Performance poets and speakers on bill for 'King Ink' open mic at Sunderland's Pop Recs

The next spoken word and poetry night at Sunderland’s Pop Recs is coming soon.

Organisers King Ink meet monthly at the High Street West venue every second Thursday of the month. Their next event is on Thursday, September 8, 6pm-9pm.

The King Ink group was recently awarded £350 from The Cultural Spring’s Your Art Community Commissioning programme which has helped the group promote itself and its spoken word/poetry evenings and make their events more accessible.

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People can just turn up on the night and are assured of a welcoming atmosphere for new performers. Performance lengths range from longer pieces of work to haiku.

Sunderland writer Ian Rowan performs at King Ink.

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    There is a growing core of regulars, but similar groups from Wearside and beyond are joining too.

    The Pop Recs atmosphere is informal and performing is optional. Some people just go to listen, but most come to perform spoken word or poetry. Performers can sign up for the open mic on the night.

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    Performers are aged from 18 upwards with occupations ranging from professional writers and artists, to teachers, window cleaners - even a chimney sweep.

    Event host Helen Wilkinson said: “We relaunched the group earlier this year and it’s grown over the last few months.

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    King Ink. Poetry and spoken word nights at Pop Recs.

    “The night was founded several years ago by poets Patrick Shannon and Brian Anderson.

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    “Patrick passed away during the pandemic and it was important to him and to the rest of us that King Ink continue. The renewed success of the night is a testament to Patrick’s passion for Sunderland’s live poetry scene.

    “Occasionally we’ll get guest speakers and we’ll attract a larger crowd. In July we had Jessica Andrews, author of the acclaimed novel Milk Teeth, and the evening was really well attended.

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    “People write about the things that matter to them: the places they come from, their work, the environment, music, people, politics.”

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    Helen, a secondary school head of English, added: “We’ve just produced our first zine with the help of Sunderland-based writer James Whitman. It features art from Kathryn Robertson, who designed the new logo. We’re also going to launch a podcast soon.”

    The King Ink evenings are free, but attendees are encouraged to donate a pound to help cover Pop Recs’ overheads. To find out more, visit King Ink’s Facebook page.