Jill Abram's Stablemates series brings together multiple authors who share a publisher, a list buddy reading for poets at the Poetry Cafe in central London. I had the chance to be part of a lovely evening thanks to Shearsman Books, who published my Guide to Being Bear Aware in 2017. The evening also featured Richard Georges and Geraldine Clarkson, who were both remarkable in their readings - Geraldine with a concentrated range of work, full of phenomenological detail and play with form, and Richard, visiting from the British Virgin Islands, whose poetry was intense, serious, sonorous and charismatic.
I talked a little about my suspicion of readings before I read, and how I've come to see them as valuable entirely for their sense of community and human exchange, that they are a live moment, edged, which is worthwhile as they are purely alive, and then I mentioned to the audience that I'd ask them after each poem I read, whether they liked it. Those that admitted they did were given the poem in question, torn from my book. It was great to begin some new friendships and see some old pals, and to be in an almost entirely 'poetry' environment, rare for me nowadays.