On Wednesday 23rd May starting 7:30, as scheduled after Clive Baker’s regular Kernewek tutorials (5:30) at the famous (or it should be) Melting Pot cafe, Redruth, was held an evening of poetry readings and music, in the convivial and punk-baroque setting of the cafe itself, on perhaps one of the first really sunny evenings in west Cornwall this year.

Abigail Wyatt, who I believe did much the of the organising of the event, started the spoken word, and read the only rhyme poems, I think, of the evening –  ( 😦 I d’like rhyme :-)) . These began with A Long Time Coming, about the trial and subsequent putting to death of Carlos de Luna by the state of Texas in 1989, shown to have been a miscarriage of justice. Following that was her Lullaby for a By-Election, commenting on George Galloway’s adventures in Bradford West. The first was poignant, the second playful.

Next to brave the stage was Duncan Yeates, who read A Small Work of Questionable Worth (which was actually very good) from his collection Lallocropia – following this with a piece inspired by Gabriel Dante Rosetti’s interment, and subsequent disinterment, of a volume of poetry with the body of his lover. Both poems concerned sincerity and sourness at the end of relationships.

A similar theme motivated the second of the items read by Craig Taylor-Broad of Redruth from his impressive catalogue of work, headed thus: Your Pet Name Was Button But All My Pets Are Dead, which has a long title, true, but a pugnacious and pithy content. Preceeding that was Creation for Currency is Corruption – without wishing to be ironic, I’d say that the poem hit the nail on the head and did exactly what it said on the can.

By the time Lorna Hoskings of Penzance took her turn, the setting sun was shining right through the windows of the cafe (which, aptly, was the library room when I went to ‘druth lower school there) and warmly dazzling straight into the eyes of the readers, but her March Moody Blues and January 2012 were atmospheric, and, though in mostly blank verse, had rhythm – particularly at the endings of lines.

Sue Farmer of Redruth Radio, who also helped organise the event, employed the word not spoken but sung, a sharply sardonic and satirical composition of her own about The Scum The Sun newspaper, appropriately accompanied by herself on ukulele, followed by a more serious unaccompanied protest solo about the plight of migrants to the UK.

I should add here that punctuating the varied poetry were musicians of equally varied genres: all of the artists (The house musicians, Mr Bones Presents, Aston Drees and Ice & Slice) being a pleasure to listen to and good complement to the spoken word. Some really brilliant music; guitar and close harmony a capella (tis always good to hear On The Trail of the Lonesome Pine 🙂 ).

Patricia Finney of Truro has had an impressively vast catalogue of work published, in a variety of genres – at Truro library on Fal River Festival’s Poetry Day, 8th June, she’ll be hosting some literary events: a kids’ workshop in the morning and an adults’ poetry performance workshop in the afternoon (more details from Patricia or Truro library). Her brace of poems this evening covered chocolate and bankers – objects of diametrically opposed desire and loathing. Apropos of chocolate, her latest book of poetry contains culinary verse and recipes juxtaposed, which if nothing else is highly practical.

A midlife crisis was the subject of Colette Loftus41, both humorous and touching. Then If Education Is A Weapon I Think I’ve Got A Bomb – scientia potenta est, as applied to the everyday life of the underdog – was the second poem, and the final poem of the evening’s first half. By this time the sunset, tho’ picturesque for the audience, was focussed in on the stage so all readers had done extra well in its spotlight.

I left at half-time. Hopefully by then all readers had read a little of their material – any further information on the event from full-timers will be gratefully received and posted. The next spoken word at the Melting Pot is scheduled in August, but Abi Wyatt has hopes of one sooner – you might hear more here.

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Comments
  1. We are delighted that you came along and even more pleased that you enjoyed what we had to offer. Thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful and detailed review. We will certainly keep you informed of our future plans. As you say, there is a similar event planned in August and, on September 29th, we will be doing something to participate in the world-wide event 1,000 Poets For Change. Best wishes, Abi

  2. Hi Pete – many thanks for mentioning me! I’d just like to point out that some of my poems rhyme too! The literary event at Truro library on 8th June is Fal River Festival Poetry Day: kids workshop in the morning and an adult performance workshop at 2.00 for anyone who would like to improve how they present their poems. You can contact Truro library or me for more details.

  3. Thanks for the review. Glad you liked it, maybe we’ll see you at some other spoken word-esque events soon!

    • Pete says:

      Righton Craig 🙂 I reckon all us listeners enjoyed it & appreciated the nerves & work of those who made it happen. I wondered whether poem topics (and songs come to that) were selected pre-event or if the recitations were just kind of riffed.

      I’d like to hear more, and daresay Cornish Lit readers would too, so hopefully we will.

      By the way, my apologies for the slowness of approving comments :-z ‘course, a few more contributors to Cornish Lit (reviews, roundups, excerpts, interviews, essays …) would make things run even smoother . . . 😉

      • Hi Pete,

        Nothing was selected pre-event. We just wanted to let the evening unfold. I know all the writers and musicians concerned and I was happy to leave the choice of material entirely in their hands. As a group, Duncan, Craig and I want to encourage and support all kinds of written and musical endeavour. Let us be catholic in our tastes, we say, and open our ears and our hearts. The Redruth/Camborne poets will be out in force and mob-handed for the Bespoken Word at The Farmers Arms, Penzance on 20th June. Spread the word and support your local poet. Best wishes, Abi

  4. I think a lot of us decide on the night what we are going to read. For my second slot I changed my mind several times before I picked what I wanted to read.

    Hopefully you can come to the Be Spoken Night in Penzance, as well as the many things we will all be doing through the coming months (like Penzance litfest!)

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