It’s rare, disappointingly so, to find a poet who loves language, not in a fetishistic or clever or simply musical way, but robustly, lip-smackingly, instinctually. I saw Keith Bennett read last night, and he struck me as one of the few. Reading his poems on the page later, it wasn’t so obvious; I noticed that he had a way with rhyme and half-rhyme and liked to bury it inside his lines, and that he was funny, and had a great unforced sense of rhythm… but that applies to lots of poets. It was the way he delivered the poems – great ranting torrents of words like water spouting erratically from a hose, in a range of accents and personas but never less than BIG. A reminder of an oral tradition where rhyme and meter weren’t just conventions, but throbbed with the intention to hit home and be remembered. Other poets read last night and they were good (I am in awe of people who actually entertain the audience between poems like they were born to it) but Keith was something else. Keep an eye out for him (New Forest based but sure to get around…)