JiscMail Logo
Email discussion lists for the UK Education and Research communities

Help for BRITISH-IRISH-POETS Archives


BRITISH-IRISH-POETS Archives

BRITISH-IRISH-POETS Archives


BRITISH-IRISH-POETS@JISCMAIL.AC.UK


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Monospaced Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

BRITISH-IRISH-POETS Home

BRITISH-IRISH-POETS Home

BRITISH-IRISH-POETS  1998

BRITISH-IRISH-POETS 1998

Options

Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password

Subject:

Stepping out of the Body

From:

ajl <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

ajl <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 20 Mar 98 12:48:57 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (80 lines)


"Suddenly I realise
 That if I stepped out of my body I would break
 Into blossom"
                    James Wright


spoken v's acted v's printed v's read (silently / muttered / dribbled

the debate has been a blue touchpaper in Australia: it was lit yonks ago
and everyone stood back. The candle threw a couple of red fireballs
and fizzed back into its own throat. But it's on fire again.
Performance poetry is alive & up & running. In fact, it could be argued
that it is the most active area of Australian poetry: its adherents
are wide-ranging and enthusiastic, and there are some brilliant
'performers' among them. I'm one who writes almost exclusively
'for the page', and yet I love to READ my work on the telephone,
in the hallway, at festivals, in the backyard, in pubs, cafes
and driving down the road. I have some training in the teatro,
so I like to use my voice, to get it out to the back of the space,
or through the telephone static from Sydney to melbourne. I don't
'perform' in the sense of 'acting out' what I read, and yet I sense,
on a good night, a marriage of ear and tongue and smoke and pint.
As writers, readers and listeners, we know that we're prone to 'go off'
to be sidetracked by an intense image or music during a reading, and thus
return some words or even lines down the track. I often sense this
while reading my poems - a curious dislocation happens, whether
inside me or in the collective concentration of the audience. I like that.
I forget who wrote it, but she was British, and she was referring to
Laika, the Russian dog who went into orbit. She said "Trust your fear".
We have to learn to trust our fear and imagination when reading our work.
Reading is also one of the best ways to edit. The ear has a good inbuilt
bullshit gauge when the tongue is active. I'm sure someone in the
discussion group has already said this somewhere, but isn't reading our
poems aloud to ourselves, while drafting, a kind of performance in itself?
It's ALL practise. You know, pacing the house with a blackened page
waving around in one hand while giving voice to a new version is absurd
theatre at its most wicked. Where was I?

Last year I went on the road with two of the finest Performance poets
I've seen & heard. No doubt I'll get gobsmacked by someone who'll see this
naming as short-changing the many talented Performance poets out there,
but I don't give a flying fox. Philip Norton & Edwina Blush combine
polished acting ability, great voices, and minimal props to create
a kind of cabaret poetry. They memorise everything, of course, and they
turned sleepy New South Wales rural pubs into wild scenes. It was tough,
at first, standing there reading from my books, especially if I was last.
But not only did I get used to it, they inflamed me and gave me a kick
in the guts - I started to memorise poems, and by the end of the tour
I had several that I could involve myself in completely: I found
a real tactile & emotional balance I'd not achieved before. Without
the page or book in hand, I was able to connect more directly with
the eyes and ears before me. It's an obvious statement, but I was shocked
by the different exchange of energy. I'm not going to throw down the book
and take up Performance poetry. Only a small number of my poems lend
themselves to this style - but I know that I can give what I've written
a new edge & luminosity by engaging equally with printed word and ear.
Philip & Edwina are blessed. They are not only superb performers, their
poetry is commensurate with their theatre skills. There are those whose
'performance' is so good, that the dubious quality of the poetry is
buried.
But I guess this raises a crucial question: does it matter? If the
'performance' works, on whatever level, do we have to isolate weak links?
I suppose the equation is worked out when you try to read these poems
on the page, without the spotlights & movement.

I've been following the debate closely. It's not going to end. Personally,
I'm working on each poem as it arrives. I'm writing and editing. My dog
turns her head to one side when I'm blurting out lines. I won't be writing
poems for performance, but then, I might get lucky and carve something
that works well inside the ear, voicebox, saliva gland and confines
of the page.


Anthony L.



%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

JiscMail Tools


RSS Feeds and Sharing


Advanced Options


Archives

January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002
2001
2000
1999
1998
1997


JiscMail is a Jisc service.

View our service policies at https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/policyandsecurity/ and Jisc's privacy policy at https://www.jisc.ac.uk/website/privacy-notice

Secured by F-Secure Anti-Virus CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager