by Carmina Masoliver
cw: mentions domestic violence
At the end of September, I attended and took part in Hastings Fringe Festival and got the chance to watch Spinal Krapp by Darren Maher, a ‘stand-up tragedy’ based in Dublin in the 1980s. Although initially uncertain, I ended feeling thoughtful about the piece, which explored the impact of violence on children, as well as looking at the ‘making of a monster’. When it comes to domestic violence, whoever the victim or perpetrator, it is ultimately about power and control. It was interesting to see this prior to attending the fundraiser for Penny Beale Memorial Fund, which similarly weaved tragedy and comedy together, bringing a different kind of poignancy to the night.
The Penny Beale Memorial Fund was started by the mother of Penny Beale (of the same name), whose daughter was murdered in 2001 after years of abuse by her partner. The charity aims to offer information and advice about domestic abuse through various means. The fundraiser opened with an introduction by Penny Beale, and a song by Carol Prior, who also compered the evening. Also on a musical note, Las Pasionarias’ powerful folk songs had an uplifting effect and there was a great feeling of sisterhood as they sang together, wearing in red and white flowers pinned to their clothes. The audience joined in for a song about Mother Earth, where we were united in its message of care and respect. Mellow Baku took to the stage with a guitar, referencing having grown up in a cult. Although the details were not spoken of in the same specificity as others, the emotions of this were shown through song. Baku not only delivered songs on guitar, but also recited poetry, making use of loop pedals and her incredible voice.
by Kev Walker
Content warning: mentions domestic violence, substance misuse, neglect and self-harm
He woke in the morning, as often he’d done
awake with the birds and the half risen sun.
The room was a tip, he hated it so
but to tidy takes time, it was time to go.
Throw on some clothes from off of the floor
kick his way through the grubby, knuckle-marked door.
Sneak down the staircase, dodging needles and glass
peer into the lounge, they’ll be easy to pass.Continue Reading
by Carmina Masoliver
CW: sexism, war
Who knew there was an arms fair happening in London? Well, it was news to me before I went to Art The Arms Fair for an event of protest poetry – just one night in a series of events aiming to raise awareness about this issue. All profits from events go to CAAT (Campaign Against the Arms Trade), with original artwork and prints for sale. Work has been donated from all over the world, including both established artists and emerging. It was rumoured that Banksy had a piece there too, which was later confirmed, raising £205,000 for Reprieve and Campaign Against Arms Trade.
by Kev Walker
Content warning: mentions substance misuse, mental health, homelessness, conflict
It’s all bling and totter, down the lights of the highstreet, drunk by the train journey there
Cackles and shouts, tales of shagging and swearing, cosmetics squeeze out the air
Bravado and vanity, beer and wine, heading for the first open club
Boys strut with their chests out, showing a leg, only thoughts are of getting a rub.
He’s crouched in the corner, a-top a damp box, wrapped in a half soaking doss-bag
A dog by his side, as companion and protector, a mucker to share a sparse nose-bag
He shakes with the cold, but also the comedown the cider has long since left him
A blot-out, a release, from the pain in his mind and the mess he now finds himself in.Continue Reading
by Eli Lambe
Against the advice of the preface, in which the founder of the Forward Prizes cautions “This is not a book to be devoured in one sitting, nor should it be read against the clock.” I gave myself roughly 30 hours from receiving the book to submitting this review. Nevertheless, my brief time with this collection has so far left me feeling inspired, tearful, and in awe. Reading these current, provoking and mournful pieces – in bed with a purple unicorn hot water bottle against my aching back, at work waiting for the busiest shift to start, and at my mess of a desk – has been its own measure of relief. I am ready to go through this collection, pencil in hand, and ruin this book. I am ready to go back to the poems I had to read in public, and to read them again aloud at home.
by Billy Pilgrim With The Heartsease Kid
Are you looking for a way to get your voice heard? Do you have a book of poems on your bedside table that nobody ever reads? Isn’t it time somebody listened to you?
If you answered yes to any of these questions then you may be suitable for “Words w/ Friends Vol II”.
by Hannah Rose
On a blank white envelope was marked the word TRUTH
it was posted to a place called the Ministry of Lies
somewhere in the middle
of a blank white future.
The Ministry of Lies was a tall glass building with black and glinting windows
towering bullishly above the houses where the sleepy people lived
looking out but never inwards
with its half-shut eyes.