Friday 15 May 2020

A Leap in the Dark - Friday 15th May

A Leap in the Dark 13    8pm Friday 15th May 2020

It’s a night of poetry from some blazing contemporary talents: regular Leaper Amy McCauley (in York) will be joined by Astrid Alben (London), Rhys Trimble (Bethesda), Christodoulos Makris (Dublin) and Matthew Welton (Nottingham). Plus the latest canto of Spring Journal by Jonathan Gibbs, read by Michael Hughes. Novelist Simon Okotie makes a welcome return appearance with a conversation and reading. And there's the regular Friday yoga class with our flexible friend David ‘Guru Dave’ Holzer, live from his home in Hungary. 

There's no charge for taking part in A Leap in the Dark, but please make a donation, no matter how large, to The Trussell Trust.

The Programme

1 Welcome from the Pale Usher

2 Spring Journal canto by Jonathan Gibbs, read by Michael Hughes

3 Simon Okotie’s Personal Anthology with Jonathan Gibbs

4 A new piece written and performed by Amy McCauley

5 Yoga with David Holzer


6 Astrid Alben

7 Christodoulos Makris reads new poems from a work-in-progress

8 ’Ducdame - Come to me’ written and performed by Rhys Trimble

9 Matthew Welton 

10 The Pale Usher signs off

Astrid Alben  is a poet, editor and translator (Dutch/English). Astrid is the author of Ai! Ai! Pianissimo (Arc Publications, 2011) and Plainspeak (Prototype Publishing, 2019). 
She is the editor of Findings on Ice, Findings on Elasticity and Findings on Light, all published by Lars Müller Publishers. She is a trustee of Poetry London and the Poetry Translation Centre.

Michael Hughes is the author of two acclaimed novels: Countenance Divine (2016) and Country (2018) both published by John Murray, the latter winning the 2018 Hellenic Prize. Under his stage name Michael Colgan he recently appeared in the acclaimed HBO television drama Chernobyl.

Jonathan Gibbs is a writer and critic. His first novel, Randall, was published in 2014 by Galley Beggar, and his second, The Large Door, by Boiler House Press last year. He has written on books for various places including the TLS, Brixton Review of Books and The Guardian. He curates the online short story project A Personal Anthology, in which writers, critics and others are invited to 'dream-edit' an anthology of their favourite short fiction. Spring Journal is a response to the current coronavirus pandemic taking its cue very directly from Louis MacNeice's Autumn Journal.

David Holzer is a dedicated yogi, author, blogger and journalist. He founded YogaWriters ( and has taught workshops in yoga for writers in Mallorca, where he lives. Hundreds of people have taken his Yoga for Writers course on the DailyOm platform. His writing appears regularly in Om yoga and lifestyle magazine.

Each Friday David will be taking us through a simple yoga sequence that can be done by anyone of any age in the comfort of a favourite chair.


  Please take care when practicing yoga. Should a pose feel that it could be harmful to you, do not attempt 
  it or come gently out of the pose.

  Breathing is a key part of yoga. Please breathe comfortably and naturally through your nose at all times.    
  If your breath becomes forced, slow down the speed of your practice.

  If you feel any kind of sharp, sudden pain anywhere in your body stop practicing right away. Be especially 
  aware of your joints, particularly your knees.

Christadoulos Makris described by the RTÉ Poetry Programme as “one of Ireland’s leading contemporary explorers of experimental poetics”, has published three books of poetry, most recently this is no longer entertainment (Dostoyevsky Wannabe, 2019), as well as several pamphlets, artists’ books and other poetry objects. Recent commissions and residencies include the Irish Museum of Modern Art and Maynooth University. He is the poetry editor at gorse journal.

Simon Okotie is the author of an acclaimed trilogy: Whatever Happened to Harold Absalon? (2012), In the Absence of Absalon (2017) and After Absalon (2020), all published by Salt.

Rhys Trimble is a bilingual poet, artist, performer, drummer, editor, musician, critic, collaborator, shaman, comedian, staff-wielder and shoutyman based in Wales. Interested in avant-garde and Welsh metrics Improvisatory, processual and procedural and (eco)poetry. The Author of 15 or more books. Born in Zambia in 1977 performed in many countries around the world. Work Translated into Spanish, Slovakian, Irish, Russian, German, Polish, Croatian, Galician, Latvian and Turkish.

Matthew Welton was born in Nottingham, lives in Nottingham, and teaches creative writing at the University of Nottingham. His publications include The Book of Matthew (2003), 'We needed coffee but...' (2009), The Number Poems (2013) and Squid Squad: A Novel (2020), all published by Carcanet.

The Pale Usher is David Collard, who organises these gigs.

The pale Usher—threadbare in coat, heart, body, and brain; I see him now. He was ever dusting his old lexicons and grammars, with a queer handkerchief, mockingly embellished with all the gay flags of all the known nations of the world. He loved to dust his old grammars; it somehow mildly reminded him of his mortality.
  Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

Tomorrow night’s Leap in the Dark (May 16th) has been organised by the author and publisher Nicholas Royle who will present a marvellous cohort of writers appearing in his Nightjar Press imprint: Roberta Dewa, Paul Griffiths, Alison Moore, Wyl Menmuir, Leone Ross, Matt Thomas, CDN Warren and Conrad Williams. The evening will open and close with two performances by sound artist Gary Fisher.

Please remember to make a donation to The Trussell Trust (or your local equivalent)

Stay well!

The Pale Usher 

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