SPOKEN WORD VERSUS THE PAGE...

I went out Saturday afternoon (rush of music, something uplifting and demanding applause)- to the Word Tree in Upwey.

I haven't managed a 'poetic' event for so long- mainly due to work- so it was wonderful to get out and about and listen to some wonderful poets. To come away whirling with concepts and images and the desire to put pen to paper. Always a good sign.

Unfortunately the advertised feature poet couldn't make it but, Emilie Collyer stepped in. I must admit to being a tad biased, because I totally LOVE Emilie's work...she lures me from the first word. Her images captivate, her words can draw smiles (or blood, depending on the poem)

It was a good afternoon of poetry. As one poet mentioned, a lot of work auto-biographical which does resonate with an audience.

The part I found interesting - and difficult- was deciding what poems to bring to read. Should I bring a spoken word poem - one that relies heavily on stage presentation - on the ability of the performer to deliver the work?


Or should I choose a poem specifically written for the page- a poem that makes the audience work that bit harder because they have to listen to each and every word?


Eventually I chose two poems for the page- two very new and raw poems.

It's always interesting to see how something you are working on, and still not happy with, comes across. I must admit to editing before I read, and actually editing as I read (changing a few words) - definitely works in progress. And it was so rewarding to have people come up later and say how much they enjoyed the poems. (which when you are doubting whether you have captured a moment, is a good sign that you are on the right track).

Reading your work out loud works wonders. In the safety of your own home (apart from making the cat look at you quizzically) it helps to decide what words halt the work, the ones that trip your tongue, lets you see where the rhythm fails, where you have repeated yourself - or worse- leave you wondering what on earth you have put down.

Reading your work to an audience offers up another lesson. It's an interactive moment - a laugh or smile, a comment out loud, sometimes an 'oh yeah' - and you know what you are reading is touching somebody.

To me that's what counts. Making contact with the audience. Whether for a laugh, a smile, or even a sharp drawn intake of breath...then as a poet, our words are working.

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