Poetry at the heart of Hull with Vicky Foster and Matt Nicholson

Two poets Vicky Foster and Matt Nicholson, two new poetry collections Changing Tides and There and Back To See How Far It Is, poetry in between, all hosted by the fabulous Genevieve L. Walsh (Firm of Poets, Spoken Weird) 

Confirming that she must be self-taught, there’s not a trace of anything familiar in the way she constructs songs, that strange reverse strum, the odd note picked out that startles, the tempo shifts, it’s all very refreshing: not a bedroom warbler. There’s a new EP coming from Katie Spencer that will doubtlessly be challenging and strikingly original, as this brief musical intro.

Vicky and Matt both Hull authors, both published by King’s England Press which is owned and ran by former Newbridge Road resident Steve Rudd: the books are part of a group of titles called The Humber Sound, the third in the series is called Fish Town and was written by Rudd himself.

After just eighteen months Vicky Foster has developed into a voice of some note: her honesty and plain-spoken verse, coupled with a clear sense of pride in her roots, has made her stand out against the nay-sayers with their ready supply of stock phrases and barbed comments.

Her poems read like pages torn from a scrapbook, scattered with memories, yet acutely aware of change. Sat in Minerva Pub by the Humber, you can feel the sense of history, the presence of all those who have made this place their own: the poem ‘Why I love where I live’ connects the generations to this spot, then allows each life to spiral out into the city streets where it may.

In the poem ‘Smiggy’ – a tribute to a friend, the line ‘tumbling like carefree stigs’ jumps out from the page, immediately painting a picture of rag-tag teens, looking for a place to land. Vicky she holds the heart of the city… I heard someone say after.

Matt Nicholson’s was not a voice I immediately warmed to, I had readily tarred him with the blokey poetry brush, with watered down lessons in local history. After a number of listens I found my opinion changing. Now I marvel and am rather envious of the surreal imagery he creates and penchant for a delicious turn of phrase, ‘braille of a plucked chicken’s wing,’ anyone?

19 Years portrays the misery and discord of lost love and addiction, the gutter and the grave, where as now in philosophical mood the vagaries of that enduring past time the argument are explored in The Back of My Hand. There’s roughness and tenderness, state of the world and violin girls.

Making use of every opportunity they can, both have travelled across the region to perform at poetry nights, gaining experience, developing their craft and mixing with other poetic folk. Having put some hard graft in, it is good to see their books being readily picked up tonight by the punters inside Kardomah 94.

Matt’s latest poem and arguably his best, he saves for last The Straw House takes that surreal edge and cuts away the architecture in hierarchical layers, there’s imaginative use of my favourite device alliteration in, ‘poets with paper cuts from promissory notes’ that speaks directly to the precarious act of trying to exist by way of creative talents alone.

Find both titles at: http://www.kingsengland.com

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