Pinggg…K! in our inaugural year, 2011, was welcomed by WORD as a sister open ‘mic’ poetry group in Leicester. We met on the last Tuesday of every month except September when we were part of the Everybody’s Reading Week. We began the year at Leicester’s LGBT Centre in Wellington Street and then in August we were offered a permanent home at The Red Tent in Pocklington’s Walk by proprietors, Jackie Duffy and Ruth Epstein. During the year more than one hundred and twenty times the open ‘mic’ spot was taken by contributors who cut a swathe through social class, race, age, sexuality, gender and able-bodied dominant categories, with an incredible forty performances that celebrated metrosexual themed verse. Carol Leeming, Jayne Stanton, Tim Grayson, Rozena Maart, Roy Marshall, Alison Dunne, Calvin Jeffrey, Dominic Berry, Dean Atta, Rob Gee and Mellow Harmony Baku were outstanding as featured poets / performers. Bobba Cass as compere established the blackbird-earthworm genre of metrosexual verse. Craig Pulford was awarded the first annual prize for a poem in this genre at the July Pinggg…K! Poetry Potluck held in the gardens at No. 3 West Hill Road. Along with Bobba Cass, David Pollak, Liz Millar, Tracy Twell, Jacob Saunder and Ishi Jackson-Khan were group organisers for the year’s events. A Visitors’ Book now contains copies of some of the memorable contributions during 2011. Most regular contributors have been Jo Twist and Jayne Stanton. They will be featured poets at February and March Pinggg…K!s respectively.

Pinggg…K! has a commitment to promoting a profile of poetry linked with innovative artistic ventures in the Leicester area. Magnus Gestsson working with The Red Tent and supported by Alex Talbot-Smith curates regular exhibitions at the venue and honours Pinggg…K! contributors with his touring Galleri Gestur. Bobba Cass collaborated with drummer Gill Hand and dancer, Sal Khalifa in a finale to Cass’s Kama Sutra playing card act in October. Mellow Harmony Baku provided the music for a grand finale tribute to The Red Tent, the anthem, ‘We are all born of the same mother …’, in December.

Featured poets Carol Leeming, Roy Marshall, Calvin Jeffrey and Mellow Harmony Baku as well as other local poets, Jacob Saunders, Liz Millar, David Pollak, Alex Talbot-Smith, Steve Silverman, Rob Miller, and Joe Lappe, all draw on musical backgrounds that supplement and hybridise their poetry.

The contributions of Yevgeny Salisbury, Craig Pulford and Nicky Pywell highlight the importance of our being a warm, welcoming and supportive open ‘mic’ group where we see poets dramatically coming into their own. It is hoped that some of the groundwork laid this year related to signing and translation will be realised in poets forthcoming in 2012, and that we will become even more an event committed to diversity and mutual support in keeping with the aspirations of the venue’s proprietors.

Carol Leeming of Mainstream Partnership, Alison Dunne of Leicester Libraries, and Lydia Towsey of WORD have been especially forthcoming in seeing that Pinggg…K! is recognised as a feature of a One Leicester commitment, and takes its place along with other performing poetry groups in our city such as 2FunkyArts, Brightside, ANERKI, Shindig and the Brothellian Movement … a commitment to our city that it is for us to make beautiful.

Pinggg…K! has its own website …, an email contact list and is on Facebook as an open group.

Bobba Cass, December 2011


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