The three events organised by Longbarrow Press as part of the inaugural Sheffield Poetry Festival were highly acclaimed and well-attended (with the Saturday events attracting capacity crowds). Death and the Gallant (an exhibition by the artist Paul Evans and the poet Chris Jones) was expertly introduced by Matthew Clegg, who offered some thoughts on the nature of ‘collaboration’; this set the tone for a reading, talk and discussion that was both tightly plotted and animated by wit and invention. For more information about the exhibition please visit http://bankstreetarts.com/exhibitions/death-and-the-gallant-2/
‘Collaboration’ was a theme common to the weekend’s events: we returned to Bank Street Arts in the evening for the keenly anticipated Yannis Told Us, a unique synthesis of poetry and music by Tria Kalistos (Kelvin Corcoran and multi-instrumentalists Maria Pavlidou and Howard Wright). This was the debut public performance of the work (and, indeed, the group); the level of communication between Corcoran, Pavlidou and Wright – and their connection with the audience – had many listeners thinking otherwise. Intimate, urgent and assured, the set was enthusiastically received by the packed-out room. Yannis Told Us will be released on CD by Longbarrow Press later this year.
The third and final event, Making It Up, was a specially commissioned talk by Kelvin Corcoran on the nature of dialogue (real and imagined) with other poets (living and dead). Corcoran’s discussion embraced the cultural politics of late modernism, the value of chance experience, and the primacy of song; a dialogue with a dead poet (Ezra Pound) led to a dialogue with a living poet (Peter Riley), with Corcoran and Riley closing the event with a joint reading that drew on Riley’s Alstonefield and Corcoran’s own response to reading the poem.
Many thanks to all who attended, supported and helped with the events; in particular, the Sheffield Poetry Festival team, Bank Street Arts, Matthew Clegg, and Karl and Hayley. Thanks also to Ian Gracey for photographing the Death and the Gallant exhibition.