Such a tender poetry event at Troubadour last night. Not least because Paul Stephenson, who thankfully survived the recent attack in Paris where he now lives, had travelled on an deserted Eurostar train to take part, (bravo, bravo). Paul and fellow poet and Mona Arshi are both Troubadour prize winners.
I met Paul at Arvon a few years ago but since then he has won awards and has published an award winning pamphlet ‘Those People’. ‘Funny and quite serious at the same time’ Billy Collins is quoted as saying, ‘often highly experimental’ says Robert Peake. Whatever the great and the good say, what a personable guy with something new and unexpected to say about universal themes. I loved ‘Arrangements’ about an experience with his grandfather, ‘Those People’ and ‘John’ a gem of a poem not included in the pamphlet.
Mona Arshi is a poet and lawyer who lives in West London. Her début collection of poems ‘Small Hands’ was published by Liverpool University in the Spring of 2015. It is beautiful and memorable.
Top of the bill, although I am not sure poetry evenings indulge in such titles, was Tom Sleigh the award-winning poet born in Texas now living in New York. He is the director of Hunter College’s Creative-Writing MFA etc. A wonderful reader dipping into his several books of poems and later in conversation with poet & critic, C. L. Dallat, really sorry to have missed some of this, really interesting the part I did hear. Usually have to rush for bus to catch my train.
However Seamus Heaney has said of Tom’s poems: “Tom Sleigh’s poetry is hard-earned and well founded. I greatly admire the way it refuses to cut emotional corners and yet achieves a sense of lyric absolution.” Well what else can be said?
Troubadour is my favourite fortnightly poetry event, inspiring and a gem of an evening every time.
Extra bonus was the start of London’s Christmas lights. Last time I was late leaving Troubadour and took a cab to Victoria, the cab driver said as soon as the lights go on Londoner’s faces light up!