Posts Tagged ‘performing’

Featured Poem, ‘Reducio Ab Absurdum,’ by Colin McGuire

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

Poetry @ The Rag Factory 14/12/12

Reducio Ab Absurdum

Shakespeare’s more a performance poet
a throat poet, a fire and tongue type.
A poet of larynx, a diaphragmatic breathing poet
Not a serious poet in a gentleman’s jacket.

I’m a page poet; a take the time and consider
the exact length and breadth of the line poet.
I am an architect with form but never formulaic.
I am a master of design but not mastered by design.

Heaney’s more a performance poet;
a wave-your-arms-and-gesticulate-wildly-and-know-it.
A show it all and throoooooow it at you poet.
Not a serious poet who reads the classics and shows it.

I’m page poet, a literary allusions and allegorical conclusions poet.
A lay subtle structure which unravels a slow-burning conundrum poet.
I take the time to make something so delicate even a breath could break it
yet it withstands that breath, and you cannot fake it.

Sexton is more a performance poet; a shout at the top of your soul poet.
A rant in the mirror solipsistic I-alone-exist-and-will-prove-it-poet.
A should have been an actor instead but never knew it poet.
I wrote this on the loo and you can whiff it poet.

I’m a page poet with stable demeanour and quiet composure.
I build poem liners out of the thin matchsticks of words
and they set sail quietly on calm waters across oceans of eyes.

Rimbaud is more a performance poet.
A of the internet-attention-deficit-quickly-type-it-with-no-edit-poet.
A scribbler of slapdashery, a knee jerk reactionary bound to be burned
as waste under the well read eye of reality.

I’m a page poet. An on the crusade poet. Here to explode
the false dichotomy of page and perform it, show and tell it poet.
Let the words carry the weight we carry. Let tastes divide.
Quality lingers upon the shelf life longer than the debate will have it.

(In the jungle the soul’s wild eyes glare white in the shadow.
The cauldron of the heart sounds like a warm drum.
We continually reach out to that which is comprehensible.)

McGuire: A thin 30 year old Glaswegian man, touch giddy in the head, sometimes poet of mangled form and dirty prose, sporadic drummer, drunk grammarian, waffler, painter using crayons, lover, hater, learner, teacher, pedestrian, provocateur, wanderer, confronter of shadows, irritating whine. He mines the darker regions of Scottish Culture and Psychology. McGuire has produced a collection of poetry and short stories, printed by ClydeSide Press called - Riddle With Errors - and is currently working on a pamphlet due for release in 2013 with Red Squirrel Press. He reads regularly in Scotland and England. Find out more at: http://a-glaswegian.blogspot.co.uk/

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Want to see YOUR poem featured on ONS? Read this post first: submission guidelines are at the bottom. Good luck!

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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

Stop presses! I am going to read some poems in some places!

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

Happy Birthday, Allen Ginsberg!

Hey you guys. I know this basically never happens now (and — sshhh! — I actually kinda like that), but I am going to be reading Some Poems in Some Places over the next few weeks, and I just, you know, thought you might be interested in knowing about it. If so, read on. If not, go and make a cup of tea, or hug someone, or look at this cute panda, or do all or none of those things.

Shore Poets
Sunday 25th November 2012, 7.30pm

Henderson’s at St John’s, Edinburgh
I recently joined the Shore Poets committee, and I must say, I am loving being a part of what must surely be one of Edinburgh’s longest-running poetry nights. This month, my Shore Poet job is to read a set of poems, and I’m super looking forward to it, as this is my first proper poetry gig since before the summer. I’ll be guinea-pig-ifying the audience and offering up some hopefully tasty new poems to see what they make of them. If you fancy being part of this experiment, then come along! Doors open at 7.15, it finishes before ten (so you get to bed early), there’s cake for sale, and indeed a raffle where you could win FREE cake. If you don’t fancy the idea of listening to me waffle on, you’ll be happy to hear there are other, most excellent poets and some music. It’s a damn fine time and it costs a measly £5, or £3 for students.

