Elinor Johns Rounds-up our Modern Love themed MIRLive 

A great evening was had by all on Monday 24th February at our first MIRLive of 2020. The readers were all current students on the Birkbeck MA course in creative writing (plus one alumna) and what a talented bunch they proved to be!


The evening began with some evocative poetry from Alex Graves, who treated us to two poems. The first called “Bubbles” described a child playing with a bubble blower and was inspired by watching life go by from a café while musing upon what it meant to be a parent. The second, called “City Nights” evoked a surreal sense of a rainy night in London in a series of fragments.


These gentle readings were complemented by Fabian Sindelar’s sensitive reading of his short story called, “The Danube’s Current”. This story struck a confessional tone in which the narrator gave a direct account of unrequited love. Ultimately, the pain of rejection was muted by the narrator’s stoicism which created an effective ending.


Next up to the mic was Nicola Godlieb who read two short but powerful poems on the theme of love. The first, “Derive” was a resonant poem based on the idea of childish love declared in names scratched onto a school wall. The other, “Stinger” packed a punch with both graphic and figurative language describing a sexual encounter fuelled by alcohol-infused lust. Nicola’s readings emphasised the lyrical quality of her poems and indeed, “Stinger” also comprises the lyrics to a song.


After the break, the three short stories we next heard, all had an unexpected quality that made them compelling to listen to. Firstly, Amy Slack created a comic and somewhat surreal scenario in her take on a tinder date, in her story “Mottephobia”. Amy’s confident reading of this witty story delighted the audience.


“An Anatomy Lesson” by Jessica Hindes took a darker turn. This story was highly effective in conjuring up place and character and the details were superbly drawn. The unexpected preoccupations of 15-year-old Lorenzo were expertly described in cold, vivid language. When it becomes clear that he associates dissected corpses with his love-making the story becomes both enthralling and shocking.


The final reading of the night came from alumna Kate Ellis whose story “Banana” was an extremely entertaining satire. The narrator, a student, naïve and crippled by a combination of lust and the need to appear cool was a great vehicle for exploring absurd first forays into physical encounters. It was great to end the evening with so much laughter!


Thank you to all our readers and stay tuned on our twitter @mironlinebbk for announcements of our next MIRLive.


Elinor Johns was a teacher for twenty years before giving it up to spend more time out running with her dog. Elinor completed the MACW at Birkbeck in 2017 and is still focussing on the three Rs, reading, writing and running.
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