wordy stuff at the organ grinder

Category: Poetry Readings

Hannah M Teasdale, Adrian Buckner and Rick Hall: Tuesday 4th June Open Book

‘If Anais Nin and Shane Meadows met at a bar to write prose and poems it may well end up like this. An awareness of vulnerability is a strength that Hannah Teasdale expresses  with power and insight whilst creating an urban cinematographic vibe of working-class life without for one moment feeling sorry for itself…’

Antony R. Owen

Poem from ‘Indelicate Sundays’

The Weir

Let’s try our luck at getting lost

and step out into the slant-rain black

storm the path where rivers flood

and chip-wrappers, dog-shit and lichen

become one. Let us locate ourselves, or not,

by the water’s flow, upstream, from the bank

where his bloated body was found. They think

he didn’t mean to drown, local chitter-chatter hinting

he was pushed by a gang of needle-hungry tramps.

It’s a good story. I push down my jeans and squat, piss

behind the emergency life-float ring. Your clothing fades

into the middle of nowhere and my downstream disappears.

Also Published in ‘Interpreter’s House’ Issue 65

Adrian Buckner’s poetry collections are available from Five Leaves and Leafe Press, the latest being SeeSaw from Leafe.

Since retiring from teaching poetry and creative writing at Derby University, he has been grappling with the highly contestable idea of a purely lyrical poem, and attempting to write some.

The Ancient Sunbather

He’s not impressed by warnings

of a hole in the sky:

Six weeks and not a drop of rain;

he is back in a golden age

of summers possessed undimmed

in his ageing heart.

He lies in the parched land

like a die hard colonist

sticking it out in Delhi after ‘47,

making a go of the new Rhodesia –

unmoved by forebodings of a world

falling in, a setting sun.      

Rick Hall is a writer and consultant on the arts, creativity and learning, and the founder of Nottingham education charity, Ignite!. Now retired from Ignite!, Rick is a Visiting Fellow at NTU, and serves on the steering groups of Nottingham Civic Exchange, Creativity Collaboratives and the European Citizen Science Association.  A frequent visitor to Finland, Rick was Writer in Residence in the village of Koli in North Karelia in 2019. His current projects are research into children’s games and the A-Z of Community.  His poetry comprises occasional topical sonnets, and thankfully has never been published.

And a few lines from The Start of the Cricket Season


I’m pleased to inform all chums in the States
That a new cricket season’s upon us;
While Tiger stalks lush greens at Augustus,
The next batsman in, in gloom sits and waits.

The crowd under blankets peers shivering,
His dog seeks ankles to worry and bite;
(Rage, rage against an appeal for bad light)
Like all hope, his sandwich is withering.

When drizzle to showers brings out the covers,
And dewdrops on cold noses become streams,
The scorer in his box muses and dreams,
‘Not a past-time for wild Latin lovers.’

In April, anticipation’s complete;
The sound of leather on willow is sweet.

Aaron Kent and Stuart McPherson – Empty Vessels Tour : Tuesday 7th May

Released 31st May, 2024 // 120 pages // 978-1-916938-19-9 // RRP £11.99

All Empty Vessels is an urgent, emotional commentary on what it is to exist in our contemporary world. Aaron Kent and Stuart McPherson each taking 6 sections of 6 poems each, explore topics as widespread as the class system, Edgar Allen Poe, and the lyricism of night. Even poetry and poetics itself becomes a subject of scrutiny. In the hands of these two poets, these themes become an eclectic, fluid tapestry of ideas that mold themselves around both the specific and the universal, and that present an unapologetic, honest, and uncompromising account of modern life. All Empty Vessels is a book for those who want poetry to be unafraid, and written with a fire whose embers lay smouldering long after the pages of the book have been closed.

PRAISE for All Empty Vessels:

Aaron Kent and Stuart McPherson’s All Empty Vessels is a multi-person conversation. Two men in conversation with imagination, language, illness, power and limitation. Back and forth, between the poets — whose friendship is evident in the collaboration — the reader is brought into the intimate space of confession, creativity, chaos and collaboration. This joint collection makes few promises, but the one it demonstrates is that even in emptiness, connection is a companion for All Empty Vessels.

— Pádraig Ó Tuama

This diurnal/nocturnal double act spits and wheezes an electro-magnetic sociology of the underdog spirit with venom and flare. Animated by a summonings or invocation of Edgar Allan Poe and a character named ‘Poet’, the reader is razed by a wild-card graffiti of the spirit. This is a Butoh of working class robustness/consciousness: a dance of death performed to the British class system, executed on an altar of flickering screens, night walks, radiophonic dead air and luminous introspection. A haunting is bad enough, but a double haunting, where Kent summons McPherson and McPherson responds to Kent, reads like a vigorous card game: the flickering deck of their contaminant thought laid down swiftly, card by card, and without remorse. And yet, there is bathos, tenderness and liminality. In a dual showmanship of a new warning for both past and future, these are ‘new forgeries. . . for invisible dawns’ housed in a ‘coffin rolled across a minefield’. You stand warned.

