SPOKEN WORD

Canal Laureate Jo Bell will perform at the November Red Shed Readings.

Waxing poetical in the shed once more

Another winter of words (and a bit of music) beckons in the district's most culturally-sound ex-army hut…

After a summer to recharge their creative batteries or whatever, Wakefield wordsmiths the Red Shed Poets are once again convening on the first Thursday of each month at the city's Labour Club – better known by the aforementioned name which makes reference to its colour/political persuasion and sectional timber construction.

The Red Shed Readings stick to a simple format comprising a presentation by a guest poet and a musical interlude, after which the floor is thrown open to anyone who fancies taking to the mic and performing a few words of their own.

According to organiser John Irving Clarke, the sessions are governed by two unwritten rules: on no account must any degree of pretension creep in, and elitism is equally forbidden…

The November meeting, on Thursday 5, should be a good one, featuring Sheffield-born archaeologist-turned-poet Jo Bell, who in 2012 was created the first Canal Laureate by the Poetry Society and the Canals and Rivers Trust (appropriate, since she lives on a canal boat), while there will also be contributions from Richard Harries and Stuart Graham.

John Irving Clarke said: “The readings have been running for some eight years now on the simple premise that offering an audience the opportunity to listen to poets of some renown alongside a musical act and then throwing in an open mic constitutes an evening's entertainment. It works.

“The quality of the writers who have appeared at the Red Shed Readings is testament to that and so is the quality of the open mic. Audiences appreciate the unpretentious nature of the event.

“Entry fees are kept to a minimum and a financial balance is maintained by the annual poetry competition, which draws entries from the whole of Britain and beyond.

The Red Shed is on Vicarage Street, sessions start at 7.30pm and entry is £4 (£2 concessions).

The December readings, on Thursday 3, will feature Steve Pottinger, Charlotte Ansell and Anarchy in the Ukulele. Find out more at www.currockpress.com/the-red-shed-readings.

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