I went to Manky poets last night, where John Siddique was giving a reading, promoting his new book, The Voice. I was full of a cold, have been since Tuesday, but I still enjoyed myself. The read-around was full - 21 readers - and I read my poem about a train ride to Bristol through fog. The others were often good - including one by Rosie Garland, and poems by Helen Clare, John Lindley and others. It was really good to see John Lindley again - I don't often get to see him and his partner Jane. They read good poems too. Some of the poems went through my brain without impacting on my brain cells, but that was more to do with my cold than anything else.
Jon's reading was good - I like his poems a lot. Their quietness has a man in them, to quote Frank O'Hara - sensitive, but tough, often musical but in a very unobvious way. A full review of The Voice will come to these pages soon, but suffice it to say that a first collection has been a long time coming. I've always thought that the really good poets are not the ones that are published by the big boys, Faber, Picador, Cape (FabPicCap?) but the ones published by smaller presses - Salt, Rialto, Smith/Doorstop, Shearsman, Arc etc...
We went to the pub afterwards, where I talked for a bit to an old friend, Julian, who I haven't seen for ages. He's forty now - and I'm going to be forty-seven next Friday! I'm going to the final Matt Welton workshop today, so a report on that will come soon, methinks!
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