So World Book Night just took place, and, as a result, I filled my Saturday with literary treats, culminating in bumping into short story writer and novelist Elizabeth Baines making her way to Didsbury Oxfam where I had just been handed a copy of Carol Ann Duffy's poetry collection The World's Wife. I commented later on Twitter that World Book Night did feel rather like preaching to the converted, but I've been assured, by poet Jo Bell among others, that actually books were dished out to non-reader types, so that's marvellous. Spread the love!
Anyway, my literary day kicked off with me heading to my first-ever Poets & Players event, surrounded by some wonderful naturalistic wallpaper at Whitworth Art Gallery. I was tempted over to the two-hour shindig when I heard JT Welsch was reading - I very much enjoyed his poetry when he launched his Salt chapbook alongside my pal Adrian Slatcher back in January. Described as "springing from the margins of masculinity", he didn't disappoint, especially as all bar one of the poems he read was totally new to me. Next up was another American, Aileen La Tourette, whose "magic realism" really caught my fancy. I loved the fast beaty rythms and alliterative, onomatopoeiaic language - words like "licketysplit" in the poem Humming. I particularly enjoyed the harsh feminity of Mail-order Doll - "She'd come to a bad end / I'd see to that" - and Hawaii - "Every year she sends a party dress / Like an answer to a prayer". After a break and a second helping of crackers music from Matthew Halsall's jazz-based Gondwana Orchestra, award-winning Mario Petrucci took to the stage and regaled us with tales of love and Chernobyl.
The next Poets & Players takes place on Saturday 9 April, 2.30pm, and features poetry readings by Tiffany Atkinson, Jeremy Over and Robbie Burton, and music from MariachoO!