David Morley: a wilde thing

The launch of Professor David Morley’s latest poetry pamphlet ‘The Night of the Day’ organised by Nine Arches Press enjoyed a more electric atmosphere than the average poetry reading.

Monday night’s event, held at Wilde’s wine bar and restaurant brought together bright-eyed students, seasoned professionals, associates of local poetry presses and drunken hecklers in a cosy and noisy environment.

Professor Morley, director of the Warwick Writing Programme, confesses he had to change his set for the night to cope with the difficult audience and acoustic. Fuelled by good wine the hot tipped heckling tripped off the tongue in strange allure with the poetry, but all the poets admirably rose to the occasion. When asked about the heckling Professor Morley explained, ‘I found it more amusing than annoying, in a strange way better than Ledbury’.

Indeed the homeliness of the venue added dynamic and certain genuine touches, with an enjoyable informal edge that for example permitted the headline act to pop out for twenty minutes to read a bed-time story to his youngest.

The other guest poets gave equally charged readings. An open-mic slot drew out a handful of impressive Warwick students and the Nine Arches Press fielded some of their regular names including Matt Nunn, Simon Turner and the event coordinator Jane Commane.

Commane followed suit in a sense in reading poetry in dialogue with the Brontes, based on her experience at the Howarth Parsonage, echoing the material Zoe Brigley read at the Capital Centre in the summer term. Other highlights included a quizzical attempt at fusing rap and poetry, the principle of which caused general excitement, but in practice the poet seemed mostly to engender bewilderment on a good half of the audience.

The new limited edition pamphlet is released this month, it represents a twist back to the darkness of David Morley’s earlier work. The pamphlet successfully interweaves key notions of shadow, personal relationship and travel, available from Nine Arches Press, £5.


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