Many thanks to Gary Longden for these kind words.
Closing the first half was Bob Hale, teacher, travel writer and poet. Bob is very good at assembling a set thematically. Previously I have seen him do a Travel Set. This time he opted for an autobiographical collection.
He combines easy, accessible language with sharp observation and a dry wit. His Games trilogy was funny, “Bangkok” amusingly accurate. His well known Bears poem about a collection of teddy bears was as popular as ever but “A Secret Place” stood out for me.
Poignant and evocative it told, of the secret place he had as a child to escape the hurly burly of an adult world. It succeeded because it conjured up the desire most of us experienced as a child of wanting a secret retreat and spoke touchingly of a childhood we all lose. We are soon to lose Bob for a year or so, first to Harrow, and then to China – what tales he will have to tell upon his return.
His review of the full set can be found on Behind the Arras , a site which manages to review almost every poetry event running anywhere in the Midlands. Well worth a read even when it isn't reviewing me.