Thank you to the generous Catherine Meek for this positive review of the Redroaster Event in November – I’m blowed if I can work out what she is saying about me though  – I seem to have both provoked and spurned enquiry!

Susie Campbell

Pigbaby Brighton Poetry Festival launch, Redroaster, Brighton, November 22

12:49pm Wednesday 23rd November 2011 in The Critic

It’s a cliché to suggest that poetry is not dead.

Still, popular perception is that poetry is something groan-worthy you had to do at school. This event, hosted by local Brighton community publisher of poetry, Pighog Press, celebrated the fact that, really, there is poetry in just about everything. Pretension could not have been further from the agenda.

Neil Rollinson, an Arvon tutor with four published collections and a string of awards and residencies to his name, read poems on subjects as diverse and everyday as betting on the horses, a lovers’ picnic (and if everyone hasn’t had a picnic like this, why not?) and a teenager’s sexual encounter with his French teacher – surely not the private tuition his parents were paying for.

Pighog Press’s own Brendan Cleary’s acerbic ode to an ex-lover’s dry lasagne was a wry and entertaining tale of the things we think but don’t say. Susie Campbell’s diaries spurned a provocative enquiry into her public and private lives which will have resonated with many in the audience.

The event must be judged a success if the buzz in the air and lingering punters at the end were anything to go by, and it was well-attended, mainly by local writers and poets. Six of them took their turn to share the open mic, and others are listed to perform at events planned for the rest of the week. Without a wider audience though, sadly there cannot be a dissemination of poetry’s relevance and popular appeal. And an event like this proves that too many are missing out.


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