Monday, 17 October 2011


I went to a couple of events at Exeter Poetry Festival last week. I would have liked to see more of it but I only found out about the festival because a friend who was reading told me just beforehand. I don't think there was any advertising. The readings I saw in Exeter Library were very good indeed and it was a pleasure to meet friends and have a drink there, a great way to use the library. On Saturday 8th October there was a book launch for a new anthology of prose poems This Line is Not for Turning edited by Jane Monson and published by Cinnamon Press. There were readings by Andy Brown, Anthony Caleshu, Luke Kennard and the editor Jane Monson. Andy Brown's work included some postcolonial narratives that reminded me a little of Tom Raworth's Logbook, but they were more continuous and atmospheric, less deliberately disjunctive. Anthony Caleshu read some work from his recent collection Of Whales, I really enjoyed the Writer's Room poem, and Luke Kennard's witty performance of a playful and vivid piece about scale was a delight. Jane Monson's poems were much better than her explanations about the anthology.

On Sunday 9th October there was a Shearsman event with readings by Mark Goodwin and Harriet Tarlo, who both have work in the anthology The Ground Aslant, edited by Tarlo. This was an extended reading of landscape based work, Goodwin's poems were about walking and climbing in Torridon and I loved them having climbed there myself a long time ago. Tarlo's reading from Clouds Descending was very interesting, the works like arrays of landscape features spread projective verse style across the page. These were sections from a work made in collaboration with photographer Jem Southam. It would have been great to see some of the photos projected at the same time. Photos of Harriet, Anthony, Luke and Mark were the only snaps worth posting.