Anyone who's organised a poetry reading will know that feeling: the chairs are lined up, the books are stacked, the poets are nervously glancing through their papers, and the unspoken question is in the air... will anyone turn up? Thankfully, on this occasion they did. It was the launch of CJ Allen's 'New and Selected Poems'. I stopped myself from counting the audience, but there was a good-sized crowd, and a good proportion of them bought the book. And there was a sense of occasion which is important for a launch, especially when it's such a significant landmark in a poet's career. The free wine helped. Clive's reading was measured and thoughtful - but with his usual dose of humour - and I enjoyed it immensely, despite being preoccupied as the organiser. So the book is now officially launched: any editors reading this - you'll be getting your review copies soon.
Note on the venue:
The Nottingham Mechanics is a great new discovery for me as a poetry venue. A nice new building slap-bang in the middle of Nottingham, a bar, very friendly and helpful staff and a fine old institution to boot (established in 1837 to educate industrial workers).