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Brendan Hawthorne and Adrian Bailey, MP

The Stirrer's Poet Laureate Brendan Hawthorne launched his latest poetry collection Slide, to an appreciative audience in Wednesbury on Saturday night. His missus Lynn Hawthorne was among the throng.

Braving the wind and rain, over 60 people turned out to hear offerings from the book, described as...a collide-o-scopic journey through one man’s insomnia, which explores sex, relationships, struggle and ultimate redemption and examines the transformations of the psyche as we encounter different phases in our lives, vacillating between darkness and light.

Publisher Martin Holroyd, of Poetry Monthly Press in Nottinghamshire, who has watched Brendan’s talent develop over a number of years kicked off the ‘evening of three halves’.

Brendan read a selection of poems from the book, demonstrating a breadth of style and mood, from sorrow and pain (Water Signs discussing the difficult relationship the poet experienced with his father) to knowing laughter amongst the male population in I Know I’ve Had Enough.

The middle ‘half’ featured friends and colleagues from Poetry Wednesbury Keith Melbourne and Alex Barzdo, as well as Geoff Stevens, editor of West Bromwich-based Purple Patch, who stripped to reveal his Last of the Real Men t-shirt during his final poem of the set.

Greg Stokes of Kate’s Hill, Dudley, also treated the audience to the almost-legendary Doctor sketch. To discuss it would give away the plot, but catch him if you can at The Lamp Tavern, Dudley, on 21st December.

The finale was an impromptu gathering of musicians who performed songs penned by Brendan alongside perennial favourites Roadhouse Blues and Sweet Home Alabama.

Sides aching from laughter and satisfied with a good, varied range of home-grown entertainment, the audience drifted home, having contributed £63 to the Raise the Roof Appeal for St. Luke’s Church, Wednesbury in the process.

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