Head to the palatial surrounds of the Mansion House in south Liverpool’s Calderstones Park for the latest of The Reader’s Spoken Word evenings. This May, the line-up is Joy France, Mark J, Stephanie Lonsdale and Saint Vespaluus, and poetry in all its forms will be the main feature, along with memoirs, stories, monologues and any number of almost-indefinable types of prose.
They say: “Come along, grab yourself a free slice of pizza and enjoy some of the best poetry and spoken word artists from around the North West.”
Also known as the Rapping Granny, Joy France is a Manchester-based freelance writer and stand-up, who discovered performance poetry in her mid 50s and has since performed sets all over the country, including competing in the young male-dominated world of battle rap. Joy has won many awards and been poet-in-residence at several places, including Afflecks, and she is about to launch a podcast as well as tour a new show with her creative partner Skully The Mad Hat.
Mark Jackson, aka Mark J, first made an impression writing for Manchester United fanzine United We Stand and now regularly regales Manchester spoken word scene audiences with his brilliantly observed stories of life, the universe and everything.
Salford poet Steph Lonsdale is a regular of the Manchester spoken word scene and renowned for her lockdown solo Zoom shows. Moving effortlessly between the personal and the political, her moving and often very funny poetry is guaranteed to provoke a response. Steph has appeared at numerous prestigious events and was a big hit at last year’s Jodrell Bank Bluedot festival.
After recent appearances in Manchester and Leeds (and an appearance at Secret Circus), Saint Vespaluus is back to deliver more tales and poems of urban life, lost love and eighties electro-pop stars. Described as “a passionate and dynamic performer, his poems and tales mix humour and sadness to startling effect”, Saint (aka Stephen Porter) has also been curating a poetry/music evening at Jimmy’s in Bold Street – Blast! (5) takes place on 25 May – and will be appearing at Liverpool Sound City in the summer.
The Reader is a literature and reading organisation that runs a busy programme of events and activities – including the weekly Poetry Walk – at their recently renovated Grade II-listed home, and their regular Spoken Word events encompass “a huge variety of writing and performance styles, from the intimately personal and heart-breaking to the uproariously funny and celebratory”. They say: “Come along, grab yourself a free slice of pizza and enjoy some of the best poetry and spoken word artists from around the North West.”