The Edinburgh launch of Where Rockets Burn Through: Contemporary Science Fiction Poetry From The UK
Thursday 29th November 2012, 6.00pm

Blackwells, Edinburgh
My motto always used to be “never knowingly anthologised,” ’cause no one ever seemed to want me for their “young, upcoming, exciting poets!” type anthologies. I kinda liked the motto, actually, but then some people asked me to be in their anthologies and offered me some money, and you know, I’m a starving poet so OBVIOUSLY. And although I lost my motto, I did end up getting five poems placed in this badboy, a collection of stellar (har!) science fiction poetry from across the Universe UK. I will be reading those poems alongside some other very cool people (Jane McKie! Andrew C Ferguson! Pippa Goldschmidt! I’m exclaiming their names ’cause they’re fabby!), at this lovely free-to-attend launch. There’s a Facebook event here to tell ‘em you’re coming. There will PROBABLY be free wine. There will definitely be fun and frolics. I promise!

Book Week Scotland Pop-Up Festival
Saturday 1st December 2012

Mitchell Library (Cafe Bar), Glasgow
I’m really happy to be reading at the Book Week Scotland Pop Up Festival, which promises to be a day-long cavalcade of literary delights. It starts at 10am and goes on til late with all manner of cool and quirky stuff going on. My small role in all of this will involve sipping tea and reading some poems in the cafe bar with my fellow Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award recipients. This will be happening sometime between 4pm and 5pm. I’m extra psyched because we’ll be joined by the World’s Greatest Compere (really) Ryan Van Winkle, without whom no poetry show is quite complete. Seriously, it’s worth the train fare to Glasgow for a glimpse of his beard alone. Here’s the Facebook event. Please do come along and sip tea with me!

Want me to come and read at your event? I MIGHT JUST SAY YES! Catch me in the comments box or use the email address below!

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You can also visit Read This Press for poetry and typewriter paraphernalia! Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

A few thanks: the International Women’s Day all-female slam

Saturday, March 10th, 2012

Hayley Shields
The lovely and talented Hayley Shields, reading in Round 1.

So, this happened on Tuesday 6th March.

It almost didn’t. In the 72 hours prior to the event, I had three performers drop off the bill, which obviously threw everything into flux and got me in quite a flap. Luckily, I’m fortunate enough to be acquainted with two extremely classy, very brave and super dedicated female poets who were willing to step into the breach with less than 48 hours to prepare. They are Rose Ritchie and Elizabeth Rimmer, and without them the slam might well have been cancelled! Thank you so much, Rose and Elizabeth. You literally saved the show.

So cancelled it was not. We arrived at the Banshee Labyrinth to find our room beautifully set up for us: chairs set out, a projector screen with my hastily-felt-tipped poster glowing upon it, and even candles lit on stage to provide some ambience! Edd, who runs the Banshee, is the coolest, most laid-back, and most accomodating venue manager I have ever worked with. He’d even rigged up a TV link in the next bar, so folk who couldn’t get a seat in the main room could still watch the action and hear the poems — by my next event (which will almost certainly take place at the Banshee — I can’t imagine ever going elsewhere), he says the bar will have the capability to record performances, too. SO. TOTALLY. COOL. Thank you, Edd, and all the lovely staff at the Banshee. You, quite literally, rock.

It was evident that folk were pretty keen about this whole slam business, because by 7.15pm we were already running out of chairs and the space was full of excited chatter. All my performers showed up, some of them very nervous, but all with notebookfulls of great poems to share. As many of them were slam virgins, I’d emotionally blackmailed three brilliant male poets to volunteer as “sacrifices” — to read first at the start of each round, break the ice and warm up the room for our competitors. This was a pretty intimidating gig for these guys, I’d imagine: a room full of poetry feministas vying for prizes of wine and chocolate! But they stepped up to the plate with aplomb. Total pro Harry Giles went first, followed in the second round by Matt McDonald. Matt took the opportunity to declare himself a rape survivor ally, and his piece was poignant, quietly angry and beautifully hopeful. Many an audience member came up to me to say his was their favourite poem of the night. Finally, Colin McGuire came up to introduce the final and brought the house down, as usual. Thank you a million billion, guys: you are legends.

