For March, we're stoked to present two London poets who are distinctive, smart, hugely entertaining and as culturally alert as an aeroponic meme cloner. They are sure to throw plenty of unexpected twists and turns in our appreciative direction: they are Alex Bell and John Canfield.

Tue 27th March - Alex Bell and John Canfield

Alex Bell lives and works in London. She has been published in magazines, journals and anthologies including Magma, The Rialto, The Quietus, Poetry Wales and And Other Poems, and her debut pamphlet Bad Luck Woman was published by Eyewear in 2016.

'Alex Bell poems contain a peculiar kind of subtle acid that strips the poor unsuspecting world back and exposes exactly what it’s made of. These poems, while often poignant, have an entirely distinctive insouciant and icy wit.'  Mark Waldron

She co-hosts a series of poetry and karaoke nights with John Canfield, with whom she edited the anthology Cold Fire: Poetry Inspired by David Bowie for The Rialto in 2017. She is a 2017-18 TOAST mentee.

John Canfield grew up in Cornwall and now lives and works in London. He has been published in print and online journals including Oxford Poetry, Transom, Poems in Which and Birkbeck's Writer's Hub. His poems have appeared in the anthologies Newspaper Taxis (Seren), Double Bill (Red Squirrel), The Anthology of Fatherhood, A Poetic Primer for Love and Seduction: Naso was my Tutor (both Emma Press).

'John Canfield's poems have a theatrical edge and, at times, an almost Shakespearean flavour. He is often syntactically formal, but there is much at the heart of these fundamentally playful poems that feels personal: in search of truth and, perhaps, redemption.'  Chrissy Williams

He has also edited Magma and co-edited Cold Fire: Poetry Inspired by David Bowie. He also writes for children and runs workshops in schools and for the Royal Opera House. He works as a Programme Coordinator at the Poetry School.


When Georgia turns from us, her back is a Man Ray. 
We hate to see her go. We love to watch her leave. 
With Georgia gone, our hair
is both lank and flyaway. We are hungry. 
Our buckles rust, and moths eat at our tweed. 
We hold huge boomboxes 
over our heads for Georgia. We try to dance her back. 
We turn ourselves over like rainsticks, 
and the falling organs clatter, and sound like rain, 
which we feel must be appealing to Georgia, 
who is by turns heavy and light, 
and collects in sad pools on impermeable surfaces. 
We fear that she is gone away forever.
Sometimes in the Georgialess night
we stitch ourselves together - little floral octagons
in the great thick quilt of our aching for Georgia. 
We need her. We need her breadth and the smell of her neck, 
and all of snake-spined roads leading back to her. 
When in the mornings we wake without Georgia, 
the shock pops our monocles. She's meant to be here, 
where her skin drifts in motes, and she's bigger
the longer she's gone, as big and as clear
as the moonlight sliding its knife through the pines.

Alex Bell


The zugzwang he was trapped in, like a burning home,
squeezed on the centre. The room was dark and cold;
curtains drawn, the air so fomented, the entire flat 
retched from perpetual check; the doors gave cover 
to the wood wound howl of du Pré. He could trade
a pawn, but only underpromote. What would a Grandmaster
do, faced with a mating net, when even j'adoube seems to worsen
his defence? Begging for destruction, with one eye
on the two-faced clock, each stroke serving to issue
a warning of encroaching zeitnot. Rxf3:
some fancy Rook-work maintains a hold, but is premature.
He has strayed way beyond the two-hundred aids of The Chess Euclid.
A nightingale fills all the street with inviolable scream;
a call to see a man en prise, a failed scholar, a thwarted fool,
the king rolling on the grid.

John Canfield

Event Information and Venue

We continue at our new home of CB2 for Autumn 2017-Summer 2018. Events will be on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 8pm. Doors open from 7.30pm; ask for the sign-up sheet to secure one of our strictly-2-minute open mic slots. (N.B. it's first-come-first-served, though slots may well still be available at 8pm). All events are £5 / £4 concessions, payment by cash on entry. The venue is the lovely CB2 Bistro Café on Norfolk Street, which has a great bar/café where you can get all manner of drinks, cakes and savoury delights with a discount on meals for CB1 Poetrygoers. Here is our venue information page. Now, we realise there is a slight possibility of confusion, so to be clear... we are still called CB1 Poetry, but we are at CB2 Café and not at our origin/namesake of CB1 Café, formerly of Mill Road. Good to get that off our chest...