Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Stubborn Mule Orchestra

To Deal Library last night to attend a performance by the Stubborn Mule Orchestra, a trio of local poets who recently collaborated in the self-publication of a rather good collection of poetry. There was a good turn out for the event, which was held in the gallery, a corner of the building set aside for displays of work by local artists. Gary Studley, a member of Deal Writers as well as SMO, Canterbury Poets, Save As and several other local literary groups, emceed the evening.

First off was Luigi Marchini with three poems from the SMO collection including David (Before Goliath), a poem that effectively distils both the sense of Biblical destiny and the poet’s trepidation at opening the show: - today is that future./I rise to meet it/lyre in one hand/sling in the other.

Chris Hobday then read three of his poems, including the excellent Swamp Work, about the process of writing poetry: With a shovel and a good arm/you can shift the leathery top-slop/and get underneath, like a peat bog. Reminiscent of Seamus Heaney’s Digging, but without the Irish accent.

Then Gary performed his three poems. Of the three, Gary is the more confident performer and his poems are better suited to performance poetry. They are, perhaps, less subtle than those of his two colleagues, but in the delivery they acquired a gutsy passion. The highly personal Dear Grandad, Wish You Were Here is case in point: on the page it seems a peculiar piece; in performance it sparkles.

During the interval, members of the audience were challenged to write a poem of their own, inspired by several ‘unusual’ objects brought along by members of SMO, and quite a number did so. The second half of the evening was then a repeat of the first, with each of the SMO members reading three poems, but it was finished off with poems from the floor.

A good evening of contrasting but always entertaining poetry. Copies of the Stubborn Mule Orchestra collection are available at £4.00 from the following bookshops in Canterbury: Blackwells, Christ Church University Bookshop, Castle Arts Gallery. They are also on sale in Deal (including the public library) or direct from Luigi: luigimarchini@hotmail.com.


gary said...

Hello Paul!

I will say a proper, full THANK YOU to you and the other audience members as soon as I can. But in the interim, my immediate response is to THANK YOU personally for your support and article/piece on Stubborn Mule Orchestra.

Last night's event at Deal Library
was a thoroughly enjoyable evening for performers and audience alike. We are very grateful to Lynne and Bev for letting us use the gallery and its art as a very fitting stage for the night.

For me, a Deal resident, it was great to "bring home the bacon" as they say - all be it the vegetarian, Quorn option in my case - in the form of the SMO collection itself and the words and wisdom of my two friends and comrades in arms, Luigi and Chris.

We three had an excellent time, agreeing that the audience listened well, laughed, pondered and applauded enthusaistically in all the right places and were genuinely interested in our creations.

For SMO, the level of shared involvement and good humour of the audience were both great to see, and lead to some happy and thought provoking reponses to the object workshop. It was heart warming to see people who were first time writers, or whom hadnt read in public for years, put themselves forward for the consideration of their peers.We applaud all who wrote or/and read.

And finally, many thanks for your kind and well considered words on our writing. I love, in equal measure, writing and performing, and think you were accurate and fair in your asppraisals. sO, speaking for myself, Luigi and Chris, I would like to say MANY THANKS for your time and support, and see you at the next one. Happy blogging/tapping and scribbling/tapping!!! Gary.

Paul said...

Keep up the good work, Gary! Deal's very own Taylor Mali . . .