I was a little nervous about the launch last week, given that it was following the wonderful launch of Unsaid Undone at Carnforth train station, which was a lovely relaxed affair in the gorgeous tea rooms.
However, I needn't have been. With Harrogate Brass Band (not in person, sadly) setting the proceedings off, we (or at least I was and hope others) were propelled into a space of strength, melancholy and uplift.
Which is exactly the kind of resonance the poems within The Crowd Without also have.
All the poets gave highly personalised readings of their work, which emphasised the distinctions between their work.
From the lyric narratives of Segun Lee-French, via the exhuberent celebrations of nature of Polly Atkin, the quieter rhythmic observations of Ruth Allen, the sobering commentry on mental health from Chris Culshaw, the unsettlingly sad humour of Andrew McMillan we ended the evening with the askew world of childhood as seen by Jennifer Copley.
Coo, what a lot of adjectives.
The auditorium was also a star worth mentioning - it manged to provide a warm, informal space for the poets to project their work, and to chat with the audience. It was the first evening we'd had use of the bar and (despite my freezing the white wine) people clearly enjoyed the sliding between the two spaces during the interval, giving a sense of expanse and digestion for the poems we were told.
And with it being the last event/anthology with Martin Chester in situ as designer for Flax, I'm glad it went off so well and was a fine showcase for his brilliant work.