Poetry: Write, Read, Perform, Listen, Teach
What a great year 2018 has been for poetry. I’ve read new voices, made new discoveries and experienced favourite poets developing their work in new ways both on the page and in performance. Alan Baker‘s witty and wonderful Letters from the Underworld has got me thinking again about prose poems and about the confused world we live in. Moniza Alvi’s gorgeous, surreal and powerful Blackbird, Bye Bye saw her working at the top of her game, using Motherbird and Fatherbird to say so much about family, emigration and loss. Thomas A. Clark‘s Farm By the Shore was a wonderful surprise – thanks for the heads up Matthew Welton. Clark’s repetitions, economy of language and use of colour dazzled me. Liz Berry gave a standout performance of The Republic of Motherhood at Five Leaves Bookshop in early December. Her haunting black country voice is still strongly inside my head four weeks on. Jackie Kay‘s Bantam is filled with delights – no more so than April Sunshine, a hug of a love poem for her parents. I’ve enjoyed reading alongside Jonathan Taylor and Becky Cullen this year and hearing new work by Martin Stannard, John Harvey, Imitiaz Dharker, Raymond Antrobus, Helen Mort, Panya Banjoko, Georgina Wilding, Andrew Taylor, Isabel Galleymore, Maura Dooley, Ruth Fainlight, First Story writers, Foyle young poets and the talented young poets and teachers I’ve worked with in schools in Long Eaton and Hornsea. Thank you to all the writers and especially to Shoestring Press and Five Leaves Bookshop for making it such a rich poetry year.