Brenda's body rub to the rescue in injury time at Licensed to Rhyme
Organised by Midlands poets Spoz and Maggie Doyle, and ably aided and abetted by Fergus McGonigal, Licensed to Rhyme has set out to bridge the gap between events in the cities of Birmingham and Worcester, and bring poetry to Bromsgrove.
The April event found itself sideswiped by balmy spring weather, the Easter break, two of its three headline poets – Heather Wastie and Peter Wyton – crying off on the day because of injury and illness, and the absence of regular host Spoz. Faced with this perfect storm, many nights would have thrown in the towel. Licensed to Rhyme bravely soldiered on, offering its audience a range of confidently delivered open-mic spots. Nigel Hutchison and Kathy Gee contributed their thoughtful, measured poems, Sharon Carr brought us traditional storytelling, and John Lawrence’s recollections and reflections on growing up in a Salvation Army family – ‘Cornet Player on the run’ in particular – were witty and beautifully observed.
This left us with one single headliner to close the night instead of the usual three, and the LTR audience were fortunate to be treated to a veritable tour de force from Tewkesbury poet Brenda Read-Brown. The former poet laureate of Gloucestershire took the opportunity to perform a selection of new work as well as some perennial favourites. If you haven’t heard her warning about the dangers of using Fiery Jack as a body rub in the bedroom, you really should. Brenda is every bit as comfortable and adept sharing poignant observations on the impact of her mother’s death, while the wonderfully imagined tale of an older woman becoming the sensual and sexual focus of an unexpected lover is as good as anything I’ve ever heard. Catch her if you can.
Licensed to Rhyme is at the Artrix theatre, Bromsgrove on the second Monday of the month. Entrance £5.