Sunday 17 May 2020

About last night

Two more Leaps in the Darl, on Friday and Saturday night. The first was mostly poetry,. Along with appearances from regulars Jonathan Gibbs and Michael Hughes, and a conversation with and reading by novelist Simon Okotie, we had four wonderful performances from Astrid Alben (in London), Rhys Trimble (Bethesda), Christodoulos Makris (Dublin) and Matthew Welton (Nottingham).

Here are links to some of Astrid's publications, including her first two very fine collections, which are recommended. She has a cool and supple style which constantly surprises and engages. I expect to be wrong-footed by the best poetry and Astrid's work does just that.

Rhys Trimble's excellent  and expansive website is a seam both rich and strange, and well worth exploring for texts and performances and no end of other good things.

Christodoulos Makris is the author of This is No Longer Entertainment published by Dostoyevsky Wannabee Press) and here's a very good piece nay him in The Irish Times.

And finally Matthew Welton's latest collection is Squid Squad, published last week by Carcanet and recommended. His choice of poems was randomised by numbered ping-pong balls expertly chosen by Amy (I hope I caught her name correctly). Top-notch entertainment!

Last night's Leap, curated by author and publisher Nicholas Royle (Manchester), featured a fine line-up of writers appearing in his Nightjar Press imprint. You can see what you missed, or recall what you saw, here. It was a marvellous evening with many new faces in the audience who will (I hope) join us again for future Leaps.

We had an unplanned lock-in afterwards during which a few die-hards picked the bones out of Thomas the Tank Engine, Henry James, (unrelated to the other engines in the Sodor fleet), Bill Cosby clergymen trainspotters, John Donne and so on, until very late. It was still going strong when I checked out (and will, I think, be a feature of future Leaps, although with limited participation from The Pale Usher, who needs his twelve hours of sleep or he's a wreck the following afternoon.

Next week's Leaps will feature (on Friday) writers Joanna Walsh, Michael Hughes, Emma Devlin and Wendy Erskine and usual features (Spring Journal, David Holzer's yoga lesson) and (on Saturday) a translation slam with Frank Wynne. And other stuff.

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