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One Year of Open Mics

So after all those years saying ‘why isn’t there a poetry scene in Bedford?’ now there is – at least a bit. First of all thanks to all those who have supported Ouse Muse, and our good friends at the Poetry Cafe sessions, over the last season. We’ve had 9 open mics, with audiences between 10 and 30, and from 8 to 15 poets reading. What is more I think the experience has helped us all to improve both our performing and also (I think) our writing.

And now we are going to do it all again – but with one or two improvements. The first change to note is that we will alternate between Thursday and Wednesday nights to avoid the problem that some poets had with regular clashing commitments. Of course there will still be clashes, but at least there will be less of a system to them (that’s poetry folks!). The second really exciting development is that many (maybe even most) sessions will feature guest readers – with a format of open mic to start, guest reading and then some more open mic to finish. That will mean that open mic time is a little more restricted than it has been, but we will stick to the rule that everyone who wants to will get a chance to perform.

I’m very pleased to say that some really excellent poets have agreed to read for us. Some are wonderful local(ish) poets like Fay Roberts and John Greening, but a fair few have agreed to make a longer trip including Jacqui Saphra, Marianne Burton, and Maitreyabandhu (whose first collection ‘The Crumb Road’ was a PBS choice last quarter). There are still one or two more names to fill in on the chart. You could go to Ledbury or Aldeburgh and pay £10 or more to hear these poets read, but we will be holding our prices at the bargain level of £2 for perfomers and £3 for the ‘just listening’ members (who we really love to have with us too, by the way, the price differential is just an attempt to acknowledge that it’s a bit unfair to get people to pay for an entertainment they are partly providing themselves!).

On this site you will find a page giving the Ouse Muse programme (as it updates) – it’s listed as a drop down under events, but here is also a direct link. Remember that you can also keep up via our email list and through our facebook group. I’m really looking forward to seeing how the next year of events goes and (I hope) grows.