Sometimes all you need to do is ask

Great evening, as always … a good vibe.

Our guest poet in November was Chrissy Banks, who grew up on the Isle of Man and now lives in Exeter. The poems she read from her latest collection, The Uninvited (Indigo Dreams) were a warm invitation to read more. The poems span a lifetime, from a Manx childhood (her first poem described a crystal-clear memory, still raw, of watching President Kennedy’s assassination on TV while her mother cooked) to dancing with a fractious baby grandson, with excursions to consider the fascinating sex-life of inanimate objects and to take a wistful look at a “Missing” poster. The poem that stays with me is How do you know it’s an emergency?  which moves in eleven short urgent  stanzas from the personal to the national to the global and back with a sense of rising panic. My title is taken from a little gem of a holiday poem in which expectations are first dashed and then gloriously fulfilled.

“Skilled and articulate, raw but never straining for effect, empathetic but never sentimental …” – Sue Boyle


During the open-mic sessions we heard poems on subjects ranging from air-raids in Aleppo to a grandchild’s first steps, and from the absurdity of safety instructions to the surreal life of a corkscrew. It was a thoroughly entertaining evening.

Our next meeting will be at The Venue on Monday 2nd December, starting promptly at 8pm. The heating is minimal, so please dress warmly! Hot food and drinks are available.

Our guest will be Louise Warren.

Louise Warren

Born in Dorset, now living in London, Louise Warren is a poet and playwright. She won the 2011 Cinnamon First Collection Prize; her debut poetry book A Child’s Last Picture Book of the Zoo was published in May 2012. Her poems have appeared in magazines including Agenda, Envoi, Fuselit, The Interpreters House, Obsessed with Pipework, Poetry Wales, The Rialto, Seam and Stand. She has also appeared in a number of anthologies including Postcards from Leather Lane (edited by Aoife Mannix and Eva Lewin) and Genius Floored- A Shadow on the Wall (edited by Ruth O’Callaghan).

In 2011 she was shortlisted for both the Bridport and Wenlock Poetry Prize, and in 2008 she had a poem in The Ver Poetry Prize Anthology.

Her plays include productions at The Little Angel Theatre, Lyric Studio, and touring venues including Theatres, Art Venues, Museums and schools. She is currently working on fusing her poetry with visual imagery and performance.

Her latest collection is “John Dust”.

… this mythic figure … this spectre, John Dust, part man, part ghost, part atmosphere, darts between poems … – Charlotte Gann

John Dust by John DuffinIllustration from John Dust, by John Duffin

Remember, a poem is a time machine you are constructing, a vehicle that will allow someone to travel in their own mind, so don’t be surprised if it takes a while to get all its engine parts properly working. – Charles Simic


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