corner, one of my favourite poetry forms.

Thanks to the lovely Sharon Andrews aka @inksomnia_poetry, an admirably prolific poet and constant inspiration, who gave us this beautiful prompt. Sharon is many times published, and titles include A Heart Full of Haiku and and Moon Writing.

Sharon, a dog lover, (Dobby wants me to cut off all contact, natch) also hosts wonderful live readings. A poet worth looking up.

So, the first poem is mine, followed by a beautiful piece from Sharon. Get reading….

My Mouth is a Crescent Moon

My mouth is a crescent moon

Longing to be loved and kissed

You tell me not to be a buffoon

My mouth is a crescent moon

When I see you there, I swoon

But you’re intent on getting pissed

My mouth is a crescent moon

Longing to be loved and kissed

H Moulson 2022

The following piece is from Sharon herself, a tender and personal poem.

A Cup of Springtime

Pour me a cup of springtime
To warm these winter lips
A fragrance so sublime
Lingering floral sips

Darling boil the kettle
Steep the perfumed leaves
Watch the floating petals
Inhale the scent and breathe

Pour me a cup of sunshine
Let me feel the bliss
A calming moment so serene
Pulls me from the abyss

I’ll hold the liquid in my mouth
Feel the flavour on my tongue
Watch the sun rise in the south
Know that spring has sprung

Pour me a cup of renewal
Let me sense my spirit float
I can feel my body refuel
As spring slips down my throat

“A cup of springtime”

Wasn’t that just a beautiful piece?! So full of detail and tenderness. Do look up Sharon’s poetry, really worth a read…

Thanks for tuning in, PL’s. We’ll be back with more poetry action real soon……


Hello Poetry Lovers

Welcome back to our talk show, (thunderous applause, security stirs uneasily)

and today we have the lovely Carla Scarano

(Thunderous applause as Carla glides down the lighted stairs)

Welcome to the show, Carla. So lovely to have you on here. I really dig that leather catsuit – very Julie Newmar.

Now tell us a bit about your background

I am Italian and moved to England with my family in 2007. Food and family relationships are very important to me and interweave in my daily life. Preparing good food and cherishing family connections shaped my personality and make my identity. In Italy, I was an English teacher, and in England I became an Italian teacher.

English and Italian language, cultures and literature mingle in my everyday life and my readings. I write in English though Italian inspires my work too.

Those are wonderful and personal things to celebrate, Carla. They’ve made you the talented writer that you are.

When did poetry become a part of your life?

I started to write poetry a few years ago before moving to England, attending American classes online. When I moved to Lancaster, I joined workshops at the Adult college and readings in pubs and at the Storey. On Friday night we used to meet for the Spotlight event organised by Sarah Fiske and Ron Baker. There was always a featured poet or prose writer, music and open mic sessions.

Writing became very important as it gave me the possibility to communicate what I felt and to connect with people I liked. In Lancaster I met two important poets who supported me, Sarah Hymas and Elizabeth Burns. Sadly Elizabeth died just before I moved to Surrey in 2015 but I’m still in contact with Sarah.

In Lancaster I attended the MA in creative writing and decided to self-publish my first pamphlet, A Winding Road in 2011.

When I moved to Surrey, I started to attend the stanza group and joined the Woking Writers Circle as well as Write Out Loud, 1000 Monkeys and now Poetry Performance at the Adelaide. I met many poets and writers, enjoying every moment of this new poetry journey. I also started to write reviews of poetry collections and art exhibitions that are regularly published in online magazines.

Reading renowned and less known poets has expanded my understandings and inspired more poetry and form new contacts.

Fascinating, Carla. I am with your impressive journey all the way. These journeys really shape us as poets.

Who are your favourite poets?

My favourite poets are well known names such as Coleridge, Emily Dickinson, William Carlos Williams and contemporary poets are Hannah Lowe, Fiona Benson, Elizabeth Burns, Helen Mort and others.

