Beeston Poets is a joint venture between Nottinghamshire Library Services, Nottingham Poetry Society and Five Leaves Publications that brings well-known poets to Beeston Library. It follows on from the ‘Poets in Beeston’ series which started in 1983 and ran successfully for the next two decades. Of all of the roles that a library fulfils (keeping you warm, free internet access, reading LeftLion), perhaps the most important one is bringing authors and readers together, and thereby strengthening the library’s civic role through literature as determined by the Public Libraries Act of 1850. With the demand to shed 28 per cent from all budgets by 2014, drawing people into libraries has never been more important.
Over the years Beeston Poets has drawn in the likes of Wendy Cope, Carol Ann Duffy, UA Fanthorpe, Roger McGough, Ian McMillan, and Adrian Mitchell – all of whom were celebrated in the Poems for the Beekeeper anthology in 1996. This year visiting poets have included Jackie Kay and Neil Astley and will be concluded by Andy Croft on 8 December.
Andy Croft has written five novels and forty-two books for teenagers, mostly about footy. But he is perhaps best known as the brains behind the unconventional and radical poetry publisher Smokestack Books. His own collections include two novels in Pushkin sonnets, Ghost Writer and 1948, and when we say written entirely in Pushkin Sonnet we mean everything, including the foreword, contents and acknowledgements. The Pushkin Sonnet is basically a technical device used by obsessive smart arses, which in Croft’s hands reads like intellectual slapstick.
Andy will be reading primarily from 1984, recently Nicholas Lezard’s Paperback of the Week in The Guardian. It’s a comic novel straight out of an Ealing comedy set during the post-War London Olympics, and includes Russian spies, London gangsters and useless poets. We guarantee it will be the best poetry reading you’ll ever go to, though tickets will likely have sold out by the time you’ve read this.
Andy Croft, 8 December 8th. Tickets are £7 (£5 concessions) and can be obtained from Beeston Library, Foster Avenue, Beeston, Nottingham NG9 1AE.