in the dark

It’s said that glossophobia – the fear of speaking in public – is high up among the most common fears, so I’m slightly surprised that it’s not something that has ever particularly bothered me.

Perhaps I read the lesson in church as a child or at the school carol service often enough for it to cease to be really frightening, although that raises the question of why, as a very timid small child, I was willing to volunteer to read – especially as I remember on at least one occasion having to stand up to a terrifying schoolmaster in order to be allowed to audition for the carol service: he thought I would never make myself heard – though I proved him wrong.
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thoughts of home

I’ve already mentioned here that I was invited to take part in TEDx Leamington Spa last November, not as a speaker, but as a performer. There were just over a dozen speakers, and several other performers, each with their own take on the theme of “home”.

Before the event, I attended meet-ups and rehearsals and scribbled notes about all the different presentations, trying to make sense of a huge and very daunting task. During this time, I produced a couple of poems – including “fade to blue” and “information overload“, which can be read by clicking through to earlier blog posts – that I didn’t use on the day.
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spoiled for choice

Once more, I am selecting a set of poems to read at an upcoming event. once more, the organiser wants to know in advance what to expect. Once more, I am dithering over making a decision.

When I was first invited to read, I leapt at the chance and didn’t give a moment’s thought to whether I would find something suitable. But there is a theme: the pieces should be humorous. And humour is a very subjective matter.

So I’ve been leafing through papers and notebooks, scrolling through documents, and re-visiting lots of old poems to see what I can find. Although very little of it is laugh-out-loud funny, the more I look, the more pieces I find that might be suitable.
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right to read

One thing I try and do when I’m in London is get to the Poetry Unplugged open mike at the Poetry Café on a Tuesday night. It’s usually packed, often inspiring and always fun, not least because of the skill and wit of the host, Niall O’Sullivan. Each participant is allowed up to five minutes at the mike, so it’s possible to perform several short pieces or one longer one.

I was there this week and dithering about what to read as I haven’t been writing much recently – at least not finishing much in the way of poetry. Sitting and listening to the readers in the first half, I was reminded how the poems that are best for reading aloud to an audience are not always the ones you are proudest of, or that are likely to get published or win competitions.
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