Last year I completed a PhD on Margaret Atwood’s work at Reading University. Margaret Atwood is my hero and the best writer ever. She has written poetry, fiction and non-fiction, reviews and essays; she’s published about sixty texts in all, amazing!

I’ll second that, Carla. Great choices. I also love Hannah Lowe, I saw her recently at the Coronet.

So tell me, how did Negotiating Caponata come about?

I wrote a lot of poems about food and family relationships, and read them at open mics. Janice and Donall from Dempsey & Windle publishing suggested I publish my poems centred on food.

At the time I also had a sequence on my father’s death (he died in 2016 of pancreatic cancer less than a month after the diagnosis) and more poems about my family. They liked them so much that they decided to publish a short collection of my work in 2020. I was so excited and happy. The launch was online because of COVID and there were about fifty people attending the launch from the UK, Italy, Canada and Australia. It was wonderful.

That’s amazing, Carla. What a proud moment. One you will never forget. And what is your personal favourite from this collection?

My favourite part of the book is about my father’s death, I tried to communicate his pain and my affection for him, though our relationship was not easy.

So moving, Carla. That wrench of separation always stays with us. I would say my own favourite was Special Carbonara. You weave so many emotions with this dish, and I have vivid memories of carbonara. Food is so so personal.

What are you working on at the moment?

I am writing poetry regularly prompted by workshops I attend online with Second Light and Tears in the Fence. I read a lot of poetry, and that has become central in my practise and study.

I am currently working on a new collection Workwear that I hope to publish at the end of 2022. I am also carrying on with my research and studies on Margaret Atwood’s work. I write and publish articles on her work, and attend conferences.

(Huge applause from the audience)

So Carla, the last loaded question; What’s the best poetry gig you’ve ever done, and the worst…?

There is not a best or a worst gig. I usually enjoy all the poetry readings. I especially like the atmosphere of poetry gigs and I love this feeling of diversity and inclusion.

I’m very active on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I post what I do daily, my impressions, opinions, readings, pictures I take that move me. I enjoy being in constant communication with people. We share what we love and above all, we stay creative which keeps us alive and lively.

It’s more the process, the relationships and connections we establish that I enjoy, rather than the product, that is, the poems I eventually complete, though the two things go hand in hand.

So, poetry is important, but people more so, and poetry helps me connect with them. A fantastic opportunity!

Gosh Carla, what lovely and profound answers, I could talk to you all day.

Let’s have a round of applause for the talented and innovative Carla Scarano!

( Loud thunderous applause)

Now, you must be going on somewhere groovy…

I’m going home to rehearse for being featured poet for Poetry Performance online on 17th June

Oh yes, I wouldn’t miss that for the world! Put that in your diary, everyone, and watch this great poet read. 17th June from 7.15 till 9.15. Message me if you want to tune in or have a reading spot.

Thanks once again, Carla, for coming on the show, it’s been a real privilege.

(Carla elegantly leaves the building during ecstatic applause)

Thank you for tuning in, PL’s. Wasn’t Carla a wonderful guest and great talent?!

Tune in real soon for more poetry shenanigans…

Stilettos and Cider

Hello Poetry Lovers

Today I’d like to feature my lovely and talented friend, Trisha Broomfield’s poem Stilettos and Cider.

This was longlisted very recently in the Plough Poetry Prize 2022, and well deserved too. Would you believe Trisha didn’t even know until I told her! Thank God I did. Trisha has given permission for me to share this warm and intricate piece with you. Well done, Trisha.

Stilettos and Cider

Youth confident we swing into the public bar

stilettos spike the flagstone floor,

landlord Don, a scowl to match his stout

huffs smoker’s breath on glasses from the wash

the fire roars mottles from our northern thighs

glows roses on our cider cheeks.

Flat-capped chaps talk bass notes

about sheep and old Harry’s knees

in the saloon, Eric wobbles on a plush-topped stool

fingers his fob chain, leers broken-veined

over yet another port.

