Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Shindig: Jo Bell, Jonathan Davidson, and Crystal Voices launch

We've probably become a bit blasé, in Leicester, about having a great regular poetry reading/open mic night to go to. For years now, the Nine Arches Press/Crystal Clear Creators events have been presenting a mixture of well-known faces and newcomers, plus all shades in-between.

Monday night was a chance to reflect on that, and to thank the Crystal Clear Creators part of the team behind it - Jonathan and Maria Taylor - for all their hard work.

As usual, the open mic slots were varied and excellent, one of my particular favourites being the short story from (I think), Guy Gresham.

Jo Bell read from her just-launched Nine Arches collection Kithand as usual was perfectly paced, giving the audience the chance to savour every nuance of her poems, which as usual deal with all aspects of life, love, sex, canals, and ducks. This book has been a long time in coming, but it's well worth the wait.

Jonathan Davidson's last collection, Early Train, was a favourite of mine, and his new book Humfrey Coningsby (Valley Press) looks like going the same way - I'm a sucker for poetry with a historical theme anyway, but this is really top-class stuff, playing with the whole idea of historical 'truth'.

The second half of the night included the launch of Crystal Voices, an anthology celebrating 10 years of Crystal Clear Creators. It features the following very fine poets, many of whom read - Alan Baker, Kathleen Bell, Rebecca Bird, Julie Boden, Alison Brackenbury, Will Buckingham, Jane Commane, Caroline Cook, Nichola Deane, Kate Delamere, Mellissa Flowerdew-Clarke, Angela France, Mark Goodwin, Sarah James, Charles Lauder, Jr., Emma Lee, Melissa Lee-Houghton, Carol Leeming, Siobhan Logan, John Lucas, David McCormack, Sue Mackrell, Martin Malone, Roy Marshall, Jessica Mayhew, Andrew "Mulletproof" Graves, Simon Perril, Alexandros Plasatis, D. A. Prince, Robert Richardson, Victoria Smith, Jayne Stanton, Hannah Stevens, Matthew Stewart, Aly Stoneman, Jonathan Taylor, Pam Thompson, Lydia Towsey, Deborah Tyler-Bennett, Claire Walker, Lindsay Waller-Wilkinson, Rory Waterman. Oh, and me too - I read my featured poem, Hometowns of Unwitting Love Objects.

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