In the two and a half years since we set up Yes We Cant in the upstairs room of a backstreet pub in Walsall, we’ve had some sparkling nights of poetry. We’ve been entertained by Elvis McGonagall, Roy McFarlane, Nafeesa Hamid, and Johnny Fluffypunk among others, and every single event has been something we’re proud to say has brought top-notch poets to our part of the West Midlands.
Last night was something else again.
Yes, we had the usual mix of experienced open-mic poets and folk who were reading at Yes We Cant for the first time (all of whom were greeted by the Poetry Mexican Wave™ as devised by Dave NOFB Pitt) and we had our usual ‘Alf Ender slot, filled this month by Nick Pearson who’d travelled in from Shropshire. And we had a packed house. So far, so normal.
What made last night extraordinary was the set from our headline poet, Liz Berry, whose reading was never anything less than spellbinding, and whose work is utterly compelling in its beauty and its craft. We’re well aware how very lucky we were to be able to bring her to Walsall.
Liz had asked that all the money collected in the hat at the end of the night should go to support the work of Black Country Women’s Aid. Last night we collected a remarkable £280.66. Added to this are the donations made to our fundraising rabbit (who collects spare change and shrapnel) through the autumn, which amount to a further £44.92, giving a grand total of £325.58. We will be paying this over to BCWA in the next few days.
Our heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you for your generosity. In a world which seems to be falling apart, it’s wonderful to be reminded that poetry can be a force for good.
P.S. If you’d like to give but haven’t yet, the donation page for BCWA is here.