As the publication date for Bone Ovation approaches, I’m slowly becoming involved with literary events and (heaven forfend!) doing some actual spoken word poetry. This is something I really enjoy as an audience member but I’ve always put off as a performer. Seconds after considering the possibility I’d hear that little voice inside whispering ‘Why would they want to listen to you?’, ‘But where’s the drama?’, ‘Wouldn’t you be dull dull dull?’ Well – I’ve told that listen voice to shut the hell up and I’m already booked for two events!
I’m no rapper. When I listen to spoken word, the readers frequently have this rhythmic bouncing in their sentences, their voice lilts towards just the right points and it’s mesmerising. There’s nothing natural about that bounce and sing-song melody, it’s a skill, learnt and practised. I don’t think it’s my style, but then again, much of that spoken word scene is portraying a different message to me. I don’t have to read like that, I can read like me. And isn’t that so much better than a semi-satisfactory imitation of someone else?
Valley Press have put me forward to read at Ilkley Literature Festival in October (I’ll blog about it a little bit more nearer the time!), and I’ll be reading at the Launch of the second issue of Lungs in Newcastle in the weeks before that. I’m actually quite excited, though that’s probably because right now it’s all a distant prospect. VP is putting me forward for one or two other things too, and I was asked to film or record myself reading. So I picked a couple of poems, wrote them in my notebook with special intonation annotations (I’ll write a blog post about this in the future too!), propped up my Samsung on the bookshelf and gave it a go. For a first attempt, they didn’t go too badly.
You can watch me read two poems from Bone Ovation over here on YouTube:
The Girl Who Fell in Love With the Mountain
Your Bones and My Bones are Chicken Bones
Plenty more practising to go, but I think I’ve turned a corner in terms of my own personal fears. Yessssssssssssss.