by Synth Void

Find the Right Words is certainly THE place to be on a third Wednesday evening. If you can take yourself Upstairs at The Western around 7:30pm, you will find a vast array of poets (and a dog, if you’re lucky!) from in and out of Leicester, delivering words to make you laugh, cry, or at least feel alive.

This month, Jess Green brought a couple of recommendations from Burning Eye Books. Both of them women, both of them young, and both of them outstanding in their very own ways.

The first headline act of the evening was Hafsah Aneela Bashir. Melodic, nostalgic, fantastic. Unapologetically bringing traces of urdu into the conversation, pointing out domestic machismo, collective Islamophobia, bittersweet moments of love and motherhood and potential friendships and siblinghoods scribbled away on parking fines. Please, get her book The Celox and The Clot for aloo parathas and heartbreak.

The second headline was Rosy Carrick. Effortless, honest, confessional, spreading her heart wide open on mental health, eating disorders, Miss Trunchbull and Arnold Schwarzenegger. I don’t know if it’s the San Miguel talking, but her in-between banter made me laugh to the point of tears. Get a physical copy of her Chokey so she can see you reading it on the bus.

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In more local news for local people, this month’s speed poet was the effusive Charles Wheeler. Fresh from losing his 14/48 v-card, he followed a bunch of prompts to scribble/type a brand new poem in less than an hour. Again, not sure if it’s the San Miguel, but the results were Quite. A. Trip. They included the full moon, gravitational fields and a D&D journey of epic proportions. Unless it was based on a true story that went way beyond the game board? Either way, it was wild. I loved it.

The open mic, as usual, was high quality stuff. Jess Green is careful and doesn’t let people be awful on stage, which is something I wish I could say about every single open mic. We had amazing people from all walks of life and levels of expertise. From Leicester, Birmingham and anywhere in between. Swearsies and solemnity. Drama and comedy. Roti and water. The best things in life.

There is a popular saying in town that goes “Leicester is Bester”. Well, not that popular, but I want to make it popular, because it’s true. If you want to see why, please come up or come down. Its poetry scene is impressive, and the proof is in the words.