Sunday, April 30, 2006

Radical Poetry at the Poetry Cafe, London, on 4th May

On Thursday 4th May, at 7pm, for the very reasonable price of £2/1 concessions, you can hear readings of Radical Poetry from Smokestack Books at the Poetry Cafe, 22 Betterton Street, Covent Garden, London. Alison Fell walks through the seasons in Lightyear, Sebastian Barker meditates on the theology of desire in The Erotics of God. Plus, you can view Ivor Coleman photographs from Lightyear in the Poetry Café throughout May.

Lemn Sissay at Warwick Arts Centre, Wednesday 3rd May


Wednesday, 03/05/2006 at Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry

There is great light in 'Something Dark', Lemn Sissay's new one-man poetry in performance show. It is a journey of the soul and a triumph of the heart. Lemn Sissay spent the first seventeen years of his life in care and his entire adult life searching for his family. The search revealed the secrets and lies of an incredible past. Like all compelling stories, it is one that must be told and one that must be heard.

Lemn Sissay is a human dynamo with a sharp lyrical line who produces beautiful and arresting writing. Over the past ten years he has had five books published, appeared on BBC 2’s Grumpy Old Men, BBC Radio 4 and guested on over forty albums. The radio play of Something Dark was commissioned and broadcast by BBC Radio 3 in October 2004.

“Hugely enjoyable, inventive, funny and touching” The Guardian

“This 90-minute show is a big-hearted pleasure” Time Out Critics’ Choice

“Sissay’s journey of self-discovery is a dizzying ride of highs and lows, beautifully conveyed through his mesmerising performance poetry.” London Metro

“Something Dark is a triumph” The Scotsman

Audience comments:
“This was wonderful. It must reverberate with so many different people”

“A privilege to watch. I feel that Lemn Sissay shared a part of himself which was truly moving”

Produced and commissioned by Apples & Snakes and Contact in association with BAC

Written and performed by Lemn Sissay
Directed by John E McGrath
Music by Jim Parris
Designed by Emma Wee
Lighting by Anne Meeussen

Bookings: 024 7652 4524 or visit Warwick Arts Centre

Double Acts at Battersea Arts Centre, Friday 5th May

DOUBLE ACTS Four pairs of fine poets

Friday, 05/05/2006 at Battersea Arts Centre - BAC, Lavender Hill, London SW11 5TN
£4.75 / £3.50

BAC says:
'They say that two heads are better than one, and this show sets out to prove the point. We’ve invited some of the best poetical twosomes to strut their stuff before our very eyes. We’ve got Irish-Canadian interplay from Aoife Mannix & Heather Taylor and the transglobal hip-hop of D’Archetypes, alongside comic-poetic tag-team Littleman & Edge and Southend’s answer to The Streets, DJ Innit & Cherry L. Only one compere, but he’s a good ‘un: Richard Allen.

So there you go: twice as many poets = twice the fun. Feel the difference.'

Bookings: 020-7223-2223 or click here to visit Batterseas Arts Centre.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

SIX OF THE BEST in Birmingham Wednesday 3rd May

SIX OF THE BEST continues this month on Wednesday 3rd May at the Birmingham Library Theatre with this excellent line-up of poets:

Emma Purshouse
Sean Kelly
Andy Conner
Jane Holland
Dan Wilson

which you may notice includes the editor of this site!

This is the brainchild of Birmingham Poet Laureate Dreadlockalien (Richard Grant)and is a six-month series designed to showcase the best poet-performers from across the Midlands. The event begins quite early at 6.45pm and costs £5. Free to those involved in the series.

Phat Controller, an equally excellent ska band, will accompany the event with music at the beginning and end, plus entertainment during the interval and even in between poetry sets (they've composed some special Six of the Best jingles just for your delectation). So come along, be entertained and provoked and amused and surprised. Not necessarily in that order. Unless it seems like a good order to you.

Night Blue Fruit at the Tin Angel, Coventry

This Tuesday 2nd May at the Tin Angel bar, Medieval Spon Street, Coventry, you can read your own poems at the mic or listen while poets and performers of the Midlands entertain you at a very special event called Night Blue Fruit.

The evening starts at about 8 - 8.30pm, free entrance. Organised by the Heaventree Press , a Coventry-based poetry press who publish new poetry pamphlets, collections and a magazine called Avocado.

WORD at Bambu, Leicester

WORD at Bambu, Leicester

Wednesday 3rd May, 8pm
@ Bambu, 21 Welford Road, Leicester (opposite council buildings)


Word is Leicester's premier open floor spoken word event. It runs on the first Wednesday of each month at Bambu café bar, and features a fantastic guest artist as well as open floor spots. This month's guest is David Stickman Higgins.

