Thursday, 26 March 2015

Poetry by Heart

Rosemary Jackson writes:
Paul Adrian          Photo: Rosemary Jackson
Last night, LitFest teamed up with the monthly event Poetry by Heart at the Heart Centre Cafe. Amongst the line up were a number of acclaimed poets including Mike Barlow and Paul Adrian, both winners of the National Poetry Competition and Carole Bromley, winner of the Brontë Society Literary Competition 2011.

As I arrived at the Heart Centre I was pleased to see an impressive number of people entering the building and inside the cafe was buzzing with poetry fans. Holding the event in the Heart Cafe is a brilliant idea, with the relaxed atmosphere complimenting the tone of the evening. It was also great to be able to grab a coffee or even a glass of wine throughout the show.

The first poet was Jane Routh, who specialises in poems about nature and wildlife. Last night she treated us to some of her collection The Gift of Boats, which captured the spirit of the sea perfectly. Next was Ron Scowcroft. It was particularly interesting to hear that Ron was first influenced to write poetry by listening to Bob Dylan Records and this comes across in his poem My Father’s Phonograph where he describes his old ritual of record playing with his father. Helen Burke then read a range of her poetry, from poems about her mum, dad and her hometown, to her experiences in New York, to one about hens inheriting the earth; her work was full of character and wit.

Paul Adrian read a variety of his work, including one about drinking alone with the moon. It was impressive to hear that when Paul won the National Poetry Competition with his poem Robin in Flight, which was sent just before the deadline and he did not have high hopes for it, but since then he has gone on to write a number of successful poems. Carole Bromley, creative writing teacher at York University, read us some of her touching poems primarily about death and mourning. The poem I found especially moving was about her best friend who passed away. It explains how she had a feeling she should get in touch and so sent her a bunch of flowers, but they never made it to her in time. The final poet of the evening was Mike Barlow whose reading included an interesting poem about his time as a probation officer, capturing the life of a charming young man he once supported.

Audience comments:

A good mix of different poets – reading excellent poems. A very good venue with good food.

Thought it was well organised, very entertaining and the selection of poets was of a very high standard. All were excellent.

Enjoyed enormously especially Mike Barlow, Carole Bromley, Paul Adrian, Ron Scowcroft. Food looks interesting – will come early and eat next time.

Excellent event; good feeling venue. I’ve been before and I’ll come again.

A very good evening with plenty of variety.

A nice and entertaining evening! Helen Burke was great as usual! Relaxed and full of interesting poetry.

V.good. give Helen Burke whole event by herself next year.

Enjoyable evening. Would have been good if listing of poets was in order that they appeared (it was alphabetical). At first sound quality was not great, was better later but maybe because I was not next to cashier area.

Excellent: how about contacting Franz Fanon circle in France?

Excellent! (Although the chill cabinet against the pillar is very disturbing – this problem has persisted for years – buy a new one! – it’s the noisiest fridge I’ve ever encountered – whoops! More for the attention of Heart. Sorry)

Excellent readings. Could do with less noise from the kitchen – otherwise brilliant.

Excellent enjoyable programme. The café was not the best venue – competing noise of coffee being brewed washing up of crockery while the poetry was being read.

A very good event slightly marred by the sound if washing up and clearing crockery. Perhaps give the staff a break while the poetry is being read.

Jane Routh and Ron Scowcroft were excellent. 10 minute break interrupted the flow of the evening somewhat. Event started a lot later than advertised. Helen was delightful.

It was really wonderful poetry night! Very organized; nice audience has been fascinated by the beautiful poetry and voices. (… but a little bit sadness to hear some noise from the kitchen place! I’m aware of puzzling faces in the audience!). Thank you.

An enjoyable mix of poetic styles. The poets delivered big time! The venue though leave a lot to be desired, due to not-so-very-good acoustics and noise from the coffee machine.

Fascinating first two poets, interesting material though 'noises off’ rather distracting. Helen Burke excellent but use of mic needs work.

It was a good reading, with good poets although the café was a bit noisy.

Very varied group of poets – very enjoyable evening. Pity about extraneous noise.

Noise from café workers mean it’s impossible to hear properly. Even when that’s quieter the mike and/or readers’ voices cannot be made out all the time. Disappointing. I’ve been to at least 2 poetry events here before and this has not been a problem. Readings by Paul Adrian, Carole Bromley – these were ok..

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