lowering the tone

After writing the not nice post yesterday about offensive poetry, it was time to choose some poems to take along to read at the open mike at the bookshop.

I’ve written before about points to consider when choosing poems to read in public, but as everyone in the neighbourhood is still talking about the complaints received about “rude and offensive naughty poetry and song”, I felt I should try and find something to suit the mood.
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no change

It’s Saturday and, as usual, I’ve spent half the day wondering what on earth I’m going to write on the blog.

Not having had any major new insights or flashes of inspiration, let’s continue from last weekend, when I said that I was trying to choose which poems to read at an evening where the theme was change.

I didn’t find it a very easy task and reckoned that it would be much easier for the writers of fiction: even I know enough about plotting to be aware of the common story structure that sees the protagonist undergo a transformation, but that really can’t be applied to poetry.
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changing voice and mood

Next week I’m taking part in an evening of readings and yesterday I received an email reminding me that I needed to supply a biography and also give some idea of genre and tone for the pieces I’ll be reading. The suggestions offered were: “prose/ poetry; fiction/ non-fiction; light/ serious”.

I understand that the running order will probably work better if tragedy isn’t sandwiched between doggerel, but I don’t usually make decisions very far in advance – after all, I might yet write a new piece that is just perfect for the occasion – so just at the moment I have no idea what I’m going to read.
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the sound of clouds

After much procrastination, I have finally decided to set up a SoundCloud account and publish some audio files of my writing.

To begin with, I’ve recorded Biodegradables, which I posted here on the blog yesterday.
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a little light poetry

Last Thursday was National Poetry Day in the UK, so I am feeling very guilty that I haven’t got around to posting a poem to mark the occasion.

wispy cirrus clouds and vapour trail
It wasn’t simply that my head has been too full of wispy clouds to focus. Even on Saturday, a day when I usually post, I was busy, not just with the usual domestic nonsenses, but also preparing to present the guest poets at an evening of readings at the local bookshop and community centre.
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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.
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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.)
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