Wordsmiths & Co

Wordsmiths and Co. Review by Tess Simpson

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Imagine a room filled with people who love words, and a stage in front of them. Now imagine a chair and a sofa on that stage, and sitting on them are poets who want to perform and talk about their poetry with you. If, like me, you are a sucker for verse of any kind then this night is unmissable.

This is Wordsmiths & Co, a monthly live poetry evening held in Warwick Arts Centre’s Studio, where poets come to read their work to a live audience, and then engage in a discussion about words, stories, and (last night at least) the importance of Twitter in writing poetry.

The intimate Studio is the perfect setting for this evening, allowing the audience to feel intimately connected both to the poets and to the poems they are reading. Last night, the four poets to perform were Dan Sluman,Elisabeth Charis, George Szirtes and Polarbear (who, we were informed, is more commonly known as Steven). All had very different styles and topics to cover, which made for a fascinating and extremely entertaining evening.

Dan Sluman read from his collection Absence Has a Weight of its Own, which talked movingly about loss, disability and illness, while Elisabeth Charis’ theme of false perceptions brought up topics that ranged from the hilarious (musing on the difficulty of growing armpit hair in the summer), to the haunting (a snapshot of Damascus on the eve of the Arab Spring). In the second half of the evening, George Szirtes talked about madness and imaginary dogs in his beautiful, thought-provoking poems, while spoken word poet Polarbear enthralled as he told us about youthful adventures buying booze and failing to hook up with girls in his hilarious and unexpectedly heart-breaking poems. The discussions that followed their performances were lively and stimulating, ably chaired by Angela France.

For anyone who loves poetry or simply the power that words have to captivate and move, go to Wordsmiths & co. You will not be disappointed.

The next Wordsmiths & Co takes place on Tue 4 Dec.

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