How to Grow Matches lights up the Poetry Cafe

SarahLeavesleyWhat a great evening and launch of Sarah Leavesley’s How to Grow Matches at a packed Poetry Cafe last night.

Sarah treated us to a selection of inspiring poems from the pamphlet, including the title poem originally published in Magma, where she asked us in its introduction to ‘imagine a female revolutionary leader in the workplace’ –

How to grow matches

Take the long matchsticks:
those like pink-tipped bulrushes,
those Gretel’s step-mum
might strike to light her oven.

Snap one – like a sharp blow
sideways behind a man’s knees.
Then another and another
for each jibe or slight.

Note how easily the wood splits
after years of hidden anger.
A felled forest at your feet,
and still the pile grows!

Lay the toppled pieces
against each other’s thinness,
rested on crumpled paper.
Now you have a bonfire.

Don’t think of Moses,
not Guy Fawkes or Jeanne d’Arc,
but of waking every day
to stroke your curves

into those clothes,
hip-sways and lip expressions
condoned for your office
as a woman.

UndercurrentsAgainLondon Undercurrents, Joolz Sparkes and Hilaire, entertained us with poems about strong feisty women. A particular highlight was their poem in the voices of the opera-mad Cook sisters, Ida and Louise, whose musical travels took them to Nazi Germany where they were roused to do extraordinary things to help some Jewish families escape.

LindaLinda Black read eloquently from her collection Slant, published by Shearsman books in 2016, taking us into a strange and magical world with a range of poetic techniques, including collage poems where other people’s words are cut up and re-assembled to make something new.

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