Choice: the critics

LITERATURE
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LITERATURE Dominic Cavendish

Four of the finest Cowboy Poets from the American Midwest - Rod McQueary, Randy Rieman, Sue Wallis and Paul Zarzyski - whip round the UK for the first time showing off their wide range of traditional readin' 'n' ridin' skills. They're used to audiences of thousands back home and can recite for hours at a stretch - not to be dismissed. Today 8pm, Blackfriars Art Centre, Boston, Lincolnshire (01205 363108) pounds 4.50; Sat 8pm, Trinity Arts Centre, Gainsborough (01427 810710) pounds 5.50; Mon Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich (01473 253725); Tues Guildhall Centre, Grantham (01476 593966); Wed Cramphorn Theatre, Chelmsford (01245 495028); tour to 27 Sept (info 0171-921 0676)

To mark the launch of a new season, Piccadilly Poets are serving up daily lunchtime readings blending well- known actors with poets. Highlights of the week include RSC actor Alex Jennings and the perennially irreverent Michael Horovitz (Tuesday) and Prunella Scales reading TS Eliot with John Heath-Stubbs (Wednesday). Poethon 2-5pm Sun; readings 1-2pm Mon-Fri, Jermyn St Theatre, 168 Jermyn St, London, SW1 (0171-287 2875) pounds 4

Sci-fi / nightmare pedlar Iain Banks sugars extracts of his female-narrated cult critique, Whit, with a surprisingly genial presence. 7pm today, Waterstone's, 91 Deangate, Manchester (0161-832 1992) pounds 2

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