It was another full house at Verse Matters in January, with 90 people squeezing into the Mugen Tea House for a night of solidarity and fantastic performances.
Abigail Ward got us started with a couple of her brilliant poems, followed by Norah Hamill‘s visceral and powerful poem, “In the Streets of Bolton“. Ingrid Hanson read for the first time, sharing a couple of inspiring poems about gender expectations and love.
Gav Roberts has supported Verse Matters from the beginning and is the best kind of person, as well as a phenomenal poet. His featured set at Verse Matters was moving and funny as always, and he had everyone laughing, crying and cheering. He closed with his powerful poem, “Put all Weapons Down” which everyone should hear. You can hear more of Gav’s work on Sheffield Poetry TV and also by going to the fantastic monthly Rotherham Open Mic Performance (ROMP) on the first Friday of each month.
The fantastic Break a Leg! duo, a guitar and clarinet ensemble made up of Chris Rust and Karen Hisom closed the first half with a wonderful song about Harriet Quimby, the first woman to gain a pilot’s licence in the United States. Buy the song, and hear more on the Break a Leg! website.
After the break I read “Blue Nails”, a poem about the early violence of gender norms and expectations on children. This was followed by a powerful set from the talented musician, Avital Raz, who was born in Israel and studied music in India for six years before moving to the UK. Dark and moving, Avital’s set moved from unexpected fairy tales to shocking ways of thinking about peace in the middle east. Recordings and albums are available on Avital’s website.
Chella Quint closed the night with her sparkling comedy show Adventures in Menstruating. Chella blasts the stereotypes which are still used by advertisers and the media, to break the cycle of secrecy and shame surrounding periods and menstruating. Chella’s #periodpositive campaign and long-standing zine is fantastic, and she even brought along some of her STAINS TM for the audience – to debunk leakage fear by turning the stain into an object of desire.
Thanks to everyone who cam along for creating a supportive space and to everyone who brought along donations for the S2 Foodbank. We look forward to seeing you at next month’s Verse Matters (4 February) for another awesome night of performances and solidarity!