sound and fury

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.
Continue reading “sound and fury”

new year, new thoughts

horses in a field
A few years back, I wrote the post what’s in the poem, where I said that I didn’t like how poets tend to use an explanatory “blurb” between pieces at readings to tell the audience how they should understand the poem rather than giving listeners the chance to respond for themselves.

This week, though, I attended a poetry reading by Michael Hulse and saw just how well that inter-poem blurb can be used.
Continue reading “new year, new thoughts”

modern manners

I’ve been to several poetry readings in the last couple of weeks, including an anthology launch where I was among the readers, and one by the elderly New Zealand poet C.K. Stead.

eagle owl head shot
The launch lunch for The Apple Anthology (published by Nine Arches Press) was a fairly casual event, with a number of readers, and a varied audience eager to sample the cider, sandwiches – and inevitable apples.

The other events, though, were more formal and I was disconcerted to see people in the audience tapping away at their smart phones and laptop keyboards when I thought they should be listening. (That’s why I chose the photo of the owl, an eminently educated bird, with those marvellously disapproving eyebrows I can never hope to match however much I frown on modern youth.)
Continue reading “modern manners”

sound and sense

In the post Sound Reasoning, I talked about how in Spanish each letter corresponds to a single sound. This must make it hard for a Spaniard to visualise the spelling of a word when he hears it spoken in English, and therefore must make comprehension more difficult.

It does, however, add to the pleasure of watching films in English with amateur Spanish subtitles. I admire the guys who attempt what is clearly a task beyond their capabilities. They gather up their inadequate grammar and try and create meaning from sound alone.
Continue reading “sound and sense”