Open floor spots available.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Hammer & Tongue 2006 Slam Final in Oxford

Hammer & Tongue 2006 Slam Final, The Zodiac, Cowley Road, Oxford

Tuesday 2nd May. 8pm start (doors 7.30pm) £5 entrance.

Details from AF Harrold:

'This is the big one, or a big one. It’s the end of year slam featuring the winners of all the previous slams over the last year vying for the big prize, which last year was a multicoloured hammer. Oh, I won it last year, so technically I’m actually defending my title so there’s no pressure on me to perform, oh no. There are at least eight fantastic poets in the competition so it should be a real good show, hosted by Larkin and featuring an unnamed special guest.

So if you’re around do come down and if you cheer for me I’ll be very happy, but quite frankly I think I might just like to retire with dignity (which is what I’ll say was my plan if I lose).

It starts at 8 (doors at 7.30) and costs five quid.'

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Three exciting events this week at the Poetry Society Cafe, London

Tall Lighthouse, New Blood & Fourth Friday

On Wednesday 26th April, at 8pm, for the cost of £3/2 concessions, you can be entertained by Tall Lighthouse with Brendan Cleary and others.

On Thursday 27th April, at the earlier time of 7pm, for £5/3 concessions, New Blood has its first night of readings by up and coming poets. Well worth the money, so do get along there if you can and support these new talents.

And finally, on Friday 28th April, at 8pm, for £5/4 concessions, it's Fourth Friday with Angela Kirby, Peter Philips and So Long Angel.

All these great live poetry events take place downstairs at the Poetry Cafe, 22 Betterton Street, London (nearest tube Covent Garden).

Don't forget, if you'd like to meet some of these poets and performers online, find out what's on across the UK, or even advertise your own gigs, you can do that at the Poets On Fire discussion forum, which you can join or simply check out the action by clicking POETS ON FIRE.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

North Beach Poetry in Galway, Thursday 27th April

North Beach Nights

Trish Casey (Cúirt Grand Slam Winner 2004)
Kevin Higgins (Cúirt Grand Slam Winner 2003)
Stephen Murray (Cúirt Grand Slam Winner 2005)

and, sponsored by Poetry Ireland, John W. Sexton.

The Grand Slam Winners will perform their winning poem - and new material.


North Beach Nights Mega-Slam

"We are happy to give all the entrants for the Cúirt Grand Slam on Saturday 29th April this opportunity to test their nerves, their performance and what we are up against. Two poems max. 3 minutes each. The winner on the night could be the next Cúirt Grand Slammer winner on the way to Slampappi in Chicago!!"

Thursday 27th April
BK's Winebar
Spanish Parade, Galway
at 9.30 pm

Monday, April 24, 2006

Sunday XPress in Digbeth, Birmingham: April 30th 2pm

This is Jimmy Fantastik, performing at the Sunday XPress in Digbeth, Birmingham.

Yes, it's the fourth Sunday XPress this coming weekend at the Market Tavern in Digbeth, Birmingham. Not a venue for the shy or retiring, this one delivers Music, Poetry, Stories and Comedy in a boisterous and rollicking mixture that takes place upstairs in a corner pub near enough to the Bullring for you to be able to slip out and go shopping between sets!

This afternoon of Open Mic kicks off at 2pm but most people seemed to arrive last time nearer the 3pm mark, which is sensible as it's quite a long haul through to 6pm when it finishes. There are free roast potatoes on offer - and they are delicious! - and a different Guest MC every month.

Entry is free, the beer isn't, but there's plenty of parking; the Market Tavern is located in a sort of semi-industrial area and the streets are quite empty there, it being a Sunday afternoon.

If you want to know more, you can contact Lizzie on 0121 4713445, or just turn up on Sunday April 30th, clutching some poems or other offerings in your sweaty palm. The Market Tavern is on the corner of Birchall & Moseley Street, Digbeth.

The next Sunday XPress date after this will be 28th May.

Two Poetry Society events: April 24th & 25th


Canadian Slam poet Brendan McLeod and fast-talking Luke Wright headline a full throttle evening of top quality spoken word & open mic. Sounds too good to miss? Then don't. The evening starts at 7.30pm on Monday 24th April at the Poetry Cafe, 22 Betterton Street, London (nearest tube Covent Garden). No details given of entrance fee, I'm afraid.


But for £3.50 you can do your very own thing in front of the mic the following day, at the weekly Poetry Unplugged spot downstairs at the Poetry Society – an Open Mic night hosted by Niall O’Sullivan on Tuesdays.

