Hull Literature Festival 2001 8th - 18th November
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The Wrecking Ball Fringe Festival
Clare Pollard & Antony Dunn
As reviewed by: Alison Waterhouse and Collette Bentley
Sailmakers Arms Pub, High Street
Friday 9th November

A late start in a pub attic perhaps disguised the true character of a gathering which developed into an enthusiastic yet sober, atmospheric yet down to earth meeting of minds.

As the epitome of controversy, Clare Pollard was raw, raging yet real. Taking inspiration from unrequited love, teenage anxieties and bruised fruit, she juxtaposes private troubles with public issues perhaps highlighting the reciprocal relationship between the two. In "Thinking of England" she speaks of how the various parts of the superstructure of society are disjointed, leaving individuals without a sense of social identity or solidarity. She unmasked the harsh reality that Britishness has been reduced to the extent that "the National dish is no longer homemade but takeway".

As an archetypal cynic, Antony Dunn displayed a perspective on life traced earlier in time by poets such as Philip Larkin and Stevie Smith. This was summed up best by his observation that in life "we learn not to be fooled by tooth fairies or the budget".

The simplicity, colloquialism and seemingly blatant honesty of Antony Dunn's poetry could have been perceived as an attempt to underplay the significance of his well-educated background and privileges. Conceivably the poetry bingo and amusing anecdotes in-between poems were intended to improve accessibility but this furthermore highlighted his perfidy.

A refreshing evening, demonstrating that modern poetry is alive and well, capturing attention, inviting criticism and inspiring us all onwards in the cold search for a bus home!!!

About the reviewers:
Currently English Literature students at Wyke Sixth form College. Alison is hoping to study English Literature with French at university, whilst Collette is intending studying English Literature and Education. Perhaps not typical critics, they represent popular opinion and have presented a perspective of the readings from a young and enthusiastic standpoint.

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