On Saturday, I was down in Red Lion Square in London for the Free Verse Poetry Book Fair. I attended a couple of years ago (or was it three?), and it was obvious then that it had bags of potential, but I was staggered at just how busy it was throughout the day on Saturday. From beginning to end, the main room was exactly as it appears in the above photo, while the readings and talks were well attended.
I particularly enjoyed the Knives, Forks and Spoons Press readings, especially Sarah James (and bought her collection, Be[yond]), and the readings from Bill Griffiths' work by Geraldine Monk and Alan Halsey (pictured below).
As always at such events, a large part of the pleasure was in catching up with other poets and publishers, and I chatted to Helena Nelson, D A Prince, Alan Baker, Michael McKimm, Peter Carpenter and Roy Marshall, among others, as well, of course, as to my own publisher, Jane Commane of Nine Arches Press (below).
It was only afterwards that I realised that, in the hustle and bustle in the Conway Hall, I'd managed to somehow miss Alison Brackenbury and the Sidekick Books stand - that's a mark of how busy it was.
I read alongside fellow Nine Arches poet Josh Ekroy, and Worple Press poets Mary Woodward and Martin Crucefix, at the Garden Cafe out in the middle of the square. There was a decent-sized audience, and we were on just before the arrival of the marchers in support of the NHS (and Billy Bragg, a longtime hero of mine). Me and Josh are pictured below - I think I need to work on my microphone technique.