— MacGillivray

Two poets writing so brilliantly and wearing a full suit of artistic armoury; what’s not to like? Aaron Kent and Stuart McPherson’s poetics are simultaneously interfused and complimentary of one another, befitting a book of exceptionally nuanced, collaborative poems and texts. Open, ludic, tender, defiant and with multiple helpings of satiric wit, nothing appears off limits in these poems of lyric intimacy, cast across psychological (and socio-political) time and space. Kent and McPherson are a pair of shapeshifters, metamorphic, restless, and so continually uncovering and recovering perceptions within a spindled self. Here, hearts become mirrors in a family tree, the ‘I’ orbits ‘delicately as a torpedo on payday’ and desire is haunted ‘with the eyes of a gundog’. Death is cast too, never far away like an eye at the porthole. This metamorphic effect tilts the poem from sea to sky and back down to earth again, ensuring the writing is located at all times, bound by both poet’s perfect-pitch musicianship. All Empty Vessels listens in to the overboiling temperature of the times. This is a bicameral poetics that comes with stark and subtle warnings. Poets too are implicated, everything is at stake—it’s all or nothing, as Jean Genet said it must be. Time to wake up from ‘tone-deaf banjo’ playing and ‘ceremonial bootlicking’, or else ‘the future watches rabbits thrashing in the snares’. Read this and be fully nourished, yet hungry and, as I did, read it all over again.

— James Byrne

ABOUT Aaron Kent & Stuart McPherson:

Aaron Kent is a working-class writer, stroke survivor, and insomniac from Cornwall. His 2nd collection, The Working Classic, is available from the87press. He has read his poetry for The BBC, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and Stroke Association, had work published in various journals, and is an Arvon tutor. His poetry has been translated into languages including French, Hungarian, German, Cymraeg, and Kernewek, and has been set to music.

Stuart McPherson is a prize-winning poet from the UK. His poems have appeared in Butcher’s Dog Magazine, Bath Magg, Poetry Wales, Anthropocene, Blackbox Manifold, Prelude, and One Hand Clapping. In October 2022, Stuart was the winner of the Ambit Annual Poetry Competition. His second collection, End Ceremonies, was published via Broken Sleep Books on August 31st 2023.


Tuesday Shannon & Alan Baker: Open Book 7th November


Alan Baker was born and raised in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and has lived in Nottingham since 1985, where he has been editor of the poetry publisher Leafe Press for the last twenty years, and editor of its associated webzine Litter.

His previous poetry collections include Variations on Painting a Room (Skysill, 2011), Letters from the Underworld (Red Ceilings, 2018) and Riverrun (KFS, 2019).
He has translated the poetry of Yves Bonnefoy and Abdellatif Laâbi.

His latest pamphlet is A Journal of Enlightened Panic (Shoestring Press, 2020).

Today The Snow

Today the snow, and tonight
it lies on my car, and on all
the roads that she must go.
To be in a warm hotel in midwinter,
isn't that enough comfort?
Today the snow, tomorrow
I will save you from the rest of your life,
or is it mine? I would like
to help someone to live after my death -
eyes, liver, kidneys, pancreas
left on the fields of morning
while I'm in a dreamless sleep.
What could be more idyllic
than an exhibitionof the latest luggage?
Are your shoes clean, young man?
One believes so. And who are we?
To argue, that is.
I earn a living, recount
colourful episodes from my past,
swell my feet on crystals of white.
Isn't that enough? But no.
'Our researches must continue'
and there are language courses
yet to be complete. The latest
adult films to be watched.
Slide softly into the bed of white.
Protect the night, snow,
and don't allow yourself to be fooled.

“Today the Snow” originally appeared in the pamphlet February Hotel from Bamboo Books.



Tuesday Shannon

About Tuesday Shannon

Tuesday Shannon has an AHRC-funded PhD from Nottingham Trent University where she now an associate lecturer.
Her work has been featured in Soundswrite Press’s ‘Take Three: Volume One’, Left Lion, P.N. Review and others.



Between a boarded-up chippy
and a boarded-up florist
second- or third-hand fridges
lean to attention.

But there are no passers-by,
no eyes to catch and tempt –
just fallen leaves, empty buses,
artificial light.

In the shelter of a closed shop door
a teenager tugs at his hoodie,
lifts a cigarette with his left hand,
shakes a cannister in his right.

