This week has been another busy one, with gigs and talks in Suffolk and North Cambridgeshire, as well as lots of poetry writing, and a bit of online promotion for the Rose Fair poem I wrote a few weeks ago.
On Tuesday, I gave a talk to the ladies at the Elm Friendship Club. This was my first ever poetry talk, and only my second public engagement event as the Fenland Poet Laureate. Needless to say, I was incredibly nervous. I'm certainly no expert on poetry, so being asked to speak for an hour on the subject seemed like a pretty daunting task.
I needn't have worried though, because it went really well. I spoke for a little while about what poetry is and why it's important, and then we chatted about our favourite poems and poets. I read a few classics out to the group, and the ladies asked me lots of questions about my own poetry. Everyone seemed interested and we even spoke about the merits of rap music as a poetic format!
Then it was time to read some of my own stuff. I gave the group the choice of listening to nature poetry or my more risqué material: of course, they chose the sex poems!
Shaving Grace, my poem about pubic hair, and Bad Kisser were both firm favourites, but they also seemed to like the more serious poetry too. One lady even compared me to a young Pam Ayres, which was very flattering.
When I first accepted the invitation to talk about poetry with this group, I was in two minds about mentioning my comedy poetry. I had this pre-conceived idea that the over sixty-fives would be upset by the ruder stuff. I should have known that the older generation have been there and seen it all before! In that sense, I'm really glad I went with a mix of the funny and the serious stuff. I think we struck a good balance.
On Wednesday, I spent a wonderful evening in Woodbridge at the poetry, comedy and storytelling open mic night Words in Wooders. The venue was fantastic, and the performances were all superb. Everyone was really friendly, and I got the chance to speak to some great local poets and actors too. The night was hosted by the very talented Justine De Mierre, a storyteller who had us on the edge of our seats with her fantastic ghostly tales. Even though I was quite nervous, I think my performance went down well.
I always find the 'performance' part of performance poetry a bit tricky. I'm not a natural extrovert and telling poems in from of an audience is hard! But the more I practise, and the more I perform, the better my delivery becomes.
Now, if only I could learn the damn things off by heart, then I'd really be getting somewhere!
Next week I'm performing as part of the Word Circus at the Switch Fringe in Ipswich, alongside an amazing line-up of performers including Hannah Jane Walker, Booda French, Rowan James, Lewis Buxton, Piers Harrison-Reid, and Theo Best. This show is not to be missed, so if you're in Ipswich on Tuesday 2nd July, please do come along. The fun starts at 8pm at the Big Top in Christchurch Park. Tickets are five pounds each, and can be purchased here.
Finally, this is the latest addition to my fridge magnet collection. She is a Red Highland Cow, and her name is Morag.