Posts By: Nicholas Elliot

As good as it gets: August's La Mama Poetica

DISCLAIMER: This is not a review from a person qualified, or even asked to give one. Just my unreliable impressions of a night of great poetry.

I want to tell you about the August 16 LA MAMA POETICA NIGHT because I was uplifted – I got three poetic inspirations as I whistled my bike back home.

First off, it was a great pleasure to sit back in the arms of four accomplished poets. You knew that they would not let you fall and you could really get wrapped up in their works. I felt glad to live in the city and amongst the people that nurture them.

Alana Kelsall read her poems sitting down. At first she pretended she was going to recline full length. I got a mental picture of Titian’s ‘Venus of Urbino’ (the pose, not the being naked). Being read to from a bed or a couch would have suited her poems: they flowed easily and simply, relaxed and in a manner that might lull a child to sleep. But her imagery is evocative, dreamy and perceptive. I particularly remember and liked her poems about a woman who wasn’t a Bond girl – which played vividly in my mind like a Bond movie. In fact the Bond imagery irked me a bit whilst I was hearing it, but now I think it was very clever and wonder how she managed it. And one about Wallis Simpson. She is a person I’ve only known about through one sentence remarks in the press “the American divorcee who captured the heart of a king…” but who, after Alana’s poem, I was glad to know a lot better.

Sam Ferrante’s spot was a complete contrast. She was energetic, animated and emotional, and she used the whole stage: dropping paper sheets of her poems around the place, climbing an imaginary ladder to a bunk bed and taking off and putting on her boots. Her stand outs for me were her first poem written from the perspective of her six year old self – her portrayal is vivid and convincing and made me think her kid self is within easy reach of he