Well what an interesting night I’ve had at the ‘Far From the Maddening Crowd’ pub in Oxford.
In August I contacted the Back Room Poets who meet at the pub and arranged to go and do an open mike spot tonight, 18th September. Also, I arranged to meet up again with Angela who runs a monthly poetry event at the Beehive in Cheltenham and whom I met earlier this year at the Ledbury Poetry Festival. She drove the 45 miles to Oxford, (after also having checked the Back Room Poets website) and we got to the pub to be told by a barman that the event had been changed to next Monday. So, we decided to drown our sorrows (a very Horace thing to do I might add), by having some wine.
Naturally enough the conversation turned to poetry and we began discussing form and Angela was in the middle of telling me all about a form called decima, when a young man came and asked us if we were the Back Room Poets: we said we weren’t, but we’d like to have been given half a chance, and asked him to join us. We three then chatted for a while, sharing our various poetic experiences, when a young lady came over and asked if we were the poets – we said we kind of were, but not the actual, elusive Back Room ones. She asked if we had work with us and we said we had, and offered to join her and her other four friends -end result, a very enjoyable impromptu poetry evening with readings and discussion. What a clued-up group they were too – all of them writers and some of them also published. Just the kind of small, friendly gathering of which Horace would have approved.
I read my ‘Mutton at Bradford Vaults’ poem and my curse poem, ‘Grown-Up Girls Below the Railway’, based on Horace Epode III, ‘Parentis olim’, (both from ‘The Works’). All in all, a very pleasant evening.