sound and fury

bear's breeches (acanthus)

I’ve mentioned before the need for more ‘poetry listenings‘ rather than poetry readings, but I went to an open mike event last night and I think it’s a topic that is worth returning to.

Although most of the readers and the rest of the audience had been milling around for half an hour or more, the event was late starting. As there weren’t many of us there, this wasn’t a problem: there would be plenty of time for everyone. But as soon as the girl presenting the event had said it was time to begin and sat down to play at the piano, the chap in front of me started to fuss and fidget.

As the evening went on, I made a note of different noises from the audience:

  • The scrunch of a plastic carrier bag, where a cassette recorder is concealed. (Not to record the whole event, just the reader’s own spot; it has to be got ready while others are performing during the the first half, although he’s not reading until after the break.)
  • The flip and drag of pages of a reporter’s notebook, where the poems are written. (When he gets up to read, he’s ready with the first one, but still has to flip back through the whole notebook to find the second and third poems he wants to read.)
  • The rustle of stiff poplin shirt sleeves being rolled up.
  • The crunch of crisps, followed at last by the crumpling of the empty bag.
  • The trickle of wine being poured.
  • The creak of wicker chairs.
  • The pop and swish of a can being opened.
  • The clink and topple of a glass being kicked by a person stretching out their legs.
  • The clatter of a pen being dropped. (OK, I admit it: that was me last night!)
  • The gasp and hiss of the tea urn when the thermostat clicks in.
    I realise that some of these can’t be avoided and some are far more distracting than others, but, on the whole, it just seems rude. Perhaps sound and fury is a little extreme for the post title but it reads better than sound and irritation.

    Before I end this blog post, I’ll just point out that the plant in the picture is known as bear’s breeches. So, having strutted and fretted my brief hour upon the page, I shall exit, pursued by an acanthus flower:

    bear's breeches (acanthus)

    Author: don't confuse the narrator

    Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

    One thought on “sound and fury”

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