Lines from Lockdown

Where I should have been in April.

We had a beautiful creative evening last week, when Mole Valley Poets held an open Zoom session of work created during lockdown. Nine poets, nine styles, and subject matter ranging from grief to joy, looking back and looking forward. We had a guest compere in Darren Cheek and treated the evening as a Mole Valley Poets/Damn Cheek collaboration – a mirror of my life at the moment!

What was special was not just the talent, insights and emotions on offer, not just the evidence that this has been a time of creativity as well as of frustration and anxiety, but also the warmth of the rapport between MVP members and guests and the fact that several guests had poems of their own to share, further expanding the range of styles and viewpoints. There was also the added bonus of being able to support our local Community Fridge with donations from those present.

Feedback was good and there are demands for a repeat event. Among the comments I received afterwards were that it was ‘interesting, challenging, funny, serious and informative.‘ Phrases or lines that stuck with people included “the towpath spooling out”, “congregations that could not congregate”, “we leave gaps in the queues for ghosts”, and “stop confusing wealth with worth”.

As Damn Cheek, we were back on Zoom the next day with Diary of a Madman in conjunction with Buxton Festival, and are planning a return to Saltaire Festival in September. Mole Valley Poets are returning to focus on climate issues when we meet next week and to discuss that potential repeat event.

Audio of some at least of the poems shared will be on the website shortly, alongside those from our previous event ‘Even in the shadows’ . In the meantime, we keep on creating.

Tony Earnshaw

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