Arrive between 6-7 pm if you want to read.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

SHORTFUSE: Thursday May 4th, Islington, London

Having been almost - but not quite - as sick as the Monty Python Norwegian Blue recently, I've missed advertising a few Thursdays at SHORTFUSE. For which, many apologies to those expecting news of those world-famous Islington poetry nights. To make up for it now, here's both next week's Shortfuse line-up AND the week after's in advance:

COMEDY on Thursday 27th April:

BOB BOYTON - Cult star of the alternative comedy scene performs his acclaimed one-man play Bomber Jackson does some. 'Excellent' - The Guardian, 'The Joe Orton of alternative comedy' - The Scotsman

BARRY JONES & STUART MACLEOD - The second instalment from the subversive magicians as seen on Channel 4's Miracles of Jesus, and Dirty Tricks . A surreal mix of comedy and magic that will leave you reeling in bewilderment and laughter.

FOLLOWED BY SPOKEN WORD ON Thursday 4th May at 8.30pm:

DAN ANTOPOLSKI - A feature length stand-up performance from Perrier Award
nominee and cult star of BBCs Hyperdrive. 'Breathtaking stage presence makes even his having his pants on his head seem hilariously poetic' - The Independent

We unwrap the newest SHORTFUSE fringe show - A ripped up montage of darkly humoured writing and wry comedy scrapbooked onto the stage, soundtracked by original music, cross-fertilising genres and creating a slick theatrical show that is distinctly different. Featuring Nathan Penlington.

'Consistently original and accessible' - Chortle,
Rhian Edwards: 'Astounding' - BBC Radio 3,
Ritchie Scurvey: 'five star performance' - Ham & High,
and Suzanne Andrade: 'Hypnotically brilliant' - BBC Radio 3.

With Resident Host NATHAN PENLINGTON and resident DJ David Bush.

Every Thursday @ The Camden Head, Camden Walk, Islington, London, N1
Tube: Angel. Doors: 8.30pm. Admission: £5 waged / £3 concessions.

Mouthtrap Cabaret, Wednesday 3rd May, in Reading

Before I forget or my hair catches on fire - please don't ask - let me tell you about the Mouthtrap Cabaret in Reading.

On Wednesday May 3rd, Kat Francois, Lucy English and Lorraine Mariner will be performing at the Mouthtrap Cabaret, which is a fabulous live poetry & spoken word event at South Street Arts Centre, Reading, held on the first Wednesday of every month, from October 2005. Doors 8pm for an 8.30pm start. Tickets £6 or £4 concessions.

Intrigued and eager to know more? According to AF Harrold's website'AFH searches the country for the finest and funniest performance poets (and occasionally other arty entertainers) and brings them back to Reading with him to delight a town that for so long has been left out of the schedules of so many performers. Unjustly, of course.'

The Cellar on again in London tonight, Saturday 22nd April

This very Saturday evening, 22nd April at 8pm, for only £5/3 concessions, you can creep downstairs into the Cellar - under the cafe at the Poetry Society headquarters, 22 Betterton Street, London (nearest tube: Covent Garden) - to listen to Toby Davies, Sarah Gibbons and Musa Okwonga performing their work for the great and good of old London town.

This star-spangled evening will be hosted as usual by the immensely talented Niall O’Sullivan, who I'm sure is going to ask me to perform down in The Cellar one of these days. Any day now, he's bound to send me an email about it. Any day now ...

Friday, April 21, 2006

James Nash & John Siddique in Leigh, 27th April

On Thursday 27th April, 7:30pm
at Derby Room, Turnpike Centre, Civic Square, Leigh
James and John bring you an evening of beautiful, thought-provoking truths. Their collections ‘Coma Songs’ and ‘The Prize’ are gaining increasing acclaim. In this tour they read favourites poems from their books, along with new work. James Nash and John Siddique are men who are not afraid of being themselves in their writing and on stage. They complement each other brilliantly, sharing skills as weavers of words and performers.

“John Siddique's poems prove that heart-felt sentiment does not equal regressive ineptitude.” - Adam Field
“James Nash’s ‘Coma Songs’ illuminates wonderfully the small details and the large issues of life, love and language… magical, memorable poems: poignant yet rich with humour, and underpinned by a great humanity” Sarah Waters

£3 on the door

Please note also:
Sat 29th April 10am – 3.30pm
Family writing day with John Siddique at Warrington Museum
Using objects, clothing and your own life as starting points, poet John Siddique, will lead you through the process of creating personal poetry and texts. This workshop is for anyone who might like to have a go, whether you have never written before or are very experienced.

EDITOR: I've never heard of a family writing day like this and the 'bring your own clothing' bit sounds particularly intriguing ... I wonder what would happen if I turned up with a rubber catsuit or second-best undies. Would people stare? And what sort of poems would they generate?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Poets Wanted for Beltane celebration, Leicester

Saturday 29th April, 12:30 - 4:30pm
Castle Park, Leicester

Poets are invited to attend the Beltane Spring Fayre and take up the opportunity to read their work in the wonderful surroundings of Castle Park.

