Programme for 2014

CB1 Poetry continues at The Boathouse but moving to the fourth Thursday of the month, and we have a fantastic programme lined up for 2014:

Thursday 23rd January 2014 -- Emma Danes, Rebecca Watts and Adam Crothers plus open mic floor spots -- The Boathouse, 8.15pm, £5/£4

Thursday 27th February 2014 -- Sarah Howe and Fran Lock plus open mic floor spots -- The Boathouse, 8pm, £5/£4

Thursday 27th March 2014 -- Ann Drysdale and Caroline Gilfillan plus open mic floor spots -- Venue TBC, 8pm, £5/£4

Thursday 24th April 2014 -- Caroline Bird, Julith Jedamus and Tara Bergin plus open mic floor spots -- The Boathouse, 8pm, £5/£4

Thursday 22nd May 2014 -- Emily Berry plus open mic floor spots -- The Boathouse, 8pm, £5/£4


Thursday 27th February -- Sarah Howe and Fran Lock

For February we have what promises to be a brilliant reading at The Boathouse, with two young and very talented writers each establishing an impressive name for themselves on the poetry scene. Fran Lock is a superb reader of her work, and her forthcoming Salt collection The Mystic & The Pig Thief was recently extracted in Poetry London -- the current issue of which includes new work from cover-featured poet Sarah Howe, whose first full collection will be published by Chatto & Windus next year.

Sarah Howe was born in Hong Kong in 1983. She is currently a Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge, where she teaches Renaissance English literature. Her debut pamphlet of poems, A Certain Chinese Encyclopedia, was published by Tall-lighthouse in 2009. She won an Eric Gregory Award in 2010. During 2012-13, she was the holder of the Harper-Wood Studentship for English Poetry from St John's College, Cambridge.

'Sarah Howe has, in her terms, “crossed the imaginary line” between the personal and the political, between the Occident and the Orient, so that the subject seems trajectoried ... between the real state of arrival and the dream state of pursuit.' Daljit Nagra


Her poems have appeared widely in British magazines, in anthologies such as The Salt Book of Younger Poets (2011) and Dear World & Everyone In It (2013), and on radio. Her first collection of poems is forthcoming from Chatto & Windus in 2015.

Fran Lock’s debut collection, Flatrock (Little Episodes), was launched in May 2011. Her work has appeared in various places, including Ambit, Poetry London, The Stinging Fly, and in The Best British Poetry 2012 (Salt).

'Fran Lock uses words as tools, or sometimes weapons, to aid her personal journey of inner exploration: a brutal but strangely romantic journey that exults in the power of poetry to unlock imagery in minds and hearts.' Joolz Denby


Her second collection, The Mystic & The Pig Thief is due out in May this year from Salt.

'Fran Lock is a talent to watch' Fiona Sampson


Thursday 27th February, The Boathouse, Open Mic floor spots, books for sale. Doors 7.30, readings 8pm. Tickets on the door only, £5/£4.

MONOPOLY (after Ashbery)


I keep everything until the moment it’s needed.
I am the glint in your bank manager’s eye.
I never eat cake in case of global meltdown.
I am my own consolation.

I have a troubled relationship with material things:
I drop my coppers smugly in the river.
(I do everything with an unbearable smugness.)
I propose a vote of thanks.

I make small errors in your favour. Sometimes
I pretend nothing is wrong.
I won second prize in a beauty contest.
I am yellowing at the edges.

I was last seen drawing the short straw.
I hang about tragically on street corners, where
I hand out cards that read: if you see
I am struggling to lift this card, please, do not help me.

Sarah Howe


POEM IN WHICH MY GRANDFATHER IS A UNICORN

My drill-bit bonce is a power tool, 
pure Black & Decker. I don't joust,
but bore and cork; laborious blue-
collar spirochete. I gauge, I weigh
and counter-sink. Pallid navvy, I
plot courses, grade curves 
and warble loony shanties 
under a flimsy, freeloading moon.

In summer my kinked withers steam
as I doss by the flat, brown pond
and champ at my baccy.
There- with any luck- some stringy,
somnolent blonde will fodder me up
bruised apples; smear Deep Heat
on my sweated flanks. 
This is what passes for pleasure.

Winter’s worse, and when 
that chilly bastard 
climbs in at the window
me and my muckers huddle. 
In the cold-clammy dark we are a row
of raised middle fingers. We glow, spark
and jar; rare as uranium rods, we are, 
and twice as bloody depleted.

Sometimes, the ganger has us gouge
staves in the frozen ground
for come mister tally man, tally me
a coffin, marking off The Dead 
on The Job. And sometimes
he wants we should lance and spar
and Toro! Toro! while the overseers
spill tinnies and lay bets.

It is bad, but not that bad.
Yous can always nuzzle
with some ruddy bawd, 
have her hanky-knot
your Billy-beard; there’s
the cider-squishy tang of her,
lank and gold as dirty straw.

That, or yous can dream. I dream
of earth what didn’t surge or churn
but greened, sweetly, keenly, me
yokeless and shiny, simpleton free.

I dream when we was High Horses,
tilting into groves of gushing sun
to munch at peerless pomegranates.

That was long ago, though. Long ago
and far away and maybe only make-believe.
Pretty fiction’s well and good, but we
are none of us children. This is life, girl,
and       in       the      end      I’m      glue,       you’re  
glue, like the rest.

Fran Lock