Four Voices – Dino Mahoney, Jane McLaughlin, Colin Pink and Cherry Smyth

Well, what can I say… On May 7 at the fabulous West Greenwich Library, aided and abetted by the most generous staff (Bear, Daniel and Emma), we were thrilled, moved and entertained by four poets whose inspiration, voices and styles are so different and yet melded beautifully to create a spellbinding evening. No apologies for the superlatives! If you were part of the capacity audience, I’m sure you will agree with me. I nearly forgot to take photographs, but thankfully I did remember, though the dimmed lights didn’t help their quality (see below).

Jane McLaughlin read from her book Lockdown (Cinnamon Press), a collections of poems both flowing and incisive. In Jane’s work these two terms are never in conflict. I don’t know how she does it! Glowing with deep humanity and empathy, her poems are often inspired by her work with students, migrants and refugees.

Dino Mahoney’s poems and his words of introduction to them, made us laugh out loud, but also think and empathise and reflect. His collection, Tutti Frutti (SPM Publications) is full of personal memories and a perfectly pitched sense of time and place, which can, and does, suddenly switch to things like now and Brexit…

Colin Pink’s Acrobats of Sound (Poetry Salzburg) comes from a deep knowledge of classical art and philosophy, which he translates into verses for today, always surprising and acute. Colin also read from his just-published collection, The Ventriloquist Dummy’s Lament (Against the Grain), a book of poems accompanied by woodcuts by Daniel Goodwin.

Cherry Smyth’s Famished (Pindrop Press) is a book-length poem about the Irish Famine – bleak, raw and shocking, but also deeply musical, with more than a hint of the ballad about it and clear parallels with the plight suffered by today’s migrants. Her tour launching the book normally involves reading the entire poem, with the accompaniment of musicians. Spellbinding.

Getting ready to start…
Cherry, Dino, Jane and Colin
The attentive audience…
Jane
Dino
Colin
Cherry

 

Events

It has become a cliche, but we are indeed in uncharted territory and none of us can predict when previously normal activities will resume. My message is: stay at home, stay well, stay fit. Assume that all the events below are going to be rescheduled to new dates in the autumn and winter if at all possible. I am leaving them where they are for the moment to whet your appetite… All the very best to you all.

April 28

West Greenwich Library
146 Greenwich High Rd
London SE10 8NN

TWO GIRLS AND A BEEHIVE
Rosie Jackson and Graham Burchell will launch Two Girls and a Beehive, their collaborative collection of poems, due to be published by Two Rivers Press (Reading) earlier that month. The poems follow the life and explore much of the work of visionary artist Stanley Spencer, as well as giving voice to his complex personal life and the relative invisibility of artist Hilda Carline, his first wife. With projected images of the artist’s works.

Door opens at 7 for a 7.30 start. All welcome

May 12

West Greenwich Library
146 Greenwich High Rd
London SE10 8NN

Readings by the wonderful Chrissie Gittins and Wendy French

Door opens at 7 for a 7.30 start. All welcome

June 23

West Greenwich Library
146 Greenwich High Rd
London SE10 8NN

NIGHT WATCHED
Celebrating the Solstice with Graham High‘s poetic look at the Astronomers Royal, the inimitable voices of NJ Hynes and Simon Barraclough plus music by Alexis Bennett.

Door opens at 7 for a 7.30 start. All welcome