The Beltane Fayre is a free event celebrating Spring, honouring the earth festivals and traditional spirituality. Featuring poetry, educational displays, workshops, multicultural dance, music and talks with a programme of entertainment between 12noon and 6pm. An alternative therapies marquee will give treatments at £6, or £4 for unwaged/children. Free bouncy castle, face painters and activities for children. Refreshments include Asian catering, a tea/chai/snacks tent, a real ale stall, and sandwiches provided by the Leicester Wildlife Hospital.

To book a slot to read your poetry contact Damien Walter, Literature Development Officer at:

Poets' Cafe in Reading Friday 21st April with POLLY CLARK & ESTHER MORGAN

Poets’ Café Plus.

Friday 21st April sees the next Poets’ Café at South Street, with special guests Polly Clark and Esther Morgan who will be reading in tandem (On a tandem would be fun too. - Ed.)and in excitement (??!@? - Ed.) and art. There will also be the usual one poem open mic for those who want to join in. Doors open at 8pm, poetry begins at 8.30pm sharp. £5 for normal people, £3 for concessions and reading poets.

On the Sunday following, 23rd April, Esther Morgan will be holding a workshop for poets who’re looking for a bit of inspiration and a kick up the thesaurus and some supportive advice. This will also be happening at South Street Arts Centre, between 2 and 5pm. Places must be booked in advance and cost £16, including refreshments. There are only a very few places left in the class so if you would like to book one of them then please drop me an e-mail very soon. Thanks.


NB: This Friday’s Poets’ Café has a special early element. BBC South Today want to do a live broadcast from the show which is very cool. Anyone who wants the chance to read poetry live on the BBC telly for no payment then you’ll need to come down to South Street by 5.45pm on Friday. (Which means you might get to read two poems – one early, one late – if you like.)

Anyone who does come down can have free entry to Poets’ Café for the evening and the bar will be open between the BBC filming and the main event a little later on, if that’s any incentive. We do need to try to get as many people along as we can to make it look exciting and a fun thing.

I’d appreciate a line from anyone thinking of coming along, just so we can get an idea of numbers.

Cheers, AFH.

Sent in by AF HARROLD, whose very special email address for poetry contacts is

Martin Burke reading in Cork City, Friday 21st April.

DEFAULT publishing is launching its debut full-length publication tomorrow, "Psalms" by poet Martin Burke; the launch will take place on Friday 21st April in the Vision Centre, North Main St, Cork City at 6pm.

There will be a wine reception (always a good pull!) and a reading by Martin Burke.

Poetry Vandals in Newcastle: a review by Scott Devon of WRITE OUT LOUD

The Write Out Loud word army marches again, this time to Newcastle ...

Yes, the WOL word army recently sent a lonely soldier, one of its Captains, Scott Devon, to Newcastle to rub shoulders with one of the best performance poets in the world. The night was hosted by the Poetry Vandals and the guest act was the fabulous Brendan McLeod.

But the opening slot fell to Scott Devon, and the smoke tinged air of the Cumberland Arms fell silent. Scott started his performance career in Newcastle so knew the stage well and used that to his advantage as he delivered three old skool street poems to a stunned crowd. Smacking them home with pace, raw energy and fire. He left the stage much back slapping and hand shaking, as the first of the two heavy weight poets for the night limbered up for the ring.

It was Jeff Price, the fearless leader of the poetry vandals. Jeff was reading from his new collection ‘Doors’ available through Zebra publishing and is highly recommended. He used a mix of humour and great poetical skill to get his points across. Making us think almost without becoming our Preacher. Jeff himself has performed all over the UK and abroad, including the Prague festival and the Edinburgh fringe and just recently recorded a short piece for the BBC’s Video nation.

But then it was time for the main act. Brendan McLeod Canadian poet and slam superstar. Brendan stopped off in Newcastle as part of his UK tour. Brendan is the winner of the National Individual final at the 2004 spoken word Olympics and in 2005 he was Vancouver’s GRAND slam champion, and yes, he lived up to his reputation. Using his skilfully constructed words, finely judged pace and massive stage confidence to turn an entire crowd into just one giant ear. A must see for all spoken word lovers.
An unforgettable night, WOL will be back, see ya there.

Sent in by Scott Devon, WRITE OUT LOUD

Monday, April 17, 2006

QI CLUB in Oxford, Tuesday April 18th

According to AF Harrold, whose email newsletter I have just been perusing, it's the QI Club again tomorrow night in Oxford. Here's what he had to say about that:

Tuesday 18th April – QI Club, Turl Street, Oxford. Quiet, It’s … Hammer & Tongue. 8pm. £5/free to club members.

