Reviewed by Sue Allen and Frank McMahon
DIY poets at Nottingham Night Light was a game of three halves. We’re poets not mathematicians, with a theme of light and dark. The interpretations were free, wide ranging, poetic and creative.
Although the audience was small the atmosphere was large and both increased steadily as the night went on.
John Merchant kicked us off with a contemplation of those times when you fall flat into a “moany mood” in the mist of joy. He expressed his thoughts in rhyme from both a secular and Christian perspective.
Barbara followed with poem by Grace Nicholls about the best of life from a woman’s viewpoint “A woman with all my lines strung out like pearls before me” And what pearls Barbara gave us including the thoughts of Jack Dee “That’s what’s wrong with me, I’m a comedian!” Speaking as a poet I could well relate to that sentiment
Martin explored the philosophical yin and yang of light and dark, giving us an exploration of the concept of future aspirations “next time we’ll get it right.” The importance of supporting a friend when “it’s been a bad time” and the necessity of always having the right glasses even if it is just out of habit.
Hazel led us into the second section festooned with lights, her first offering “Midnight Snack” contemplating such questions as does the light in the fridge really go out when we shut the door, and the way that illumination temps us in. Her contemplation on the safety of darkness made me tingle as she explored the solitude and security that the night can convey. Her final poem about Tim Peak’s dreams of free floating sleep in space and his desire to shun being strapped down. All three; thought provoking and clever interpretations of our theme.
Man Wanted For Casual Market Stall Erection
Sue described herself as an angry feminist poet but there was a lot of humour in her poems as well. She describes how an ad innocently wanted a “man for casual market stall erection.” She described “ladies of the night” with their “enamelled armour” who will “scratch the back of their next opportunity.” Funny and memorable.
John Humphries looked at the fine line between poetry and song writing. He had great fun “coming out” as a fan of country music, and exploring the accidental poetry to be found in listing song titles giving us such gems as “Did I shave my legs for this” and “How can I miss you if you won’t go away?” He went on to treat us all to his own interpretation of the genre with a beautiful piece about love and shared experience worthy of any country ballad.
Frank gave us a soulful series of poems exploring the light and dark of the human condition, ranging from our need for solitude, the frailty of addiction, the resentment of heavenly bodies sharing the same space, and the heartbreak of the Hillsborough disaster and the media reaction.
Leanne finished off this set with two poems looking at friendship and love. In the first: “Night Climbing” she offers us her hands as a step-up, enabling us to “heave your body skywards and watch the stars come out.”
In her second: “Star Struck” she gives us the wonderful line “the patterns in the cosmos match the freckles on your face.” Which I think is the best romantic line I’ve heard in a long time.
The third “half” was dedicated to the lovely Kevin Jackson’s book launch and rounded off with a lively open mic.
Reach Through The Entangled Darkness
Kevin’s book “Touching You” is a wonderful expression of love, life, and humanity in all its diversity. He has a light touch which carries your heart along with him. I totally enjoyed his weaving of tales of love, and spiritual connections which crossed the boundaries of time and expectations. He has a way of reaching out with kindness and compassion which holds the listener and the poetic subject gently in his words. In the title poem, he dares us to “reach through the entangled darkness” and reminds us that “the needle only finds music when it remembers.” Long may his music play on as he continues to find his groove of creativity.
DIY Poets Nottingham Night Light