Write Out Loud relives some memorable live poetry moments

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During the coronavirus shutdown Write Out Loud has been 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's Greg Freeman's view of Tony Walsh's performance at Clapham Grand, a former music hall in south London, in 2015.

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Tony Walsh, London, 2015

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One of spoken word’s leading ambassadors and heroes, Tony Walsh, came down south from the north-west on Thursday night to tread the boards of a former Victorian music hall in London.

Walsh was topping a bill of novelists, musicians and poets at Book Slam, a popular literary night club that has be...

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Write Out Loud Poetry Jam, Marsden, 2016

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The annual Write Out Loud poetry jam at Marsden? That’s just another open mic, isn’t it? Well, no, actually. This is the fifth consecutive year I’ve attended the yearly shindig on the Sunday morning o...

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Lorna Goodison and Kei Miller, Manchester, 2014

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This Poets and Players event was staged as part of Manchester literature festival at the wonderful Halle St Peter’s, one of Manchester best performance spaces. There was such a big turnout, the pre-sh...

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International Poetry Reincarnation, London, 2015

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It was a day when the anecdotes just kept on coming. Allen Ginsberg was “very, very drunk, and quite angry that he had been kept waiting for so long” when he finally got up to perform at the first Int...

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George the Poet, London, 2014

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I missed George the Poet at Latitude after he sent word that he was stuck on a train.  On Wednesday night at Out-Spoken in the heart of Camden there came a message that he was delayed in south London....

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Roger McGough, London, 2014

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Roger McGough has any number of very funny poems.  As he explained at his reading at the Troubadour in London on Monday night, ‘Mermaid and Chips’ is “about pubescent longing – but mainly about chips”...

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Tribute to Seamus Heaney, London, 2013

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The world of poetry paid tribute in words and music to Seamus Heaney on Wednesday night at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, in a moving celebration of his work and life, with leading poets deli...

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Maxine Peake, Shelley's The Masque of Anarchy, Manchester, 2013

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As I started to write this I realised I had absent-mindedly typed The Masque of Energy - an apt Freudian slip after this fiery performance surged through the huge Manchester International Festival aud...

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Poetry bike tour, South Downs, 2016

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Six poets and two musicians on Tuesday set off on the first leg of a four-day, 100-mile poetry bike tour of the South Downs as part of an inaugural poetry festival stretching from East and West Sussex...

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Jackie Hagan, Manchester, 2015

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The force of nature that is poet and writer Jackie Hagan performed her show Some People Have Too Many Legs at Manchester’s Contact theatre to an adoring crowd of family, friends and fans. She said it ...

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John Agard, Portsmouth, 2015

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John Agard makes free with anachronisms – indeed, they are part of the joke. Arriving on stage in historic dress as Christopher Columbus, but with a shopping trolley, he extracts various items from it...

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Land of Three Rivers anthology launch, Gateshead, 2017

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Music and poetry collaborated to produce an unforgettable night showcasing the north-east’s regional pride and identity at the Sage in Gateshead on Friday, where musicians, dancers and schoolchildren ...

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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 e...

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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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