Poets in the afternoon is a performance event held on the first Thursday of every month at The Poetry Cafe in Covent Garden, London. With so many poetry evenings in London, manager Paul McGrane came up with the idea of holding a poetry afternoon instead; all the better to cater to those poets who can’t otherwise attend evening readings. Since yesterday was the start of my holiday, a spoken word event was an ideal way to kick off my literary summer.
Poets @ 3 began in March 2013 as an outlet for poets to read their work to an audience of poetry fans. As the event grew in popularity, the poets decided to create an anthology to showcase their work. For the launch of the Poets in the Afternoon anthology, the twelve contributors read their work to an audience of thirty-plus people in the basement of The Poetry Cafe, a dedicated space for all-things-poetry. In addition to artwork centred on the Poetry @ 3 theme, shelves lined with current poetry magazines, pamphlets and anthologies were available to browse.
My favourite poem of the day was Brian Young’s, ‘Health Warning’. Whether a person identifies as a poet, writer or artist, the creative process is the same; the birth of an art form that is personal at the time of creation, but once it enters the world it comes into its own being. The opening lines of ‘Health Warning’ explores this: A little poetry is a dangerous thing/ Certain verses can race your pulse and/ Worm into your mind… The poem reads like a fever-dream; a poet ill with labour of creativity, unable to shirk the illness until it consumes him or her – the ending of Brian’s poem ties this together: ‘But those verses will be a part of you to the end/ Truer than your epitaph’.
More info on Poets in the Afternoon can be found at The Poetry Cafe.