Poetry at g39

poetry Tom SinclairLast Friday I attended a free event organised by local poet Mab Jones as part of the ‘tu fewn, yn cynnwys ni’ (‘Does that include us?’) festival at g39, an art gallery in an old warehouse. The festival explores themes of access, inclusion, empathy and diversity. I’d never visited this venue before, but it’s a vast cave of a space with plenty of room for exhibitions and workshops. Actually it felt much more like an informal gathering than an official event, with dim, atmospheric lighting and a random assortment of seating.   

Poet Bethany Rivers

Bethany Rivers

The evening began with readings from Mab, and three other poets who’d travelled from further afield: Bethany Rivers (from Banbridge), Tom Sinclair (from London) and Karen Little (from Manchester). Mab read from her new book, take your experience and peel it, and I particularly enjoyed her poem about Blodeuwedd, a character from the traditional Welsh tales of the Mabinogion – a woman made entirely of flowers.

Bethany Rivers read from her recently published pamphlet Off the wall, which contains a sequence of poems inspired by artwork. I loved her style, so emotional and deliberate. Her poem about a modern version of Ophelia was particularly powerful, with the final, dramatic lines: “she’s a feral cat / boxed”.

Mab Jones

Mab Jones

Karen Little read a number of short pieces inspired by prompts from NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month), and ended each one with a foot stamp and a flourish. Tom Sinclair read a couple of much longer pieces, my favourite of which was a rhythmic flowing piece, focusing on summer, including rich imagery and ending finally with the words: “while the world burns, one stock market at a time”.

After a short break we heard from some of the people who had taken part in a workshop during the week. The theme of the workshop was ‘The Activist and The Empath’, and these included pieces of dialogue and flash fiction, inspired by such diverse things as personality types and taro cards. They were unusual and amusing pieces of work, exploring some interesting concepts.

Karen Little

Karen Little

Mab, Bethany, Tom and Karen read some more of their work, and there was also an opportunity for people to buy books. The event was probably a unique opportunity to hear such a variety of writers in one place.

The next Juke open mic night will be in the same venue on 11th August with the theme ‘otherness’. Meanwhile the festival continues with a number of workshops and performances.

2 thoughts on “Poetry at g39

  1. Was indeed a cool event 🙂 And a pleasure to read at it too from the ‘instant chapbook’ of pieces created at The Activist and The Empath (also part of the festival and run by Mab Jones). Lot’s going down at G39 and in Cardiff generally right now!

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