Maintenant: the avant garde at Poetry Parnassus

Without a doubt, the highlight of my week. The reading last night really brought together everything I feel I have been repeating over and again recently - that unpretentiousness and humility and community is the reason to be engaged in more than just a writing practise. The news of the death of James Harvey, a fine poet, a member of the avant garde poetry scene in London and a true and decent gentleman, brought into focus what matters - that if poetry does anything more than just bring people together in an atmosphere of exchange and expression and humour and intensity, then that is wonderful, but an excess. James had friends in poetry, and so last night was a gathering of friends, a circle that extended somewhat for one night to include poets from Mexico, Guam, the Cook Islands...but it was, palpably, a community. The room was completely full, they were turning people away because of health and safety limits and every poet on the bill was fantastic. It could not have been a warmer atmosphere and really left me with a good feeling about my involvement in the festival, which, if we're honest, is often contingent. The realisation was, that when things constrict, when it becomes about people as poets who you can reach and touch, communicate directly with, then the resonance is all the more, especially when their work is marked by innovation which in and of itself demands an attention to engagement and meaning as its defining mode. And it was an achievement to find a corner of this enormous festival and make it about a community that is often unfairly overlooked. Thanks to all who came.

the rest of the videos can be found at