Sally Army Sandra trips over Derek’s dog

ends up bonnet-squiffed in Arthur’s lap

collecting tin rattling thin.

Norma feeds the juke box, bops to Puppet on a String

disapproving looks cling to our sweaters

darts fly past our back-combed hair,

girls aren’t allowed to play.

We’re sussing out the only young farmer in the room

shame he’s ginger.

Trisha Broomfield 2022

Wasn’t that just beautiful, PL’s? It’s nice to see a great piece like that acknowledged and long-listed at the very least. Thank you, Trisha for letting me share that with our poetry lovers.

Stay tuned for more poetry shenanigans real soon…..


Hello Poetry Lovers

Well, the time has come to tell you all about Tenby. I was privileged to be invited by the wonderful Celine Hispiche, of the vibrant Celine’s Salon in Soho. A great and regular event that keeps Soho alive.

Arriving on the Saturday, I was met off the very Welsh speaking train by that glamorous couple, Celine and her lovely husband Garry. They took me to this beautiful house where we were staying, bang next to the sea.

I looked forward to writing by that beautiful window.

Also staying at the house was an enigmatic playwright, director and poet Billy Parker. What an amazing and talented housemate. Celine discovered Billy in the infamous French House in Soho.

Later on, the lovely Clancy Gebler Davies joined us. A very beautiful photographer, and a whirlwind of talent.

What a household!

Celine ran a workshop on Sunday afternoon in this incredible room with the most remarkable and talented people, then we came outside for a tea break. Excuse the slippers!

After another fantastic session on Monday morning, with Celine, Billy and I, I managed to get a strong piece together. I was so proud of that. I knew then I was ready to go out there! We all were!

That night the Tenby museum belonged to Celine and her talented artistes. This included the lovely Siobahn Lancaster with the wonderful Billy Parker. Watch out for these two vibrant poets and writers.

Siobhan read a fascinating piece on being ‘£10 Poms’, a campaign to get people to Australia in the sixties and seventies. I’m old enough to remember this era, and that some emigres at our school came back within the year. It was not the utopia it promised to be. Very interesting era and subject.

So, 7 o’clock came around and the lovely iconic Celine introduced us and embraced the audience with her powerful piece, and her moving song. This very clever innovator has given us Celine’s Salon (Soho), a show on Radio Soho, and performances in Derry and Glasgow. I feel this is only the start of what Celine will do, and I recommend looking out for her. With her lovely and clever husband Garry who is a genius behind the scenes, they make a powerful team.

So, what can I say about the following performance?! I was awed and honoured to witness such a wealth of talent, including the dulcet tones of Billy Parker, the stunning Susie Wild, the Welsh speaking and vibrant Ros Garret, the impressive Emily Vanderploeg, the powerful readings of Meredydd Barker, lovely reflective words from Bob Reeves, a great performance from Kevin O’Dowd. Not to mention Nerys Beattie, my new gifted friend who took me back to my childhood with her unique piece. The beautiful words and songs from Celine herself. Plus a fitting climax with beautiful music from Jimmy and Charley, their strong rapport shining through. Not sure who that pushy one in pink is! I know she got a fantastic reception.

So what could I say after that?! I left Tenby with inspiration and strong memories. Not to mention new material.

Thank you so much for everything, Celine and Garry. You too, Tenby, for being so welcoming…

Thanks for tuning in, Poetry Lovers. I loved going over that journey again. Tune in real soon for more Poetry antics….

Tenby Testcard

Hello Poetry Lovers,

I’m going to Tenby for a few days to be with the lovely Celine’s Salon, so for now here is a testcard.

Dobby makes sure I’m on that train for Tenby!

She gets the house to herself for a few days!

Dobby gets off the phone quickly, she has urgent business to attend to…

Meanwhile, I embrace poetry

While Dobby embraces her own art;

So watch this space, PL’s for further Tenby adventures…..

