I would be absolutely lying if I said I knew a single thing about ‘The Café Review’ before I attended the launch of the Summer 2017 issue a wee while ago. The journal is a sort of ‘grassroots’ poetry anthology released quarterly over in the United States. The reason I found myself at this event was because I wanted to become a better consumer of poetry, and this seemed like a good place to start.
I’ve never been quite so ‘with it’ with poetry as I have a myriad of other written mediums. Quite frankly I think it is a result of the mad man who taught me English when I was aged about 11. He was a big fan of poetry, I was not a big fan of him. I was quite content in my dislike of poetry until recently. Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey changed my mind completely. I decided I wanted to rediscover poetry on my own terms. Blackwell’s was hosting the launch of this Scottish poetry edition of the journal, so I would go along.
The event was absolutely packed and a huge number of attendees were poets who had contributed to the issue. The poets ranged from someone who looked about my age (though after some extensive googling he might be in his 30s??) to true veterans of the art. Those that have made a name for themselves in poetry, and some fresher faces. I had no fucking clue who a single one was. But they were all brilliant.
Turns out I like poetry to be read aloud. I don’t mind reading it myself, but when read to the audience in a lilting Scottish accent, it made the poems magic. This was particularly the case with those performed in Gaelic – I didn’t entirely understand them, but it felt good to listen (and luckily there’s some translations in the physical copy of the journal).
It was a lovely hour or so of readings, coupled with a lovely glass of wine (or two), and as always it made me feel lucky to have such events taking place just down the road from me.
I don’t know how much more Scottish poetry I’ll read after I’ve thoroughly gone through the issue. But I wouldn’t be surprised if I find myself googling some of the magnificent writers and ordering a collection or two. And I’m excited to keep looking into poetry more, and find a place for it in my literature-loving heart. After all, Rupi Kaur is releasing a new book soon…