My first proper poetry performance
Tonight I read at Stirred Poetry for the second time. It’s my first time reading as an invited guest at a spoken word night, and I’m oddly calm about it. By the time it’s my time to step on stage I’ll be sweating and shaking, but I feel very positive about the work I’ve done over the past few weeks.
The theme tonight is ‘lost things’ and I’ve structured most of my poems around the idea of things lost, found and gained. That said, they’re all totally different – in theme, style and subject matter. Some of them are very personal while some are much more abstract.
It’s been quite a challenge, to prepare a set more or less from scratch in just three weeks. Poetry is still so new to me that, unlike most guests that are asked to read at Stirred, I don’t have a back catalogue of work to read from, so almost all the poems I’ll be reading tomorrow have been written specifically for the event. In a way, I feel quite proud of that, as if I’m giving them something unique. I doubt I would have been able to come up with much for a faceless event, but with Stirred I feel that I already know who I’m writing for.
Even though I don’t know that many of the performers or audience members, the nature of the event draws together a crowd of similar interests, so I have the comfort that my work will hopefully reach at least someone there. And, more importantly in terms of the act of writing, I do know some of the people who will be there, in particular the organisers. Anna Percy and Becca Audra Smith are both incredibly talented poets, and to feel as if I’m writing just for them (even if it’s not quite true) is both flattering and inspiring. It feels a little like I’m Shakespeare writing a play for the queen. But only a little, because that’s ridiculous.
I still don’t have great confidence in my performance but I’ve been told by others that my stage presence is tolerable, which is a relief. After tonight, now that I’ll have had a decent amount of practice, I’m going to start recording my poems. If they sound tolerable, I might even put them online.
It’s funny to think that it was the equivalent of the bet that even got me to write a poem in the first place, for the Warm World event that Stirred held in July. I’ve taken so much joy and inspiration from reading and writing poetry in the last two months; it seems impossible that I never considered before that I might be able to do this.
Here’s an extract of what I’ll be reading later. With any luck I’ll have enough poems to put together a chapbook soon and you can read it all ;D
scratch away the dent of your throat
remove the peel and pith, and
separate the stranded sinew.