Write Out Loud relives some memorable live poetry moments

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During the coronavirus shutdown Write Out Loud is looking back at some wonderful live poetry moments over the last few years … and re-running some of our favourite reviews to refresh memories, and to remind ourselves that this won’t last for ever. Here Julian Jordon attends an artistic event that was timely in 2016 - just after Donald Trump's election as president - and seems even more so in 2020....

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After Trump: an artistic and poetic reminder of America's Great Migration

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A week after the shock of America’s supposed liberal values being trumped by bigly bigotry, the country’s apparently ingrained red neck having been thus exposed, I had the privilege of attending an extraordinarily apposite evening at Washington’s The Phillips Collection, with poets Robin Coste Lewi...

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Poetry at the Parsonage, Haworth, 2016

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A new kind of poetry festival – certainly one that I haven’t seen before – was born at the weekend, in the “creative hotspot” of the Bronte Parsonage in Haworth, West Yorkshire.

In the same setting...

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Hollie McNish in Manchester, 2015

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I was expecting her to be polished and professional. I was expecting her to be entertaining and enthralling. What I was not expecting was to be laughing like a drain for the majority of her show. Holl...

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Simon Armitage in Washington DC, 2015

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Simon Armitage is famously from Marsden, as is Write Out Loud. I walked past his dad the other day, during my morning constitutional; and here I was attending his and Peter Oswald’s reading at the Fol...

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Jo Bell, London, 2015

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A journey through Jo Bell’s three years as canal laureate took place at Little Venice in London on Wednesday night, involving, among other things, kingfishers, dry docks, the enormous Caen Hill flight...

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Kate Tempest, Manchester, 2014

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I’ll be honest, dear readers, I expected to hate this performance at Manchester’s Contact theatre as part of the literature festival. There is so much hype and bluster around Tempest, what with a Merc...

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Wendy Cope, Folkestone, 2015

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Ted Hughes is said to have told Wendy Cope in 1992: “I like your deadpan fearless sort of way of whacking the nail on the head – when everybody else is trying to hang pictures on it.”

Cope is still...

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Elvis McGonagall, Teddington, 2014

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“Elvis,” compere Julie Mullen confided to her audience, “is in the building.” And what a building! “You did say it was deconsecrated?” the legendary resident of Graceland Caravan Park inquired later, ...

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Paul Muldoon and Don Paterson, Manchester, 2013

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The shadow of the late Seamus Heaney loomed large over this evening of poetry reading – he should have been there. As Don Paterson, sadly but brilliantly standing in for the maestro, told the packed a...

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Liz Lochhead in Devizes, 2014

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Scotland’s makar, Liz Lochhead, is trying out new poetry for her forthcoming Edinburgh show later this summer. Poems like ‘Song for a Dirty Diva’ might be suitable for the Fringe, but Devizes on a Sun...

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Joy France in Manchester, 2013

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Mention the word 'Joy' to any northern poet and they might well respond  “Balls!”, but not for the reasons you'd suppose.  ‘Balls’ just happens to be the title and subject matter for one of Joy France...

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JB Barrington in Manchester, 2014

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I Swear I was There, this third evening of poetry/comedy/music created and hosted by Salford’s own JB Barrington (aka WordsEscapeMe) at the Nag’s Head in Manchester, was packed to the gunnels. And rig...

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Luke Wright in London, 2016

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I first saw Luke Wright’s What I Learned From Johnny Bevan, which focuses on the broken dreams of the Tony Blair years, almost a year ago, at its debut performance on a Saturday lunchtime in Shropshir...

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John Hegley in Manchester, 2012

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The magnificently shabby surroundings of Gullivers in Oldham Street, Manchester, provided the backdrop for what turned out to be a hugely entertaining  bill on Wednesday night. The last time I scaled ...

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Roger McGough and Brian Patten, in Liverpool, 2017

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So, there I was, back in the city were I once spent three gloriously happy, if challenging years working and living; a city with a certain notoriety; a creative, canny, cocksure yet caring community; ...

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Carol Ann Duffy at Manchester literature festival, 2015

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An Evening with Carol Duffy at the Manchester literature festival was billed as the launch of the poet laureate’s first collected poems, but there was a slight hitch – no book. The German printer has ...

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Linton Kwesi Johnson and Hollie McNish in Liverpool, 2016

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Saturday night saw me taking the train into Liverpool to see one of my all-time heroes – the legendary Linton Kwesi Johnson. Even better, he was being supported by one of my more recent all-time heroe...

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