I remember vividly the first time I visited Free Verse: The Poetry Book Fair. That was back in 2012, the fair's second year, and I launched Tasting Notes there together with a wine tasting and tapas of Ibérico ham.
Since then, the event has gone from strength to strength. In 2012 there were about fifty exhibitors. This weekend, at the 2016 Fair, over eighty publishers were present, with even an evening at a nearby pub tagged on for good measure!
What makes Free Verse: The Poetry Book Fair so special and such a huge success story is that it provides pretty much the only physical proof of the existence of a national poetry community. Moreover, its organic growth is based on the graft of a team of volunteers. Nowhere else do so many U.K. presses, editors, poets and readers come together on an annual basis to celebrate the vitality of our poetry scene. Long may it continue!
Derek Walcott, poet and playwright of Saint Lucia, died on 17 March at the age of 87. I think I recall my first Derek Walcott poem. It was 'The Season o...