A busy Saturday getting a Spoken/Written and CC Press stall together for the networking meeting held by Apples & Snakes and Cyprus Well as part of the Exeter Poetry Festival (the city's first). The evening went well, with lots of folks I knew there, and we were given a good BIG table for the stall, and covered it with signs, leaflets, books, chapbooks, sign up book, posters, laminated info sheets, past editions, information file to look through, cards to take away, Viking wristbands (free with each copy of the 'Porlock' novel), Widsith & Deor badges...! There were brief addresses from Rachel McCarthy of Excite (the country's biggest Poetry Society Poetry Stanza), Gina Sherman of Apples & Snakes S.W., and Tracey Guirey of Cyprus Well, and then people mingled. Subscribers who I knew came and said hello, poets signed up who'd not yet done so, some folks dug into their pockets and paid their subscription fees there and then! And it was lovely to meet some subscribers who I'd only known through e-mail beforehand. Met also some other really interesting people like the guy running the Waterstones stall, and the guest poet of the evening, the both riveting and utterly charming Dorothea Smartt, who did a compelling set with her lovely voice making sure you heard and paid attention to every word she said, to round off the event. I especially liked her line - (something like) 'denial is just a debt with interest that's yet to be paid' (on the issue of slavery/denying responsibility for past wrongs), and her powerful list of names/things to call someone - from son and father to dissident or rebel to criminal or slave, and so on. It was very evocative and telling.
All in all, it was worth carting boxes and files of stuff on a Saturday evening into town, and I don't think it could really have gone better.
Special thanks to Alex and Gina for all their organizing and making it - and indeed the whole Festival! - go with such a swing.
2 days ago