Last night was the first Reading’s Poets’ Café for six months. The gap in the calendar was due to the refurbishment of South Street Arts Centre which is almost, but not quite, finished. However, despite a few improvements which are yet to be finalised, the venue we’ve been using for a good number of years is, once again, open for business and this is what I should have said on stage to A.F. Harrold but which, in the interests of time and because I’m shy, I didn’t.
I think I said, ‘Thank you for making Poets’ Café what it is today’, but I’m not sure if I said, ‘Thank you for trusting The Poetry Society’s Reading Stanza with it from now on’ and I certainly didn’t say that without Poets’ Café my poetry life would be a completely different thing.
I’m not sure what my poetry life would be like, but Poets’ Café was where I first read my work on a public stage, it has been where I’ve made lifelong poetry friends and where I’ve been lucky enough to hear the work of nationally renowned poets and the many and varied work of open mic poets which have enriched my life beyond measure.
I am honoured to be part of the team responsible for the next bit of Poets’ Café’s life and I just wish I’d had the wherewithal to say all this as I presented Ashley with his rather dubious-looking trophy which we’d had engraved with the words: ‘A.F. Harrold, Poets’ Café Host, 2004 – 2016’.
And so, if I could have last night back again, this is what I would have said!