Chemistry at The Chemic

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor
Poet Joe Williams
Poet Joe Williams

Chemistry at The Chemic Tavern, Leeds 29 March 2024 Entrance is free — Visit now

Leeds’ live literature regular Chemistry offers an exciting mix of open mic acts and invited headliners, this month poets Dean Wilson and Sarah-Clare Conlon.

A retired postie, originally from Hull, poet and painter Dean Wilson now lives in Withernsea on the East Yorkshire coast. His daily beach walks provide inspiration for his work, plus a regular supply of pebbles. The self-styled “Fourth Best Poet in Hull and Second Best in Withernsea” told the Poetry Society that he has always found the rhythm of walking conducive to poetry, previously composing in his head on his rounds before writing his work down back at home. His first volume of poems, Sometimes I’m So Happy I’m Not Safe On The Streets, appeared on indie label Wrecking Ball Press in 2016 and he has since published another two books – With and Take Me Up The Lighthouse – with the Hull-based publisher. He’s currently working in his first novel Don’t F**k With Me, I’ve Got Friends In The Bronte Society.

Yorkshire-born Sarah-Clare Conlon was writer-in-residence at Ilkley Literature Festival 2022 and Victoria Baths in Manchester, where she lives. In 2023, she premiered a specially commissioned show about the RSPB’s Emily Williamson to a sell-out Didsbury Arts Festival audience; in 2024, she is a contributor to Stockport Stories – specially commissioned short stories and long poems to celebrate the Town of Culture, with showcase readings featuring Sarah Butler, David Gaffney, Joe Stretch and Emily Yates at Rare Mags in Underbanks on 11 April and Mura Ma art gallery in Marple on 20 April. Her latest pamphlet Lune (Red Ceilings Press) is a Poetry Book Society Winter 2023 Selection. It follows Using Language (Invisible Hand Press, 2023) and cache-cache (Contraband), a Poetry Book Society Winter 2022 Selection, plus prose collection Marine Drive (Broken Sleep Books, 2022).

The guest poets will have books for sale, so bring your pocket money to help support their artistic endeavours!

If you want to sign up for a three-minute open mic slot, make yourself known to host Joe Williams when you arrive. Readers are drawn in a random order from the “Box of Mystery”, and the open mic keeps going until the box is empty. Here’s the schtick: “We welcome everyone from first-timers to veteran performers, so if you want to give it a go, please do.”

Leeds’ live literature night Chemistry has now been going at the Chemic for over a year, with guests including award-winning poets such as Ian Humphreys, Rose Condo, Clare Shaw and Rachel Bower. The Chemic is a historic real ale pub situated in the heart of the Woodhouse residential area, just over a mile north of Leeds city centre, named after Johnstons Chemical Works, a local factory that produced Vitriol – also known as Sulphuric Acid. That’s why Chemistry is themed on the elements of the periodic table – this month’s optional theme is Mg for Magnesium. Chemistry is organised and hosted by Joe Williams, an award-winning writer and performing poet from Leeds.

Chemistry at The Chemic Tavern, Leeds 29 March 2024 Entrance is free Visit now

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