Last night, I went to Coventry's Herbert Art Gallery and Museum for the launch of Lady Godiva & Me, Liam Guilar's new chapbook from Nine Arches Press. In fact, chapbook is selling it short - it's 50 pages of poetry that uses all sorts of voicves, including the iconic figure of Godiva, to explore the history of Coventry (Liam's home city, although he now lives in Australia). He read very well, confirming the point he made himself, that a genuine sequence (and this is a very well constructed one) allows you to try things that just aren't possible in a collection of more or less standalone poems.
Despite arriving late because of the traffic (I had 25 miles to travel, Liam had to come from Queensland, guess who was there first) I read a few poems myself as the warm-up. They were:
To A Flame
Show, Don't Tell
Afterwards we adjourned to the cafe bar next door, and I chatted with Liam, Matt Nunn and Jane Commane of Nine Arches, and some of the other Coventry regulars. They included Barry Patterson, who's not only a fellow birder but also a fellow Julian Cope enthusiast! I swapped books with him - his, Nature Mystic, is from Heaventree. I only had time to read Brandon Marsh Winter Light last night, and it's excellent.
Oh, and I picked up a copy of Issue 2 of Under The Radar (to be launched next Thursday at a reading at Friends Meeting House, Leicester). It contains poems by the likes of Mario Petrucci, David Hart, Jane Commane and myself (A Fixer-Upper and St Beuno Meets The English), and reviews including Jacqui Rowe on Marilyn Ricci's Rebuilding A Number 39 and Simon Turner on Geoffrey Holloway's Collected Poems (and any review which mentions JA Baker's The Peregrine, as this does, is OK by me. There's a short story competition too, so buy a copy.