Last night at the Troubadour

My first visit here for far too long – to the Troubadour, the home of the rather wonderful Coffee House Poetry evenings run by the lovely Anne-Marie Fyfe (who remembered my name – an enviable skill). And it feels like a home-coming, so many familiar faces, other poets/writers to talk to and a selection of excellent poetry to listen to, all in the rapt silence that is the poetry audience.

I’d only jumped on the Piccadilly Line at South Ealing to be there, but others had battled floods and blizzards to read at this ‘salon d’hiver’. There were so many themes so many moving, funny or thoughtful poems, I wish I could mention everyone but time doesn’t allow. I was particularly impressed by Jessica Traynor reading from her collection ‘Liffey Swim’ (Dedalus, 2014). She has the knack of seemingly effortless verse that suddenly gives you a little shake when you’re least expecting it and you find you’re somewhere else altogether. I had no cash last night but will buy this collection. Carole Bromley’s poem about her infatuation for the weather forecaster on  TV’s Look North was the funniest poem of the evening. Very deft. Surprising. ‘The Stonegate Devil’ (Smith/Doorstop) is her second collection.

My other highlight was Maura Dooley – apologising for reading from loose papers – her next collection ‘Silvering’ (Bloodaxe) will be published in the spring. Her moving poem on the theme of global warming spiralled down to the ice melting in glasses of gin and tonic while conference talks went on, without any solutions. A perfect image.

Thank you, Anne-Marie for a rich and rewarding evening. I look forward to the next one on Monday 8th Feb (8 – 10 pm) focusing on the ‘I’ in poetry. Should be a fascinating evening.

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