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11th May, 2017


April's Write Angle Poetry & Music Open Mic evening brought guest performers Bob Hill and Paul Canon Harris of 'Poetry on the Spot' with their unique style of taking any simple word to world-wide issue and, in 15 minutes, creating a poem from it. However an apology is required from yours truly who misunderstood and thought they'd be taking words or suggestions from the audience when, as it turned out, they brought their own prompts! (They did promise they'd do it 'next time though')

Bob ended up handing Paul an envelope with reference to the chosen phrase, 'the scientific study of extraterrestrial phenomenon'. Then, when Paul left the room to write the poem, Bob entertained the audience with his poetry. He based his work on the theme of 'Home Is'. His first poem, 'Moving in' dealt with dad taking charge of their lives while each marked their territory around the house. 'Brazilian Love Affair' told how, at 15, he had his first 'love affair' - with the footballer Socrates.

He then got poems on the buses...spoke of how he was born into a Christian family and was religious before he even knew he was, but when he understood things better, gave it up and settled on atheism and the Koran. His poetry was interesting and informative about his life from extreme poverty through a good education to writing poems. Paul then returned with his completed poem about a young woman who 'studied it because she knew the truth was out there and she had to find it'. ..

When it was Paul's turn to choose an envelope with an idea for Bob's 'on the spot' poem, he came up with ''Drunk torched peanut bag and made love to ambulance (from the North Devon Journal' - yes, these were real articles! With Bob out of the room, Paul, a retired vicar, announcer on radio of 'Thought for the Day, and father of four young men now at university, read his poems, starting with 'The Bargain Shelf' where members of the National Service had to 'scramble for bargains'. He spoke of the Isle of Wight's Southern most tip, where he lived with his family for many years, coming up with some lovely imagery of the island, including a poem of 'brothers hunting among the rocks'.

'The Memory Game' followed – with people at 'different stages of memory loss and dementia, playing a game. 'What's it called', 'I don't know how to play', 'Is it my go?' 'Have I been', and 'Have I had my lunch yet' being repeated, over and over. Sad and realistic. Paul then read 'School Photo', with 'divorced, beheaded, died', unraveling like an empty scroll. Then, 'Facebook', where you can be happy with a 'happy face'...fat, (yep, there's a fat face)..and a non PC poem about the difficulties of entertaining – 'This poem may contain nuts'. Everyone has special dietary needs these days, and a clever, 'Do not use Adverbs in Poems'.. Bob then returned, reading his poem starting with 'The siren called..he toasted his love...'.all good fun! It did bring a lot of laughter.

Liz Verlander, an absolute star and comic at the Open Mic, recited a poem about a man who thought he was so great, he charged women for dates and sex. Meanwhile, now that she's fifty, she meets men who aren't interested in sex as much as moaning in bathrobe and slippers. 'Please Cut My Hair' followed and had everyone in hysterics (as do all her poems), 'No, she didn't come because she watches 'Coronation Street', She doesn't want conversation – just 'please cut my hair'. The hairdresser finally just went quiet and started cutting. Then she cried. 'Okay,,,but please stop now'....then we all get cuts in life…

Kim West's poem about her chemistry teacher who could hypnotise and said 'chemistry is not your forte', but putting his hand on the back of her neck certainly brought out the chemistry! She read of local councils cutting monies for libraries and books which increase our worlds. 'The changing face of our economy'! Di Castle, who's written poetry books including 'By the Book', read poems about the reality of parenthood, its joys and disappointments..'They went to classes on parenthood. Mum was a real high flyer. Now she doesn't talk shop. She can't do this or that. She's fat. 'I know I was the same as her'…

Then, a poem read with a ten month old baby's voice, being given pretty Easter eggs, only to then watch as..'Mummy sat and ate them!' Finally the poem about nan who showed up at nursery school to pick up her grandchild but being 'dressed to the hilt', her grandchild didn't recognise her nor did the school acknowledge this 'glam gran'. Next time, she didn't get dressed up but looked more 'as a nan should look, and her grandchild and everyone accepted her!

Tee Francis followed with some poems, that seemed to irk some, with their 'non pc' words, but this reviewer found them clever. 'Awakened beside her husband at 3am, her heart pounded..not for the husband beside her but for another man….Jeremy Hunt...The BMA NHS on his lapel, health care better if privatised, 'privatise mothers' milk, while vulnerable, trusting people die'...Then, the woman whose partner left her...she let herself go, stopped caring, stopped painting her face, dying her hair. She stopped caring...and '.. became herself'! Her third poem, a sonnet about the beautiful cherry blossomed garden with its blue tits, robins, and those who don't notice - but prefer a beer!

Phyllida Carr, just back from South Africa, unlike Tee Francis' unaware beer guzzler, was deeply impressed and inspired, showing her lovely cheetah tee shirt and played 'Shosholoza', - a Traditional South African song - mix of Ndebele and Zulu, on her Ipad. The room went silent. Difficult not to want to join in...the rhythm was haunting. Jilly Funnell did 'Requiem for a Baby Boomer, about a very special friend who was 'never going to die'. A sad poem performed with great emotion. This friend always went on holidays and Jilly thought it appropriate to 'bring on vacation time'. Jake, her driver, took them as Jilly travelled on the 'Blue Badge Coach', in and out of Paris, Spain, Frejus, name it. A trip to remember!

Colin Eveleigh read of sitting at the top table waiting to lecture on Mindfulness. He didn't want to be there, was uncomfortable, yet it ended unexpectedly with so many interesting didn't matter whether he wanted to be there or not, he was mindful during his speech. 'Anyone can be mindful, given permission', he said, and was shocked at the end to be asked by his sponsors, 'would he give the talk again? 'We've given ourselves permission to be mindful too'.

Jilly Funnell was at the mike again, this time with her guitar. 'He was the top. He was my favourite black dress.. Anyone who didn't understand, didn't know him'.

And another good evening ended with someone who's won the free meal for two so many times, people are bound to think the raffle is 'fixed'.

May will be bringing the wonderful and awesome Sara Hirsch, the poet's poet. We hope to see you all there – along with your family and friends and, especially those poetic and musical folk who want to share their talents at the mike!



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