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PLU Open Mic featuring Paul Stephenson

PLU Open Mic featuring Paul Stephenson

Review by Kate Noakes. Photographs by Seam Simerly.

Where were the girls, no really, where were you all? With only three women on stage and one of those being the host, it was a poor show, ladies! Thank goodness for Marna’s long list of food, which made David squirm when she said ‘pigeon’, and Roberta and the strangers who stick their tongues down her throat.

So what did the boys do? Well,  the virginal Joshua said ‘ your heart is a whale,’  and Ed sang of the language of his love to Joseph’s  tears of joy, but not to the tune of David S’s Bank of America singing. Bill was suffering from spontaneous symptoms and Bob had nothing to do but wait for Godot. David J (we love it when our special guests read in Open Mic) riffed on speaking accented French, especially the difficulties with ‘rs’ when ordering vin rouge, while Donald, oh, he of the wonderful voice, translated Baudelaire’s self-harming monster. Thomas rocked up right off the plane from Australia and Liam opined that ‘binary code is no way to express bitter rejection,’ which sat well with Steve’s novel extract on an LA break up. More music from Sean and then the special guest, after which Dylan send us home laughing.

Paul Stephenson read a wonderful selection of recent work on airports, world travel, living statues and celebrities. He gave us writing tips on translating with google into and out of multiple languages, manipulating and anonymising interviews, and eavesdropping. My personal favourite was his rain in Spain sestina, apparently the only one he’s ever written. A joy.

More next week, when, if I have anything to do with it, there will be a lot less testosterone around. Ladies, the stage is yours.

Sign up from about 20h. Open Mic starts about 20h30.

This week’s special guest is Paul Stephenson. Paul has published poems in a wide range of magazines including Poetry London, Magma, The Wolf, The Rialto, The North and Brittle Star. He has been highly commended twice in the Bridport competition and came second in last year’s Troubadour International Poetry Prize. He has read at Ledbury and recently alongside Simon Armitage and Frieda Hughes. Currently he is taking part in the Jerwood/Arvon mentoring scheme 2013/14.

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