Reader reviews: Mo’s Forte poetry night, March 5

Reader reviews: Mo’s Forte poetry night, March 5

Mo’s Forte is a poetry open mic, with guest act to close, held on the 1st Sunday of each month from 6pm-8pm at the Hatch (Forte Kitchen), in Parchment Street, Winchester. 

The 5th of March 2023, was the debut night of Mo’s Forte, with Winchester based musician Blind Z the guest act. 

The event’s host, well-known local poet Issa Loyaan Farrah-Kelly, explains the name of the event: “Mo’s Forte is named after/in honour of Maureen (Mo) Patricia Foster . Mo was a great friend, and mentor to me…a writer in various forms,a local lover of culture, and loved by many…she passed in January 2017.”

Below is a selection of reviews from those who attended the first event.

by Simon Richiardi 

‘There is a new spoken word event for Hampshire poets and writers, afree open mic for the poetical/dramatical and ‘performance-ical’. 

The venue is ideal for poetry and spoken word because it is small and intimate, projecting a warmth for the performer and listener. But even on this first night it was full, and the multiplicity of poetry was much in evidence. From host Issa Kelly’s opening poem – an ode to the books he read in his youth – the night did what poetry nights done right do well. It connected the listeners with the inner-worlds of the performers. We had everything from cats, avalanches, tits (the bird! I saw what you were thinking), half-unpacked suitcases, alcohol, alcoholism, hospital visits, “well mimsy chakras”, to meditations on broken homes and mental health. Many different styles were evident, whether influenced by hip-hop, free verse, rhyming couplets or lyrical story telling. And that is the way poetry nights should be; we are all here and here we listen one to another. It is this connection between audience and performer which the best poetry nights have.

And if that wasn’t enough, the musical guest, Blind Z, a busker around Winchester, entranced us with his trance blues. Beautiful! I slipped away into the scales, the rhythm and the chords, happily sipping my Perridge Pale. It was too soon when time was called.

The universe, of course, wanted this night to happen. One poet (me) read three dadaist poems (pictured top). The magazine I derived them from was the FORTE-an Times. Synchronicity or what? The universe wants this event to happen.’


by ‘Gerard Deignan 

‘We had the pleasure of being invited Open Mic Poetry and Music evening at Mo’s Forte cafe last Sunday evening.

Upon arrival we were greeted with a big smile from a big guy  Issa, with warn words of peace. 

This was the first such gathering within the soft cosy confines of the coffee shop, accompanied by the background aroma of coffee beans, which struggled to accommodate the numbers of people who turned up. 

My companion and I were captivated from start to finish with the variety and diverse poetry, delivered with much passion, the evening being signed off with amazing guitar talent. 

It’s unfortunate we’ll miss the next one, but I’m writing in readiness for the one after.’ 


by The Foundation Creators 

‘Open mic nights are a great space to experience different perspectives of different peoples lives. The group I go with have always felt welcome and the individuals that participate, whether to listen or to recite their work, are approachable, and friendly regardless of the content they wish to express. The spaces hosting events keep an inviting atmosphere and welcome an ear intrigued to listen to something different, relatable, humorous or even unusual.’  


by Beccy Deignan 

‘I really enjoyed every bit. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a poetry open mic but I felt a surprisingly deep connection with people listening to their poetry. It gave me an idea for poetry I’d like to write myself and I left yesterday feeling very inspired and disappointed I had to go to work today and not just write poetry!  I haven’t written poetry for a long time so it was amazing to feel this connection with the artists and feel so inspired.’ 

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