July 5, 2013 by Tracey S. Rosenberg
There’s a group of poets based in Edinburgh, the Shore Poets, who have been going for over twenty years. I attended a few of their events several years ago (and if anyone knows what the heck ever happened to Eleanor Brown, please tell me, because more than one of us would very much like to know why she is no longer publishing bloody BRILLIANT sonnets among other things).
(Not this Eleanor Brown, by the way.)
Anyway, I’ve started going along again, in the hopes of winning the Lemon Cake – which I did win once, and the next day I was on a long-haul flight, and I never did write my poem The Lemon Cake Travels On A Long-Haul Flight, so I should probably get around to that – and of being picked for the wildcard spot, which is one poet picked at random to start off the proceedings.
(I should point out that you voluntarily put your name in the hat for this. It would be pretty scary if you had no choice in the matter.)
On Sunday, I went along, as it was the last event of the season and the featured poet was Don Paterson. Also, I’d already been invited to be one of the new poets next season, and I like to support groups who think I’m worthy of being asked to read. So I sat with Eleanor Livingstone and Kevin Cadwallender and Pippa Goldschmidt, and chatted, and wrote in my journal, and when the Shore Poets host for the night (Claire Askew) gave the opening spiel and selected the wildcard poet, I didn’t get a copy of Lipstick is Always a Plus out of my bag or act as though I was getting ready to possibly go up to the stage because there were plenty of names in the hat and you don’t want to tempt fate like that.
Which worked, apparently, because she called my name. And they don’t give you a moment to be nervous, because you go straight up to the mic.
(My lord, I have a lot of hair.)
I thought about doing something I’ve done at open mics – namely, asking the audience to choose random numbers and then I read the poem on that page – but here you only get to read one poem and if they chose the poem that’s about twenty words, that would have been me done practically immediately. So I read “The Time Lord’s Job Advertisement”, which is long and gives me some vocal changes and lets me get my teeth in, and usually gets a laugh or two.
And now I want to read more! Which I shall be doing at Shore Poets in November, but sooner than that is the Stewed Rhubarb anniversary event on the 14th of July (details here), and lots of spoken word events on the Edinburgh Fringe, so I shall hopefully get some newer stuff out there as well.