My 2015 poetry highlights


2015 was a great year for reading and listening to poetry. Here are some of my highlights:

  1. Nancy Campbell‘s ‘Esulleraappoq/Hide and Seek’ (in Disko Bay, Enitharmon Press, 2015) for its haunting mystery of the hunter, Campbell’s tight use of form and her superb performance at Jazz and Poetry in November 2015, Bar Deux, Nottingham.
  2. The Second Time as Farce’ by Wayne Burrows (in Ten Poems about Nottingham, Candlestick Press, 2015) in which he conveys the surreal, fancy dress parade of Nottingham night life so vividly. This poem makes me smile everytime I hear it.
  3. Philip Gross‘s ‘Point’ in Later (Bloodaxe, 2013) which superbly captures that moment of day becomes night/ the switch from life to death when all slips into darkness and stillness, when all sound is lost.
  4. Lemn Sissay‘s mesmerising performance at the Nottingham Poetry Festival November 29th 2015.
  5. Mimi Khalvati‘s ‘Nocturne’ in The Weather Wheel (Carcanet, 2014) in which she reflects on her mother’s death, keenly observing that ‘the dead have taken our questions with them’.
  6. Imtiaz Dharker‘s ‘The closed door’, ‘Say his name’ and so many other poems in Over the Moon (Bloodaxe, 2014) that convey the power of loss, love and a life shared.
  7. Students from Lammas School performing their work at the Poetry for Place conference, Goldsmith’s College, May 8th 2015. They moved a dejected post-election audience to tears.
  8. Jane Spiro‘s ‘Free Horse’ in Playing for Time (Oversteps Books, 2015). Because it is about so much more than a riderless horse in the Grand National.
  9. The Mouthy Poets‘ tremendous Say Sum Thin 9 – a day of performances, workshops and talks at Nottingham Playhouse, July 25th, 2015.
  10. Paula Green‘s ‘Sunday Lunch’ in The Baker’s Thumbprint (Seraph Press, 2013) because she enables Pythagoras, Copernicus, Plato and Simone de Beauvoir to dine together.
  11. Di Slaney‘s ‘Stitches’ in Dad’s Slide Show (Stonewood Press, 2015) which was delightfully presented in Di’s book launch last year. It brought to mind my own Mum’s knitting and the love that went into the making of all those cardigans.
  12. Gordon Hodgeon‘s ‘I walked out this morning’ in Talking to the Dead (Smokestack, 2015) with its searing insight in to how it feels to be trapped in one’s own body, unable to communicate except by blinking.
  13. Simon Armitage‘s ‘Woman’ – one of a series of wonderful poems commissioned for Back to the Land, the Henry Moore Exhibition (Yorkshire Sculpture Park, 2015).

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