April 12, 2012
The very best poetry readings are where you manage to discover something about your own work while in the act of reading; that is, you forget the notion of performance while performing. Happened to me on Tuesday at The Gods, where I found a pun lurking in one poem that I had not previously noticed, and had to swallow an inappropriate laugh. (They do breed like rats just released onto a Pacific island in my work, it must be said. Puns, that is.) I also enjoy the response of the audience. A good turn up it was too, for Melinda Smith, Russell Erwin and myself.
I wore a Vogon poetry shirt, as a little reminder that if it didn’t go well, there are definitely worse poets out there, somewhere in the universe. But it did go well, and some very intelligent questions were asked of the three readers after the readings. You can see Melinda answering one being put to her by Geoff Page in the last photo, while I try and disappear behind the microphone. (Russell was there too, but out of shot. He’s the one in the striped top above.)
Reading one’s work is fun, as is discovering the work of others in their own voices. Melinda’s tart, elegant and poignant poetry, Russell’s dive-in and discover expansive explorations, and whatever it is that I write made for a varied menu. I managed to put in a plug for humorous poetry, too, during the questions. And people were laughing during parts of the reading, and I think in a good way.
Now back to the serious, beret-ed business of writing some more poetry, having scuttled out into a public place for a couple of hours.