Reviews and comment from the Demon Crew - creative writers at De Montfort University, Leicester.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Badger and bathhouse

A good first event to see at Cultural exchange week! The Creative Writing Postgrads started with an eccentric performance from James G. Laws, I wish I could go into specifics but unfortunately the works were untitled. Still the delivery was lively and energetic, the performer wandering around the room while he spoke, declaring his work 'nonsense.' While the rest of the readings were more reserved, they were just as effective.

The next performance was in sharp contrast from the first and the most chilling: a short story of a fedora-clad man who jumps in front of a train and reflections on his death. Hannah Stevens' description of the man's cup of hot chocolate still warm after his death stayed with me for the rest of the day. 

Train Station Platform, Old Delhi, India 1983
Steve McCurry,Old Delhi, 1983
Richard Byrt and Graham Norman read a poem in two voices about prison bathhouses, an unusual topic: "Only half a bar of soap between one bathhouse..." seemed strange to start off with but became more humorous towards the climax of the poem as the voice (possibly a prison guard or warden) insists that the writing of poetry about the bathhouses is strictly prohibited.
Graham Norman's extended poem 'Badger' was about a (presumably) homeless/wandering man, who recalls snippets of his life up to the time of death. 'Badger' was cold in its motif and atmosphere; the image used of 'cold tongues' springs to mind in reference to the gypsies that Badger encountered. The language was brutal while at the same time effective with its simplicity. 
Some of the audience found the poem too long but in my opinion that was part of its success. While this performance did lack the energy of the first recital, it needed to be quiet and concrete.

In all, I enjoyed the Postgraduate writing a lot more than I had anticipated, and I'm looking forward to hearing Andrew Davies and Alan Garner tomorrow!

Kimberley Brett

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