New Venue and 2014-2015 Programme

We're starting a brand new season at a brand new venue on Tuesday 23rd September with two fantastic and wonderfully diverse readers. Mark Waldron's deft and playfully strange poems, whose concerns as his publisher aptly has it "are sex, death, the soul and a chocolate car", are by turns surprising, joyous, disturbing and profound.

Mark Waldron has just been announced to be one of the Poetry Book Society's 20 Next Generation Poets for the decade --

Fay Roberts, a classically trained singer, performance poet and peripatetic percussionist, is a brilliant performer of her work and brings an incredible musical sensibility to her beautiful and moving poetry. To have them both read for us on the same night is a real treat and not to be missed. Scroll down for more details, sample poems and videos.

For 2014-2015 our new venue is the Gonville Hotel on Parker's Piece, which has a ground-floor room and bar and will at last free us from noise pollution from downstairs gigs! Click here for location maps and more information. We are returning to the fourth Tuesday of the month, and dates for 2014-2015 are below. We're currently lining up some brilliant readers for the events, and will update the programme as soon as they are confirmed.

All events will continue to offer open mic floor spots at the start of the evening and after the interval. Readings start at 8pm, with doors open from 7.30pm, and usually finish well before 10pm.

Tuesday 23rd September 2014 -- Mark Waldron & Fay Roberts -- The Gonville, 8pm, £5/£4

Tuesday 28th October 2014 -- Alison McVety & TBC -- The Gonville, 8pm, £5/£4

Tuesday 25th November 2014, Tuesday 27th January 2015, Tuesday 24th February 2015, Tuesday 24th March 2015, Tuesday 28th April 2015, Tuesday 26th May 2015 -- readers TBC

Tuesday 23rd September -- Mark Waldron and Fay Roberts

Mark Waldron was born in New York. His highly acclaimed first collection, The Brand New Dark, was published by Salt in 2008. His work appears in Identity Parade, New British and Irish Poets, published by Bloodaxe in 2010.

'There is one poet in The Best British Poetry 2013 who, above all others, cries out to reach an audience... Waldron has been busy forging a new language of deadpan, twenty-first century surreal'  The Boston Review

He was selected both by Sahsa Dugdale and by Ahren Warner for, respectively, The Best British Poetry 2012 and 2013. His second collection The Itchy Sea was published in 2011 by Salt. Here's a clip of him reading about the aforementioned chocolate car.

'a poet... writing consistently better than virtually any other at the moment'  Ahren Warner

Fay Roberts is a peripatetic percussive performance poet by night and a professional projector by day. She runs the Cambridge branch of the Hammer & Tongue slam series, and her own poetry label Allographic (which functions as a small press and a platform for performers), along with co-directing the Spoken Word section of The Free Fringe in Edinburgh.

Her work has been described as: “lyrical”, “engaging”, “scarily good” and, memorably: “too many words… I got lost…”. Her voice has been described as: “musical”, “mellifluous”, and “mesmerising”.  

Here is an amazing video of Fay reading Blissful Chance.

Tuesday 23rd September, The Gonville, Open Mic floor spots, books for sale. Doors 7.30, readings 8pm. Tickets on the door only, £5/£4.


or to fall, or were I pushed to my death
from a high window of an apartment block,

or from the edge of a cliff,
then, at the end of that fall, the ground will act

like a sieve, keeping my flesh and bones to itself,
as well as my clothing and any other belongings

which I may have about me,
such as my keys, coins and wristwatch,

while my soul (which I am riddled with)
will continue its downward journey for a little distance

(perhaps for a metre or so, depending on the height
of the preceding drop).

And then, relieved of its hot nest,
it will wear on its face the most abject expression,

not that of the exposed oyster as it’s sucked, sobbing
from its shell, but rather,

that which the fledgling wears underneath its feathers,
when it takes its flapping plunge into maturity.

Mark Waldron


For James Lee Byars, and Alex Smith, after the former’s sculpture of the same name.

The breath of the soul is flawed,
Scored by the indentations that caressed,
That brought it here, that made it what it is.

The sigh that is stone rolls, as it must,
Making tracks, as it goes, in the dust –
Black and white and, later, gold.

The essence of the stone
Is the groans heaved in its weaving,
The sweat poured,
The flesh and blood beaten against its surface,
The heart worn with each sharp stroke
Shaping the whole, bestowing grace,
Carving a face into this change of nature.

And when the last stroke is taken,
The stone rolls to the centre of the room,
Where all turns on its axis for a while;
A sweet and bitter while.
Until time passes and dust falls,
Changing its shape again, softening its shadow.

For perfection is in the making
And when the breath stops…

The sigh is still.

And all that is left of the stone
Are the tracks that it made
As it passed through the dust of a world
Which keeps on turning.

Fay Roberts