Hive review (or how Alan Brownjohn is a really kind man)

Image result for alan brownjohn

Things never go to plan, however that can make life more interesting and beautiful.

On the day of the event I was contacted by Fiona Sampson and David Caddy who were both unable to make it due to illness. However, after some frantic ringing around, Fiona was able to secure a replacement poet: Alan Brownjohn. I was so grateful to her for helping me in this way because I was having a small panic about being two poets down with only six hours to go until the first Poetry at the Hive event.

Despite the last minute request, Alan got on a train from Paddington and headed to Worcester to read at the Hive. I picked him up from Shrub Hill and I knew it was him from a distance because he was wearing the best suit and hat in the station; an outfit suited to a poet. He was such a charming, kind and interesting man, I felt lucky to chat to him about the city and my own writing.

It was a warm evening and the Hive looked good in the last bit of sunshine. Golden and slightly ridiculous. I know some people hate it but I really like the building. I think it is opulent and inviting. The gold glows on the skyline from miles away and I like the contrast it makes with the ancient cathedral.

The evening went well, at least each person I spoke to after really enjoyed it and I know that I had a brilliant time. Each poet had taken the theme of PLACE and chosen their poems to carefully reflect their interpretations of it. The three voices were quite different, which was very enjoyable from an audience point of view.

I won’t give a detailed review of the three poets and what they read because I wasn’t sat there taking notes. I was sat hanging off each word, absorbing the images and emotions. I was being a poetry geek; I just love words!

Each poet was marvelous though. Martin Malone moved through the different landscapes he had lived in and he has a way of capturing an image though his words that makes it very vivid. He is a confident and assured reader and we were lucky to hear some of his new poems. Alan Brownjohn, despite having to pick his poems that day, had still made sure they all related to the theme. What a star! I enjoyed his reading very much, especially his poem about Reykjavik. I liked how realistic his poems were, capturing human relationships and interactions but with a surreal edge which appealed to me., Angela France was as brilliant as the first time I heard her read at Much Wenlock. I do love her poetry because I find a lot of things in the words that I can identify with. Living in a Shire, rural traditions. Angela also told us about her time spent with Laurie Lee when he an old man, which was a wonderful anecdote to share with us.

Two poets who were in the audience reviewed the night:

Claire Walker

Nina Lewis

The next Hive event is on the 9th May, 7.30pm: Poetry and Pollination, tickets can be brought on the door.




Poetry and Place at the Hive

The Hive, Worcester

On April 11th there is the first of three poetry events happening at the Hive. The events are organised as a collaboration between the University of Worcester, Ledbury Poetry Festival and the Worcestershire Lit Fest and Fringe.

There will be four  poets on the 11th, all for the amazing price of only £5 a ticket. The event starts at 7.30pm and tickets can be purchased from the Hive. It is a great chance to see some brilliant regional poets read in Worcester.

‘Four  poets with assured and distinctive voices for whom ‘place’ is not just the geographical or natural environments that inform the poems but also the human histories that unfold there, the people who are part of the landscape and part of the poem.’

David Caddy

Fiona Sampson

Angela France

Martin Malone


The next event is May 9th ‘Poetry Pollination’ and will feature Sarah James and myself, with guest slots available. Please email me at if you would like a reading slot. It is 7.30pm and costs £5. The Hive made us think of bees and pollination: ‘To transfer poems from one to another.’


The last event is slightly different, a Thursday night and the start time is 7pm. Carol Ann Duffy will be reading from her book, The Bees. Ticket price is £10.


Tickets can be purchased in person from The Hive, Level 1 Information Desk or by phone from the University of Worcester Arena. The phone number for booking enquiries at the Arena is 01905 54 44 44. They can also be purchased from the Arena reception in person. Arena Box Office 9am- 4.30pm