on 27th October, Ian Parks, well known Yorkshire poet, is coming to read in Northwich Library, starting at 7.30pm. He will be introduced by me and followed by tea and biscuits and an open floor. I am very much hoping to have a bit of Hallowe’en flavour to the readaround, with this important date coming up. I love Hallowe’en and it’s always good to see the shops making a bit of an effort, like in Nantwich today where many displays provided hooks for the imagination. Hallowe’en is a chance to enjoy gothic stories and old ballads, to read M.R.James and relish the thrill of spooky things as the night draws in.
I will be reading some of the Hallowe’enypoems from The New Generation. Here’s one example:
We’ve made a pumpkin lantern
And fixed a candle within.
The apples are floating in a bowl
Treacle toffee’s cool in the tin.
Toffee apples are gleaming stickily,
stories wait to be shared,
Mum’s made a heavy parkin cake,
our costumes are fully prepared.
It’s nearly time for the party
and I’m straining up the lane
to see if anyone’s coming –
Yes, here’s Jennifer and Jane
One is dressed as a devil
in tights and cloak of red.
The other looks like a vampire
as pale as one undead.
Now here’s Meeta and Annabel-
a skeleton and a ghoul.
You’d never know so many spooks
went to our school.
There’s witches and wizards,
monsters, devils, ghosts and sprites.
Now it’s time for stories.
Turn off all the lights!
Now listen while mum tells us
about blood-sucking Loupgaroo,
the story of Janet and Tam Lin
and lots of others too.
Till our eyes droop in the candlelight,
our heads are full of dreams
and it’s time for friends to go back home
until next Hallowe’en.
Ian Parks: I know how good he is because I reviewed his first collection as I thought it was excellent – and he told me he quoted it on his next few books! He has several books available and one of them is a collection of his love poems. We are looking forward to meeting, and I hope many people will come to the reading. We don’t have many poetry events in Northwich, and we need to pull in a decent audience, or we will not even have these.
The evening ends at 9pm. So it is do-able for everyone, even if you have work the next day. The open floor is always a treat – and we even have a regular young poet who reads her work. Yes, the evening is suitable for family audiences – and after all, is IS half term!
The New Generation is published by SALT at £6.99, but Amazon have a really good deal at the moment. Do consider buying the book. Copies will be available on the night, along with books by Ian Parks: The Landing Stage (Lapwing 2010 £10) and Love Poems (Flux 2009 £7.95) Perfect for unusual Christmas presents.