'Oxford’s newest poetry open mic continues to tip-toe from strength to strength downstairs in Stephen ‘modern poetry is arse-dribble’ Fry’s very own exclusive gentlemen’s (and ladies’) club. Come and listen, come and read, come beforehand and join in a workshop thing, come and enjoy the work of the special guest Canada’s very own Brendan McLeod, for those of you who didn’t come and see him at my Mouthtrap Cabaret a few weeks back …'

AF HARROLD (poet, MC, modern prophet & bearded one from Reading)

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Maurice Scully & Catherine Walsh reading at Trinity College, Dublin

The School of English, Trinity College Dublin, presents a reading to celebrate the publication of new books by Irish poets Maurice Scully and Catherine Walsh. The reading will take place in the Téatar M. Uí Chadhain (2041B) at 7:30 pm on Tuesday the 18th of April.

Admission is free and all are welcome. Copies of books by both poets will be available at the reading.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Lumsden, Maris & Stammers reading in London, Wednesday 19th April

Wednesday 19th April
Poetry Café, 22 Betterton St, Covent Garden, London
8pm sharp (£5/£4)

Half term reading with three London poetry tutors, hosted by Adam O'Riordan.

Roddy Lumsden's latest collection is Mischief Night: New & Selected Poems (Bloodaxe). A pocket-book Super Try Again is published by Donut Press this autumn. He teaches at City University and Morley College and is a Visiting Lecturer at Metropolitan University.

Kathryn Maris is a New York poet now based in London. Her first collection The Book of Jobs will be published later this year by Four Way Books. She is an editor of Poetry London and teaches at Morley College.

John Stammers has published two collections with Picador (Panoramic Lounge-bar and Stolen Love Behaviour) and a pamphlet with Donut (Buffalo Bills). He teaches at Birkbeck College and at City Lit and is convenor of the British and Irish Contemporary Poetry Conference.

Bristol Word Boat, Wednesday 19th April

The Word Boat is 'performance poetry and prose afloat on Bristol's harbour, with bar and live music too!'

In connection with Bristol Water PLC, the Bristol Ferry Boat Company and Float My Boat Productions, The Word Boat is an unique opportunity to listen to poetry and spoken word aboard a boat, no less.

Tickets are £6.50 each, the start time is 7.15pm, and you can book tickets from the Bristol Ferry Boat Company by emailing or calling them on 0117 927 3416.

Pre-booking is essential and these are the dates:

Wednesday 19th April
Wednesday 17th May
Wednesday 21st June
Wednesday 19th July

Nottingham Speakeasy, Wednesday 19th April

Complex Trout Productions and the Alley Cafe present
Open floor poetry and spoken word
with special guests
Michelle 'Mother' Hubbard and David 'Stickman' Higgins
Wednesday 19th April
from 8pm onwards

Following on from DIY Poets last month, Speakeasy is very pleased to welcome two fantastic performers back to the Alley next Wednesday. Michelle Hubbard and Stickman will be representing Blackdrop and combining their talents for your delectation and delight. As always, there will also be open slots available for people who want to get up and do their own thing. Promises to be peachy.

@ The Alley Cafe
1a Cannon Court (opposite the old Canon cinema)

For more information, visit /
or email

TROUT also says: Next month, to mark our fourth birthday, we'll be holding the FIRST ANNUAL ALLEY SLAM. We'll have limited slots for competitors, so get there early if you want one. Prizes are £50 and a bottle of bubbly and a bottle of bubbly less £50 for the runner up. If you've never been to one before, brace yourself. It's the white knuckle racing rollercoaster of the poetry world, and it's at the Alley. Bring your whooping boots!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Normal Service resumes after Easter

Many apologies for the absence of posts recently. Last weekend I was struck down by acute bronchitus, followed by tonsillitus, which in turn produced a severe inflammation of the ear. So I've been comatose in bed most of the week, souped-up to the eyeballs with antibiotics and painkillers and sucky lozenges, and too weak to get to the computer. I'm still not entirely fixed but am dictating this to my male nurse between lozenges.

Luckily, almost no live poetry events seem to be happening during the Easter break, so I've not missed much.

If you have a regular or one-off live poetry event - i.e. reading or performance or open mic night - you would like to see advertised on POETS ON FIRE, email me all the relevant details at

However, regular events need regular email updates and/or reminders; one email, for instance, will not cover you for a year, as my memory of such events begins to wane after a few weeks and needs poking. So if you emailed me in the past but haven't seen your event mentioned for a while, remember to let me know about it again ... regularly!

