WONDERZOO presents THE COMMONS [anthology] book launch @Cawfee

Tonight WonderZoo celebrated the launch of The COMMONS anthology of prose and poetry. Many of the contributors were present to read their contribution to this bright, new & exciting publication. I refer to TOM BOULTON, ANDREW MARTIN, MERRIS LONGSTAFF, SAM RICHARDS, HEL B. SARAH ADAMS & KAT SAVAGE of course. The whole evening is available for your pleasure as a podcast so why not listen in? https://www.mixcloud.com/…/wonderzoo-the-commons-book-laun…/

Moreover copies of The COMMONS edited by Ŧhom Boulton and JOANNA MORGAN with artwork by ANDREW MARTIN are currently available for just £5!

However the evening was launched by the Robin Oliver In the past I have recommended Robin's collection OUTCRY and we were treated to two poems from the collection, I Have to Burn and T Day. Robin's writing aches with an uneasy blend of hurt and tenderness, agony and hope.

Caitlyn Barrow played the ukulele and sang four songs divinely. Don't take my word for it, listen to the podcast. Margaret Corvid read out four beautifully crafted rhyming poems which included railing against Thatcher [The Bare Bones] to rhapsodising about Corbyn, from a Woman's Right To Lose Her Temper to sitting up In The Middle of The Night. The scope of Margaret's writing and craft knows no bounds. Always a delight.

Andrew Martin designer of the cover of THE COMMONS anthology read out a couple of poems not included in the collection including five astonishing pieces on pigeons. Yes you read that right. Check-out the podcast.
Merris Longstaff read out three original pieces, only one of which, Black Woman, was included in THE COMMONS.We learnt that MERRIS is anti-Brexiteer in her poem Brexit and that we 'all belong to the family of man' in her last poem entitled New Age. MERRIS is a unique and powerful voice that needs to be heard and raised and boosted in these raucous times.

Sam Richards a major driving force behind the publication of THE COMMONS, read out a couple of discursive pieces he contributed to the collection and concluded with Songs Of Perfidious Albion or was that Sons of Perfidious Albion? Better check the podcast. I'll say it again, Sam. Inspired writer, accomplished musician, gifted lyricist, indeed a creative catalyst and polymath. And a very nice fella, too.

Hel Bee read out This Is Not A Suicide Note which is also to be found in THE COMMONS collection, as well as a newly composed poem entitled Amanda and the very raw Scar Tissue. HEL B is a powerful performer and unambiguous poet as well as a fierce advocate for radical change to our collective consciousness. Listen to the podcast to hear her tell it.

DANNY STRIKE read out five delightful poems. My favourite was the Lady In Sevillia, a tale of love from afar, literally and metaphorically. Danny writes in Celebration of Love and concluded with a eulogy for Lewis, a dear lost love. Utterly compelling.

Sarah Adams also contributed to THE COMMONS anthology reminding us of the ghastly events endured by very many ordinary Syrians as war reigns down from Angry Skies. She reminded us too of our oft overlooked polluted environment with Seaweed Solutions. SARAH is a committed activist and her writing is impassioned, riven by a belief that the world could be a better place. Now.

Brian Herdman was in tip-top form. He recited only two poems but the second one, A Misanthropes Lament, had us in stitches. You have to listen to this on the podcast unless you happen to be poet, a parent, a priest, a gardener, a vegan, a cook, a musician, an artist, a banker, a politician, a constable, a doctor or a nurse. It all makes sense the way BRIAN tells it but check-out the podcast and all will be revealed. A highlight of a terrific evening. For me, at any rate. Hilarious!

Kat Savage is a live wire. Although a contributor to THE COMMONS she read out three startling poems, her first was entitled Youth [antithetically about ageing] the second was a rapture in praise of the clitoris and lastly a reveal concerning a failed love affair, entitled Mirror-Mirror. KAT [a.k.a. fierce sister] is a humorist & fearless writer, performer and agent provocateur. Get to see her.

TOM BOULTON was of course editor-in-chief for THE COMMONS. He was also our headline act and, for much of the evening, an excellent master of ceremonies. This is his fourth year as Plymouth's Poet Laureate and he has a wonderful talent and is a creative dynamo throughout the city. TOM concluded the evening by invoking to goddesses, Discordia & Arcadia. The former is the Greek god of strife and the latter is an bucolic refuge and TOM leaves in no doubt where he would like to be. Discordia is truly repulsive whereas Arcadia seems just out of reach. Who would have thought that at the end of this truly magical evening we would be left “split in twain like a two prolonged fork” [to quote Mr. BOULTON]

I must thank Pete DAVEY, Gabi Marcellus-Temple Helen Moore Chiori Bennett Jackie Wacha
and the staff at CawFee for arranging this great event as well as all the performers for their wonderful contributions and HIPPY for doing the sound expertly and arranging for the podcast. Lastly our thanks to Tom BOULTON & Joanna MORGAN for editing this fine collection, Andrew MARTIN for the cover artwork, and creative consultants, Sam RICHARDS and the great William Telford. Well done, everyone! O and buy a copy of The COMMONS for goodness sake.