Warm, edgy, inspiring Loose Muse in Manchester: what's not to like?

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Women were on the loose at this open mic night of poetry at Manchester's Three Minute Theatre, a wonderful venue, on Monday 3 March. Held under the umbrella of the established and expanding Loose Muse and celebrating International Women’s Week, it was backed by Commonword/Cultureword.

Guest poets Maya Chowdhry and Suzanne Batty (who gets a pat on the head from me for her poem inspired by the locally famous GayLyfe Pets and Aquatic shop) offered their unique takes on life. They couldn’t be more different if they tried. But they were given a run for their money by a string of warm, edgy poems by women who just oozed inspiration. Subject matter ranged from memories of mums and grannies, being gay, spotting the love of your life (possibly) at a rave, Barbie at Tesco’s, unicorns (and vodka), schooldays, lovemaking, building a flat pack tiger and much more.

Some poems were old favourites, some written in or after workshops, others were so new they had no title and were clearly works in progress. All were a treat for a sell-out audience of fellow poets, friends and those who simply love poetry. The open micers included Carol Robson, Angela Smith, Janet Watson, Natasha Borton, Lynn Myint-maung, Vanessa Fay, Emma Decent, Rosie Garland, Joy France, Sahera Parveen, Sarah L Dixon, Genevieve Walsh, Rebecca Audra Smith, Emma Wootton, Jennie Bailey, Sarah Miller, Anna Percy, and Sarah Logan. A unique venue, a warm, welcoming atmosphere, and glorious female voices, generous and sharing. What’s not to like?

As Joni Mitchell’s Hejira played during the warm-up, there was a terrific slideshow of iconic women, among them American poet Audre Lorde saying: “Women are powerful and dangerous”. And as host poet Steph Pike exclaimed joyfully at the end of the evening: “Can women write? Yes, they fucking can!”

Judy Gordon

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