Monday night saw a book launch with a difference, as Mark Goodwin's new Nine Arches Press collection Shod was unveiled at The Looking Glass in Leicester.
Rather than the traditional format - poet reads selection of pieces from new book - Shodfest saw a number of Midlands poets (Steve Carroll, Pam Thompson, Lydia Towsey, George Ttoouli, Simon Perrill, Stevie Blue, Katie Daniels and myself) picking four pieces each from the book (which tells the story of shoe messiah Sidney Realer), then reading them in turn. If the poet before you read the piece you'd been planning to read, you moved on to your next piece, and so on. It'd be hard to pick out highlights, although Simon's breathless recital was great, while Lydia injected real tension and drama into the proceedings.
It worked really well, I thought. It was fascinating to hear different people's takes on the book, and I only hope we did Mark some sort of justice. The collection, incidentally, is terrific - you can read more about it here.
The open mic was excellent, too, with some familiar faces and some new, the latter including conceptual poet Ira Lightman, who was passing through Leicester and popped in. All things considered, a triumph, not at all dampened by an absolutely torrential downpour as I drove home.