I spent an enjoyable evening at voXboX last night. It was an eclectic programme – various styles of poetry, music, and a few short stories.
Tracy Patrick (at the link, she is the one on the right, not the left as indicated, which is a sorrowful clown…) used music with a couple of her poems. I thought these ones worked best of all even though she described one of them as an “experiment”. Claire Askew read well and got a good reaction. The guy after her (sorry, forgotten his name – there were quite a few ‘floor spots’) read a very well-written and funny short story. Colin Donati was on good form. The guy who read last finished with a poem called 'The Only Glaswegian Dominatrix in Amsterdam', which was hilarious. The MCs, Kevin Cadwallender and Anita Govan, were relaxed, informal and humorous. So plenty of entertainment.
voXboX leans towards ‘performance poetry’, although I’ve seen all kinds of stuff there (this was my third time). I wasn’t sure how my material would go down, but tried not to be too anxious about it. As it was, the audience were kind and appreciative. If they were bored out of their skulls, they didn’t show it, which is good enough for me!
I decided to play to my strengths. I know I can’t ‘perform’ my poems in the highly dramatic way some of them do there (not that I am po-faced and staring at my shoes either). In any case, that doesn’t work with my stuff. Equally, I didn’t want to do ‘performance-type’ poems just to fit in (I have written a few), as they would have just come over as not-very-good performance pieces. So I did the kind of set I’d do for any audience coming out on a warm, showery evening to hear poetry and picked poems I enjoy reading (along with a couple I hadn’t read before, just to see…). For those who collect setlists:
1. Back to Rome
3. While the Moonies are Taking Over Uruguay
4. untitled hebdomad
6. The Look
7. The Hedge Artist
8. Girl Playing Sudoku on the 7.15
9. Heat (poem written by Denis Johnson )
10. How New York You Are