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High Five for the Springboard Festival

We are Poetry Nation. Photo by Neslihan Ozar.

Day 5 of the Springboard Festival

Review by Alison Manning.

Day 5 of the Springboard Festival at the Criterion Theatre in Earlsdon, Coventry, opened with a collation of poets formed especially for the occasion, entitled We Are Poetry Nation. Consisting of eight hand-picked poets: Christy Ng, Wendy Barzetovic, David Court, Spoken2Life, Justin Wong, Amy Rugg, Olugbemi Moronfolu and Maxi Di Poet, they formed an amazingly diverse group with a wide variety of poetry, from contemplative to humorous, providing food for thought.


All the poems were well-rehearsed and each poet brought their own unique style, with the subject matter ranging from philosophical and political musings through contemplations of mortality, unfortunate accidents, religious resurrections, wartime batches and soup for the soul to metaphorical tennis.


Next up was the renowned singer-songwriter Ami Dattani who brought us his folksy bluesy influenced guitar music. Soon there were toes tentatively tapping, heads gently nodding and members of the sold-out audience softly swaying along to the warm rhythm of his songs.

Amit Dattani. Photo courtesy of the artist.


Initially interspersed with amusing anecdotes about his 4 year old son, trickier topics were tackled in later songs and interludes, such as mental health and Amit’s revelation of his diagnosis, six years ago, of a degenerative disease of his hands and feet, coupled with a prediction that he would have only two years of guitar playing left, this made the subsequent song “Play on” particularly poignant, played on and about the custom guitar he had made by Pat from Stroud to help him keep playing for longer.


This audience was certainly very appreciative of his continued playing ability as the rich tones emerged from this special guitar as he plucked the strings with his seemingly dextrous fingers.


After the interval there were repeat performances of the excellent short plays Honey and Salt and Grace, which you can read about in earlier reviews on this site. Between the two the evening’s compere Neslihan Ozar, enchanted us with some Turkish singing followed by a thought-provoking poem, both on the evening’s theme of contemplation of mortality, concluding that love is key to our souls.


There are three more nights of the Springboard Festival which runs till Saturday 11 May, though tickets are selling out fast. For more details see:



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