Miggy Angel is a locally loved poet based in Nottingham, having moved originally from London with his family fifteen years ago. Last Friday, Miggy took to Waterstones' Sillitoe Suite to launch his latest collection Extreme Violets, and we sent our Benjamin Knight down to check it out.
Though it’s been a decade and a half since his relocation, the demons of London still follow him in this work; Angel’s poetry talks of the looming threat of gentrification threatening to roll tarmac and cafés over working-class communities, replacing the psychogeographical souls of the cracks and graffiti with homogenised middle-class playgrounds. That seems to be the content of his new poetry collection, Extreme Violets, whose launch fired off on the top floor of Waterstones on Friday.
The core message of Extreme Violets was supported by the range of talent performing at the launch as well as Miggy; mostly poets from working-class backgrounds and other marginalised voices. This included the likes of Derby poet Jamie Thrasivoulou, a loud and powerful voice for the council estates, and one that I’m a huge fan of from my time in the Derby poetry scene. Though he forgot the second half of his brilliantly angry Brexit poem during this performance, he went on to do a much more family-friendly(ish) performance, mindful of the wee babbies in the audience.
Andrew Graves was another supporting poet — Graves, who you may recognise from recently being commissioned by BBC Radio Nottingham for poetry about the soul of the city. As Hi-Vis press, the publishers behind Extreme Violets put it, they wanted to champion “voices that deserve to be heard”, and Miggy Angel’s focus on the city’s living essence is one important to me. He cites himself as ‘putting the psycho in psychogeography’, where he’ll wander naked and bearded through the last area to be gentrified, prepared to fight off buck-toothed tories who come to take it from under his feet. And who among us in the working classes would say they wouldn’t do exactly that when it came right down to it?