Last night I went to The Poetry Place for the second time- my first journey there, about a year ago, was simply to scout it out, and I had a bit of the yummy veggie food they serve (a quiche, I think,) and kind of scurried away again. No events were happening at the time.
This trip was to attend Poetry Unplugged, the regular Open Mic night of The Poetry Cafe, an outlet of The Poetry Society.
I have read in the Lipscomb Library and the Martin Science building of my Alma mater, and I have just written about reading in the gorgeous Playfair Library at Old College. Yet I admit to feeling somewhat nervous, just before we got going!
It was the jangle of the unexpected, the not knowing.
There were about thirty people there, and about twenty had signed up to read.
The first guy who read was a bit odd; he singled me out (by chance, I suppose, and/or because I was new,) and wrapped my name into a ‘poem’ about Long Island.
It was fairly convenient, in my opinion, because by the time I was called to read (fairly early on), everyone already knew my name! With only five minutes in which to introduce myself and mention Darwin’s Microscope, I read about three poems, but they were very well-received.
I do think it is good when the poets you think are good also like your work. I think poetry is something one can become better at, but only if one is talented to begin with. It is an elitist attitude and I do not waver- I think the same with ‘talent’ holds true for any art form- music, dance, visual arts. There must be inherent talent to hone. Or what? Or it is a waste of time? No, the arts may be hobbies, enjoyable and relaxing, or emotional outlets. I cannot claim to paint or sing, at least not well!
Speaking of talent, upon first impression, about half of the poets I heard at Poetry Unplugged were very good. I think that’s an impressive percentage! I’ll mention a few whose names I caught and who have information online: Ernesto Sarezale was talented and entertaining; he’ll be at the Camden Fringe festival and obviously is very involved in the London performing arts scene. Guy Jackson was more of a storyteller than a poet, with quirky but funny stuff, and a fantatic storytelling voice. It reminded me of Monty Python.
Two young women, Toni and Grace, were wonderful, each coming from totally different backgrounds but each with rhythm, power, and emotion in their words, ebbing almost into song at some points. One young man hands-down made me think of Shakespeare, or at least how Joseph Fiennes plays him in Shakespeare in Love.
I realise that ‘writing like Shakespeare’ is probably one of the Cardinal Sins of modern poetry, but this kid was good. I mean, really good. Beautiful. And though the style was Shakespearian, the words were made modern and they worked. Another young and tender lad read a fantastic poem about giving a narcissist a broken mirror. Again, very well done.
There were a few crazies, a short bout of yelling, and a minor mouse incident, but otherwise a good evening- and hey, it’s poetry, you’ve got to have some oddities…