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Thursday, 20 September 2012

Poetry Update...

So, last month I left a few threads loose.

Rap vs Poetry again

First up, I wanted to comment on the Rap vs Poetry gig. Luckily, in my failure to do so, Angry Sam (is it me or does his name sound more like a rapper's than a poet's?*) gives a pretty good analysis of how the night went down in his blog.

I've found a video of Kat Francois during the final battle round and I only wish you could see some of the audience's expressions:

Let's just say none of the poets pulled any punches, while some of the rappers were far more respectful!* In any case, poetry won this time but it was all good - both rap and more conventional poetry (bearing in mind that rap is actually a form of poetry) have a lot to learn from each other. I think I said as much on NTS radio's Re:Versed show a few days beforehand (check August 13th show) but I can't be sure any more.

*that's what the night was about: flipping expectations.


In the run-up to the Rap vs Poetry show, I'd been writing a tailored poem for almost every gig I've performed at. For instance, at a student union gig at University of London, I researched some of the history of its colleges beforehand and wrote something just before the gig... What came out was something that surprised me (in a good way) but I'll probably not use it again, at least not in its current form.

Likewise, at Sage & Time's birthday in July, I was lucky enough to be one of the final poets, so I managed to incorporate some of the themes running through the night into a birthday poem. I've found it pretty exhilarating writing up until the last minute and delivering a personal response to the theme of the evening.

My Christmas poem (which I put most of up under my Edinburgh post) once again was a reaction to the night itself; there are few occasions where I'll reuse it but I'm glad I was able to come up with something for the night, rather than rock up to a show and recite from my back catalogue regardless of what the night's about. I hope that I can continue to do this!


Being in Guernsey for five days and part of the team organising their first ever schools' slam has been especially rewarding. At the very least, you feel a great degree of responsibility when bringing in concepts for the first time. One teacher introduced us, excitedly, as rappers: "Today, class, you're going to learn how to rap slam [does hand movement]". Needless to say, the kids were a little less excited when we said they didn't have to rap but we were really going to take them through a bunch of poems, and get them to write their own! All in all, it went well and I learnt a lot.

I feel this deserves another blog post but, for the moment, I'd like to end this with a pic from near the coast, where I stayed up till sunrise after a particularly deep conversation.

Spoken Word Educators Scheme

This also deserves another post, but so you know it's coming, I have new employment and new studies coming up in the horizon... Yippee! (horizon - see what I did there with the pic and everything?) I shall def fill in this space within the next 24 hours so please come back!

A'ite. Arrivederci!

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