Thursday, October 29, 2009

Three poets, new work

I'm reading tonight with Catherine Smith and Nicki Jackowska at the Red Roaster cafe in Kemp Town. Catherine's a great poet and has published three collections - the New Bride, shortlisted for the Forward, The Butcher's Hands and Lip, also Forward shortlisted. She's a Next Generation poet and I've known her for years - we first met when our children were at Tarnerland nursery. She's a versatile writer, turning her hand to short stories and radio drama, too. Her poetry's terribly unsettling sometimes but it can be very funny, too. She has a pretty unique world view and refreshingly, much of her work is driven by ideas and not sentimental anecdote.

Nicki Jackowska has published 6 collections of poetry and three novels. A seventh collection, Behold, is being launched at the beginning of next month. So she's by far the most prolific of the three of us. She's also written one of those seminal books on writing. She's collected plenty of plaudits in her long career, the most recent from John Berger, who's written on the back of Behold 'its grief has penetrated its syntax'. Her work is concerned with deep, primitive human motivation and the subconscious rivers running through us.

So it'll be a good night, then and I'm looking forward to reading some new work which has hardly seen the light of day yet. I am always anxious about readings. I love them, but always fear there's not enough laughs. But I guess that's what intervals are for.

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