A full house and Michaela Ridgway on form tonight – telling usbriefly about her schooldays in Wales and reading us a list of almost mouthwatering words that her friends used at the time. Noticed the list included Kusti which I thought was Romany for good. Must ask her sometime.
But, of course, she was soon ready to introduce Levi Yonk and later John Davies the poetry stars of the evening as well as a talented list of open micers.
Levi Yonk has just finished his masters in the anthropology of development at Sussex Uni. He started his set singing and then moved into a vibrant set of poems both lyrical and well observed. Moving to London made him think of what cities mean to him and as a result he wrote ‘Graffiti’ which I liked the best. Levi has plenty of his poetry on youtube for those who missed his impassioned performance tonight, well worth a look. He is off to Mexico in January to work on projects between the US and Mexico on a Fulbright Grant.
(Sorry pics best left this size as poor quality – camera on wrong setting!)
Five talented open micers took the floor to end the first half. Tammi Cottingham’s poem ‘Tumour’ was touching and beautifully conceived. I asked her later if it was based on experience and was not surprised to learn that it was. I do hope she gets it published.
She was followed by Andie Davidson with ‘Last Night’ and Samira with ‘Words Beyond the Grave.’ Alice Purnell, an ex nurse gave us two very funny poems inspired by her days on the ward and these were followed by Cullen Marshall with ‘Waters of Tranquility’.
After the break with refreshments served by the forever cheerful staff at Red Roaster we had more talented open micers with Lyn Brown and her poem about a falcon, Mei-Wah, Rupert Smith with ‘The National Curriculum Writing Club’, Patrick Tunercee, Gill Elliot, and Charlotte Haworth.
John Davies, director of Pighog Press read a selection of his own poems which included ‘A Doddle’, an original take on the story of a seal and one about his student days. I always admire people who manage to express their grief in poetry and John was no exception with his touching elegy to a dear friend.
Tonight however John also here to announce that after a difficult year and for various reasons, he is giving up as director of Pighog after 12 years of publishing poetry. Someone might step in at the last moment and take it over, who knows? But obviously this is sad time for John.
Michaela in summing up Pighog’s contribution to poetry reminded us of the forty books published, including those by John McCullough and Jackie Wills. John also ran festivals, competitions and events and encouraged a number of new poets to showcase their work. His dedication and entrepreneurial spirit has put poetry from the South East firmly on the map.
John is planning a new show for his alter ego ‘Shed man’ in the new year. This includes setting up his shed and then regaling his audience with poems and anecdotes as well as inviting their participation. He leaves with our love and the hope that he will be returning with more of his own poetry in the not too distant future.
I drifted along to Pighog’s poetry night at Red Roaster over two years ago, crept in early to get out of the rain and was roped in to take the money. I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of this unique community ever since.
Next Poetry night at Red Roaster the last Thursday in the month with the lovely Michaela compering, two headline poets and the popular slots for ten open micers – be early to book your space.
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