I attended the launch of the Flarestack competition winners in Birmingham on Wednesday night. The venue was the marvelous Ikon Gallery.
There were about fifteen readers from the competition anthology ‘Sylvia Is Missing’, which includes Michael Conley’s surreal, funny and sinister poem ‘Aquarium’ from which the title of the collection is taken. We were also treated to excellent readings from the two worthy winners of the competition, David Clarke and Nichola Deane. As a contributor to the anthology I was given a copy on arrival, and as with all Flarestack products it really is a thing of beauty. I very much enjoyed reading to the audience in the gallery, surrounded by wonderful paintings and photographs, but as usual with these gatherings the highlight for me was meeting and chatting to poets including Jaqui Rowe and Meredith Andrea of Flarestack .
I liked a lot of what I heard and read, particularly Nicky Arscott’s poems. Given that her poems were so vital and visual it came as no surprise to find out that Nicky is a brilliant painter. You can see some of her work if you click this link.
You can read more about this event by clicking this link to David Clarke’s blog which also contains a link to Gary Longden’s review.