Whatever else you had planned for Sunday 6th September, lay it to one side. Clear your diary. Switch off your mobile phone. Hang a Do Not Disturb sign on the door. This is going to be a day for treating yourself to a wealth of top-class poetry in the comfort of your own home. Something to treasure in a difficult year.
In the evening, over on that there Facebook, it’s our monthly poetry night Yes We Cant. We’ve been running it online ever since lockdown started back in March, and you can join us by signing up to the Poets, Prattlers, and Pandemonialists group here. Our headline guest this month is the phenomenal Joelle Taylor, and we’re overjoyed that she’s bringing her incredible skills to our night. If you’ve never heard Joelle’s work, we can assure you you’re in for an absolute treat. The night kicks off at 7.30pm, by the way. We’ll be there just beforehand, setting out virtual chairs, sweeping the floor, and making sure NOFB Pitt has put his trousers on the right way round. Or indeed at all. Our ‘Alf Ender is the delightful Matt Black. All ten open-mic spots are now taken.
An outstanding evening of poetry is guaranteed. And whetting your appetite for that is a very special, one-off, not-to-be-missed, you’ll-kick-yourself-if-you-do, half-hour of poetry on Radio 4. The programme – part of the Tongue & Talk series – has been written and narrated by our very own Emma Purshouse, and looks at poetry and dialect in the Black Country. One look through the line-up of poets involved is enough to give an indication of just how much talent is packed into this region at the heart of the UK.
There’s Brendan Hawthorne (winner at the national dialect conference two years running); Liz Berry (Forward Prize for first collection); Roy McFarlane (whose second collection was recommended by the Poetry Book Society); Kuli Kohli (founder of Punjabi Women Poets, whose story on the BBC website has had more than one million hits); Rob Francis (lecturer in Creative and Professional Writing at the University of Wolverhampton); the legendary and sadly missed Dave Reeves; Heather Wastie (former Worcestershire poet laureate, and Nationwide poet); Wolverhampton poet laureate Emma Purshouse, of course, and her fellow pandemonialists. Is that a cracking line-up, or what?
All of this, wrapped up in a wealth of words, dialect, and laughter. At 4.30pm on Sunday. Put yer feet up and ‘ave a listen. It’s bostin’, honest.