Monday, December 19, 2005

on angels and muscular poetry

Several days have passed since I last updated my blog ... and no surprise there, with Christmas-a-coming and five kids in the house! I was also struck down by one of these mystery bugs over the weekend and ended up sweating it out under a duvet on the sofa. Shades of being ten years old again and being allowed to watch telly for hours. Except now it’s the DVD collection of ANGEL I’m watching.

I only discovered BUFFY a couple of years back, having married a serious sci-fi/fantasy/horror fan, and now I have the pleasure of steadily watching my way through both BUFFY and ANGEL on DVD, courtesy of the incredibly good value home rental system on amazon. I find both highly entertaining. Especially when laid low and in desperate need of some eye-candy, as the Americans would put it. I’m referring, of course, to the sultry David Boreanaz, who plays Angel, the vampire with a soul.

So, I did my Fourcast reading at the Poetry Cafe last week and it went very well. I was nervous up until the last minute, then found it easy to slide back into performance mode. The poems I read were all new, i.e. uncollected, and some were so new they haven’t yet found their way into any magazines. I was very impressed by Martina Evans, Kevin Higgins and Jacob Sam-La Rose, the other poets reading with me that night, and it was good to see Roddy Lumsden again, who was hosting the event.

Jacob Sam-La Rose

My thanks to my husband Steve, who stoutly accompanied me down to London even though it meant he didn’t get to bed until nearly 3am and then had to get up for work again at 7am, and to my oldest and dearest friend Judy Ewart, who bought my train ticket, bless her, sat through the reading and then did something almost unheard-of at such events, and actually bought books by the other poets there. With hard cash!

Martina Evans and Kevin Higgins (first from the left)

Yes, it was an enjoyable and fruitful evening; I’ve found that reading poems to an audience is essential for testing them on the air. Otherwise you’re only hearing the poems inside the space of your own head, or as a private exchange between yourself and maybe your partner or husband or cat, whoever happens to be listening when you first try them aloud, and it can be harder to spot glitches in the rhythm or words which don’t fit as perfectly as they should. So it was a useful exercise and I did take away some thoughts on possible structural changes to the more recent poems. I also noted which poems seemed to ‘grip’ the audience more than others.

To my mind, no sin in a writer is greater than that of boring the reader/listener. So it’s a relief to find a poem within your repertoire that, like a good and trusted friend, can be relied upon in almost all circumstances; a muscular sort of poem with broad shoulders and, even better, deep pockets.

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