Poems to Keep

image courtesy of bucaorg (Paul Burnett) and  Flickr

1000 monkeys

I went to a poetry event on Monday.  Read some poems. In a pub. Nothing unusual in that, but this was a bit special as it was the launch of an anthology and all the readers were poets who had poems in the anthology. A wonderful mix of styles and perspectives.

So where do the monkeys come in? 1000 monkeys is the name of a poetry and spoken word group based in Guildford and refers to the proverbial monkeys who could ‘surely’ produce the works of Shakespeare by randomly typing for long enough. We had no Shakespeare on Monday, although we did have a Shakespearean ode to the fly (the zip and not the insect). We also had poems from around the country and further afield, and poets who had travelled some distance to be there. I felt  I was in illustrious company. More information on their website – www.1000monkeys.com

There are some positives

I wanted to write about the Poems to Keep event because there is so much negativity in the air, often  for good reason, but here was an event with lots of positive elements. The upstairs room at The Keep (the pub where the event was held) was packed, the standard of poetry was high, we had laughter and musical interludes, the pub itself was heaving with the main bar taken up by a local history group, there was a real sense of community. And the anthology is a great testament to the regular group and to Janice Windle and Donal Dempsey who mastermind the whole thing.

This was an event for poetry lovers but it did remind me that when friends and relations are persuaded to come along to open mic poetry nights they almost always find, often to their surprise, that they have a good time. So, an encouragement to keep on running poetry events. And theatre. And music. And that’s timely as we are in the midst of arranging workshops, summer schools, and a Poetry Pub of our own at my own group, Mole Valley Poets (www.molevalleypoets.co.uk  for details of our programme).

I’ll finish this week with a light hearted piece I bring out at poetry readings – a reflection of the preparation we need to do when hiring venues.

Risk assessment for a poetry reading


Risk number one

That listeners may fall asleep


Sudden loud noises


Risk number two

That listeners might not hear


Reading in loud voices


Risk number three

A stampede for the door


Sturdy locks and bolts


Risk number four

Words creating havoc


If they riot, call a halt


Risk number five

An outburst of creativity


Stick to the rules


Risk number six

Laughter and fun


Ban rhyming fools





ã Tony Earnshaw 8.6.10




Tony Earnshaw

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