Every year Poetry Swindon runs a weekend with local and visiting poets. This year it’s branded “The Big Poetry Weekend” and there are some good names.
What to recommend to my regular readers? Poetry has many channels and sometimes it’s difficult to navigate. Some poets wallow in complexity with no consideration of an audience, some write to impress other poets rather than the wider public, and some are just dull. Sift out that lot and you can sit back!
I enjoy poets who have a voice, appreciate the audience, spend as much time introducing the poem as reading it so the poem is unlocked. The best poet in that regard was the late Seamus Heaney. Every reading seemed to fly by even if it was an hour or more.
Of course, if you are enthused by the reading, buy the book and read at your leisure. You should find deeper levels in the poem you’ve just heard. Good poems suck you in, encourage you to return again and again, are catalysts for reflection.
- My first recommendations are Jinny Fisher and Michelle Diaz who are co-hosting Open Mike. I have a special memory of Jinny wheeling a pram around Swindon a few years ago and inviting people to pick a poem so she or they could read it out. It was a big hit!
- The Battered Moons Competition is hosted by my friend Cristina Navazo-Eguía Newton. Ten winning poets read their work. Always a surprise.
- Our local star poet, Olivia Tuck, will be reading from her work. Olivia is a young poet to watch. She tackles problems with gusto and bravery. Follow that with Elisabeth Bletsoe and Julia Copus and then it’s the wonderful Julia Webb, one of my favourite poets, hosting Domestic Cherry.
Enjoy the craic!
First published in Swindon Link (dates and events edited out)