My first event at Altrincham Word Fest last month was the poetry open mic, in the upstairs room at Coco’s Italian Restaurant, where poets and listeners enjoyed an evening full of top-notch and varied poetry.
Once we had managed to shoehorn everyone in we started off with a few of my own poems before the first of the open-mic performers took the stage. It was genuinely a pleasure to hear 16 year old Alex Swinton and 18 year old Nanda Saravanan, both students at Altrincham Grammar school, remind us that young people have depth, empathy, can see beyond the obvious and then translate what they see into words.
With a total of 14 people contributing their work in the open mic session we had poems about relationships, politics, Mills and Boon, mathematics, illness and bereavement, growing up, oran-utans, South Africa, whales, Metrolink, truth and lies, dreams, nature, a cosmic photo album and society. There were smiles and laughter, sad faces and perhaps the occasional tear; in fact everything we might hope for in an evening of poetry.
The atmosphere and support for all of the poets was superb and it was honestly great fun and a privilege to compere the evening.
Many thanks to the following poets for sharing with us:
- Alex Swinton
- Nanda Saravanan
- Judith Hey
- Duncan Battman
- Charlotte Gringras
- Fred (the Urban Poet) Varden
- Polina Sparks
- Alan Clemo
- Judith Wilson
- Tracy Fisher
- Sam Barke
- Mark Jones
- Martin Zarrob
As the event approached I had wondered how ticket sales had been going when I received a message from organiser Anne Early that the session had sold out and sales had to be closed. On the night we had even more people arrive and the capacity of the room was stretched beyond its normal limits but the atmosphere was calm, friendly and supportive (if a little warm).
Final thanks to Anne Early and Yoko Isami for organising the event and the festival and to Jane Eaton for providing the venue.