Poetry. Where does that fit in? I did the teenage angsty stuff and courted my wife with it naturally. I read the poets we do at school and enjoyed Keats, Coleridge, not so much Milton or Hardy. I pushed the boat out and got into Wilfred Owen, Yeats and that was about that. Spring forward to Kingston Uni and the poetry is a welcome diversion from academia. I enjoy little forays into using expressions that one simply must not use in a novel. Tutors like my poems, visiting poets too. And such are reputations born I guess. No one is more surprised than me. It's quite fun though!
Having submitted a reasonable number of poems to the right mags I haven't had any published outside of Kingston. No sweat, I'm not trying too hard and certainly am not precious about it. It seems to me that poets spend a fortune on subscriptions, submitting to competitions and the myriad of publications to be featured sometimes and then you might get to produce a pamphlet. Is that it? The first step to poetic success? Blimey. And years later you may be asked to collect your bits and pieces for a collection, and sell it to, what 150 people. You have hit the big time!
One part of it I have shied away from is public readings. The few I have attended have been mixed. I can't take much of it in, I need the poetry to be written down in front of me. I catch an interesting line and the rest of the poem has been and gone. My understanding is poor, seriously it is. I do not get what the poet is saying, trying to say, trying to sound out to me. I enjoyed American poet Michael Surnowski, and Wendy Cope is the loveliest person I think I met amongst the visiting stars! Her down to earth approach, and advice and guidance was thoughtful yet she had strong opinions too; the balance was spot on.
Over the last year though I have spent several wonderful evenings with two poets from Kingston who really are making a name for themselves, Lucy Furlong and Dave Russomano. They have looked at some of my work and offered suggestions aplenty to improve them, their patience is very satisfying! Lucy is a prolific performer and Dave has done more than his fair share too. Lucy recently invited me to join them, and another fascinatingly creative lady, Sarah Dawson, in reciting a few pieces at the Carshalton-on-Sea Festival. So, I've refreshed a couple of Suffolk pieces and will be doing 'Lowestoft Fish Market' and 'Pakefield Beach' in that homely accent. A new piece is under construction for the event and is based around the water tower in Carshalton. I'm actually looking forward to it. Who knows I might even enjoy subjecting an audience to my work, something I never thought I should really do.
You'd be most welcome to come along, hear 'The Water Poets' recite, buy us lots of alcohol, that sort of thing.. we're on from noon on the Saturday, in the rather posh Charles Cryer Theatre, for an hour, don't be late. Whatever else happens, I will not be preforming this:
I should aspire to be,
and in that way
I will cause a stir,
a little discussion.
So feed me your classics,
your daring radicalism;
‘they create an ambiance,
a certain I don’t know what’ -
I’ll be damned if I understand them,
can be bothered to either,
at my age, you know?
You get to be more selective,
more reverential about intelligence,
interests and your time.
Hell, I almost killed myself a few years back,
why would I spend whatever I deem to have left
in a state of confusion?
I have a void, you see.
No, I’ll use up my time
with my lighted memories,
my dinky desires,
my affected music,
my gargled words and b movies.
I’ll still explore realms,
it’s so much more of an adventure
than wading through the recommendations
from people I hardly know,
cannot connect to,
wouldn’t dream of passing days with
never mind their minds.
Opine opinions, you keep them,
to yourself, for your blogs, your tweets,