Not to worry when you can pop along to Coffee -house poetry at the Troubadour in Brompton Road and learn something of the the life, times and pre-occupations through the poetry of poets from ‘across the pond’. We discover that Tim Nolan from Minneapolis knows all the best coffee shops in town as well as having a great facility to write a mean poem, including some about his family, people and life as he knows it. Loved ‘Full Stride’ and ‘Prayer Chain’.
OK so you can listen to plenty of stuff on Youtube but given the choice of a session in front of the TV with a bag of crisps or a room full of poets (most of the audience at Troubadour seem to be poets) at Troubadour, I’d go for the latter any time.
Talking of time, it takes me from 5.30 to 12.30 p.m door to door for the round trip from outside Brighton. I guess some of the visitors today can be half way across the Atlantic in that time. But how would I know. I didn’t come from a background where whizzing round the world with of without a backpack or a Greyhound bus ticket was on the cards.
But back to Tim, loved his poetry, his style and bought his book with my emergency taxi money. Well one has to be reckless in later life. But, on a serious note, I not only wanted to read his poems again but to study his style. How dare he be a lawyer and a successful poet – I hope I don’t subsequently discover he was down and out, living on the railroad and rescued by a some benevolent literary giant!
Robert Peake is a British-American poet living near London. He created the Transatlantic Poetry on Air reading series. I have heard him reading poems about the son he lost before. but they still generates a sense of tenderness, pain all at the same time. His first collection The Knowledge is due in 2015 from Nine Arches Press. Could identify with the title poem as I knew guys doing ‘the Knowledge’ in the old days. Apparently passing this test was completely unpredictable and subject to a strange set of unknown criteria, or so I was told.
Margo Taft Stever, forthright, perceptive sometimes humorous, latest book ‘The Hudson Line’. Saw her book ‘Reading the Night Sky’ on the book table at £5 so had to have that too.
Others on the bill were Susana Case is a professor at the NY Institute of Technology. Her collections range from The Scottish Café (2002) to 4 Rms w Vu (Mayapple Press, 2014). Tonight are treated to ‘Dark Matter’ and ‘Torpedo’ among others. Philip Friend, Manhattan Revies editor, latest collection ‘Interrogating Water’. Jennifer Millitello a finalist in the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, her first collection is Body Thesaurus (Tupelo, 2013) . Artist and Faber-Academy poet. Daphne Warburg Astor was part of the C4RD online residency & collaborated with Jason Hicklin on From Co. Donegal to the Inner Hebrides: Drawings & Etchings (2009). Owen Lewis published extensively in professional journals; his first poetry chapbook was March in San Miguel (Finishing Line, 2012) and first collection is Sometimes Full of Daylight (Dos Madres, 2013).
Troubadour – would not miss it for the world, organised and compered by the talented poet Anne-Marie Fyfe, a bar, books, great cafe upstairs if you want to before or after the event too.
Henry Fajemirokun singing and playing his guitar gave a touching performance.
The South Bank events are pretty exciting too when I manage to get up to them. But the more I listen to brilliant poets the more I realise what a daunting task writing poetry is. It’s too late for me to do an MA in poetry, but at least Troubadour makes one feel part of the wider poetry community. Next Troubadour October 20th ‘what we should have said’.
The week my mother was dying in hospital, she was still insisting that I took in yet another of her favourite poetry books. Now I understand more and more why!