Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Going Dada for Much Wenlock

Much Wenlock is the sort of place where poets should indeed be leaning languidly against medieval oak and mullions.  However, instead they were bounding purposefully along the winding streets in search of a very fine weekend of poetry indeed.

Venues were pleasingly dotted up and down the old streets, and the sun shone warmly down, so it was a real pleasure to wander from The Pottery to The Priory to lovely Wenlock Books.  It was a treat to meet Anna Dreda in person.
My Saturday was spent mostly in The Pottery, a most attractive venue for readings with a glowing woodburner and racks of handmade pots above our heads. Grey Hen Press read to a packed audience: I especially enjoyed Angela France and Alison Brackenbury.
Efforts to get into the George and Dragon for Poems and Pints with Mark Niel were defeated by other people having had the same idea slightly earlier... but we found an excellent bowl of soup in a cafe across the square, and ran into more poets.
Then we went to readings by Offa's Press, and Nine Arches Press - I bought Nick Pearson's collection 'Made in Captivity', and Angela France's 'Lessons in Mallemaroking'.

Among the large heaps of ice still lurking on street corners were colourful boards which turned out to be Dada Poetry Orienteering.  I absolutely loved this!
Here's my Dada Poem:

Line up alphabetically, by height,
Animal Upright - Grey and Purple.
Always a Plum, if you
could lick the surface of Jupiter.


I read myself from my first collection 'Not Lost Since Last Time' with Oversteps Poets - a huge treat to read with R V Bailey, Charles Bennett and Alwyn Marriage.  We had a packed and lovely audience, thanks all, then dinner in the George and Dragon with Andy Forster from the Wordsworth Trust, then a fantastic reading from Carol Ann Duffy, Sean Borodale and Imtiaz Dharker.

Sunday I went off to find Emergency Poet (my friend Deborah Alma) - who was having a weekend of High Demand for Poetic Cures.  Nurse Verse (who was really Kate) was dressed in her Poemedic outfit because it's warmer, and reported soothing the anxious patients as they waited for their turn in the ambulance.  Well worth clicking on the pic to read their ecstatic feedback (though I'm not sure about the one who says they have an attack of the Rumis).
Later I read from my pamphlet 'The Dark Farms' and the slide show of the Galloway Forest worked a treat, thank you the technicians of the Edge.  I also enjoyed meeting and listening  to Paul Kingsnorth, with whom I shared the bill.
And a fabulous last night with all my family along to see Benjamin Zephaniah.  Just how often have you seen a poet begged for an encore?


  1. It was a great festival wasn't it? Sorry I missed you, you clashed with Liz and James, so many Judgements of Solomon to be made.

    Gary Longden

  2. I know, I'd have gone to see them too... But a great time was had.