The format - open mic, two readers, more open mic, two readers - is a tried and tested one, and there was the usual pleasing variety of styles among the open mic-ers. The standard's really impressively high, too.
I won't go into too much detail, as Gary Longden has reviewed the evening here, but Maria Taylor and Kathy Bell were excellent, with the former's more ebullient tone contrasting nicely with the latter's more elegaic approach. Maria has a chapbook coming out from Nine Arches next year, which'll be well worth looking out for.
After my spot (I was standing in for Luke Kennard, who'll now be reading in June), Matthew Stewart read from his new HappenStance chapbook, Inventing Truth. I enjoyed it a great deal. Living and working in Spain, as he does, gives his poetry a distinct flavour, and the book is much concerned with questions of identity, the part played in it by language, and the difficulty of belonging to quite different societies.
I'll be reviewing it properly on here in the future, but it was lovely to meet Matthew at last after many an email conversation over the last few years. I first came across his work when doing some judging for the Plough Prize (an excellent poem called Milko, which features in this book), and he's been a regular presence in UK poetry mags too, so it's good to see the chapbook out there. He's a fine poet with a style that's deceptively simple and very distinctive.
Oh, and finally, the usual setlist:
Things Left In Hotel Rooms
Waiting To Cross
Fantasia For Glass Harmonica