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Bedford Events 2017

Forgive me website, for I have sinned, and not updated thee for pretty much a year. I won’t bother with my excuses – though I have them. So to begin a near-flurry(!) of posts let me mention some events in Bedford which are coming up.

Ouse Muse is still alive and kicking. We have five more dates in this season, the first is Stephen Payne on 22nd Feb, followed by Sarah Westcott (Mar 26), John McCullough (Apr 26), Angela Topping (May 24) and John Clegg (Jun 28). I’ve also been joined by some wonderful co/alternate hosts, Caroline Davies, Steve Kendall and Hazera Forth. I hope this is a sign that the poetry and spoken word culture in Bedford is growing and becoming more resilient. All the Ouse Muse events include open mic time, and are at 7.45pm at The Auction Room on Duke St.

The other established Bedford open mic event is the Poetry Cafe at Frescoes on the last Friday of the month – now starting a little earlier at 2.30pm. This is always well attended and has a very supportive atmosphere for anyone who is new to the business of reading their work in public. Meanwhile the Swan Theatre Company continue to give their excellent monthly readings of published work, now at the Eagle Bookshop on the first Sunday of the month at 7pm.

However the exciting news is that there are more regular and irregular opportunites to bring poems/spoken word to the town. A new venture at the newly re-opened (and re-wound) Bear on the High St is an open mic session every Sunday at 8pm. The amiable Amy and Matt are looking for both musical and verbal contributions and deserve your support. A second newer arrival comes in the form of the Pulpit Sessions on the last Friday of the month at 8pm at Rogan’s books – I’ve not been yet but hope to show this coming Friday 24th Feb and report back.

As for the irregular – a group of poets is presenting a show ‘The Journey’ using mainly local work to make an evening of entertainment which tries to enhance poems with music, stage setting and group performances. The Journey is at The Place on 12th March, 7.30pm, tickets £5 surplus proceeds to the British Heart Foundation. Meanwhile the excitement that is BedSlam! returns on 20th April, with a fabulous and nationally known headline act – Hollie McNish. Sign up to slam or just come and enjoy the show, tickets for both shows from www.theplacebedford.org.uk.

What is a poem VI: Show1/Show2

I do not want to claim that the two senses of 'show' that seem to me important are without overlap. Perhaps they represent two ends of a spectrum in which there are middle points of various kinds. I also think that more often than not poems/poets use … [Continue reading]

What is a Poem V: Proof and Poems

So far I've suggested that poetry is a form of language use (language act) which is special, havers on the border between mention and use, and is a means of expanding the possibilities of language. Let me be clear again that I do not want to … [Continue reading]

Bedford Events 2016

January - time to remind you of the roster of forthcoming events for 2016. Ouse Muse will be back with its usual mix of open mic and guest poet(s). Usually the third Wednesday of the month, dates and guests for the 2016 first half Jan 20th, … [Continue reading]

Bedford Events 2015/16

Here's an update on a pretty packed poetry events calendar for the next season in Bedford. Ouse Muse is back, starting on 16th September, in a new venue, The Auction Room bar, 1 Duke St, 7.45pm. Our guest poet will be Richard Frost and as usual … [Continue reading]

Of Fetes and Tongue Twisters

I've just spent another lovely Saturday afternoon in Arlington Square Gardens, where I'd been invited back to do something poetic at the annual Summer fete. And what we mostly did was tongue twisters. Let's be fair, the poet is not as popular as the … [Continue reading]

What is a poem IV: mention and use

It's clear from the comments of the many/several/actually one reader of the story so far that I have not explained myself yet. What I mean by 'make it new' is radical (I am not going to discuss whether Pound also had this more radical sense in mind, … [Continue reading]

Reading is(n’t) working

That big package that is Poetry Review....apparently The Poetry Review (as if package-bulk were not statement enough) flopped through the letterbox this weekend. So today I is mostly reading, which leads to the battle of the guilt gnomes: Guilt … [Continue reading]

Open Garden Squares Weekend

The weather was not exactly kind to Open Garden Squares weekend - but there was not too much rain and the sun put in a cameo appearance on both Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Although Saturday morning visitors were a small band a hardy few came … [Continue reading]

Trees and stuff

One week to go to and it's time to talk trees. One of the first things the community gardening group gave me was a plan of the trees in the garden. It gave both the latin and common names for each tree. This led me in several directions. The … [Continue reading]