Monday, 19 December 2011

LITERaTE ILLUSTRaTE : review of the night

This was an event held at The Boars Head Gallery in Kidderminster. It was an interesting concept asking poets and artists to combine words and artwork and submit them for a competition. I enjoyed working on the piece. It was nice to get the paint out and do something creative other than sit with my notebook.

The gallery is a wonderful space to perfom in with fantastic artwork on all the walls. There is a facebook page that you can join if you are interested in finding out more about exhibitions and events.

I read but it was not my best, I was exhausted and could feel the tight grip I was keeping on myself, resulting in a slightly over-anxious performance. It didn't help that I read three feminist poems one after the other. The men in the back row of the room looked a bit unsettled and then they all went for a fag straight after...coincidence~?!

Must remember to mix in a few poems on other topics to give the audience a break from the strong messages in those types of poems I suppose. I seem to write a lot of poems lately that are angry or curious about how women are treated/placed in society, having a daughter makes me reflect on these issues more than I did before she was born.

The poem I wrote for the event was called 'Ambition and Expectation' and was about those things being personified as two creepy masked women watching me...very odd indeed! The other poem I read which is on the clip is called Bikkja and I am very pleased because it is going to be published in Be:Magazine in February.

Youtube clip of the two poems

Bobby Parker was host for the night and performed two poems that were full of manic energy and imagery, he had control of the words and made them twist and bend into the shapes he wanted.

Delphine de Noire had a quieter stage presence but it was effective in the way it made everyone sit forward and listen. Her wolf poem was one of my favourite of the night. She came second in the final competition with her piece 'Multiple Lacerations'.

Sarah James perfomed three poems at the event but she also recored her artwork poem and there is a youtube clip of her reading it plus the ones on the evening. It gives a real glimpse of the gallery and atmosphere of the night. Watch it here. It was an excellent set, 'At Night' was an interesting poem which used a lot of rhyme which worked well.  She also performed one my favourites from her collection 'Into The Yell' which is which is about 10 different options of things to do before you die.

Catherine Crosswell is always entertaining to watch as she has a very professional performance style. She has poems that packed full of words, that play with different meanings and puns and she never slips up, it all sounds effortless and I like the way she drifts into lines that are sung and alters her pacing from rapid to slow almost line by line. 'Thief' was another highlight of the night.

Kate Wragg's artwork 'Hanging On' won the competition and it was very clever and the idea was simple which was refreshing, it was beautifully painted and everyone liked it.

Jo Langton is an exciting poet. Her ambitious collection of art postcards were excellent and I thought they brought an interesting viewpoint to the comp. She read two poems from her collection 'Fill the Silence.' This is available here

Sarah Tamar's 'Meltdown' was the third place, I voted for this one, I loved the intensity of it. Sarah read very well and held the audience's attention. Her poem about Father Christmas was perhaps, the biggest success of the night. Very festive and witty in a way Sarah does so well.

Raven Brookes tuned up late but she handled it with style, getting up and reading despite having no time to sit down, I am glad she did because she read so well. Her villanelle was really excellent, they are tricky things to write but Raven has nailed it with one. The hypnotic repeating lines made the poem stand out in a night of incredible poetry.

I always like to be surprised at poetry nights and for me the best part of the night were the two poems by George Payton. I thought he was just there to watch as he had no artwork included in the competition but he got up and performed in the second half of the night. I really enjoyed his poems and his whole performance style, I especially liked the witty way his stoner poem ended as he forgot the words, almost in a cloud of smoke, he is either incredibly clever or his shambolic pothead persona is true to life: I imagine it to be a bit of both.

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