Friday, 11 March 2011

Poets Get MASHED

Check your List of Things to Do Before You Die. On your list, do you have “Read at a poetry slam”?

I did. As of Friday, 4th March, it ain't on the list. I ticked it off in style.

The principle of Poets Get Mashed is simple: Read a poem you wrote, followed by a poem of someone else’s that you like, thus creating a mash-up of styles.

The night of the 4th was only the second time the night had been ran but already, by the start time, a fair crowd had arrived in An Outlet on Dale Street.

Compare Dominic Berry opened the night with his a capella poem / song dedicated to local poet Marvin Cheeseman, who was in the audience that night. He followed this with “Uninvited,” by poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy.

John Darwen followed, with “Skipper”, and “My Winter”, before introducing Max Wallis who read “Thinking Infinity” and another piece.

Dominic reminded us of another chance to read and hear poems: Freed Up is on the 3rd Thursday of every month at Manchester’s Green Room

The upcoming theme is “Excellence”, if you fancy giving it a go.

Other poems included “New York Rude” by guest artiste Rosie Garland, describing Big Apple attitudes. It’s an excerpt from her new book, Things I Did While I Was Dead
Speaking of attitudes, Rosie then advised us to BOGOF… telling us of a deal she’s doing on her books- especially for us. Rosie read a series of her works and works of other writers. Most memorably, “Kings of the Playground” by Carol Ruman, I’d assumed was about childhood memories. Uh-uh. It was a metaphor for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003. Once we knew this, the poem made a new, deeper impression.

(Side thought: I often wonder how to show hidden meanings in writings, and whether to explain them at all. Some poems benefit from being open to interpretation, but I doubt anyone would have guessed the undertone of Carol’s poem. Still a good piece, though. What are your thoughts on how obvious you should make a poem’s meaning?)

Rosie followed this with a series of very brave poems about her battle with cancer.

Dominic gave us a ten-minute break before the remainder of readers hit the mic. He gave us a ten-line challenge to keep us busy, though.

Cricketer Steve Davies recently came out as gay.
He’s apparently the only televised cricketer to ever do so. In the spirit of this, the challenge was to write a ten-line poem about gay cricket.

I gave it a shot, but didn’t submit my horrendous attempt for the competition. My disconnected piece consisted only of something to do with “batting for the other side” and “ball meddling.”

Starting up the second half, Dominic read “Queer Thanksgiving”. Marvin Cheeseman followed with Sandwich Love, a poem about Jeremy Beadle visiting America, and the football-inspired “What a Goal”.

Deep breath.

Next up, we were told, it’s Matt Tuckey.

Jumping on stage, I described a Facebook-based poetry slam prior to a planned night of whisky sampling. For the audience, I read out one of the pieces that came out of this. “Whisky Poems” by Mark Ferris went down well.
I followed it with my answer-back piece, “Whisky Night”.
I rounded off with Mark’s answer-back-to-answer-back poem, “Cold Whisky Nights”.

Reading out was a buzz, and the audience seemed to enjoy it.

Other local poets causing a scene were Jo Warburton, Neil Mcall (reading poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy’s work) and Anna Percy reading Ann Sexton.

Rod Tame followed with “Cloths of Heaven” by WB Yeats- a piece I thought I’d never heard of, until one line stood out a mile:

I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Ever seen the awesome Martial-arts-with-guns movie Equilibrium?

Sidetracking slightly, but why were both Cleric Partridge and DuPont both quoting WB Yeats?

Dominic announced Jo Warburton winner of the “gay cricket” competition, after which he rounded off with his poem, “This Knight”, taken from his new book Tomorrow I Will Go Dancing.

Poets Get Mashed is another fine example of the burgeoning talent that crackles through Manchester’s creative scene. Dominic Berry, at the forefront of the movement, is doing a fantastic job of putting Manchester firmly on the national poetry map.

No comments: