Oh the lushness of green at Lyric Lounge. As I arrive, everyone's in a corner creating something. Pillars are filling up with brand new poems and drawings. Some of them make their way into our lunchtime open mic session. Graham has brought green laurel leaves (from his neighbour's garden) to garland our offerings. He improvises a reading of 'Auroral Football' with me, playing with those green Northern Lights. Ishi Khan-Jackson runs through a gentle comedy set about her Punjabi grandmother. At one point, John Hegley strolls in. He's asked if he'd like to throw something in and he plucks a poem off the wall that's caught his eye. It's by a young man called Josh who absolutely doesn't want to read it himself. So John reads it for him and it's a blinder - the lyrical rush of 'The Hungry Moon' blows us away. John bows out. Jean Binta Breeze moves in, hurls in poems about tropical sunshine and tropical rain while the weather outside is lashing windows. She does a wonderful poem called 'Lyric Lounge' which I must track down for you. And then it's the music.
What can I say about the music - Aly and Milk? Aly - aka Alysson Stoneman - is a gifted poet who's set her words to the sweet acoustic guitar sound of Milk, her mate. I've said before that I think of poetry as singing with words, with the voice, and her phrasing is just on the edge of singing. It's sublime. And when she's not busy doing gigs and writing, she is also a co-ordinator for Nottingham Writers' Studio - another happening place for words.
And that's the great thing about Lyric Lounge - the buzz of the place and the people you meet. More tomorrow when we part in yellow and round off with John Hegley's evening show. Not to be missed.
Writing is a journey, both imaginary and physical. My first book took me to the Arctic to 'catch the colours' of the Northern Lights. Then I hunkered down to catch the wind-blown voices of polar explorers on Shackleton's 1914-17 Endurance expedition. More recently I'm obsessed by space: the race, the rockets, the final frontier.
Hear a BBC Radio Leicester interview about my space poetry at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03wfpyp
Explore my digital narrrative PHILAE'S BOOK OF HOURS, published by the European Space Agency, at:
My prose-poetry collections FIREBRIDGE TO SKYSHORE
and MAD, HOPELESS & POSSIBLE are both published by Original Plus Press at:
Contact me for signed copies or bookings at:
- Leicester, East Midlands
- As a storyteller, my work crosses boundaries of myth, science, history and spoken word. It has been presented in the British Science Museum, Ledbury Poetry Festival, National Space Centre and the European Space Agency website. In 2014 I ran a digital residency on WW1 for 14-18NOW and Writing East Midlands. I teach Creative Writing at De Montfort University and have experience of leading school events, workshop tuition and mentoring.