Friday Night: Moore, Holloway Smith, Shaw

6 Oct
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Friday night: The Tent Palace was heaving with anticipation (and the sound of people singing and dancing wildly to Tina Turner and John Denver – no really – we poets know how to let our hair down – speaking of which, having left my hairbrush at home (did I mention that already?) I decided to cover up with a bobble hat. I just hope it didn’t obscure anyone’s view.)

When Hilda took to the lectern to introduce the guest readers things calmed down a little. But there was serious whooping and cheering from the floor as the poets read in turn.

Kim Moore, whose reputation as a workshop tutor has to be on a par with that of her standing as a poet, was first up, reading from her first collection The Art of Falling (Seren, 2013) and newer material.  She opened with ‘My People’, by way of introduction, and then what must surely be her most famous poem, ‘The Trumpet Teacher’s Curse’.  Here she is reading it:

We also heard a poem about scaffolders (‘a psalm for the ones who don’t like heights but spend their whole life hiding it’) inspired by her dad’s work and the fact that it’s one of the last exclusively male jobs. Kim also read from the sequence ‘How I abandoned my body to his keeping’ and, in her second set, ‘All the men I never married’.

Wayne Holloway Smith Wayne Holloway Smith

Wayne Holloway Smith told us he was born and bred in Swindon, and how a poem published in ‘Poetry’ has become his ‘single’. During his first set he read from his first collection Alarum (Bloodaxe 2017), gave quite a bit of background, mused over the wrongness he saw in exposing children to Punch & Judy shows, and read poems including a response to a track on Lauryn Hill’s ‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill’ which apparently is 20 years old. Wayne seemed doubtful that would mean anything to the audience (‘do you even know who Lauryn Hill is?’) but perhaps he was still in shock over the John Denver incident. His second set was a strong sequence of poems about his family, his dad in particular (‘…never read a book, never cooked yourself a meal […] ..maker of stains…’)

Clare Shaw Clare Shaw

Clare Shaw is a dramatic reader and her poetry set the tent alight (well, not literally.) Powerful and mesmeric in poems such as ‘Who said?’, tender and beautiful in poems for her daughter (‘my hands are huge ships that will carry you sleeping…’)

In her second set Clare read principally from her latest collection Flood, principally about a town flooding and the trauma of people losing their homes and possessions, but other meanings of ‘flood’ too. A great performance. Here she is reading ‘Poem from a Bus Shelter’:

2 Responses to “Friday Night: Moore, Holloway Smith, Shaw”

  1. Judith Shaw 7th Oct 2018 at 9:24 am #

    Hi Robin I’m really enjoying your blogs from the festival and getting a feel for what it’s like to be there. Clare Shaw’s poem is something special. Maybe I’ll make it there myself another year.


  1. An aside from Swindon – Robin Houghton Poetry - 7th Oct 2018

    […] Here’s the link to my report of Friday night’s readings from Clare Shaw, Kim Moore and W… including audio recording of Clare and Kim reading a couple of poems. […]

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