Write Out Loud's poetry jam: an eye-opener for a reviewer

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There are poets who win the glittering prizes, and there are poets who head out of the door before the end of gigs if events don’t turn out to their liking. And then there are the poets who have no dreams of greatness, who do it for the love, and the sense of community they gain from it. Such a wealth of poets were gathered at the Railway on Sunday morning for Write Out Loud’s Poetry Jam at Marsden jazz festival. My colleague Judy Gordon is a fellow journalist who has reviewed a number of big poetry events for Write Out Loud in the last few months. But this was her first open mic, and it was a bit of a revelation to her. This is what she said about it:

“The range of poets and ages at the morning session in the welcoming Railway pub was an eye and ear-opener.  They were all there - the young, the older and plenty my age. Men, women, boys, girls, the experienced, the learners, the confident, the nervous, the proud, the modest, the loud, the whisperers, the gentle, the threatening. The quality of the work was the most startling thing – all extremely good, some outstanding and yet more simply astonishing. And the subject matter? How about a football, a lonely whale, child neglect, psychopaths, sex, sheds, a mining disaster, retirement, factory work … it went on and on and was a joy from start to finish.”

Many of the readers at the poetry jam were members of Marsden Write Out Loud who had been polishing up their poems at two sessions with compere Julian Jordon in the runup to the festival. It would be impossible to list all those who read. But mention should be made of Jean Bennett’s ‘Lullaby’, a chilling yet compassionate look at a recent, horrifying news story, John Coopey’s poignant tribute to the dead colliers of Houghton Main, the talented contributions of young Theo Ayres and David Coldwell, the journey made over the Pennines to be at Marsden by Maggie Waker, pictured, and the warmth and laughter generated by so many poems.

Talking of the Pennines, it was good to see that so many Write Out Louders from the north-west had made the journey across, including Isobel and her sister Cate, Gordon Zola, Paul Blackburn and Gus Jonsson. Write Out Loud’s Poetry Jam notched up its fourth year at Marsden on Sunday. It was a pleasure to be there, and to be part of it. 

Julian Jordon adds: The Poetry Jam has become the annual showcase for the work of Marsden Write Out Loud group, as well as jazz festival attendees, showing the fantastic talent among the nation's secret writers. I am dead proud of the care and attention that went into this year's poems, as the review mentions. And we fill the pub at 11.00 on a Sunday morning with poetry lovers and poets, and poetry of the people, by the people. In fact, the landlord has asked if we could please start earlier next year, or finish later.


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Julian (Admin)

Fri 8th Nov 2013 11:54

I have been remiss in commenting and thanking everyone without mentioning the essential contribution and support of Diane Green and Kirklees Libraries who fund the pre-jam workshops and this event.
Diane has been key to the development of the Marsden monthly poetry group and our successes at the Jazz Festival. Although some of this work is part of Diane's vital role as reader development officer for Kirklees, much of it is not and is done voluntarily and in her own time.
She was particularly keen for us to run the workshops, which aim to encourage prospective Poetry Jam performers to experiment, produce new work and get tips and hits for improving performance. And, as has been made plain above, it helps create a wonderful atmosphere.
A special thinks too, to Isobel for her continued support, not just of the jam but of the website through her work as a member of the Write Out Loud team.

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Sat 19th Oct 2013 10:11

A lovely review Greg - by yourself and Judy, who it was a pleasure to meet.

I do think the quality of the readings was quite remarkable, especially given the fact that some had only recently taken up the challenge to write poetry.

How rewarding it must be for Julian to see all that happen and know that he was the impetus.

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Julian (Admin)

Thu 17th Oct 2013 10:50

Jude, thank you for a wonderfully written review which captures the spirit of our annual feast of poetry that the Poetry Jam has become.
Such quality indeed. A mighty thanks to all involved, including all the poets who really stepped up, those who came to listen so attentively; and I particularly want to thank Greg and Drew for the hard work they put in behind the scenes (offers of gofering help for next year welcomed).
Viva la poesia!

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David Coldwell

Wed 16th Oct 2013 10:20

Really was a fantastic session with such a great family friendly atmosphere. Thanks for the review, Judy and Greg.

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