A Night Out….

Hello Poetry Lovers

I’d love to share a night out with you on Friday 13th May. My lovely friend Raefer and I went to the Vauxhall Tavern to see the marvellous poet Barbara Brownskirt

Swooning over Ms Brownskirt at the Slip Off Festival in 2019, I asked the festival organiser and dear pal, Barney Ashton-Bullock where she’d been all my life! I have been an avid follower of her since.

Barbara (AKA Karen Mcleod) is poet in residence at the 197 bus stop in Croydon Road, Penge. I am amazed pilgrimages are not made to this hallowed place.

Before making the rounds with Judi Dench communion wafers, Barbara treated us to poems from her latest pamphlet The Bus Stop Will Not Be Sanitised (volume 25). These included Menopause, Do the Shake and Vax, and Table for One.

Keeping Ms Brownskirt company were Audrey Heartburn, and Wife Material with the very married Sophia and Heleana Blackwell. The former already being a skilled and accomplished poet and founder of the literary salon at Blacks Club in Soho. Heleana matching her wife in talent.

Plus, I want that dress, Sophia! Give it to me now!

Do not miss this treat at the the Camden Fringe Festival 22nd August 2022

Neither should you miss Audrey Heartburn (AKA Tracey Collins) – a real laugh out loud and genuinely funny pastiche of the Breakfast at Tiffany’s icon. She will be in cabaret at the Above the Stag theatre on Friday 27th May with Shell Suit Cher and other goodies. Don’t miss her. Wonderful and talented artiste and singer.

I’m proud to support the Penge Poetry Revolution. This is now my favourite place and bus stop, and I look forward to visiting it soon.

Thank you so much, Ms Brownskirt for a wonderful night.

The wonderful Barbara Brownskirt returns to the Vauxhall Tavern on Friday 9th September. Get yourselves there now!

Do visit http://www.karenmcleod.co.uk for more information on Karen Mcleod or the revolutionary Barbara

Thanks for dropping by, Poetry Lovers. We’ll be back with more shenanigans real soon….

British People in Hot Weather

Hello Poetry Lovers

On Thursday 21st April, I went to the wonderful St Anne’s church in the heart of Soho to see the launch of Paul McGrane’s new collection British People in Hot Weather

Set in this exquisite panelled room, the much missed Paul McGrane, formerly of the Poetry Society and the wonderful Poetry@3, launched his hot (geddit?!) new pamphlet published by Indigo Dreams

Paul started off with reading Welcome to my Country and The Government from his previous pamphlet Elastic Man. Another great recommended collection.

This built up our anticipation for his new collection British People in Hot Weather, from which he read Act, a wonderful detailed account of the poet’s first nativity play, and Kissing, and the lack of it in the narrator’s family. (To be honest, I used to hate all that sloppy kissing as a kid but I got the poet’s point.) The poignant and disturbing Need followed by the very visual Thrift. These powerful pieces spoke volumes.

Among familiar and new faces, there was open mic and I read a short piece called Paperboy that for some reason, I had written in shorthand! Which is okay as long as you can read it back!

Eating my sandwich downstairs in the foyer of St Anne’s during the 10 minute break, a nice man took pity on me and said I could get a cup of tea in the church. I assured him I was fine but blessed him for his kindness.

As we reluctantly wound down, Paul announced he was having monthly open mic sessions again at Walthamstow starting from the 19th May. I really look forward to going…..

Thanks for a great and enlightening afternoon, Paul

Paul McGrane is holding open mic at the Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre Pub, Walthamstow E17 from Thursday 19th May, and every third Thursday of each month. Do go along if you can. 3.30 to 5.30 pm http://Www.poemsnotbombs.eventbrite.co.uk

British People in Hot Weather is published by Indigo Dreams Publishing. Treat yourselves http://Www.indigodreams.co.uk

Thanks for tuning in, PL’s. We’ll be back with more poetry action soon…..

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