I was privileged to be a guest reader at the Leicester launch of Matt Merrit's new collection, along with Marilyn Ricci and Malcolm Dewhirst. The event was held at The Looking Glass, a bar on the outskirts of Leciester city centre with a basement room complete with bar and small stage.
One of the pleasures of being involved in the poetry world is the sense of community which you feel at events like this, which was friendly and supportive. I don't have much experience of open-mic events, and I have heard bad reports, but this one was high quality, and included a contribtion from the excellent Mark Goodwin. Matt Merritt himself read very well, despite a cold, and I was glad to acquire a copy of his collection, which is full of measured, crafted verse, and which I'll try and review or have reviewed. In the meantime, here's a sample (the full poem is posted on Litter):
...Silly to still be writing the same thing
years on, yet room, surely,
to hazard a different ending? Not happier,
maybe, but briefer and with better dialogue.
Read every book starting from the back
or work both ways towards the centre.
Be surprised by twists of plot or character
innovative use of unreliable narrators.
Live side by side with worse surprises.
Imagine a darkness that contains every colour.
Not everything that happens to you is fascinating.