Saturday, April 30

Goose Fair Night, poems by Kathy Pimlott

It's very odd to be writing a post titled Goose Fair Night at the beginning of spring; Goose Fair conjures thoughts of rustling leaves, mittens, muddy wellies and doughnuts, and yet upon first reading Kathy Pimlott's poem (Goose Fair Night) I forgot about Spring jackets and Summer holiday plans - transported back to October's whirling lights, undefinable 90s dance music and bags filled with sugary treats.

Not only am I Nottingham - 'born and bred', as they say, my birthday falls two weeks after the Goose Fair, and I'm still filled with the same excitement as I was aged 5, when at the end of September the trucks housing bumper cars, waltzers and hook-a-duck came rolling down the road. It's an electric, buzzing excitement.

... so say it, / say I walk in beauty like a Goose Fair night. 
from You Bring Out the Nottingham in Me

And that's what this collection does, as Kathy Pimlott describes it, reading this anthology brought out 'the Nottingham in me'. There's a familiarity and unpretentious air in Kathy's Nottingham-ness, even when her poems aren't specifically abut Nottingham, her words feel like home - comforting and warm - like the moment I step out onto the platform at Nottingham station from a moment away.

I also found a bit of a celebration of sisterhood - between her friends and her maternal Grandmother, Enid - which as regular readers will know is a topic close to my heart. A few of the poems in the pamphlet struck me, and are now almost completely covered in pencil, as they perfectly capture nights out with my friends, slightly squiffed and queuing for bars that we barely stayed in.

They teeter in deelyboppers, sashed, / from one fun to another, trashed... /
...they karaoke meaning every word / till, sad as daylit tinsel, with homeward- /  leaning hearts, in glad migration... - from Soho Hens

Kathy's poems are wonderfully unassuming and quietening. An unexpected, but entirely pleasurable read.

 Goose Fair Night is a generous, jellied feast of a book, full of sharp-eyed yet tender details about friendship, family and familiarity. Pimlott ranges around the country and through the centuries to offer her warmly incisive take on living and loving in a gorgeous, unstable world. The poems plunge us into the Midlands, bustling central London, seaside scenes, questionable pots of jam, and the captivating worldview of Pimlott’s grandmother Enid. This is a book to make your mouth water and your heart swell. 

Fellow Nottinghamians, Goose Fair Night poems by Kathy Pimplott will be launching on Tuesday 31st May, at Five Leaves Bookshop.

Goose Fair Night is available to purchase from The Emma Press.

*This book was kindly given to me by The Emma Press for review purposes.

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