My last gig of a surprisingly gig-ful year was at the Brewery Arts Centre in the refubished Warehouse - a long room lined with rows of sofas facing the velvet curtained stage. Very lush. A lovely vibe for a poetry night. Which was a great start since I felt pretty dire (for entirely self-inflicted reasons).
At least I knew what poems I was going to recite and felt confident I had a mixed set of light, lyrical and surreal stuff. I was also showcasing a hitchhiking poem for the first time. I was one of the headline acts, thanks to the invitation from the supremely energetic Ann Wilson, so had a fifteen/twenty minute slot.
There were fourteen open mics so I had plenty of time to settle into the space. They, as usual, ranged in voice and subject, mainly good - especially Kim Moore and Margaret Whyte, who both read absorbing poems, rich in atmosphere and imagery.
It was a mic'd do so I wasn't going to be dancing about physically, which let me off that hook. Just small gestures and voice. And as usual, an astonishingly attentive audience. I think I've gone on about the priviledge us poets have with our audiences so won't go on about it again.
Mybreathing wasn't the best, so didn't entirely relax but managed to hold attention and enjoy my delivery. But the best bit was after - I've never had so many people talk to me after a gig - mainly to share their hitching experiences (that poem was clearly a winner), but also to tell me how much they enjoyed what they heard - if not necesarily understood intellectually but had gone with the sounds of the poems. And that for me is really what a performance is about. My work isn't the most obvious performance work, being densely written and rather wrought in imagery, but if it can carry people elsewhere then I've done my job.
To an extent sound is sense, and mood can be conveyed through that.