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

Tuesday September 13 in-person at West Greenwich Library – 7 to 9pm (and possibly streamed)

50!

To celebrate the 50th in-words event (not counting all pre-2017 readings and launches), I have invited some of the poets who have been with me from the beginning – I wish I could have invited more… – to read from their latest collections.

You will recognise many of the names: Graham High, NJ Hynes, Rosie Johnston, Alex Josephy, Lorraine Mariner, Fiona Moore, Jane McLaughlin, Colin Pink and Sarah Westcott.

Nine diverse and distinctive voices, no particular theme but one or two will no doubt emerge as we listen.

I wish to thank Mick Delap, who will be unable to participate, for encouraging me to set off on this wonderful journey years ago. Thanks Mick!

If you can attend in person, there’s no need for tickets as it is as always a free event, but it would be good to have an idea of numbers, since I’m providing refreshments, so please drop me an email (irena@in-words.co.uk or irena.mh50@gmail.com) any time between now and September 10.

If you can only attend virtually, please email me your interest and I will send you any streaming details and info (assuming it’s possible to stream). Zoom will resume when the weather turns, later in the year….

I look forward to seeing many of you on this special occasion. And pass it on!

West Greenwich Library, 146 Greenwich High Road, London SE10 8NN