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Henry Normal, left, and Brian Bilston.

Viva Verse: local poets Brian Bilston and Henry Normal live at DLWP

“An evening of poems to be enjoyed not endured”: Chris Connelley looks forward to Brian Bilston and Henry Normal’s night of poetry with a difference on Friday 16 February at the De La Warr Pavilion.

 Back in the 60s, the legendary Poetry Olympics demonstrated the appeal of live poetry performance, with sell-out spoken word shows and headline readings from that generation’s greats taking over the Royal Albert Hall.

That tradition has thrived ever since, and no literary festival worth its salt these days is fully formed without a strong poetry component.

More recently, mainstream venues have got in on the act too, adding versifiers to their roster of live acts alongside rock bands and dance troupes.

Bexhill’s De La Warr Pavilion is no exception, as it prepares to host BAFTA award-winning writer and producer turned poet Henry Normal and internet sensation, poet and author Brian Bilston for the launch night of their first joint tour of 24 national venues this spring on Friday 16 February.

The evening will showcase writing from Normal’s new collection, A Moonless Night, due to be released on Valentine’s Day, and Bilston’s latest poetry collection, as part of an event that will also see them draw on a vast back catalogue to present “an evening of poems to be enjoyed not endured”.

BBC Radio 4 regular Henry Normal, a co-creator of cult television series Mrs Merton and The Royle Family, has toured constantly since retiring from TV and film production and currently has 15 poetry books in print. He is also a patron of the popular Hastings Book Festival, which returns for another outing in September this year.

Brian Bilston, often described as the Banksy of poetry as a consequence of  maintaining a mysterious anonymity, has cultivated a large and loyal following on social media, with around 400,000 fans. Despite this popularity, he has managed to keep his identity hidden so this live show represents an intriguing opportunity to hear Brian’s work read live by the enigma himself.

Henry and Brian met at the Laugharne Festival and performed together for the first time in Morecambe last October. The show proved so popular that the duo were invited to participate in a full tour, taking in Salford, Bath, Nottingham and Bury St Edmunds, and with five dates in Scotland and a show in Monmouth, Wales.

The upcoming evening at the De La Warr represents a chance to see two top-of-their game poets for a very special night of life-affirming poetry, marvellous escapism and lashings of laughter on our doorstep, and – good news this – though selling well, there are still a few tickets available.

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Posted 15:43 Monday, Feb 12, 2024 In: Poetry

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