I’ve been running after my own invisible tail (long, with feathers, spaniel style) for the last few months. It resulted in becoming very tired and forgetting things. I was asked to read at Hellens Garden Festival. I was looking forward to it, had it fixed in my head it was on the Sunday. Then I arrived, early, feeling quietly proud that I wasn’t late and slowly realised I had come on the wrong day. I should have read on Saturday. Imagine my distress. I had let people down and been an all round hopeless poet. Yet, Adam Horovitz generously gave me space before his own reading so I could read some poems. Everyone was so kind. I felt wrapped in the supportive space created by poets. I enjoyed Adam’s reading very much, not only were the poems rich with detail and the languid weight of the landscapes within them…but he also had one of those voices, compelling and calm. In the beautiful setting of Hellens Manor, Much Marcle, the sun warming us through the odd shower, it was a perfect afternoon. This is why I love poetry.
The school where I work had booked Spoz to do a poetry slam and he had Rich Grant with him to take one set of kids. Rich, known as Dreadlockalien, was a poet I knew about but had never met before. It was right in the middle of me feeling very tired out and stressed so a day off normal tasks and watching Rich do his stuff was going to be a joy. Dynamic, fun, witty, charismatic and a brilliant poet…he had every kid in his group focused and producing great lines of poetry. More importantly, he made poetry not suck, which is important with kids who despise poetry! In the break we got talking about life, motivating the kids who don’t usually get to shine. I told Rich about my son who had recently been bullied for the first time about his skin colour and how devastating he had found it. Rich was keen to send my son a message to lift his spirits and give him words to remember, words to keep about his space in the human race. Rich took the time to record this message for me on my phone, completely ad-libbed, so I could take it home to my sons. Build them up. Such generosity. This is why I love poetry.