Tuesday 17 September

John Clegg and Steve Xerri

The Blue Moon – 2 Norfolk Street, Cambridge, CB1 2LF
8 pm - Doors open 7.30 pm
sign up for open mic

John Clegg

 'I must have been waiting for a poet to fuse deep sincerity and irony, craft and process, the surreal and the historical, because I read this twice in one sitting, fizzing with jealousy. Clegg's poetry is a must.' (Luke Kennard)

John Clegg was born in Chester in 1986, and grew up in Cambridge. In 2013, he won an Eric Gregory Award for his first collection, Antler (Salt). His latest collection is Holy Toledo! (Carcanet) - 'a brilliant, uncanny frontier between the American West and the England of Empson, Davie and Woolf'. He works as a bookseller in London.

The Lasso

That I had time to think, I still have time
not to correct my grip but drop the rope
before the lasso fell and yanked away
the loop I'd somehow nocked around my thumb.

That I had time to notice I could think
and that the time to think in was reserved
for thought, like hours in a monastery.
I knew, because I saw and still held on.

That I had time, time sinking like the rope
around the moment's neck, and I had thought
like slackness in the rope, the little loop
that half a moment's tension would wrench true.

That I had time and then the time was taut.
My thumb, erratic firework, shot past,
and in the time reserved for me to breathe
I swear my wrung hand tightened on the rope.

Steve Xerri

A poetry of dense moments and profound transformations – work of lyrical intensity and philosophical seriousness. (Ian Sansom)

Steve Xerri is a former teacher, musician & designer. He was Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year 2017 and his work has appeared in many print & online publications including Acumen, Amaryllis, Atrium, Brittle Star, Clear Poetry, The Clearing, Envoi, Ink Sweat and Tears, The Interpreter's House, Picaroon, The Poetry Shed, and the Poetry Society Newsletter.

Thinking on Coldhams Common

With one genetic script to write
every tapered grassblade, plus
a single rule-set describing
the forces that shape each
dewdrop, you could generate
this entire wet grassland –
a mass of rhyming forms that catch
unnumbered samples of sunlight
and make diamond of them on this
ordinary Tuesday morning.

As my toecaps trace a diagonal
through line after line
of tussocks, I almost collide
with a boy wheeling his bike
towards me, slurring dark trails
into the field’s brightness, his eyes
hidden by mirror-shades, head
lost in a blizzard of treble spilling
from his earbuds. For the record,
neither of us says a word.

(First published in The Clearing  https://www.littletoller.co.uk/the-clearing/four-new-poems-by-steve-xerri/ )