I finally made it up to the Spoken Worlds event at the Old Cottage Tavern in Burton Upon Trent last night. I've been promising to go for months but things have always cropped up to prevent it but as last night was my last possible chance I made special effort.
My last experience of an open mic poetry event was so bad that I didn't post my review of it. It was a truly depressing experience of listening to some of the worst poetry and prose I've heard in my life. So I was approaching Spoken Worlds with caution.
The signs were good. It was in a comfortable private room in a pub with eight real ales and the people were friendly, welcoming and - unlike that last one - normal.
The format was, in the words of the organiser, in "three halves". You could sign up to appear in any or all of them, getting about five minutes a time. I signed up for all three and am pleased to say that the mix of poems I read went down very well with a crowd that are obviously all regulars at the event.
What of them, though? What of the regulars? I didn't take any notes or even write down the names so I can't review them individually but I'd say there wasn't a poor turn among them. Whether it was poetry, prose, a song or even a short play it was all well written and well performed. At least one of the poets was truly outstanding. I left a little before the end to get my train and I was sorry to have to do it as it meant missing a few performances.
A couple of excellent pints, a whole bunch of great writers and readers and the chance to try out my own material to an unfamiliar audience. What could be better?
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