York is a hotbed of open mics: poetry & prose, writing workshops, storytelling events, music & poetry nights; you name it. I’m not even sure why: it’s as intellectual as any town with a university or two; it’s as normal as any Yorkshire city. Perhaps it’s due to its size: a town that claims to be a city is large enough to handle a wide range of events, but small enough that you can hear about them, get to them, and even mingle with regulars.
2012 has been a particularly great year for poetry too: from February’s call for a poem to be set to music as part of Ebor Vox and the 800 Anniversary weekend events; to poets busking in June as part of Buskival!, the City’s first celebration of the art of street theatre; to poets tweeting as the Torch was sprinted past; to the Council commissioning a volume of poetry in honour of York’s Charter Year.
Today is National Poetry Day and if York doesn’t seem to have anything exactly special planned, well, give her a break: York’s having a pretty busy Year Of Poetry.
Meanwhile, here’s what’s on for National Poetry Day in and around York, and in the surrounding towns:
Ilkley Literature Festival is in full gear! And as part of that, on Thursday for NPD, Ilkley Festival Fringe’s Poetry Alive! Open Mic, hosted by Ilkley’s Poet in Residence will celebrate at Ilkley Moor Vaults, 2 pm – 4.30 pm. FREE! Come read, network and enjoy great poetry.
Also on Thursday 4 October, The Subtle Flame, Tiger Inn, Lairgate, Beverley HU17 8JG Car park, Ground Floor Access, Great Beer, Come Early to get a seat! First Thurs of the month except August, 8 pm for an 8.30 start, entry £2. Monthly competition theme: Underground.
Friday, at the Helmsley Arts Centre, as part of NPD and in the run up to the Ryedale Book Festival on 20th October, the Ryedale Poetry Roadshow is bringing an open mic to Helmlsey.
And as ever, the monthly open mics in York are:
The Spoken Word, Exhibition Hotel, 7.15 pm for 7.30 start, sign up on the night, never an entry fee. Meetings the first Tuesday of every month. You have just missed this month’s on Tuesday 2nd Oct, but we’re back on 6th November.
York’s very own Viking/Ghost Walk enthusiast/Storyteller, Adrian Spendlow offers a charming, low-key reading opportunity every second Tuesday a month, in posh Dean’s Court Hotel. If participants run low on their own work, Ade has a menu of tales to select from to enthral everyone. Free, sign up on the night, next meeting 9th October. I’m sure Adrian has some special tales planned for this Hallowe’en month.
Speakers Corner, Tap & Spile Pub, Monkgate, 7.30 sign up for an 8 pm start, Featured Poet: David Cooke (NOT to be missed!), £1 entry. Meets the second Weds of every month, next meeting 10th October.
So, grab up a pile of work: a handful of poems, a few short-short stories, and find one of quite a few local opportunities to share it out. Show up early; sign the Reading List, and wait your turn. Don’t fret that you won’t be ‘good enough’. Listen to the other writers. Read with confidence: only you have lived your own, messy, complex life. Enjoy yourself!
York: in poetry artwork and photographs, edited by John Coopey and Sally Guthrie, can be purchased through Stairwell Books.