Review: Be Bright Be Bold by Rich Lansley

Review: Be Bright Be Bold by Rich Lansley

By Anita Foxall.

Be Bright Be Bold is Rich Lansley’s first poetry collection. To support his publication he has also compiled a performance show where he reads some of his poems, but also engages with the audience with his warmth and wit.

Rich’s poetry has been described as charming and soothing, and his words as calm but strong ‘like waves of an ocean just willing you to come deeper’, and this is absolutely evident if you watch his show, in fact, even if you only see him perform at various open mics he reads at regularly.

Because he is such a familiar and beloved poet in the local spoken word scene, and his work is so touching, it is so well deserved that his words are finally celebrated in the pages of a book; and this is one that is not only a book, because Rich has invested so much effort and dedication into it. It includes his own drawings and a handmade bookmark, but above all it includes kindness, empathy, humour and sensitivity.

Rich has always been a creative person and his favourite subject at school was art, which made him always feel drawn to visual arts. However, at some point, he thought he wanted to explore his creative side further, beyond it, and this is where poetry made its first appearance in his life, and it turns out it came to stay. Even if he is unsure that the first ‘silly little ideas’, as he describes them, were poetry, it meant something important to him, and it enabled him to ‘just go off on one’ and rant about whatever he wanted.

Embracing poetry made him more observant, and in line with that he actually even practices a daily exercise where he looks for the ‘magic in the mundane’ by using ‘the art of noticing the ordinary’, and then he takes it further within himself by staying excited about life and not taking anything for granted.

Rich never thought about writing a book, because all his work was written to be performed rather than read, but when you are holding a copy of Be Bright Be Bold you will agree with me that it was a very fortunate change of mind for us a readers, as they definitely work and deserve to be published and shared.

Be Bright Be Bold is divided in three chapters, the first ‘The Ground’ invites us to ‘Be a Big Bright Mess’ and then carries us through nature with the beautiful uplifting ‘Trees’ and followed by the very witty ‘ Leaves’; there is also a poem about his dog called ‘Really Lazy’ which Rich performs as part of his show and is designed for audience participation.

Chapter Two, ‘The Waves’ makes us sail across more elevating poems where ‘Waves’ are portraited as confident, despite the awareness of being ephemeral; then there is the highlight of this section, the poem ‘Water’, which Rich also includes in his live performance show, here we are reminded that ‘We are water’ and then taken to a profound beautiful analysis of what we can be, and like the water we can assume different forms, if we want to.

Chapter Three, ‘The Sky’, starts with my two favourite poems in the whole book: ‘Heaven’s Spreadsheet’, speculating how, when we die, we will be presented with the data that used to be our life (who said there is no beauty and magic in spreadsheets?), to be followed by ‘Plastic’ describing a character that had her heart broken, so decided to have it wrapped in plastic for protection.

This is a just a very small taste of what you will able to experience when you read the poems in this outstanding collection. I don’t want to deprive you from experiencing it first hand, so go ahead and read it, and allow yourself to feel it’s warmth, like and embrace from a friend.

Writing this book was an enjoyable experience for him, and he confesses feeling good about having his work collected into a physical thing.

However the fascination for performing live is constant and this is what Rich plans to continue doing, as he feels there is nothing else like it that can bring him a sense of peace. That is why his next project is a new one hour spoken word show, where he will be able to bear his whole soul, with glimpses of comedy and heart. We certainly can’t wait for that.

Rich has recently performed at Open Ya Mouth Arts Fair ’24 in Portsmouth and at October Books’ Open Mic (where you will be able to purchase this collection). His upcoming shows are:

DIY Festival at Planet Sounds Southampton on 15th June

So: Fringe Festival Southampton on 13th July

You can purchase his book on his online shop: Home | Rich Lansley (

Or better even, get yourself to one of his live performances and buy it from him.

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