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Red Door Poets II

by on 25 January 2022

Classy Openings

Red Door Poets II

Red Door Poets, Chelsea, On-Line, 23rd January

Review by Heather Moulson 

Knocking and waiting outside that rather smart front door in Chelsea is rather unenviable in January when the temperature is knocking on zero.  How much more comfortable to do so from home, where we can wait in spirit, or rather in screen images and voices.

With sixty plus attendees, we were all looked forward to knocking on the Red Door for another hour of poetry with the first presentation of 2022 from this accomplished group of strong prolific poets.  

Red Door Poets II opened with musician Chris Hardy from Little Machine (who supports the wonderful Roger McGough) making a slick introduction before the door quite literally opened.  And what did we see?  We saw a sea of talent.   

Geraldine Clarkson

The first Red Door member to emerge was poet Katie Griffiths.  Her acclaimed collections include The Attitudes and My Shrink is Pregnant.  Katie, reading beautifully, gave us the insightful and quirky God’s View of Smoking, among other clever pieces. 

Katie introduced her own guest, the prize winning Geraldine Clarkson, whose own collection Crucifox had also been highly acclaimed.  One of the truly personal pieces Geraldine read was the striking The Flowers You Gave Me Started Speaking, leaving us wanting to hear more of this poet. 

The second Red Door member, Gillie Robic, all the way from Miami, gave us the joy of The Walk of Light and The Ground Glass Windows amongst other strong and detailed pieces.  The poet read clearly from the heart and took us on a wonderful journey.  Come back soon, Gillie. 

Chris Beckett

Gillie’s own fascinating guest Chris Beckett shared his Ethiopian childhood with us and opened another door into a fascinating culture.  A past winner of the London Poetry Competition, he read from his collection Tenderfoot, including Sweetheart, and Elegy for a Thunderstorm.  These were read with atmosphere and passion. 

Third member Mary Mulholland was much anticipated and she moved us with Daisy Ring.  Bringing to life the ring from her late mother’s jewellery box, and the insight and history that opened up with this treasured possession.   

From Mary’s forthcoming collection, What the Sheep Taught Me, she treated us to How Sheep Tell Us So Much.   Mary also has a pamphlet written in collaboration with Simon Maddrell, and Vasiliki Albedo called All About Our Mothers.  Can’t wait for the launch, Mary, it sounds fascinating.   

Mary’s absorbing guest was Vanessa Lampert, a prize winning and razor-sharp poet.  Her current collection On Long Loan’is worth looking out for.  The superb Elegy For Two Placentas, and Ileostomy Ode moved us with two very different personal accounts.   An intelligent and clever journey. 

Red Door Poets II was superb evening of poetry by the classy Red Door Poets.  I can’t wait to knock on that door again. 

Heather Moulson, January 2022

Photography by Brian Fuller, Hayley Madden and Michael Laborde

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