Back home again after a quick trip to Wellington, where I was the guest poet at the April NZPS meeting.
The whole thing takes place upstairs at the Thistle Inn, which is a gorgeous old building on Mulgrave St. All timber floors and branching corridors and rooms tucked around corners and down passageways. Apparently it’s the oldest pub in New Zealand, and was the favoured local watering hole of a gentleman by the name of Te Rauparaha …
Anyhow, the whole night was great fun. A good mix of styles at the open mic, including a couple of people who were popping their poetry performance cherry. And my reading seemed to go down quite well, although as usual I had prepared roughly three times as much material as I ended up using (what can I say? I waffle spontaneously. I know, I know – such things have bitten me on the bum more than once before. But I don’t think I managed to offend anyone this time …). The press of bodies meant that the room got quite warm (umm … from there being quite a few people present, and the windows being closed), so I didn’t even need my famous Red Coat. But it did mean that at the end of the whole thing I was feeling pretty knackered, and only had time to touch down on my seat before Laurice got me back up front for a Q & A session. Which took a few moments to happen (the questions, not me hauling myself back upright and up front again), as they always seem to do, but then became Quite Interesting indeed. I think I managed to answer them reasonably coherently.
So a huge thank you to the seemingly unstoppable Laurice Gilbert for organising, and to all you Wellingtonians (and others!) who came along – it was great catching up with old friends, and meeting new ones. And if the receptiveness of the audience is any indication of such things, it looks like the Wellington poetry scene is in good heart. Not to mention spirit, voice, and hands.