he Poetika Echo 46: The Worst One Yet!!
(hosted by John Bruce, Echo brought to you this month by Ian Chorlton)
Wow, so many people, our biggest crowd since records began (ed: not quite), 32 listeners, writers, poets, musicians, presenters and drinkers, all climbed the wrought iron steps of the Cloisters pub to attend this month’s Poetika.
John was tonight’s host, fresh from seeing Mr Corbyn at Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival. He introduced Edwin with his self-suggested controversial Corbyn Brexit poem. Good to start with a bit of politics. Before he began he made sure all the exits were clear and reminded everyone that he was a pensioner wearing glasses. He need not have worried, Poetika is all about diversity and tolerance unless you’re praising Theresa May!
Mike informed us that the British poet Edward Thomas died 100 years ago and he is dedicating tonight’s trio of sonnets to him. (There are six in total which can all be found on his blog). Edward wrote a poem about Adlestrop, a now defunct station in a tiny Gloucestershire village where he once stopped and wrote a poem about peacefulness just before war broke it. The same Great War which took his life in 1917. Mike’s first sonnet was a response to this poem. our fears do not create chance beauty but destroy. That halt was scheduled – if you like, intended – But not, let’s hope, the way his journey ended.
Battlefields explores why wars occur and the futility of it, War came, and was not brought, by what men did or thought,
Sarah’s debut performance at Poetika began with two poems about an ex. Before they split, then after. Before; Past mask of disguise, heart beats faster at every breath, I fell like a comet, high and happy. After; saint and sinner, must keep going, who knew the ending? Life is a gift we must cherish.
Vic with his guitar played a sing-along ditty entitled ‘I don’t care about Doctor Who.’ There is nothing you can’t be, but I doubt the eldest will teach PE.’ Then we all joined in with every chorus.
Syd hit us with an amusing rap born on the mean streets of Romsey, about his greatest failing, self-promotion. So continuing with the crowd participation half the room chanted self, self, self, and the other half, promotion! Hotter than a sheep, cooler than a goat. Bestselling author, isn’t no lie, been nominated for noble prize, I’m the hardest rapper since 50 cent.
Ian added shade to light with a multi-layered story about the murky world of selling of arms in Yemen during war and famine. but life in London is ignoring the activities in the dessert, and the search for a criminal.
David, a free-range farm kid (from Friday Street near Eastbourne) turned poet and artist told us about coincidences. His poem was about how he went back to find the farm. Perhaps you should never go back. Hedgerows where rabbits lived, landmarks, the borders of my world. Stamping bull, sweaty men in shorts sleeves, all gone.
Now for our special guest this evening, winner of a string of slams, it’s Stewart Taylor, the world’s worst poet. He began with a poem loosely about Isadora Duncan the mother of contemporary dance. This lead into an ode to the working classes. How wonderful they are, salt of the earth, until the end of the poem, not so fond of the dirt, I despise the working classes, cheap lager from plastic glasses, I think I might be one of them as well!!
Southampton is famous for Ikea, Salisbury has a Cathedral with the Magna Carta (Big Chart). The first pops stars, King John and the Barons, beat Cliff Richard to the top, as he was on a religious tour! So we journeyed down and got our kicks from the not so famous A36.
A more sombre poem followed about WWI, daddy what did you do in the war, she watches as he turns away, some things you cannot say to a child. Then no to plastic bags just because they are wrong. The last poem was all about the out doing of the doer. No matter what you do or say, always remember someone did it before you; quicker, slicker, sweeter and cheaper, but don’t let that put you off.
Randomly throughout the first half, John came up with this great idea based on the theme of ‘worst’ that every act could state what they were worst at. However, it was so random I did not write everyone’s down. So to ensure no one is left out, here is a worst of everyone montage. I am worst at; sticking to principles, keeping my opinions to myself, self-promotion, writing short poems, cooking, running, naming German sausages and arriving on time (that was Derek’s).
How did we pack so much into the first half? I fear Poetika 46 is bursting at the seams and will surly overrun, and all the better for it, so off we go again, more music, more thoughtfulness, more laughter and of course more poetry?
Adam opens Act 2 with a song about the underbelly of Southampton. Many divides in the town, everyone wears their crown. Stranded on the borderline. Little shits outside smashing up my garden fence, do they think I stay inside and not take offence, baseball bat by the door….in the city.
