One Day In History – Poetry at the Flying Goose

I’ve just submitted my blog for One Day In History, the mass blog about what people were up to three days ago. You can submit until October 30th and doubtless it’s searchable. But here’s a bit of what I wrote.

I went to the first in a season of poetry readings organised by my close friend, poet, publisher and critic, John Lucas. The Flying Goose Café only seats a couple of dozen people and John fills it several times a year. Tonight, there were three poets: my NTU colleague Catherine Byron, John Hartley Williams from Berlin and Peter Porter, from London and Australia. When I was teaching Peter’s poems, twenty years ago, I never imagined that we would become friends, but he was, until last month when he retired, a visiting professor at NTU. We spent a lot of time together. He’s one of the most modest, erudite and engaging characters I’ve met, a great conversationalist and an even greater poet. It’s always great to catch up with him.

Catherine read new work about the deaths of her mother and father which was fresh, powerful and direct. John read a selection of his work with great gusto, then Peter read from his new Shoestring pamphlet ’18 Poems’ which was being launched that night. At 78, he’s lost none of his power, or ability to engage an audience. I live with a poet and have a lot of poet friends, so go to a lot of poetry readings. However, as any poet will tell you, many readings are a real slog. Not Peter’s. The atmosphere at the Flying Goose was informal and celebratory, as it usually is, with much socialising in the interval and the before and after. Two of the MA students came. I caught up with them along with several other friends and acquaintances, then went with the poets and several NTU colleagues for great conversation and an indifferent Italian meal down the road.

The Flying Goose Poets season continues until March on Tuesdays at 33 Chilwell Road, Beeston. Lawrence Sail and Robert Etty are on Nov 20. Ruth Fainlight and Matt Simpson on Dec 19. John Seed and Liz Cashdan are on Jan 16. Nadine Brummer and Robin Maunsell are on Feb 21. The season closes with Christopher Southgate and C.J.Allen on March 20. Admission is only two quid and includes a glass of wine. Readings start at 7.30 but get there early to be sure of a seat.

And finally, a big hello to all of the students I met on the Arvon course I taught with Anne Cassidy at Lumb Bank a couple of weeks ago. You know, I meant to write about the week, but it’s taken me a while to recover…

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