Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Bolton Octagon

What I so love and appreciate about poetry audiences is how attentive they are - no chatting, going to the bar or texting - as a general rule. The live literature world is very priviledged (say in comparison to the musos).

And last night's gig at the Octagon was no exception. I was the support act to Chanje Kunda's new show The Last Tabboo. A good choice - in that our work is so very different the audience's attention is rewarded.

We were in the upstairs bar, a small well lit space, and as I moved about the 'stage' I had plenty of opportunity to watch them watching me. While this is potentially disconcerting - there's always the possibility of seeing someone yawn, looking thoroughly bored or picking their nose or whatever - I love this close contact with people, to watch their facial reactions to the words I've strung.

And it also forces me to stand behind, or possibly alongside, what I've written and am now speaking. It's a real test of the authenticity of my work.

When I'm writing, while I am powered by the urge to communicate or release or structure an idea or experience, I can get so consumed by the words, their resonances and echoes, that I can get led by sound and rhythm over meaning. I know I've previously blathered on about the distinction (or lack of) between sound and sense. Having an audience is a litmus test of whether the two are tongue and grooved.

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