Monday, 26 September 2011

LIPPfest the Lipping Festastic

This Saturday just gone saw the first ever LIPPfest at the Carriageworks in Leeds. An astonishingly ambitious event created by three poets (Daivd Tait, David Thom and Ian Harker) who had never done anything like it before.

I sincerely hope they do something again. While I wasn't convinced the Carriageworks was the best venue, with events spread over three floors the buzz that was created was dissipated, but there was a great energy all the same. And unsurprisingly since there were 25 poets reading throughout the day.
Sadly I was only able to stay until 4pm, so only caught two of the readings. The first being the Cadavarine reading which featured poets under 30. While I already knew the quality of Kim Moore and Andrew McMillan, it was a delight to be introduced to Suzannah Evans and Rachel Allen. Suzannah read a great poem about breaking into Leeds International Swimming Pool, because she never had. A lovely askewed take on autobiography. And the rest of her set was similarly playful and unexpected.

Rachel Allen was equally as unexpected, and entertaining: energetic, direct, funny and knowing. In other words, stunning. I hope I get to hear her again. She runs Clinic, a poetry night in London, which has got to bode well for poetry nights in London.

The second reading was an introduction to familiar and new voices. I very much enjoyed hearing Gaia Holmes read from her forthcoming collection, due out later this year from Comma Press. She has a delicate ear and sharp voice - making for an interesting combination. New to me were Andy Fletcher and Ian Parks (soon to be a  fellow Waterloo poet) - very very different poets: where one was irreverent and witty (Andy), Ian was expansive and tender. Making for a great combination. This difference is absolutely necessary to keep your ears fresh for so many readers. Just in those two readings there were twelve readers. A lot to digest.

As one of the poets involved the other side of the mic offered a chance to remind myself of what a great community I belonged to. We are colleagues (at least that's how I see myself) but a strange remote set of colleagues, so it's great to run into familiar faces I hadn't seen for a year or more, to catch up, laugh a lot and hear their new work. It's warming, inspiring, and just lovely as crumpets, but much much more stimulating.

Thanks due to David, David and Ian. And hats off.

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