Last night's Oxfam poetry benefit reading for Oxfam Unwrapped was a great success. I hosted the evening (and read three poems), and we had about 90-100 people in the shop. The poets were uniformly superb (okay some were very good and a few were excellent but I'm not telling) and in true pathetic fallacy mode, the London heat was broken by violent thunder and lightning - especially during Jamie McKendrick's and Alan Brownjohn's sets - and rain - which drummed on the large (and slightly open) skylight. Afterwards, Alan Brownjohn, Eric Ormsby , Robyn Sarah , Patrick Chapman and other fellow poets ( Leah Fritz and Alana Pryce for instance) and family and friends went out for wine and crepes, and we had a great and boisterous chat. Alan Brownjohn told me much about the legendary The Group - perhaps the key poetry workshop of the 20th century - led by Philip Hobsbaum , and which produced, among others, Peter Porter , Peter Redgrove , and Seamus Heaney - as well as Alan.
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