I'll start posting again in a few days, when my legs have hopefully started working again.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Pegnall, Holmes & Siddique reading in Hebden Bridge, Monday 10th April

I've just heard that Peter Pegnall, Gaia Holmes & John Siddique will be reading at MOOCH Café Bar in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire on Monday the 10th April, 6pm. The event is a book launch for Peter, and a rare reading for John who does not often perform in his home town. All three poets will be reading again in Hebden on the 22nd at The Stubbing Wharf.

More information available at John Siddique's website.

This Week at the Poetry Cafe, London


Two events on Monday evening 10th April, firstly, downstairs at the Poetry Cafe, at 7pm for £6/4 concessions, it's The Poets Letter with Munayem Mayenin, Malgorzata Kitowski, Luke Wright, Paul Taylor, Johnny Vallon + Open Mic slots, followed at 8pm in the studio by THE WOLF poetry magazine launching Issue 12. FREE Entry! Arrive Early, Limited Seating. Poets reading on the night include... Fiona Sampson, Will Stone, Stephen Watts, Adam O'Riordan, Christopher Twigg and Valeria Melchioretto

On Tuesday 11th, for £3.50/2.50 concessions, you can read your own fabulous work at Poetry Unplugged – one of London's most famous and long-running Open Mic nights hosted by Niall O’Sullivan. Arrive between 6-7 pm if you want to read.

On Wednesday 12th April at 8pm, for £5/3, it's Loose Muse with Patricia Foster and Sarah Gibbons hosted by Agnes Meadows

and the week finishes with another free event on Thursday 13th April, Survivors Poetry, this week a launch of Mentee pamphlets by Lee Wilson and David Kessel.

All this takes place @ The Poetry Society, 22 Betterton Street, London. Nearest tube: Covent Garden. You can email for more information and to check times etc, which is always recommended.

The Poetry Cafe will then close for Easter, reopening on Tuesday 18th April for Niall O'Sullivan's Open Mic slot, except for this event on Saturday 15th April at 8pm, The Cellar, with David Jay and the legendary red-bearded A.F. Harrold, downstairs at the Poetry Cafe. Hosted by Niall O’Sullivan.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Crossing the Line, poetry in London this Friday

Crossing the Line presents a poetry reading by Peter Manson and Robert Sheppard on Friday the 7th of April, from 7.30pm.

This will be held in the upstairs room at The Plough, 27 Museum St., London WC1. Nearest tubes: Russell Sq, Tottenham Court Rd, Holborn.

Admissions: £5/£3 (concessions).

Jem Rolls & Yemisi Blake in the Cellar, London

This Saturday 8th April at 8pm sees Jem Rolls and Yemisi Blake, performing down in the Cellar at the Poetry Cafe, 22 Betterton Street, London. Nearest tube is Covent Garden. Hosted by Niall O’Sullivan. I have no idea about Yemisi Blake, alas, but I can vouch for Jem Rolls who is a superb performer and so blindingly energetic you'll fear for his health as he whips through the set ...

JEM ROLLS at the recent Oxford Live Literature Arena

An evening of Japanese Poetry in Galway


On Friday, April 7th from 9pm there will be an evening of Japanese poetry, organised by Kevin Higgins, at Sheridan's Wine Bar (above Sheridan's Cheesemongers) 14-16 Church Yard Street, Galway.

Yoshimi Hayakawa of the new Kappa-ya Restaurant on Middle Street will read a selection of Japanese poems, and Monika Fimpel, a German-born poet who lived for some years in Japan, will read English language translations.

Galway-based poet, Sean Donegan, whose work has appeared in Poetry Ireland Review and elsewhere, will also read a selection of his Haiku.

SHORTFUSE - 6th Birthday Special with John Hegley

London's SHORTFUSE 6th Birthday Special

This Thursday 6th April, in Islington, you can see and hear

JOHN HEGLEY - A feature length set from the performance poet Laureate,
expect some old favourites, some soon to become favourites from his new
collection Uncut Confetti, and the unexpected

KATE FOX - winner of SHORTFUSE Poetry Idol 6. A bright shining neon sign
of poet, Newcastle's answer to Sylvia Plath, or like Pam Ayres on drugs, only without the drugs.

MARTIN WHITE - a setful of songs from one man and his accordion with a way
with a deft & damn funny literary lyric, who has rapidly become one of our
favourite acts

Every Thursday @ The Camden Head, Camden Walk, Islington, London, N1
Tube: Angel. Doors: 8.30pm. Admission: £5 waged / £3 concessions.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Birmingham Library Theatre, SIX OF THE BEST - a reminder!

SIX OF THE BEST in Birmingham, April 5th

Just to remind all those of you based in the Midlands that on Wednesday April 5th from the fairly early time of 6.45pm, you can catch the following poets live on stage at the Birmingham Library Theatre in the newly established SIX OF THE BEST series:

Helen Monks, Moaqapi Selassi, Polar Bear, Peter Wyton, Muna Hussen, and Launa Meehan.

