I had a great night at the Diverse Dancers Exhibition/ opening night at The Ort in Birmingham.
I found out about this event in January and excitedly signed up. Najma was looking for artists and performers to come to the opening of the event (although the gallery exhibit opened on 19th February), it was such a lovely gesture to get the wider community involved and there were plenty of audience there tonight too.
^^^ See Najma’s photography!
The exhibition is there until the 4th March.
It gave me an opportunity to meet and watch new (to me) talent and I always love events at the Ort because it is such a hippy vibe place to be that I feel totally at home in the café.
A superb night, I really enjoy having the opportunity to share my poetry in events other than Open Mic nights, there is something rather special about performing for other reasons. Plus I love the challenge of writing for specific reasons/ events/ venues…. I may not think this when I get commissions.
Najma is a fantastically talented photographer who captures moments of dance through her magic lens. Being an ex-dancer I LOVE her work and feel so much when I look at the images she has shot. Her work speaks to me on a personal level, tonight she passed comment that my poetry spoke to her in the same way. Great synchronicity!
I adore the way (in this 3D crazed world) that she can captured such movement in a 2D form. It was a delight to write poetry especially for this event. It was in my writing diary as a task to do mid-February, a week ago, a bit like last minute homework assignments, I ended up writing two of them at 4:30 am after my Hit the Ode gig and then another one around 3pm which I hurriedly emailed to Mr G for printing! My final poem in the set was written for one of the challenges and appears in some form somewhere on this blog, I will try to find it and link it up here. I don’t tend to ‘publish’ my work on this blog as I am hoping it will appear elsewhere.
Here’s the link – cannot believe it has been a year since I wrote it – retitled –
The Fourth Wall
Writing these poems brought all sorts of memories back to me, from Martha Graham to learning Labanotation, from being taught choreography by a Japanese speaker to the pain of pointe shoes and all of it was wrapped up in a neat bundle of 3 new poems.
Rather like Thursday night, when I got back from the city – I am now working the adrenaline out of my system. Honestly tonight was soooooooooo good it may take a while to come down!
It was lovely to receive such positive feedback after my set – especially after last night’s fiasco and it has helped boost my confidence again. The thing is my set may not be as dramatic or as well presented / polished as people who have been doing it for the past 6-10 years… but I am nearly 5 months in and my poetry can speak for itself, there is a lot of meat on my words, people can already enjoy a feast – and one day maybe silver service!
I shouldn’t beat myself up less and need to stop comparing myself to other artists. We are all unique and talented in our own ways and how I feel, what I think is not what the audience experiences. I can compare myself to myself and each time there is a good night – keep that one and know that being human involves making mistakes sometimes. At least I can’t hurt myself with mistakes, not like athletes or medics or something, nothing catastrophic will happen as a result.
The night started with the wonderfully talented Andrew Clayton playing music on the keyboard, he also accompanied Carys Matic Jones later in the second half with improvised music which worked fabulously alongside her words.
I have added some photos of the evening taken by Bernard Davis © 2014
Adele kicked off the poetry – Stage name Ddotti Bluebell, she hosts Word Up at Yorks Bakery, where I will be performing next week, it was great to meet her and hear her lively and amusing set.
Adam Laws was extremely brave, his first approach to the Open Mic and unless he had said, I don’t think many of us would have guessed, he was nervous and still gave a stellar performance! I hope he will do more now, I encouraged him to keep going and I am sure others did too!
, who runs Purple Penumbra
which I went to before Christmas amazed me with his dance poem, complete with backing music and audience participation dance moves, a great warm up for performers in the first half and fun too!
Jude Ashworth, who I met a few times last year, at Jane Commane’s workshop and Jan Watts – Books to the Future festival – Phenomenal Women event read two poems which had depth and vision.
was brilliant! A Cinderella who certainly managed to go to her ball – what a performance! Drama, monologue, a Fairy Godmother tick list, a broom, a ‘brave’ (I say gorgeous) dress and a poem! A real treat.
Ian Henery, Walsall’s first ever Poet Laureate in (2011), performed his poetry and likened the talent of the first half to that beyond the Nation’s favourite, Kipling!
Fami mesmerised me with his words, a gentle, fantastic poet, who I regret I ran out of time to talk to, I tried as much mingling as I could manage.
Tessa Lowe, who hosts Poets with Passion events and when she is not writing, performing or being lovely, travels. Was brilliant as always and described how completely happy she is about her decision to relocate to this part of the city, with vibrant descriptions of the location and obvious love for the event itself, her words carried us all to the interval.
Carys Matic Jones kicked off the 2nd half and she ‘kicked’ it, performing poetry and have an impromptu improv. with Andrew Clayton, before producing her new toy and drumming us right up to my set, she was dynamic and the injection of music livened up the atmosphere!
- I nervously took to the mic and had a moment of clarity when I suddenly realised my words stand up for themselves!
was absolutely amazing, I really enjoyed talking to her afterwards as well, known as the ‘Storytramp’
and a nominee for some amazing storyteller award,
she wowed us with her physical and spoken performance – the sheer joy was obvious in her face and was infectious!
Lorna Meehan, one quarter of the Decadent Divas, recently back from her 1st Poetry Tour under Apple and Snakes and someone who I have seen 3 times in 2 weeks performing at the same events was amazing as always. Her poise and performance ability blow me away!
Simon Pitt – Birmingham’s Poet Laureate 1999- 2000 performed a random set it has to be said, amusing though his outbursts were, he also treated us to the first poem he ever declared in public!
Najma Hush treated us to two poems, her second poem spoke to me and was a treat of words.
performed a great poem and really had no need to be nervous, it was a supportive atmosphere and his poem stood up for itself.
Then I was treated to the artful jazzwork of Roy Mcfarlane, Birmingham’s Poet Laureate 2010- 2011 a brilliant poet from what I heard this evening and a dreamy, narrative, sometimes baritone voice which leant itself to the content of his poem too. A timeline through Jazz, politics, rights and history. A joy to listen to.
I hope I have not missed anyone out, the whole night is whirling around in my head! Some of the performers sadly couldn’t make it and some people had to leave after the 1st half. This did not dampen the atmosphere of the evening, wonderfully relaxed and all taking place with the inspirational backdrop of Najma Hush’s Exhibition ‘Diverse Dancers’.
And the best bit is there are 2 more events on the horizon in April and May. Can’t wait to write for them – hopefully not at 4a.m this time!