Can't believe this has been the seventh SAGS meeting already (sounds a bit Tolkeiny if you lexicise the acronym like that...). I've not been to all of them, but have enjoyed the ones I've gotten to and can say that so far they've succeeded in their aim of creating, "a literary experience felt in your bones as juxtaposition and surprise correspondence." I'm sure they'll continue to do so too. Anyhoo, on with the impressions...
First off, Eleanor Rees read a poem with Welsh flavour in honour of Sophie McKeand's presence. I hope Tom Jenks wasn't upset that a Manchester poem wasn't read in his honour! Joking aside, I very much enjoyed Eleanor's piece. In some ways I'm biased towards poetry that has the sea/seaside as its focus (same goes for whisky. If you want to buy me a bottle, Oban 14 please!). Being from Morecambe, things that genuinely evoke the uniquely harsh beauty found on a shoreline is very poignant for me. Bias aside, her poem's existential themes and delicious sonic qualities added up to make an objectively positive poem.
Next, Mrs McKeand. As something of a linguist, I'm fascinated with language and was impressed with her work. What struck me about her poems was the way they struck hard at the root (please pardon pun) of linguistic ontology, but in a natural way, that is to say, not dryly academic. I would say 'it wasn't stuffy', which is true, nonetheless, but I prefer 'natural', which is more in keeping with the breathing soul of poetry than the textbook. Anyway, I'm going round in circles here... Her use of the Welsh language was subtle and created a compelling conversation on hi/story/-ies.
Next was Mr Jenks. Y'all should know him from his work at The Other Room. His Twitter-based poem demonstrated a more processually experimental bent than the other poetry on offer. I don't know how much I should say, since some of the poetry hasn't been published yet (that's another reason for all of you out there to go to your local readings - new and exclusive content, everyone's dream!). First off - ab-solutely hi-larious. I was actually crying with laughter. I've not done that since... Well... I don't have a soul so I don't normally laugh at anything, apart from perhaps unspeakable evil. Or Matt Baker's one-liners.
Jenks' symphony of surreal imagery, deadpan delivery and sparingly rattly sounds made for a thoroughly entertaining treat for the open mind, a pleasure for the ears and a workout for the yuck-muscles ('yuck' as in 'laugh', not as in 'urgh'). Maybe (well, almost definitely) it's just because I'm a massive fan Beatles fan and went sightseeing around the Cavern Quarter right before going to the reading, but I feel compelled to compare Jenks' part of the night to 'Octopus's Garden'. We were submersed in a colourfully strange world, both comforting and threatening (remember "below the storm") and warmly amusing. So yeah, like 'Octopus's Garden', if it had a social-comment edge possibility, and was actually good (only joking Ringo! Love you really. Ringo?).
Peace and love folks.