Monday, April 28, 2008

Rocks, Rags and Russian Dolls

Well, it was a trimmed-back audience last night at the Shore Poets. I don't know whether it was the Grangemouth strike that kept people away, but it can't have been the weather unless everyone had fallen asleep in the sun. Whatever, we were maybe around 20 down on the usual number, but it was a good night nonetheless, if I do say so myself.

Julie Sheridan was the first reader. She read very well indeed, though her voice didn't come over best through the mike for some reason. Some of her work seemed to me to be trying too hard, but there was a lot of promise there and one poem, "Russian Dolls", sounded spot on.

I read the second, Shore poet slot; my last time in the role. In spite of recovering from a tummy bug that had laid me low Thursday and Friday, I felt I read well, and reactions seemed to confirm that. The set was a mix of brand new work and poems I've read before, including the title poem from Tonguefire.

The evening's headliner was Colin Will, blogger, editor and StAnza chair as well as poet. Colin read very well, his looser, more prosaic writing ensuring that we had three very different voices last night. I have to confess, that style of poetry isn't generally what does it for me, but I thought Colin's piece about James Hutton, the father of geology, was superb. The other pieces of his I found most effective were his haiku and haiku-like poems, where the discipline of the short lines and focused, concrete images reigned in the looser approach.

Last night's music was fantastic. It was a real treat to have a mix of blues, rag, folk and jazz from a guitarist as skilled as Callum More. We have some excellent songwriters along to Shore Poets, but fine instrumentalists like Callum provide perhaps the best foil to an evening of words.

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