Fantastic night a the Redroaster tonight, a completely full house for the warm, touching and often witty poetry of Maria Jastrzebrska, widely translated and with several books to her name. Tonight she was well on form, two of the poems she read were in unison with a talented local Swedish poet, this gave them even more impact, particularly one about crossing the border. Her other poems about memory included one about practicing kissing as a teenager which rang a bell.
The second key poet of the night was the amazing Liz Berry, an infant teacher by day and a poet, presumably by night. How she finds the time and energy to write with such originality, wit and confidence, as well as all the work involved in teaching infants is beyond me. Her debut pamphlet The Patron Saint of Schoolgirls (2010) was praised by Andrew Motion for its ‘sharp observation and a clever innocence.’ and it sold out in minutes on the book table in the first interval. I loved the way made the present of a saucepan from her partner into a reflection of a tender romance and her poem about the tradition in the North of a fisherwoman attending a wedding was an absolute triumph. Beautifully conceived.
Open mic opportunities followed with one poet reading her poem short listed in the final 160 National Poetry award. I read a work in progress called ‘I told you so’, then came three young men with completely different and original voices and finally two wonderful poets pretending to be trees in Preston Park having a dialogue.
With a warm and appreciative audience of all ages, the night was guaranteed to be a complete success. I suggest you book early for next month’s offering and check out their website for fringe events asap.