And now James and Alfredo the Wonder Dog! Busy with my business, no time to write a song, two cups of coffee, straight back to bed, blurry day, not much sleep last night, busy writing lyrics to the sound track of my life. Perhaps a message about procrastination, the muse may never come, we must grab it and make things happen!!
Then a poem of love, mellow like Green sleeves and Scarborough fair, a four-leaf clover will bring you luck and a song of love.
Cat, with a cheeky poem about Stewart Taylor, the best part about Stewart Taylor is Stewart Taylor’s wife.
Peter’s debut, 3 poems written in 38 degrees’ heat on a train. Sea 1 and Sea 2 for his 5-year-old son. I stood with you 100 years ago, blue month of August. Then the third ‘when it came.’ A ghost by the river, it came just before dawn when the wind picked up, crept in, climbed up into my bed.
Another debutante, Ria, two poems about Wiltshire and India. Butterflies fallen to golden feathered wheat, still in this moment dedicated to me. Colours. India full of diversity but still troubled by the stark realities of a divisive caste system. Day for perfection, Disney princess bride, we are the decorated women, the ways of colour clash, then part.
Papa Webb returns for more cheeky ditties. On a dark and stormy night, a wizard met a witch. If God was a man and created man in his own image, he must have has some self-awareness issues.
Then a limerick about Fairy tale balls, choppers and whoppers and tears.
Junior Papa Webb, Nick took to the stage. Normally a song writer but happy to try his hand at poetry in a song lyric style. Right where I don’t Belong. I tie myself to a firework, space here I come, I stare t my phone and wonder why no one calls.
Oh well, last day on earth, what can I say, rob this town, pull its pants down, arrest me, take me, I don’t agree, and shoot them down, oh well, oh well, oh well.
Anna, another Poetika first, her poem is a tribute to her tutor Lynn who helped her with her dyslexia. Hated Oreo’s as a child, just too wild, hated all things English until I met you.
Derek returned, self-confessed, late again, but always worth the wait. Derek, good at telling bad jokes. Especially if the stakes are high! (or should that be steaks?). His poem was about an art installation with the words ‘I love you’ in 311 languages. Wall of Love (Mr soppy or ode to his girlfriend). 311 words to say I love you, 311 ways to mislead, misinform, misdirect. A little cynicism slipping into this love poem. Another about a trip to Disney Land Paris, from steamboat Willie to photo opportunity, a shop, all the punters taken for another ride. A second helping of possible cynicism creeping in.
Roya made her first appearance and read a fascinating piece of flash fiction. Marie Antoinette is helping her flat mates move. But keeps producing pillows but achieves little else much to the frustration of the others. Then Mark appears with two full sized antlers. Marie Antoinette doesn’t understand.
POWER CUT, the lights go out…..no wait, it’s all part of the finale drama, welcome to the stage our even more special guest, J Arthur Prufrock.
He complains that he has been misnamed in the local press. But, ‘before I read this poem’ we, the audience get instructions on the form of the poem, the history, how to react to certain parts, especially stanza 71, 74, 75 and 129. So, as he is about to treat us to sixty minutes of artistic and poetic genius he is rudely interrupted by John. Time check, Poetika has burst at the seams, we are running wild crazily beyond 9.30, even more outrageously heading to 10 and beyond, unknown territory. ‘I can’t do anything shorter, but I can do something concise.’ With that, he launches into the final delight poem of the evening.
So as the evening ends and our extra-large audience queue to exit the building there is still time for some final announcement.
No Poetika next month, the gasps of shock reverberate around the Cloisters. Summer break. But wait, it’s not all bad news, Poetika will return on Wednesday 20th September, everyone has two whole months to write new material or rehash old ones. Then October will be a special month, an early Sunday Poetika for the Salisbury Fringe, usual fare on Wed 19th then again at the end of the month for the inaugural Salisbury Literary Festival.
And finally, Deborah and David Robinson have their latest art on display from July 21st until August the 3rd. Well worth a visit, I was there on Friday night enjoying nibbles and wine watch the apocalyptic rain in the safe surroundings of the Hayloft, Wick Lane, Christchurch.
And finally finally – have a great summer break from all at Poetika.