So last night I went to an event in Bath called 'words.' There were loads of people cramped into a tiny little coffee bar with a little microphone in the corner (to be honest, it probably wasn't needed by hey ho).
All in all, I had a pretty good night. I enjoyed listening to all these creative people and admiring how they'd managed their thoughts into a poem or two.
What struck me was how different their deliverance was. Some people read from their notebooks, mumbling or reading too fast, but others had memorised their poems. The difference was amazing. The ones who spoke without words in front of them were so much more confident. They added emphasise and feelings, moving their hands, arms or even their entire body to the rhythm of their words, like they were using all of themselves to share their poem with me.
It's funny really. You'd think the people who had books in front of them would be more confident. You can't forget them if they're right there in front of you. But actually, knowing your words means you don't have to concentrate on reading, but on saying. Isn't that what performance poetry is all about?
Just to give you a flavour of performance poetry, check out Anna Freedman at a poetry slam in Vancouver, Canada: