Memory Corner – Chip’s Speakeasy

Hello, Poetry Lovers, I was engulfed by a quick memory, which I’ll share with you before going on with the poetry advent calender…..

Now I’ve got to stop getting so emotional about these memory corners. I simply took them on board early in lockdown – but now they bring a lump to my throat.

These are good times remembered, not good times lost. I have to realise that. Hands up who’s found this later lockdown harder!

Anyway, me mate’s got her Reliant up and running, so hop in for memory corner – this time it’s 16th December 2019. Chip’s Speakeasy at Mortimer House.

We were on the top floor in this amazing sunken room in this sumptuous central London location. These images don’t really do it justice but it was an incredible square space. The wonderful and innovative Chip Martin is sitting there, who brought all this magical experience about. Amazing man and poet.

This is Chip on the left. A talented and enigmatic American young man, there’s moi in the centre – such a splendid balcony, and the last is me with the cheeky and stunning Dino Mahoney. A great poet – try and hear his work (I know… I know…).

However, the following picture is closest to my heart ….

Well, what can I say about these heroes? They’ve been life-changing to me. Directly in the front, leaning on Dino’s knee is the stunning Angus Strachan. A handsome Australian brimming with wonderful words and talent. This follows on with Dino next to me, then the beautiful, stunning poet, Barney and his lovely, lovely partner Gianni. Angus and Barney founded Soho Poets (along with that brilliant Mark Chamberlain who couldn’t be there) – what an institution!

Anyway, I read my poem The Queue, and the lovely Polly Bull and other great poets read fantastic pieces. What a night that was.

Forgive me, I can’t show that photo enough.

Well, I can see Dobby’s bored so I’d best be off. Lets hope more of those nights will come.

Thanks for tuning in, PL’s, poetry advent — see below for window 8 of the poetry advent calender….

A wonderful and brutal pamphlet from V Press – get reading….!

Poetry Advent Calender – window 7

Hello PL’s

Welcome to day 7 of the poetry advent calender. I am delighted to open the window to Ex Situ by the wonderful M. E. Muir, a poet I have come to love and have the pleasure of knowing.

I was swept away by this elegant collection bound by the fetching blue cover. The simplicity of it is so striking and works well with content that truly delivers. Published by the great Dempsey & Windle, this is a definite find!

Vivid and sensitive, there are three significant sections – Listen, Next and Celebrate. These poems have such a definitive love of nature and places. Extraordinarily well voiced with real environmental issues and concerns, and pieces that are conveyed with passion. My International Family of Trees and In Loch na Droma Buidhe are my personal favourites.

Treat yourself. Available from http://dempseyandwindle.com

I hope you enjoyed that one, Poetry Lovers. Now it’s off to cater to Dobby’s every whim!

See you tomorrow for window 8!!

Poetry Advent Calender – window 6

Welcome to window 6 of the poetry advent calender, PL’s.

Now I swooned over this poet in Guildford and Cranleigh, and I was thrilled I could buy this copy from the man himself. This being Ian McLachlan, a superb and intelligent poet.

This wry pamphlet, Confronting the Danger of Art, illustrated by Phil Cooper, is extraordinarily clever. Issuing a safety manual to warn the public of the harzards of art and artists. Divided into three hilarious sections – threat assessment, health & saftety and criminal detection – we can be protected against this terrible thing!

A really witty notion. Keep it with you at all times!

Ian also took some very good poetry classes at Wembley Library last year. Hopefully these can be resurrected soon. Worth going along, I got a lot out of it.

Well, is this going from strength to strength or what?!

Stay tuned for poetry advent calender window 7! See you tomorrow.

Advent Calender – window 5…

Hello Poetry Lovers, Window 5 eh? It’s moving along! And I’m so glad to feature Tales of the Unaccepted by the wonderful Ray Pool.

What can I say?! Witty, quirky with a unique voice, I have been enjoying young Ray’s poems for a couple of years. I was thrilled to get my mitts on this collection. Published by Dempsey & Windle in 2018, this collection is packed with vibrant material.

My own personal favourites are Mum and Dad, Down Memory Lane, Corners and On the other side of Reading. Great stanzas with outright wit, tangible wistfulness and nostalgia. A joy of a collection. We’re waiting for the next one, Ray!!

I did an interview with Ray recently on the site, if you want to have a look. Fascinating….

Lumme! Even Dobby enjoyed that review! Better keep on the good side of her – see you tomorrow, PL’s.

Advent Calender – Window 4

Hello Poetry Lovers, welcome back to day 4 of the poetry advent calender.

Now, the previous two windows I knew very well, but we are back to a collection I don’t know at all. In fact, I’m going to be deeply honest with you, I have no idea how this book even came into my possession

However, I’m very glad it did – by whatever means.

Samantha Boarer’s Real Grown-Up Women is brutal, sad, deeply honest, moving and so so enticing. Poems of sad and painful experiences will deal you such a blow – a welcome one.

