WORLD BOOK NIGHT
Which was held in the early evening of 23rd April 2012 which is not only St George’s day but also Shakespeare’s birthday and death day! These were some of the facts we learned from the host, Mark Llewellyn. Mark is no stranger to Oldham Library and is a charming, personable and entertaining host. The same could not be said about the first guest, the poet, Martin de Mello, from Commonword in Manchester.
Martin read from both his own published work and from poets who had influenced him. First of all, he was so nervous, his voice never went above muttering level and quite frankly I would not have wanted to declare that poetry loudly to the world either, it was trite and totally without soul. Dogma being for me the worst poem of all which dealt with road kill – mainly dogs – which occured near where Martin lives. He seemed to find this gruesome effort really funny, heaven help the animal lovers in the audience. Martin is a comtemporary poet but you could feel the audience’s discomfort while he was reading. When he finally finished his own poetry and went on to poets who had inspired him, they were marginally better but again Martin is no performer of poems and they were all read in the same, flat monotone.
The food and drink were lovely and provided by the new incumbant at the Cafe Culture, Naked Bean.
The second half featured women’s fiction author, Milly Johnson. She was a breath of fresh air after the dire first half and really entertained us with the story of how she became an author. She was obviously used to public speaking and was interesting and amusing. She invited questions from the audience and answered them all without any trouble. Mark rounded off the night and everyone filled in their feedback forms in exchange for a goodie bag of books. The evening was saved by Mark and Milly.
Oldham has so many published performance poets (of which I am one) who are excellent performers, so it was a great pity that Punam Ramchurn in charge of Literature Development made such a mistake in her choice. She did admit she had not heard him perform previously, a mistake we hope she will learn from. I hate to critisize a fellow poet but if you set yourself up as a poet and performer you have to believe in what you do and perform with passion as I do. Could I have done better, yes I could!