Last Monday (December 4th) I went to the launch night of Magma issue 36, at the Troubadour, in Earl’s Court, London. It’s a lovely venue (the likes of Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Jimi Hendrix played there in the 60s), although its L-shape makes it quite difficult to know which way to look while you’re reading. But it was great to meet and hear some of the other poets featured in the magazine, because poems always take on an extra dimension in the flesh.
The standard was so high it would be hard to pick out a highlight, but I did particularly enjoy hearing Paul McLoughlin. I reviewed one of his chapbooks last year for Sphinx and liked it a lot, and he’s got a great voice for poetry. Other readers included Fiona Sampson and Penelope Shuttle, but as I say, the overall standard was really excellent.
As always, once I actually got up there I enjoyed reading, even though coming to terms with a microphone was something new, and I thought I was shaking so hard that it must have been visible from the back row.
Anyway, I was already thrilled to have been included in a magazine that also features the likes of Seamus Heaney and Billy Collins, but to read in such company was the icing on the cake, and reminded me that I have to get out there and read more often, so that can be my first (and only) New Year’s resolution, three weeks early.
And if anyone fancies it, Coffee-House Poetry, organised by Anne-Marie Fyfe (who also edited Magma 36), is at the Troubadour every Monday, from 8-10pm.