The poet truly tells you like it is to be a young woman. Published by Burning Eye Books, Apology to my vagina, the title poem and Facebook Stalker are of such deep black humour that you can only embrace it. Though you may cut yourself in the process!

A comedian/poet from the West Country that delivers a powerful punch. Get reading now!

Speaking of brutal, Dobby has just emerged!

Better go…. see you tomorrow!

Poetry Advent window 3

Hello Poetry Lovers

This is also a collection that I know well. This beautiful anthology by Dempsey & Windle from their summer competition this year is a complete joy. These publishers produce such stunning poetry books that really do deliver a high standard of material. This anthology is no exception.

Now there is a very promising, if ruthless poet in this book with the longlisted poem Pen Friend, so it really is worth a look! And this writer is joined by so many incredible poets. Including the winner Belinda Singleton with three very intelligent poems, plus all me favourites, including Trisha Broomfield, Greg Freeman, Sharron Green, Jeremy Loynes, Carla Scarano, Fiona Sinclair, Audrey Arden-Jones and the lovely two Marys –

Muir and Mullholland.

A delightful and fulfilling read. Get cracking and order a copy!

http://dempseyandwindle.com

Well, Dobby and I are retiring for the night. Tune in same time, same place tomorrow for Window number 4!

Advent Calender – Window 2

Hello Poetry Lovers

Welcome to Window 2 – now here’s where the fun really begins. Yesterday, I opened up a poet I completely didn’t know and today…

A poet I know very well, and adore his work. I’ve had the privilege of seeing the lovely Matthew Paul perform at Woking and The Troubadour, and I rushed out and got his wonderful collection The Evening Entertainment. If you haven’t already, do get this for a treat.

There are three very strong sections of gritty and clever pieces in this collection, including The Sewing Kit, Sunday at the Oval with Dad to the very moving The D Word. My own favourites are Leaving Do and Winter of Discontent.

Matthew covers so much of life as we know it, and yet it is seen in such an original and insightful way. Taking you there with him from the quirky and witty to the genuinely heartwrenching.

Can’t wait for the next collection, Matthew – get cracking!

The Evening Entertainment by Matthew Paul is published by Eyewear Publishing.

Phew! Me and Dobby are exhausted already! Only another 22 to go! (24 looks a bit dubious). Stay tuned for the next window….

The Poetry Advent Calender…

Hello PL’s,

Let me introduce the Poetry Advent Calender for December 2020. Every day, a new window will be opened and for every book that comes out, there will be a mini-review and the story behind it.

Now forgive me, PL’s, I have had to omit the ones I have already reviewed – which breaks my heart as I love them madly. Sob! I just had to narrow it down somehow.

Now here’s where the fun begins. I’ve just opened the window for the 1st December and came across this stunning pamphlet, Black and Blue from Cathy Galvin.

Being a cheapskate, I bought this at a reduced price at the Poetry Book Fair at Conway Hall in February. I minded the table for The Melos Press while one of them read in the next room, and my beady eyes went straight to this – and I was blown away!

This is an amazing sequence of 15 sonnets – from a Mother’s death to a whole lifecycle of birth and human situations, which are portrayed in detail and beautifully written. Such a very poignant and intensely studied work indeed. Written in 2014.

Now, when I say mini-review, I’m really not mucking about.

Picking up this pamphlet in a random box, the gamble paid off. However, this has not always been the case…..

Okay, PL’s, tune in tomorrow, same time, same place for more advent action….

Birthday Chant…

Hello Poetry Lovers.

Yes, it’s nearly that time of year when birthday celebrations raise their head. Mine’s three weeks before Christmas – Bore! – as Dobby would say!

What can you do with a birthday like that?! So to air even more grudges, I penned a birthday chant. Chant poems are great fun, and worth doing. A nice lockdown project maybe?

Anyway read on for more whinging……

Birthday Chant (A Grudge Poem)

On my tenth birthday, I got a toy horse.

A party was out of the question of course.

But I really wanted a Tiny Tears doll!

Gran got me Playdough, my smile

became thin.

I thanked her profusely as it went in the bin

But I really wanted a Tiny Tears doll!

Was there no end of crap presents today?!

Oh, a construction set! Cheers, auntie Gaye!

But I really wanted a Tiny Tears doll!

Mum baked a cake, the icing was pink.

I pigged the lot and was sick in the sink.

But I really wanted a Tiny Tears doll!

Phew! Feel better after that little rant! Been holding that one back for years! How have your birthdays been? I defy anyone to tell us about presents that were even worse than mine!

Do not hesitate to fill us in!

Thanks for tuning in, PL’s. Be back real soon…….

Interview….!

Starring Sharron Green……

Hello Poetry Lovers! And welcome back to the Talk Show.

