I can only guess it’s got something to do with my northern heritage, but I absolutely revel in the long days of summer. As the hours of daylight increase, so does my activity, and it’s definitely the season of the year when I’m going be hell-bent on writing, and performing, and pitching for gigs.
So, before I edge towards an equally inevitable hibernation, here’s a blog.
Last week, I was up in Blackpool, taking part in Rebellion Festival once more. It was every bit as wonderful as ever. Old friends and new faces. Music and beer. Sea air and sunsets. And, for the first time, a space and a stage for poetry in its own right, where I met up with some poets I already knew and others whose work was something new to savour. A weekend of words in among the punk rock.
One of the joys of an event like this is the chance to watch other poets at work, to see how they present themselves on stage, to hear what they have to say. All of us are busy learning the craft of trusting our audience to come with us, learning to have the confidence that they’ll be willing to appreciate and enjoy poetry which is dark or complex or angry just as readily as they’ll enjoy a comic rant aimed at the obvious targets.
And of course there are the wonderful moments when someone who’d come along out of curiosity chooses to stay and listen, or confides afterwards that they didn’t think they liked poetry, but you know what? It’s ok. Yours is ok. It’s just talking to people, isn’t it? If only poetry had been like this in school they might have enjoyed it….
Few things beat that. Because, as someone else wrote recently, performance is all about connection. About me connecting with you, you with me. About reminding ourselves that it’s the moments when we speak to each other and listen to each other and hear each other that count. It’s that urge for connection which drove me to record this video, in the hope that it becomes another small piece in a jigsaw which keeps that conversation of connection alive.
Poets. We throw out words and hope their echo does something to change the world, to make it better. Maybe I’ll see you at Rebellion next year, and we’ll see how we’ve done.