Tickets £5. Box Office 0121 303 23 23 or buy on the night.

Word at Leicester, Wednesday 5th April

Apples & Snakes, Complex Trout Productions, Bambu and Phoenix Arts present


8pm onwards, Wednesday 5th April, FREE ENTRANCE!
@ Bambu, 21 Welford Road, Leicester (opposite council buildings)

Open Floor Spots available, and for more information on that you can contact Steve Carroll (07870 608875 /

Word is Leicester’s premier open floor spoken word event. It runs on the
first Wednesday of each month at Bambu café bar, and features a fantastic
guest artist as well as open floor spots.

Apples & Snakes
Complex Trout

This month’s guest is Annie McGann. "Annie McGann’s scathing wit and charm delights and terrifies her audience. The perfect poet for peanut crunchers everywhere, Annie is a working poet of both page and stage."

Monday, April 03, 2006

Mouthtrap Cabaret, Reading, April 5th


Wednesday 5th April – Mouthtrap Cabaret, South Street Arts Centre, Reading. 8pm doors for 8.30 show. £6/£4, on the door or from 0118 960 6060.

Next Wednesday is the next and most recent of my cabaret nights and I think this one’s going to be utterly super, if not really smashing. We have four acts, all of whom are wonderful and for one of whom it’s a very special and in some ways sad night indeed. But more of that in a moment.

Byron Vincent is an up and coming young poet I’ve had the good fortune to see and slam with a couple of times and I’m proud to bring him to Reading.

Jem Rolls is an old hand on the poetry circuit having done more gigs than I’ve had hot dinners (I really need to eat more), running events in London and Edinburgh and bringing culture regularly to the Canadians.

Brendan McLeod is one of those Canadians who is returning the favour and coming here to share his very handsome being with us.

And then Bidgie Reef Without The Gas are performing their last ever show as the cabaret duo (Roger Winslett and Pete Brookes), vowing to dedicate their energies to the full band version (Bidgie Reef And The Gas). I think this is shame because there’s something magic about two grown men in evening dress belting out great songs in a way that ensures you can hear every word. But this is your last chance to see, hear and touch the hem of this stunning old warhorse.

Moments from the Oxford Live Lit Arena

I came back late last night from the Oxford Literary Festival fringe event, otherwise known as the Oxford Live Literature Arena, an all-weekend spoken word and poetry in performance extravaganza held at Grove House, Iffley. I haven't had time yet to unscramble my brain but here are some choice moments captured on my trusty digital camera to keep you all quiet until I'm able to dream up some critical thoughts on the great event ...

Roy McFarlane, experienced performer of powerful social commentary and love poetry, and a long-time member of the New October Poets group from the West Midlands

Sophia Blackwell performing her one-woman show 'Sappho at Sainsbury's' which featured her own work, Sappho's in translation, women poets in comfortable sandals through the ages, and some interesting props from her shopping bag: wine, chocolate, tomatoes and even - !? - a large cucumber ...

These amazing performances at Grove House - held from noon each day until late evening within its superb Rotunda - were notable for their intimate atmosphere and informal style ... punters came and went, children tottered about, organic soup was consumed, and the performers themselves leapt about or stood and recited or used various bizarre props mere inches from the audience who all seemed absolutely delighted with their eclectic weekend of poetry and spoken word ...

Celebrity poet & ranter Jem Rolls was a highlight of the weekend for me and a revelation in terms of performance dynamics and sheer energy. Usually based in Scotland, he's on again in Brighton tonight and at the Oxford Zodiac on Tuesday night and somewhere else on Wednesday - my mind's a blank due to a severe case of overhanging fringe - but you can check out the Hammer and Tongue site for details of the Brighton and Oxford events at least.

NB: Just found out where Jem Rolls is appearing this Wednesday ... Mouthtrap Cabaret, South Street Arts Centre, Reading. 5th April at 8pm for 8.30 show. £6/£4, on the door or from 0118 960 6060. Visit Reading Arts for - I suspect - roughly the same information but perhaps in more detail.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Oxford Live Literature Arena this weekend!

Just a reminder that it's the Oxford Live Literature Arena this weekend - two amazing days of live poetry and stand-up - at the Rotunda, Grove House, Iffley, Oxford. For full details of who's performing when on Saturday, hit this link to the original POETS ON FIRE blog entry.

