Here on the Literature Desk, The Other Room is one of our favourite nights out – and there was us thinking we didn’t even like experimental and avant-garde poetry when we first stepped foot into the Old Abbey Arms, where they used to hold the event many moons ago. Oh, how we were wrong. So wrong, in fact, that when the news was announced that The Other Room will soon no longer be a regular fixture in our diary, we even shed a tear. At the time, we told everyone it was just something in our eye, but we’ll admit it was shock and chagrin.
Yes, after a full decade of serving up fine live literature for over what will be 74 outings, in venues from The Wonder Inn to The Castle, The Other Room is closing its doors. But they’re going out with a storm not a mizzle, putting the emphasis on celebrating their tenth birthday party and the launch of their tenth annual anthology, featuring poets from the year just gone. Think party poppers, pop and plenty of performers – with organisers James Davies, Tom Jenks and Scott Thurston (themselves to be heard reading at The European Camarade on 13 April and at Peter Barlow’s Cigarette on 28 April) introducing an impressive line-up of four poets.
Lecturer in Contemporary Literature and Culture at King’s College London, Amy De’Ath’s most recent publication is ON MY LOVE FOR gender abolition; founding editor of Singing Apple Press Camilla Nelson creates page-based poetry, soundwork, installation and performance; Irish poet and novelist Pascal O’Loughlin is librarian at the National Poetry Library in London and one-third of Stinky Bear Press poetry collective, and Vicky Sparrow’s poems can be found in Front Horse, Intercapillary Space, datableed and Litmus, and her pamphlet Notes to Selves was published by Zarf Editions in 2016.
You’d be daft to miss this lot. As the wizards behind The Other Room curtain say: “Come from round the corner, come from far afield, come down for the first time if you’ve always meant to come along, get babysitters, get two babysitters just in case, introduce friends, opt out of work the next day, return your tickets for the holiday in Spain. See you there.” Indeedy.