Review: Paper Cranes Poetry at Inspire Poetry Festival

Words: Jack Shaw
Monday 30 September 2019
reading time: min, words

My first assumption when almost anyone says ‘spoken word’ is of slam poetry – a shouting twenty something with a beanie, comparing their emotions to a ball of yarn or a revolver. I was, however, very pleasantly surprised, when attending Paper Cranes at the Beeston library, to find it was not a group of twenty somethings in beanies, but a collective of individuals eclectic both in age range, and personality...


Paper Cranes is a relatively new thing in Beeston, having only started in May of 2019. When speaking to the organizers of the group – Leanne Moden, and Chris McLouglin – Leanne mentioned a lack of creative culture in Beeston. They decided, as fans of reading and writing poetry, to set up a poetry group catered for both experienced poets and poetry virgins. The group meet in the Beeston Library, and together complete a series of exercises catered to help them improve their poetry.

It became apparent while watching that the majority of the poets where quite new to writing poetry, with this event being their first ever performance – this is not to say their poetry was anything less than very well rounded, rather witty work. The Paper Cranes poets were joined by two poets with a little more experience – Becky Cullen, and Rory Waterman, with Waterman reading exerts from his new book.

One thing I remarked upon while watching, due mostly to their having learnt to write together, was that most of the Paper Cranes poets had rather similar poetic styles. This is, however, in no way meant as disparagement; their use of language and word play seemed to me to be reminiscent of Larkin.

All in all, the event was very enjoyable, laced all round with offhand humour, honesty and emotion. The reaction from the surprisingly large crowd would’ve told you all you needed to hear.

Poetry seems to suffer from an assumed pretence, one of a stuffy, highbrow nature – a pretence I believe puts a lot of people off. If only more people could see the bubbly, inclusive nature that surrounds the Paper Cranes poetry group, I feel the poetry world would have a few new fans.

Inspire website

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