For details of Sunday's performances, see below:


12:00 noon - Project Adorno's Cabaret of Curiosities
Poetry to a disco beat. Beat-pop poetry with a vaudeville swagger. the Adorno boys journey through their favourite themes - the smell of old books, love affairs with photocopiers and Daleks. Part pop, part monologue, with a hint of poetry & song. Think Cohen-meets-Kraftwerk-meets-Kylie. U

1:10 - Rhyme and Reason
A joint performance from two Oxford poets with contrasting yet complementary voices. George Roberts and Alan Buckley (2005 Oxford Literary Festival Slam Champion) explore the complexities of personal and political relationships with passion, wit and a shared love for the rich textures of spoken word. PG

2:20 - Sappho in Sainsbury’s
How the first female poet of the ancient world looks at love and loss in the 21st century. What would a lyric poet from Ancient Greece make of our modern romantic confusion? Oxford's 'Sassy Sappho' Sophia Blackwell explores the poet's themes of love, loss, motherhood and women's place in society and the arts. The show includes a Q and A session. 15

3:30 - Mark Gwynne Jones
A journey through the jungle. .. A wild, impassioned cry answered by echoes of a far deeper vocalisation rumbling in the darkness ... alien and hauntingly familiar. Where wordworms rustle in the undergrowth and ideas leap like drunken gnats between the rampant banks of punters neuronium ... 15

4:40 - Beauty and the Beast
This isn't recitation, it's excitation. Alison Brumfitt & Peter Wyton have worked together periodically at poetry slams, festivals (including Glastonbury) and other events for the better part of a decade. 'Beauty and the Beast' is a high-octane mix of performance poetry which they last presented at the Birmingham Fringe festival. PG

5:50 - Jem Rolls
"Dynamic, hilarious, captivating... the pump-action poet"- The Scotsman. A potent brew of humour, lyricism and social comment from the well-travelled Londoner exhiled in Scotland. Described as a "blistering verbal rollercoaster"- Guardian and "Dynamic, hilarious, riveting...A high performance master"- Winnipeg Free Press ***** 2003 ***** 2004 ***** 2005. 15

7:00 - An evening with Nick Toczek
Best-selling author and popular performancepoet. Nick is urbane, wry, bitingly political and self-deprecating, He's also an irrepressible story-teller, stand-up comic and brash in-yourface close-up magician. The Stage said "See him if you can. He's brilliant." New Musical Express called him a "most exciting and visual performer.", and according to Germany's Neue Presse he's "Mr Dynamite" whose "all-round writings explode like a firework". PG

8:10 - McGonagall & Harrold: Yaks 'n' Kilts 'n' Rock 'n' Roll
One witty English eccentric who drinks tea, and one shouty Scottish anarchist who drinks. Following in the footsteps of such double acts as Crosby and Hope, Rogers and Astaire, and Ant and Dec, Elvis McGonagall andA F Harroldbring you marvellous comic literary entertainment for all the family except children, very old people, the uneducated or those who never pick up a newspaper, a book or turn on the radio. PG

9:20 - The Bold and Spiky Poetry Show
Raucous in your face and up your bum poetry fun. Question: What do you get if you cross an acclaimed stand up comedian and former psychiatric nurse with a bizarre acid cabaret worldfolkpunkskiffle singer and former philosophy student, with twenty two year experience of performing poetry and the truth? Answer: A stand up poetry orgasm in the form of Steve Larkin and Rob Gee's "Bold and Spiky Poetry Show". Come! 18

Children under 14 welcome if accompanied by an adult. Creche from noon - 7pm. Refreshments on sale. All shows gratefully accept donations.

Part of The Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival 2006

Directions to Grove House from Oxford City centre
Take the High Street east crossing Magdalen Bridge. At ‘The Plain’ roundabout take the third exit (Iffley Road). After 1 mile take the right hand fork (Iffley Turn). The driveway to Grove House is on the left after the St Gregory the Great School.

Buses 3,4, 4A, 4B, 4C from Queen St. or High St. Alight at Iffley Turn.

Night Blue Fruit at the Tin Angel Tuesday 4th April, Coventry

Tuesday April 4th sees the monthly ritual of open mic night in Coventry, Night Blue Fruit at the Tin Angel, a very special and intimate venue in the heart of that ancient city on Medieval Spon Street. It's my own local open mic night and I enjoy it so much, I wrote a long poem about it entirely in jaunty Skeltonics; here's a quick extract:

Oh, it's smoky as hell
Down the Tin Angel

So crowded and tight
On poetry night

Folk in the corner
Think it's a sauna

Let's set up a kitty
And drink the whole city

Let's pull out a plum
And drown us in rum ...

If you like the sound of that, the evening kicks off in an informal fashion at about 8.30pm; bring poems and friends and plenty of money for booze to the Tin Angel bar on Medieval Spon Street, Coventry. More information about poetry in Coventry can be had from the Heaventree Press website.