The official, formal, posh, down in the town launch

The official, formal, posh, down in the town launch

Thursday 12th November

A wet dark cold Thursday night, and that’s just inside the office. Working on for a few hours I decided to slip out for a late, late lunch break. What warmth was waiting at Creative Bubble on Craddock Street. The Poets on the Hill were gathered. They’d taken a swift descent, tarmac, cement, circumvented claustrophobic alleyways, but there was no snapping or snarling in the city tonight. The excitement was building as last minute lippy was splashed, mulled wine steaming and impatient.

The readers were all preparing for the launch of No Aplogie Anfolgie a collection of working class intellect. The performances were a joy, each and everyone. The evening kicked off with a short film featuring the voice of Dawn Passmore reading Gaze upon the Yonder, from where some of my earlier words are stolen. A poem written and revised collectively from these writers from “the ‘ill’. The first poet to brave the growing and enthusiastic audience was Ami with a social media post turned poem turned flash fiction. A tale of chickens pecking at chipped varnished berry toes, teasing the audience with a closing line drawing us into Ernie’s house to ask what happened.

Dorian melted hearts, mixing genres, poetry, children’s fiction introducing us to Frankie; a moving juxtaposition of a child’s and a father’s voice and an interesting marriage, too, of gritty urban delivery with depth of image. Josie’s assured and measured performance brought to life a Swansea Jenny Joseph, not in form but in truth and integrity. “ Her pension means I get less dole” was probably the single most haunting line of the night

Ami, at the perfectly chosen moment, brought a comfortable sense of union in humour and adult appreciation of the assembled throng of poetry lovers as she closed a reading of Charline’s Poem with the immortal words “Thankful for my lack of pubes. For I’m sure I’d catch fire.”

Dawn threw a battle cry for equality at Sigmund Freud in exploration of “What does a woman want?” and Julie grabbed the entire audience and pulled them to the furthest reaches of the spectrum of both Dawn’s portrayal of womanhood and Dorian’s portrayal of parenthood with a performance of sublime excellence of Y Cyw Melyn Olaf.

Vijay’s monologue was another stunning performance barely contained by the trembling anticipation of a man with fire in his belly. The poet dramatically and ironically plunged into a blue-lit darkness as he pronounced the words “Bring colour and light to the darkest abyss”!

Kaylee and Zoe produced two perfectly matched poems that framed both the event and the collection. For another day perfectly encapsulated a moment that contained the entire character of “the ‘ill” and that moment was wonderfully illustrated by Zoe’s Rash of rap reminiscence as in her introduction she tripped into memory lane. These poems are reflections of the process as well as the output that contribute to this volume that is a mix of quality content, illustration, design and thoughtfulness that instils in the artefact the personality of the community from which it is born. I am privileged to be the first person to pay five pounds for this collection of immeasurable value.

It is outside the chronology of the night but I’d like to finish with reference to Tim’s breathless reading of the epic Holy Town. I’m sure I saw Helen Griffin blush at the reference to Catlin’s knickers left in a taxi in Wind Street and I know you were there to interview her, Mark Rees, but I hope you recognised the significance of tonight’s performances. As a poet living further West than Swansea Tim, I’m afraid, sadly, after a century, there is nothing more toryfied than your outermost nipple.

Thank you all for an amazing hour of quality entertainment. It would be my honour to invite the Poets on the Hill to the mountainous tidal plains of Sir Gaerfyrddin to be the special guest readers at Poems and Pints at The Queens in Carmarthen, West Wales’ most established regular spoken word event ;-)
on a Monday night in 2016.