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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDXWclpGhcg 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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAUugzwI8ng
It is nearly NAPOWRIMO (national poem writing month for the initiated) http://www.napowrimo.net/ 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
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: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/176654
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: www.stirredpoetry.wordpress.com