Tonight I’m doing my first poetry reading. Not on my own, thank goodness, but with a group of fellow writers from Poetica in Manchester at Manchester Museum.
Being a novice it has been interesting trying to select which three poems to read out. Some which look and read well on the page prove hard to read out and I stumble over words. Others rely on word play that doesn’t come across when spoken.
When I attend readings the poems that stay make an impact are those that, while cleverly written, are easy to grasp or understand just from listening. I don’t mean that the writing needs to be simplistic, more that the idea or feeling conveyed by the poem needs to strike a chord in heart or head. So, it’s quite possible to hear a poem in a foreign language, and, through the choice of words, rhythm and form the poet uses, recognise what that poem had to say.
Striding around my room reciting my poems, some obvious candidates for the reading stood out. Two out of the three use strong, driving rhythms , alongside rhyming schemes and a bit of assonance for good luck. The third is a prose poem.
All I have to worry about now is not racing through them at break neck speed, or letting my nerves show in the quivering pieces of paper I’m holding!
Wish me luck!