(rapturous applause)

Yes, it’s been a while I know, but absolutely worth waiting for! I am so proud to introduce our lovely and esteemed guest for today – Sharron Green

(standing ovation – security on standby)

(the lovely Sharron Green wafts gracefully down the stairs)…

Sharron, thank you so much for coming on the show. I’ve been so looking forward to this.

I do love that tank-top, I must say. Goes fabulously with the two-tone skirt.

First of all, thank you, Heather for inviting me along. It’s an honour to be interviewed by you.

Also thank you again. I’ve been desperate for one of these, and I sat up all night knitting it. Got a bit stuck on the orange stripes though!

Looks like you’ve pulled it off, Sharron! Isn’t that right, Poetry Lovers?

(smattering of agreement and wolf whistles)

I assume you’re up the discotheque later?

Oh yes, they won’t let you in without a tank top! And Norman Greenbaum’s appearing tonight……

What???! I’ll get knitting! Dobby, run up the wool shop! Pronto!!!

So, Sharron, tell us about yourself and how poetry came into your life….

I live in Guildford with my husband, Kevin (yes, Sharron and Kevin – don’t laugh!) and our lockdown puppy Dougie.

I used to work as a market researcher but now I’m studying for a MA in Creative Writing at the University of Surrey.

I’ve enjoyed writing poetry since I was little when my Granny used to encourage me to write poems to keep me busy when I was on holiday with her.

Gran’s eh? They shape who we are today, and are never forgotten. Also, that MA sounds a great move.

Who were your greatest influences?

Pam Ayres has been an inspiration to me since I watched her on Opportunity Knocks.

I have seen her perform live a couple of times and admire her ability to entertain an audience with poems that everyone can relate to.

Opportunity Knocks?! Suddenly all these memories of Monday nights in the seventies are flooding back! Hughie Green, eh?

They really produced good and solid talent, didn’t they..

.(spontaneous round of applause).

Yes, Pam Ayres is wonderful, isn’t she?! She has a new collection out, I believe. Fantastic influence, Sharron. What an iconic poet!

Now, how did it feel reading your work out for the first time?

After many years of not writing, I signed up for creative writing classes.

I felt nervous about reading my poems out to the class but I was thrilled with all the encouragement I received. That gave me the confidence to go to Janice and Donall’s The 1000 Monkeys monthly open mic meetings in Guildford. Which is where I met you, Heather and heard you read some of your fabulous ‘Bunty, I miss you!’ poems

Lumme! You’re making me blush! Bless you for those words. They were good nights there, weren’t they. I hope we can meet again there soon.

(audience sigh wistfully)

Now, you’ve produced a lovely pamphlet ‘Introducing Rhymes_n_Roses’ which is a wonderful read.

I hear that another collection is on the horizon…?

Thank you, you’re too kind.

Yes, lockdown poetry has helped keep me occupied and sane during this very strange year. I have contributed to a number of anthologies, including a couple of fundraisers, and I’ve produced my own compilation that I’ve called ‘Viral Odes’ due to be published on 1st December by Ink Gladiators Press.

I can’t wait, Sharron. It looks wonderful. I’ve been enjoying your poetry so much. You are so prolific, you put us all to shame.

Would you like to share your other projects with us?

I’m on Instagram as @rhymes_n_Roses where the poetry community is very dynamic and stimulating – for example I’ve had the opportunity to run an online poetry course with Poetix University.

Otherwise my studies are going to keep me out of trouble for a year. I’m learning a lot already and looking forward to seeing how my writing develops as a result.

I’m so glad you brought Instagram up – I really swooned over your pieces on there. Not only the strong writing and message, but the stunning way they were presented. It really jumps out at the reader.

Also, bless you for introducing me to Poetry Olympics on there, what a learning curve and supportive group of poets! I actually tackled a madrigal form! PO made August come alive for me! So grateful to you for that one.

Here’s some examples, PL’s, of Sharron’s wonderful new poems from ‘Viral Odes’.

(rapturous round of applause and sighs of awe)

Aren’t they just beautiful ?!

Sharron, what can I say? Good luck with 1st December – I’ll be the first in that book queue, I tell you! And thank you so much for coming on the show

(standing ovation – security look nervous)

Thank you so much for having me on the show, Heather.

Now I’d better get on, I don’t want to miss ‘Spirit in the Sky’. Is Dobby back from the wool shop? I have a message from Dougie for her

Lordy! I think Dobby is sending one back! Stop it, Dobby – now!!

Bless you, Sharron and enjoy the disotheque. It’s feet up and Shaw Taylor on the telly for me!

Goodnight Poetry Lovers!

(rapturous applause and standing ovation.

Credits roll up).

Wasn’t that just wonderful, Poetry Lovers. So enjoyed talking to Sharron there.

As you heard, Sharron’s ‘Viral Odes’ is out on 1st December. So get ordering.

Sharron’s website is http://rhymesnroses.com and her instagram is @rhymes_n_roses I’d really recommend a look.

Tune in shortly for more poetry antics…….

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