The ‘Poetry Unplugged’ Open Mic at the Poetry Cafe, Betterton Street, London

My visit to London for the Hammersmith Ram reading gave me another chance to visit my London open mic Mecca: ‘Poetry Unplugged’ in Betterton Street, in London and 29 poets (including my goodself) to listen to. Lots of tongue-in-cheek praise from the genial emcee Mr Niall O’Sullivan (, himself a master of the art, though
Betty Pearce and Niall O'Sullivan

he doesn’t showcase himself at all. This is very different from SOME emcees I’ve seen over the while. Is Niall too modest? (I ask myself). No. Just runs the open mic for the participants and doesn’t think he should get in the way.

29 poets, and so it is absolutely impossible to remember all. But I was very taken by Betty Pearce and her ‘It’s Complicated, Grandad’. Such an honest, no-holds-barred portrait of her grandfather: a man with a mass of faults who, in the end, comes across as being just another human being like the rest of us, faults and all. And written in the style of apostrophe, rather than in the ‘third-person’, and therefore drawing him closer to us… I can’t explain how good this poem was. Or how well she read it. You’d have to hear her. And it really was worth braving the very wet day to go in to hear it. Another young female poet (these young female poets are turning my head) called Cassy Wilson I found really good with a superb, long rhyming poem called ‘Reasons for Seasons’. This was, in a true sense, a beautiful poem. Lots and lots of other great stuff (‘too numerous to mention’) and the usual acerbic comments from the emcee about those who, ‘having vomited their genius’ during the first half of the show, leave during the interval. He praised those who stayed on as being London’s’ poetry ‘hard core’. Thanks, Niall. (I think).

If you are a poet, or even if you just THINK you are a poet, and you are in London on a Tuesday evening, you MUST go to this open mic. Be there about six-ish to get your name on the bill. Starts about 7.30. Full details on the UK Poetry Society’s website. See also Niall O’Sullivan’s site above.

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