Saturday, 20 March 2010


Another night out. Phew. All the invites have come thick and fast for the last few weeks.

And being the self-challenging git I am I decided to shake up my set a bit with a bunch of new poems. When I say 'new' I mean new to performance rather than newly written. And so I stepped into the spotlight with a greater than usual uncertainity of whether the words and lines would come out in the right order. (Oh, those classic monty python sketches - I seem to draw on them more and more as I get older)

And for some reason I picked some rather dark poems: angry, disparing house poems from the Bedrock sequence to open with. But people listened and, joy of joys, didn't clap between each one which would just cut me and the poems up. How do they know I don't like/want that? It's like I've got some enormous sign hanging around my neck saying KEEP YOUR HANDS APART UNTIL I'VE FINISHED. Especially since they clapped after each poem of the previous readers. Is it as simple as not saying 'thank you' after each poem? Are audiences as easy to prompt as Pavlov's dogs?

While a good set and people appreciative, I think the bonus of the night goes to hearing Andy Raven and friends play at the end of the evening. True, I'd done my bit so was relaxed, but what a bunch of upbeat talented musicians, who knew just how long to play for. Marvellous marvellous. Thank you.

And now, a week away.


Jenn Ashworth said...

When I read at places, it's often just one big chunk of prose so I don't worry about getting clapped in the middle. But when I listen to poets I always worry if I'm supposed to clap after each poem, or just a big clap at the end. I look about nervously, seeing if someone else who knows better than me is going to clap first. If the poet makes extra eye-contact with the audience or spends a moment shuffling through papers, then I reckon it's time to clap. Quick-fire poets, or ones that are performing, rather than just reading - i save it to the end, I think.

I'm going to be hyper aware of the clapping from now on :)

Sarah Hymas said...

I think some people really like the clapping between each poem. Maybe we do need big signs around our necks to help everyone out.
But just so I know - do you and Jo want claps between peices or saved up til the end? You're in my diary