As always PlasPo offered a great, eclectic lineup of readers for its February edition. Bitter cold outside but warm, packed house inside. Once again I got to do the hosting duties – seems Cathy Petch sometimes has a real life 🙂
First up was Damian Rogers – who showed us how ‘the bird of the mind returned to find it’s nest a mess’ but what a lovely mess. How to be happy includes ‘learn how to swing a rolling pin.’ Her pieces were crafted around wry observations ‘if life is a movie I sneak out for smoke breaks between shoots.’ Loved her memory of meeting with Robin Blaser – ‘the light freezes into ice cubes for our cocktails.’
She was followed by Rob Coleman who read from his recent book ‘Little Empires. The man likes his dogs ‘the knives of their lungs,’ ‘dogs breath of thieves.’ His pieces are personal, sometimes funny, often constructed around crisp images and alliterations: ‘a corolla of condemnations’ ‘shell of the new self.’
After the break Heather Babcock – looking sharp – read some flash-fiction and a section from a story of hers to be in an upcoming Descant. Emotionally demanding pieces about damaged people – a child’s unhappiness with her looks soothed by arcs of ‘red rubies’ that replace her eyebrows. ‘her man’s face was a fist,’ looking for ‘a place in her bones called shelter.’
Final feature was Sheila Stewart – ‘poetry is not giving up each other’ – I’m not a fan of poetry about poetry but lines like the above ‘verbs tensed in pleasure’ can speak to me. ‘The sky lifts making room for my mid-winter steps’ captured February for all of us. Her final piece ‘Sugar’ was a compelling contrast between the sweetness of sugar and the way it is harvested. It made it so clear how removed we are from where our pleasure comes from.
A dynamic slate of open stagers added to a great night, with good food, libations and creativity. Not to mention a host in fine form :-).