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Poetry Masterclass at the Embassy Theatre


The woman who arrived late and sat beside me

did not have a copy of the poems but accepted an offer

to share mine. And so it began.


She referred to the presiding poet as Bill and,

before he’d begun to address himself to the first poem,

had taken a pen and scored briskly through three of its lines.


Audience feedback abounded. One woman down the front

wanted a simile rehabilitated as a metaphor, another

recommended the removal of the word ‘cocked’,


someone waving urgently from the back row requested

the addition of a comma. The woman beside me scribbled

no commas is GOOD on our copy of the poem.


And so it went, until the final line of the final poem drew forth

one final criticism for what appeared to be an unwarranted

change in tense. It’s subjunctive the woman beside me muttered.


As the poets shuffled from the stage I waited

in my seat, fannying about, fake-texting friends,

hoping she would give back the poems.


Leaving the theatre, I sidestepped a trike driven by a runaway toddler.

The mother’s face apologised for her girl, who, peddling hard,

was targeting the harbour at the end of the road.




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