Ten Poems exhibition and book launch, 1st November 2016

We’re half way through our huge Arts Council funded project – ‘Writing Mesopotamia 3’ with some terrific outcomes so far. As the project manager, I could never have predicted the challenges we’ve had to overcome but, interestingly, changes of venue and plans generally, though they didn’t improve my stress levels, have actually improved our events – including the wonderful launch of Ten Poems by Adnan al-Sayegh, illustrated by the amazing Kate Hazell, published by Mulfan Press as a small but perfectly formed ‘Mulfran Miniature’.

Having to move the event from a London gallery (because we missed our ‘window’ through hold ups with the funding) led to an invitation from my incredibly resourceful and imaginative niece Emily (aka Pom Pom) to mount the exhibition and hold the launch at air space in Oxford Street –  a few doors down from Tottenham Court Road tube station.

This is a very new, brilliant concept whereby six floors of ultra-smart office space offer hot-desking solutions and temporary office space to trendy Londoners and others – mostly working in the creative industries.

The first floor is an events and exhibition space and can be rented out. It has a fully equipped kitchen and bar plus AV facilities, so we were able to play jazz and Naseer Shamma to add atmosphere as the guests flowed in; and there was a radio mic all ready to use for Adnan’s and my reading.

Our publisher, Leona, summed up the collaboration very pithily when she said the combination of poems and drawings resulted in ‘an expression of wit that brought together two cultures, two art forms and two generations.’

It was lovely to see people smiling broadly as they went round the room, looking at the pictures (which fizz with exuberance and humour) and reading Adnan’s epigrams underneath them. Adnan says his short poems, often only a few words long, take longer to write than his longer poems – such is the art of the epigram.

A wonderful evening of light and laughter, and Ten Poems makes the perfect small Christmas gift. They come complete with envelopes. I’m going to give them to all my friends.

Visit Kate’s website http://www.katehazell.com

And for air space http://www.airspace.london/2016/7/11/yl60qw767gtrzw6lj1vfc2pfcchybj

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