Wordfringe 2009Programme StrandsEvent Calendar




1st–31st May 2009


Makar Making
First Friday Fling with Janis MacKay
Pushing Out the Boat
Night at the Light
From Pennan to Penang
Trio Verso
Demented Eloquence Tag-Team Word Wrestling
Prometheus: A River Stained with Iron
Cream of Strathbogie
Expect the Best: Elspeth Murray
Speak Volumes
Coming Home
Double Launch
The Night Mare V Fear of Intimacy
In Search of Salt (Ellon)
In Search of Salt (Aberdeen)
John Hegley
Drawing out the Creativity
Fredrik Sixten: Requiem
The Word Birds
Voyager Poets
Not Drowning but Waving
Fresh Ayr
Young People's Poetry Competition Prizegiving
Closing Verses

Fresh Ayr

Makar Poets breeze into Aberdeen

Thursday 28 May 2009

Books and Beans, Aberdeen [Map]

They arrived quite punctually and met with their audience... As the room began to quietly fill there seemed an air of the novel, an expanding anticipation. First up, though, was the open mic, beginning with stalwart Rapunzel Wizard, who delivered in machine gun rapport the topical issue of MP expenses, followed by half a dozen readers of subjects various, including a satire on Burns' Tam o' Shanter!

Main stage, however, saw the Makar Poets deliver what may be described as a glossy piece of poetical delight. The readers, Rowena Love, Sheila Templeton and Michael Malone, provided a gamut of emotions, albeit with mirth at the apex of their collective itinerary.

Ear-holes were warmed by their reading a poem apiece in rapid succession, before moving into the foremost part of the evening. And, yes, it was rather novel, in that printed sheets were handed out, with words, phrases and opening lines pertaining to their entire catalogue.

Here the audience was encouraged to select and call out what caught their fancy; indeed, it could have been anything from maiden aunts to stone circles, from villanelles to sin — and numerous others in between! A word or phrase, of course, was related to a particular poet, though overall each obtained an equal amount of floor space. A touching tribute was that the poems of recently departed member Jim Hughes were retained, several of which featured in the reading.

Though the poems themselves were superbly delivered, the essence of the evening lay in the aforementioned audience participation, in the fact that they were made to feel very much a part of the proceedings. Fresh Ayr? Gale Force 10 for entertainment!

Douglas W. Gray

Once again, a capacity audience came to enjoy the relaxed and friendly atmosphere of Books and Beans and another enjoyable Thursday poetry event organised by Dead Good Poets.

The evening kicked off with open mic, a longstanding Dead Good Poets tradition, which provides a welcoming and appreciative platform for local poets working in a wide range of styles. Then the evening's special guests took the stage. The Makar Poets, Ayrshire-based, are Rowena M. Love, Michael Malone and Sheila Templeton, reading their own poems and those of their late fourth member, Jim Hughes. Their poetry is accessible and direct, in both Scots and English and in a great variety of styles, mingling sonnets and rhyme with more freely-structured work, and taking on themes from the satirical and comic to the celebratory, the lovestruck and the elegiac.

The first part of their reading was conventional in format, with each poet reading in turn. They are skilled and engaging performers, and it would be easy for them to fall into the trap of becoming slick: clearly, though, they're aware of the danger, and side-step it neatly by giving out a handout thick with subjects on which they have poems, and inviting the audience to dictate the shape and content of the second half. It's a bold move. The choosing process slows the performance down slightly, risking a loss of momentum; and it requires trust in the audience both to keep the ball rolling and to ensure that the choice of subjects doesn't become one-dimensional. But the risk pays off. Indeed the slower pace and the thematic approach emerge as benefits, each poem standing out more distinctly from its neighbours. It's good to see poets taking chances in performance, and even better to see it work so well: all in all, an excellent evening of entertainment and food for thought.

Judy Taylor

Promoted by

Dead Good Poets

Supported by

Books and Beans
Scottish Book Trust


Wordfringe 2009Programme StrandsEvent Calendar


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