Live poetry

  • Posted on January 18, 2013 at 11:07 pm

Red Roaster: Brighton and Hove Stanza of the Poetry SocietyLast night was wonderful hassle. Leaving work early to get home so I could get something to eat before going out to Brighton. I wasn’t feeling too well, rather wobbly in fact, but determined, and couldn’t decide if soup would keep me going or the final spag bol decision would finish me off. Then parking near enough to walk to the Red Roaster without getting frozen on the way back. Gawping at what I had forgotten about Brighton parking: you need 6 pound coins if you want to stay even slightly over one hour, and it was 6:50pm until free parking at 8. I risked it, hoping some jobsworth wasn’t taking delight in a last patrol at 7:55. I’m sure I wasn’t looking my best either.

But once there and warming up, and talking with friends from the Brighton and Hove Stanza of the Poetry Society, I was at home. That was except when I was feeling faint and hoping I wouldn’t embarrass myself by keeling over. I actually relish the opportunity to read my poetry. You can only read it one way, so you lose the neat, deliberate ambiguity of the written word (‘peeling is a tearing … all lies in pieces after tears’ – Cooking with onions; ‘With intent I listen/ there is no rhythm in the rain’ – Intent is an image under canvas). The compensation is that you show how it feels and runs.

What a lovely evening; consistent but very varied poetry, all to a really high standard, and very individual. All as worthy of publication as the big names, in my opinion. But what touched me most was the number of people who made a point of coming to me to say how much, or why, they had enjoyed my pieces. Yes, I had been open in explaining the origin of some of my work in being transsexual. I’d rather people heard the words than spent time trying to work out my gender, and it is the heartbeat of much of what I write, even when it isn’t explicit. So to learn that I had evoked deep feelings of childbirth in a mum of two, felt almost an honour. There’s something quite moving about your words reaching some deep place in another, not because you’ve thrust your words on them, but because someone has just received them and taken them in, where they have resonated. That’s much more of a meeting than a handshake and hello.

Writing for me is an imperative, even though I do it all day as a job too. Cooking with onions was a line in my head ten days ago, when I woke up one morning, and evolved in my mind on the journey to work, where I captured enough on paper to remind me later, and the allusions multiplied. That’s how it is, and somehow it really works.

Here are the poems I read, in case you were there and want to read them again, or missed them:

I hope you like them.


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