August Poets – Fiona Robertson and Andy Sutton

Fiona Robertson began writing poetry in 2013. In 2019 she was a top ten finalist in the Nottingham round of the UNESCO City of Literature Slamovision poetry slam. She has been a featured speaker at Words Out Loud in Chichester and Katie Curtin’s Creativity Caféonline. Her debut poetry collection, Eve Was a Realist: Poems for the Untamed Soul will be published later this year. Fiona is also the author of The Dark Night of the Soul: A Journey from Absence to Presence. In 2021, she graduated from the University of Nottingham with an MA in Philosophy, forty years after graduating from the same university with a BA in History. She is also learning to speak Scottish Gaelic.


All of it happened.

All of it finite.

All of it gone.

Yet here’s me

trying to rearrange 

the chairs

on the long-submerged deck

as if there is still a chance

of rendering the shipwreck 

bearable, somehow.

Many leagues beneath 

this futile activity

abundant life blooms 

in the stillness, 


(Better sailors 

know when to 

jump ship.)

Andy Sutton is a Nottingham based poet who writes poems that rhyme and all that. Designed to be accessible, often witty, and infused with word play, his poems may also have something to say. His poems deal with the familiar absurdities of life, and the injustices suffered by too many people. In there are also observations about fatherhood and his mixed-up dog. Andy enjoys performing, and aims to make you smile and think.

Things to be Made Illegal

Putting paper napkins on the plate under the snack

Cutting short by DJs of a long and classic track

Stickers on book covers that won’t peel so cause a rip

Queue jumping and hailstones, drinks too hot to sip

Yappy dogs, and cities where they charge for public loos

Cutting public services that people need to use

Plastic cups for indoor drinks, fonts too small to see

Adding to a ticket price a further booking fee

6 June 2023 –  Claire Meyrick & Kathy Pimlott


Claire Meyrick (nee Hancock) is originally from East Anglia and now resides in West Bridgford ,Nottingham. She is a writer, spoken-word performer and singer. Claire has performed in a number of events across Nottingham including Crosswords open mic night and The Avenues Sneinton Market with DIY Poets. She can be seen at open mics across Nottingham or singing with West Bridgford Liberty Singers.

Recently, Claire has set up her own YouTube channel: ‘Claire a bells words’ to showcase her poetry.



Kathy was born in Nottingham, in the shadow of Player’s cigarette factory but has spent her adult life in London, the last 40 or so years in Covent Garden, specifically, in Seven Dials. She has had a rag-bag career in social work, community activism, arts television and artist development and now works on community-led public realm projects. She has published two pamphlets with The Emma Press, Elastic Glue​ (2019) and Goose Fair Night (2016). Her work has appeared in Magma, Mslexia, Brittle Star, The North, Poem, ​The Rialto and Under the Radar.

Find out more on Kathy’s website

Martin Stannard and Jo Dixon: 2nd May….

Next reading is 2 May 2023 – Martin Stannard & Jo Dixon 

’27 Poems’ is what it says on the tin: 27 short poems – twelve and a half lines each, to be exact – which does and doesn’t practice what’s suggested in one of the poems:                                  

  . . . . we had roast
  chicken, roast potatoes and Brussels sprouts
  for dinner and it was very delightful. For
  pudding we had banana and custard and really
  I don’t know why more people don’t write
  more poems about these kinds of things.
  If you want more people to read more poems
  you should write more poems about this stuff.
  I would read them.

Published in February 2023 by Red Ceilings in a limited edition of 50 numbered copies.

Red Ceilings is here.

Jo Dixon

Jo Dixon is a poet, critic and academic living in Nottingham. She was born in Stepney and spent her childhood in Colchester. Her poems appear in a range of publications, including New WalkThe Interpreter’s HouseFuries (For Books’ Sake), In Transit (The Emma Press, 2018) and South Bank Poetry. Her debut poetry pamphlet, A Woman in the Queue, was published by Melos Press in 2016. An article on the poetry of Alice Oswald can be found at C21: Journal of 21st Century Writings. Her poem ‘Skegness Wake’ is included in Poems of Place: Mapping the Nation in Verse, edited by Andrew McRae and introduced by Paul Farley (London: Oneworld Publications, forthcoming Autumn 2020).

Jo reads her poetry across the East Midlands and in 2018 she visited Estonia to read at the Crazy Tartu Festival. She has worked on community poetry projects with Bilborough Sixth Form College, Nottingham Contemporary, St. Ann’s Allotments and UNESCO Cities of Literature in Poland, Estonia, Ireland and the UK. Her most recent commission is a poem written for the 50th anniversary of the twinning of Nottingham (UK) and Karlshruhe (Germany). Currently, she works as a part-time lecturer in Creative Writing at De Montfort University, Leicester.

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