Tuesday, 5 March 2013

*Guest Blog* - Helen Windel

Andy started the session today with his tale of a spliff-smoking, scam-scheming nun.  Much laughter.  Eric's poetry then carried us through the maze of life and we were captivated.  And this was before the session had even begun, while our coffee still sat warm in our cups and the chocolate biscuits waited for politeness to subside.
Today we'd be focussing on performance poetry and would get the chance to perform a poem of our own if we wished.  My default setting is to avoid any kind of audience so I shied away when Paula asked for volunteers though almost everyone in the group put themselves forward and Paula's enthusiasm and encouragement had even me considering whether to have a go.

First we looked at some examples of performance style on DVD and it was surprising to realise how the completely disparate performance deliveries from each poet could all engage us and connect us with their words and worlds.  Jackie Kay candidly chatted to us about her adoption experiences from her sofa while John Agard energetically and charismatically reported over a mike his newsflash on all non-native words having a mass walkout from the English dictionary.

Back in the room we connected with the words of the group as one after another people articulated thoughts, feelings, beliefs and most importantly truths the listener could empathise with.  Soulful accounts of loss, a rich and textured slice of Merseyside pride, visions of defiant kites soaring over Otterspool Prom, passionate homage to a doomed pub, heartwrenching reflections on parenthood and a lighthearted take on the innocence of childhood.  Our journey complete, the coffee sat cold and the biscuits were forgotten.  Another excellent session.

Helen Windel 

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