Then, of course, it was the turn of my wonderful bill of competitors. They’re all people I’ve seen read before, at open mics, stand-up readings or “quiet” slams, and they’re all people whose work I’ve been desperate to hear more of. I wanted the focus of the event to be the promotion of lesser-known female poetic talent first and foremost, and if possible, I also wanted it to be as intersectional — something that can be problematic in Scotland — as possible. I’m happy to say that I think the event succeeded on both counts — no thanks to me, but thanks to the bravery of the women who were willing to say “yes” to my invitations. The stage played host to explorations of such themes as nationality, sexuality, gender orientation, relationships, travel, writing and creativity, and of course, food! The poems we heard were by turns hilariously funny and deeply touching, seethingly angry and sweetly loving. Above all, the quality was consistently, breathtakingly high.
Thanks upon thanks upon thanks upon thanks to Gayle Smith, Hayley Shields, Tracey S Rosenberg, Rose Ritchie, Elizabeth Rimmer, Theresa Munoz, Katherine McMahon, Rachel McCrum, Sally Evans, Katie Craig, Camilla Chen and the last-minute ever-so-nearly-wildcard Lara S. Williams. You were all so excellent — the judges must’ve been tearing their hair out…

…and yes, the judges. Slam aficionados, all of them, and yet scoring these ladies’ words must have been a damn hard job. A great big tip of the hat to Kevin Cadwallender, Jenny Lindsay and Sophia. You did well, young Jedis.

Big thanks too to Stephen Welsh, who helped put up posters, carried things, calmed me down when I raged and fretted, made endless bar trips on the night, and acted as primary score-keeper. And to Helen Askew, who worked as secondary score-keeper, keeping Steve right, as well as taking photos of the event while I bobbed up and down to and from the stage all night. (She also carried some things.) You were INVALUABLE, you two.

Finally, last but by no means least — in fact quite the opposite — THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone who sent words of encouragement, who promoted the event on their Facebook or their blog, who spread the word to other interested folk, and who came along on the night. Best of all were all the people who dropped some pennies into our fundraising bucket. From your small change, we managed to make £70 for Scottish Women’s Aid. THANK YOU A MILLION GAZILLION SQUILLION!

Rachel McCrum
The excellent and extremely deserving winner, Rachel McCrum.

Now… what should we do next International Women’s Day?

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One Night Stanzas loves mail. Say hello via claire@onenightstanzas.com. NB: I am physically unable to reply to non-urgent stuff unless I have a free afternoon and a cup of tea in my hand. Please be patient!

Participate!: all-female poetry slam to celebrate International Women’s Day 2012

Monday, March 5th, 2012

No More Nice Girls

International Women’s Day is fast approaching, and I for one didn’t want to be caught unawares this year with nothing to do celebrate (like I was last year — the centenary year! — when all I managed was this post). So, I started thinking: what would I really like to do to celebrate International Women’s Day 2012? I reasoned that I should definitely keep up my tradition of giving as big a chunk of money as I can afford to a women’s charity… and that gave me an idea. Why not do something to encourage other folk to give their money to a women’s charity, too?

And thus, the International Women’s Day 2012 Edinburgh All-Female Slam (catchy, no?) was born.

At first, I wanted to hold a poetry slam simply because I know they never fail to get a good crowd through the door, and that would mean more pennies in the bucket for whatever charity I decided to pick (also, I just love a good slam). But then I realised that a poetry slam might also be a good place to raise awareness about women’s issues within the poetry community.

I’m not for a moment suggesting that female poets have it as bad as, say, the ladies in the photo above. Thanks to the pioneering work of ladies like Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Adrienne Rich, Sharon Olds, Maya Angelou, Margaret Atwood, Carol Ann Duffy, Liz Lochhead and many more, these days being a female poet is considered no weirder, really, than being a male poet. Female writers — although we still have a lot of catching up to do — no longer have to fight tooth and nail to be allowed to write, publish, perform and be reviewed. Most of us, I think, just get on with it.

What’s more, my local literary community plays host to a vibrant performance poetry scene that boasts some of the UK’s finest female performance poets: among them Jenny Lindsay, Sophia, Laura Hainey, and numerous others. We’re in Scotland, of course, so things aren’t as intersectional as they are in, say, Leeds or London… and they’re perhaps not as intersectional as they potentially could be. But there’s still a lot of poetry buzzing around and a lot of ladies getting involved.

However: Scotland’s poetry slam scene does still seem to be dominated by men. Our current Scottish slam champion is Young Dawkins, and when I try to think of the really great performance poets Scotland has to offer, I find myself coming up with far more male names than female ones (to mention but a few, Scotland can boast the vocal stylings of Bram Gieben, Colin McGuire, Kevin Cadwallender, Harlequinade, Robin Cairns, Jim Monaghan, Tickle McNicholl, Tim Turnbull and Harry Giles). Furthermore, slam itself could be described as somewhat chauvinistic: the focus is on competition, on “knocking out” one’s opponents in “head-to-head” finals. What’s more, slam has gained a bit of an unfair rep among non-slammers as being all about shouting the loudest or rapping the fastest.

