I read in Kidderminster on Friday. It was the launch of Kidderminster Creatives and was hosted by Heather Wastie. It was one of the best nights I have been to in ages. The reason was the unconventional reading slots.
The upstairs at the Boars Head is the gallery space and to be surrounded by works of art certainly gives the right mood; creative and inspiring. Heather let everyone chat and look at the art, then she introduced three people at a time. Then another gap of 15 minutes for talking. There was a good mix of music and poems. People just performed where they stood with everyone standing nearby. It was immediate and felt like a real exchange of feeling.
Feelings. That’s what prompted this blog post. How to control emotion when reading.
I read one poem, my favourite one from my latest set that I have been working on. The problem, like a lot of my work, is that is sprang from some deeply personal emotion. Not even melancholy or sad emotion, it’s a love poem of sorts. I don’t think the poem is so personal that it doesn’t work for other people, but I do think it triggers a wave of emotion in me when I read it. Even though I have practised it endlessly and know it perfectly, as I stood and performed it, I inhabited the poem too much and my voice broke with emotion during the best damn line of the poem. So infuriating!
I am not against emotion during a reading. Bobby Parker was there that night and he read one of his poems about the Horse Fair and his voice was laden with intensity and emotion. I only wish it didn’t well up in me and inhibit my performance because I feel I am letting my poems down. There I go, feeling too much again.