Last month's Camaradefest delivered what it promised: an all-day extravaganza of poetry collaborations from some of the most exciting poets currently practicing in the UK and elsewhere. From its 2pm start all the way to a finish time of 10.30pm, the main ground floor space at the Rich Mix was a hub of conversation, connection, cross-pollination, mutual-inspiration - and much fun; it unravelled organically, facilitated by the genuinely positive atmosphere cultivated over time by series curator Steven Fowler.
For the piece we premiered that evening, Kimberly Campanello and I had taken as our theme objects placed on or intended for public display. And to deliver our collaboration we decided to go retro, and slow: we constructed a conversation through letters sent via An Post and Royal Mail, ending up (for now) with five letter-poems each. Our intention is to build on this collaboration and to present it, with its extensions, to other audiences.
I can't remember there being a mediocre or even a merely good performance. Boundaries were trampled on and territories queried. It was fairly clear to me that everyone had taken their place in the lineup fully aware of the quality that was bound to surround them. Still, it would be disingenuous to say that I didn't have favourites. In the order of their presentation, then, the pieces that stood out for me were from Zoe Skoulding & Ondrej Buddeus, Sophie Collins & Rachael Allen, Holly Pester & Emma Bennett, Sam Riviere & Joe Dunthorne, James Davies & Philip Terry, and James Byrne & Sandeep Parmar.
The entire video report of the event is available on Steven's YouTube channel.