Poems of Brighton from Chichester's poet of the month

April’s guest poet for Chichester Poetry’s online Open Mic Poems is Loughborough-based poet Deborah Tyler-Bennett, who is a regular visitor to Brighton.

Deborah Tyler-Bennett
Deborah Tyler-Bennett

Deborah will be highlighting several Sussex-linked poems, including pieces featuring Brighton Pavilion and the West Pier.

Organiser Barry Smith said: “By clicking on the open mic poems page of the website, you will be able to find an overview of Deborah’s poetry with a selection of poems chosen by the poet herself. We are also pleased to be able to include new poems from South Downs writers, which all adds up to an exciting collection for people to browse. They are bound to find something there to enjoy!

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“Deborah Tyler-Bennett is a poet with eight books of poetry and three books of linked short fictions published. She also writes reviews, creative writing textbooks and packs for museums and galleries. Recent books include Mr Bowlly Regrets: Poems (Kings’ England, 2017) and Brand New Beat: Stories set in the 1960s.

“Poetry residencies, projects, and readings have included Keats House, Hampstead, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Brighton Pavilion and New York State University students at the National Gallery. Currently, fifty of her poems are being translated into Romanian with Radio Bucharest also broadcasting a recent programme on her poetry.”

Deborah said: “The poems I’ve selected for the Open Mic are ones I feel sum up my poetic career thus far. West Pier Serenade and Regent were both published in my volume, Pavilion (Smokestack, 2010), and are set in Brighton. I’ve performed them often.

“In the first one, I tried to convey how the ruined West Pier has continued to haunt my imagination. I thought a lot about sound and filmic imagery when writing it.

“In the second, Regent, I pictured the astonishing array of colours, textures, and ghosts at the Pavilion. For me, the Pavilion’s one of those structures that provides a feast for the soul. Given the wonderful YouTube film for Keats’ Bicentenary from South Downs Poetry and the University of Chichester I thought I’d also include a poem from Kinda Keats, John and Tonic. Lastly, there’s a new, hitherto unpublished poem, Short Pantoum of the Foxes. Watching through my bedroom window, recently, I saw two foxes playing in the snow on a garage roof. As with ghostly couples dancing at the old pier, the Regent refusing to leave his outrageous palace, or parakeets courting outside Keats House, those foxes are my dancers in the dark.”

Barry added: “Local poetry lovers may be familiar with Deborah’s work from the recent Sussex Together poetry competition where one of her poems was commended. To read all about Deborah and enjoy her poems, click on the website www.chichesterpoetry.simplesite.com and go to the page headed open mic poems (available from Thursday, April 1 for a month). To join in future open mics, contact [email protected]