Understandably, this view of Scottish slam puts a lot of performers — and mostly, it seems, ladies — off. I know many a female poet who just “won’t do slams.” And I think this is extremely sad, given that a) slam is a super cool movement with a huge and growing audience and b) Scottish performance poetry is crying out for a greater variety of voices, and is, in my experience, always friendly and welcoming.

Therefore, this slam is about faciliating the female performance poetry that I know is out there. I’ve seen all the poets on our spectacular bill performing at open mics and at traditional stand-up readings (and sometimes at “quiet” or “friendly” slams), and each time I’ve thought, THE SCOTTISH SLAM SCENE NEEDS YOU, LADY! Contrary to what several poisonous detractors (now blocked, don’t worry) on the event’s Facebook wall have somehow decided, this event IS NOT about bashing men and it IS NOT about favouritism towards women. It is about welcoming twelve exciting performers a little further into the performance poetry scene, and providing them with the encouragement they need to get out there and take the world of slam by storm.

If you like the sound of a FRIENDLY, ALL-INCLUSIVE slam featuring poetry from both male AND female performers; if you like the sound of raising a ton of money for Scottish Women’s Aid while sitting in a pub and listening to some fine verse; if you like the sound of discovering some new poets you never knew existed but whose work is guaranteed to blow your tiny mind… well then, get yourself to:

THE BANSHEE LABYRINTH
on
TUESDAY 6TH MARCH
at
7PM (doors) for 7.30PM (start)
and
BRING YOUR FRIENDS, YOUR APPLAUSE, AND YOUR GENEROUS DONATIONS

Check out our Facebook event for more details.

SEE YOU THERE!

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One Night Stanzas loves mail. Say hello via claire@onenightstanzas.com. NB: I am physically unable to reply to non-urgent stuff unless I have a free afternoon and a cup of tea in my hand. Please be patient!

(Image source)

Where is Claire?

Monday, February 6th, 2012

10-Red

So although I promised myself at the New Year that I’d have a quiet year in terms of performing, it seems I’ve managed to get myself signed up for all manner of interesting literary shenanigans in the coming weeks. If you fancy coming to see me read poems, talk about poems and generally Witter About Stuff, here are the places to be…

10-RED, Wednesday 15th February, 19.00, The Persevere Function Room, Edinburgh. £3.00 entry.
10 RED is an evening of poetry in the beautiful Victorian Lounge of the Persevere Bar, Easter Road, Edinburgh. All the poets performing are published by Red Squirrel Press, who kindly published my pamphlet, The Mermaid and the Sailors, early last year. I’m hoping to try out some new material on a friendly crowd! Some great folk on the bill, too — worth coming along for McGuire alone! You can see a trailer for the event right here:

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“Making Poems, Writing Histories, Excavating Myths”: a lecture by Claire Askew for the Melrose Literary Society, Tuesday 21st February, 19.30, The Ormiston Institute, Melrose. £3.00 entry, non-members welcome.
The truly lovely people at the Melrose Literary Society have asked me to come and talk about my current research, and I am incredibly flattered, very excited and utterly terrified all at once. Come and hear me grapple with the question of Why We Write Poems, and investigate the ways in which poetry informs history, history informs myth and the two inform all kinds of creative writing. You’ll also get chance to ask me probing questions!

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Edinburgh Literary Death Match: March, Tuesday 27th March, 19.00, Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh. £5.00/£8.00 ticketed — get tickets here!
You’ve probably heard of the massive worldwide phenomenon that is Literary Death Match…? If not, get on it, because it’s a big deal! I’m super flattered to have been nominated (by the fabby @LynseyMay) and invited to perform at Edinburgh’s hippest literary outpost. The Voodoo Rooms is a gorgeous venue and I’m up against some serious talent… Gavin Inglis = legend! Grab your tickets, quick!

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Three Red Squirrel Poets at Trashed Organ’s “Belonging Fest” Opening Night, Monday 30th April, venue and time TBC, Newcastle
Details of this one are still TBC, but let’s just say it’s going to be good. Watch this space!

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Got an event you’d like me to read at? Talk about? Attend? Email me via claire @ onenightstanzas.com and tell me about it!