I have known a number of lady poets. Indeed I have worked with one or two of them. This is not without its problems. For example I was somehow cozened into performing in the Sattir’s Drop. To say that this establishment is rough is like saying there is a lot of water in the Ocean. It may be true, even accurate, but doesn’t really capture the scale of the problem. What made it worse was that Frina, the barmaid who had organised this, also asked Milli Davine to perform as well.
Frina is a gem, whilst she is no longer as young as she once was, and is probably heavier than she used to be, she has a fine command of language and I’ve seen her scorch the ears of rowdy patrons. She is a good person to have about at times of trouble.
Milli on the other hand was totally lost. Her first work about kittens would have sat well with small children, they would have loved it. On the other hand they would not have understood the hopefully unintended innuendo. Our audience did and to Milli’s obvious bafflement howled with laughter. Then some thug said something very questionable. Milli stamped on his instep with her high heel and this both lamed and enraged him. Frina snatched Milli up and carried her to safety behind the bar. Thwarted, the thug attacked me, and fortunately, because he was now lame, I avoided him by diving out of the window and then running.
I have also worked with Mistress Hornwill. As poets go she is entirely competent. She has a lovely grasp of rhythm and delivers her work beautifully. Unfortunately, she also has a low tolerance for fools and suffers them badly. At one soiree she was interrupted by a lady who suggested a better rhyme for one of the couplets. Mistress Hornwill’s response was not reported to me verbatim. But the following day I was performing before the same people. One of them asked me my opinion of Mistress Hornwill and I answered honestly that I admired her. Had I ravished the lady of the house in front of them I don’t think I could have upset them more. Needless to say I have never been asked back there.
But I would not have you think that I am in any way prejudiced against lady poets. I have worked with male artists who have involved me in at least as much strife and insecurity.
So finally I shall leave you with a recommendation, pointing you to the work of Lyra Shanti. She is a lady who has, at least at the time of writing, neither involved me in fisticuffs, nor had me expelled from polite society. Those who love poetry may well enjoy her work.
I suggest you go here
and avail yourself of ‘Sediments: The Selected Poems of Lyra Shanti’
It may be that you have spend the last month in a coma and so don’t realise that Tallis Steelyard has just produced his second book of stories and anecdotes. This is book, ‘Tallis Steelyard, a harsh winter, and other stories,’ is available from the first of June.