Last night's HappenStance reading at the Torriano was a lovely event: the chance to read and listen to terrific poetry in a supportive atmosphere, surrounded by other poets who were on a similar wavelength.
However, the last few weeks, involving trade fairs and tastings, have also been at least as rewarding in poetic terms. Every time a customer, a wine merchant or a sommelier carried off a copy of Tasting Notes to read at home, there was the feeling that my pamphlet was succeeding in one of its key aims: to get non-poetry readers to enjoy contemporary verse.
Just as Clare Best managed with her 2009 HappenStance pamphlet, Treasure Ground, which made its way round farmers' markets, we must find ways to attract new readers to poetry. And that doesn't entail dumbing anything down!
The shortlist for the 25th TS Eliot Prize has been announced, and it's heartening to see a book from Nine Arches Press, Jacqueline Saphra's excellent *All ...