I was thinking, as the weeks have gone by, of the Poetry Symposium that we ran on May 19th. Again and again I keep coming back to seven wonderful moments. So I thought I’d share them.
Mike Smith’s set at the Symposium was a masterclass in how to shape a set; as an audience we all love to be in the hands of a performer who knows what they are doing – it was exactly so with Mike’s set. The audience was allowed a small chuckle as a response to the line ‘He’s got that poem stripped down again…’ (from ‘Mechanics’), which pulled the readers into the darker sections of the reading before they realised what was happening. The same sleight of hand was expertly displayed when listeners was warming to the a cappella rendition of ‘The Roast Turkey Blues’ before they perhaps realised what it was actually about. It was also great to hear a run of the ‘Martin’ poems – which appear as a set in ‘Martin Extinct’, which was on sale in the pop-up bookshop. Mike’s set – you probably spotted – was built around only the poems themselves; so poems like ‘An Instant’ breathe their own air: surely bad introductions only serve to ruin good poems… so why not have no introductions? There was also such variety in Mike’s set – the aforementioned blues, the short work like ‘So Still’ (see here to hear that again), and the longer pieces as they have appeared in many places – from Acumen to Speakeasy Magazine vol. 2. Like I say, a masterclass in how to build a reading.