Monday, 16 July 2012

Cannon Poets 14.7.12

Saturday night meant a short trip down the M42 to read at the Cannon Poets event at the Moseley Festival. Moseley Exchange was a nice venue, for starters, right in the middle of the village suburb, and there was a good-sized audience.

Cannon Poets is a group with a long and distinguished history, and in the first half of the evening we heard recent work from some of its members. There was a lot to like - a particular highlight for me was the poem on dust (I'll check the names when I get home and edit it in here). Rich McMahon's Irish-tinged folk was splendid, too, although he was a hard act to follow.

I read straight after the interval, and surprised myself by almost getting through a set without a bird poem (one zipped in there just before the end). It wasn't intentional, and I don't suppose it'll happen too often again.

Fellow Nine Arches poets Daniel Sluman and Angela France completed the line-up. Daniel read from his debut collection, Absence has a weight of its own. There's a raw passion, ferocity even, to his poems, whether they're dealing with physical or emotional injury and trauma, but it's handled with great assurance throughout. The book's every bit as good as the reading led me to expect, which is saying something (I'll post more on it at a later date).

Angela France has a collection forthcoming from Nine Arches next year, and I found the poems from it that she read at the end of her set were an intriguing departure from her past work - more directly personal, for a start, less rooted in stories. They worked well, though, and it'll be a collection worth waiting for.

The audience was appreciative, talkative after the readings, and plenty of books seemed to be changing hands. Hard to ask for more than that.

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