Last Thursday's Vanguard Readings event, at The Bear, Camberwell, was a lot of fun. Six readers, of which I was one, a lively and very responsive audience, and a great venue.
It was great to hear Josephine Corcoran read. She's been such a tireless promoter of other's work that her own poetry has sometimes been overshadowed, and very unfairly so. I enjoyed her honeymoon poem in particular, but her whole set promised good things from her forthcoming Tall Lighthouse pamphlet.
I'd never heard Josephine Dickinson before, but I have read plenty of her very fine work, and it was given a whole new dimension by her reading here. She's one of those poets who manages to create an enviable stillness and silence around her words - there's a tension there that always feels as though it's on the point of breaking.
Michael Symmons Roberts read beautifully, mainly from his most recent collection, Drysalter, and it's hard to add anything useful to the praise that it, and he, have already received. His poems are always spiritually charged, yet intimate and approachable too.
Cristina Newton read just two long poems, and held everybody spellbound with the sustained music of her work - I look forward to reading and hearing more from her.
Finally, Richard Skinner, whose hard work makes Vanguard happen in the first place, read the work of three absent poets who appear in the Vanguard anthology - it's not on general sale but you will be able to buy it at future readings, and I recommend it very highly.
My own reading went well, and it was good to read a couple of poems, including Butterflies from the afore-mentioned anthology, that haven't had an airing for a while.