Another excellent and uplifting Loose Muse last Wednesday evening at the Poetry Café. The featured writer in the first half was Patricia Foster. A poet and educator, Patricia performed her poems with great charm and presence. Many of her poems draw on her Jamaican heritage and celebrate her close bond with her family. The Broomstick relates an event from her mother’s childhood and delicately evokes a child’s bewilderment in the face of domestic violence. Patricia dedicated My Brother’s Best Friend to Stephen Sutton, the teenage cancer fundraiser, who sadly died earlier that day. Her poem deals with a similar bereavement, again from a child’s perspective, in simple and poignant detail. She ended her set with Grandad, recited against a reggae soundtrack, a magical account of her first – and only – meeting with her grandfather. The warmth of her poems was matched by her beautiful delivery.
Joolz Sparkes featured in the second half, and there was more music as she treated us to a couple of songs from her former girl band days. Girl band with a large dose of Goth, that is – I loved the menacing vibe of Vampire. Joolz also read a selection of poems from her in-progress collection Love Songs to London, Sick Notes to Oz. Her muse is London, in all its variety and sordidness and splendour, and this shines through in poems such as We live here and the magnificent Congregation kneels. She finished, fittingly, with Epitaph, a poem that never fails to send a shiver down my spine. A strong voice, great presence, meaty material. Reminded me why I live in – LOVE – London. And as well as these two talented writers, the open mic spots at the beginning of each half once again showed how many amazing women writers there are in this metropolis – and beyond.