World Poetry Day

It is world poetry day so I will attempt to say something about the most important thing in my life. I attend poetry events up to several times a week. In good spots I write a couple of ok poems a week or more. I run workshops for all kinds of groups. With Stirred Poetry and Becca Audra Smith I am constantly discovering new poets and supported and encouraged to take my verse further than I imagined. I actually kind of struggle when people say they are not into poetry at all or think it is not for them. I have referenced this scene when people say they don’t know any poetry: I believe we all carry jumbles of poems in our heads for some its one or two for us obsessive its hundreds of scraps or whole poems swirling about in there.

Despite my misgivings about the current widespread co-opting of performance poetry techniques for advertising which has led to John Cooper Clark one of our most well known performance poets advertising chips on telly. I do love it when poetry gets a mention in pop culture of late we have had several films about Allen Ginsberg, Howl and Kill Your Darlings. We had the ever wonderful Ben Whishaw and his lovely fringe playing John Keats in Brightstar and when he played Freddie in the much underrated The Hour he quoted E.E Cummings:

It is nearly NAPOWRIMO (national poem writing month for the initiated) a month which along with acrostics and misogynistic performance poetry are the few things which can test my love of poetry. I have never managed to write 30 poems in 30 days and the same happened when I did small stones as currently I am not in a situation to make a living from poetry life gets in the way. In the first year I tried I gave up when I wrote a haiku about trying not to write a cat poem. You can see it on this blog. It was bad. I hope now I have enough faith in my work to just get back up and try again the next day and write a better poem.

Poetry is what I turn to when things stop making sense, or when I am so angry I can’t speak straight. I sometimes get struck by the utter beauty in a three line poem. While preparing a workshop the other week I was trying to find a poem to look at with a group and was transfixed by this one by Diane Di Prima

Fog: San Francisco

it grows dark

at lunchtime

in this land of no summer

For years I had a poorly written out version of this poem by E.E Cummings taped to my wardrobe:

Much as I do write longer more simple performance poems I have always been drawn to the power of brevity in poems and increasingly the effect movement of text can have. Plus I don’t think poems need to make sense. they just have some kind of truth and that can a beauty of sound or evoking an emotional response. I will continue this years plans of working with text placement on the page however wordpress is not the best format for this.

Ahead of Mondays Stirred Poetry event themed around ‘’Shout’’ about making women’s voices heard here is a poem of mine based on a Diane Di Prima Revolutionary Letter #66 To The Patriarchs I reversed it so it spoke of love.

My body repels weapons

My thoughts are shields

My tits are shields against trident

My strong thighs squeeze out fear

My hips are bay of safety for ships

I look out from the lighthouse of my cunt

My peace is radiating from that inner light

My love is swelling my plush bloody heart

Beyond the borders of my body

No matter who wounds it still it spills out

My lips are mouthing the words of love

Ballooning and rising in the sky

Cross aeroplane trails

they are blocking satellite signals of hate

The ripple of my orgasms is unseating hate

All future hate

All is future love.

Please join us at 3MT this Monday at 7.30pm on Oldham Street Manchester for a celebration of women’s voices and poetry. For more information look here:


About Quad

The Stirred quad is formed of Rebecca Audra Smith, Anna Percy, Jasmine Chatfield and Lenni Sanders.
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