Paul Stephenson, feedback   2 .4. 2018 Paul runs round Europe as if it were a school playground, and sometimes writes poems on the Eurostar. What you do when you get the call is take it … ‘Once given a seat today (not tomorrow because tomorrow is too late), what you do is pack, sit on a shell-shocked suitcase …’ On one level,’ Turkish Delight’ is about Byzantine Cathedrals, and yes, Turkish Delight. It’s also about words, immediacy, vision. About makng  space for the sub-conscious to flit free. We jogged to rhythms and repetitions in a lot of long lines. We roamed maps, dug into literature (Balzac) had glimpses of family life, especially fathers, in sentences cut and reformulated to a resonant tumble of words. Paul’s poetry is confident, contemporary and alive. He enjoys self- imposed constraints, tells tall tales, embroiders facts, leads us up the garden path with sometimes fabulous, preposterous journeys. Even his titles can be misleading. ‘The Baltic Woman’, for instance, might more accurately be ‘The Baltic as Woman’. Without the preposition, things were more exciting. Hot from Brussels, he read fourteen poems in the first twenty minutes, and the same number in his second spate. This was a lot to absorb. But fired by his playfulness, many bought his pamphlets to catch up, at a more leisurely pace, on what they might have missed.   * From the floor there were seven ‘Father’ poems, some of which filled us with compassion for these fragile creatures and their forgiving offspring. So now, lying there, next to mum Both of you cold and damp I can’t feel angry any more’ (John L, ‘My Father’) the thin skein / of this life / is best / left / where / it is (Pippa) A schoolmaster of huge energy and presence / though discipline over-shadowed love’ (Maureen) Both Pol and I saw our Pa in his asparagus bed. Evelyn chose a jingling grandfather poem (Map of Life by David Wood) . Peter W came with Paul Durcan’s inimitable ’10:30 a.m. Mass, 16 June 1985’ It’s Father’s Day – this small, solid, serious, sexy priest began - And I want to tell you about my own father … If there was one thing he liked, it was a pint of Guinness: If there was one thing he liked more than a pint of Guiness It was two pints of Guiness.’ Nigel brought Thomas Hardy’s ‘The Choirmaster’s Burial’, a father- figure whose death becomes mythical. Almost in harmony, was Alice Oswald’s engagingly lyrical ‘A Short Story of Falling’ from Jill and Owen’s daughter, Anna. which is the story of the falling rain that rises to the light and falls again.’ More sobering was Daphne’s ’Leave to Remain’, a poem from the current Magma in which a chaffinch stands in as metaphor for an immigrant waiting for UK citizenship. Here he lies, off the list, ruffled fluff on olive green flight feathers stiff … Or Peter Smith’s ‘Easter Sunday morning poem of 1938’ by Bertolt Brecht: My young son / drew me to a little apricot tree by the house wall / away from a verse in which I pointed the finger at those / who were preparing a war … In silence / we put a sack / over the freezing tree.               * On May 12, I hope you will bring North Norfolk poems to the Open Mic in Wells Maltings as part of the Sea Fever Lit. Festival  * In the meantime, keep an eye on www.saltmarsh