I hope this post finds you well. I have had the most spectacular couple of days imaginable. It has been a time of re-assessing, healing, and realisation. I will begin with the poetry workshop and slam. A local town is holding an arts festival this week, and I was able to take part in a poetry workshop on Tuesday afternoon, followed by the Poetry Slam in the evening.
The idea of performance poetry made me slightly nervous, as I’ve not done something like that for a long time. The rules appeared to dictate that we had three minutes to perform a single poem in the first round, then those with multiple poems would go on to the second round, leading to the selection of a final three.
I had never written a poem which lasted three minutes, and I still haven’t. The piece I selected was published here in March…my poem Small Circles. I gave my first performance, and the judges’ scores were out of a total 30. Five judges gave scores out of 10, and the highest and lowest marks were deducted to give the score out of 30.
Much to my surprise, I earned the first 10 out of 10 of the evening. Performing the piece felt somewhat strange, as I have begun to feel more distant from it in recent months. I have moved on from the acute phase of my grief, which ‘Small Circles’ describes…although I would argue that the definition is the same. We are by nature thinking beings, and our thoughts round on us again and again, until we deal with them.
My second poem of the evening was written at the workshop…an ode to my guitar. However, my performance coincided with the arrival of another audience member, which meant that I could not be heard over their car. Amazingly, it made little difference, and I still received high marks. (Possibly based on the closing lines: ‘I sing about beer and heartbreak/But not a drop passes my lips.’)
I really didn’t think I would do it, but incredibly, I found myself in the final round. So, I performed ‘Small Circles’ again. By this time, it was getting dark, and I could only see the microphone in front of my face. Luckily, that meant nobody would have been able to see the expression I wore as I performed…the emotion of the piece finally got to me.
Although I have mentioned that a ‘final three’ were selected, in the end it came to be a final four. I was very pleased to be among them, and equally pleased that the judges were consistent with their marks. Another high score (I can’t remember exactly what) meant that I was in that final line-up.
When the winners were announced, I hardly dared to hope for third, because that would have been a dream in itself. Imagine my surprise, then, when it was announced that I’d won second prize.
By rights, it should have been a bittersweet experience, but perhaps as Kim would have wanted, it was far more sweet than bitter. The winner was fantastic, and I have a little more confidence in the writing I produce…on top of that, I honoured somebody who I love deeply, although I’m still learning to live without her. Thanks to the organisers of the slam, and to the very kind judges.
Wishing you peace and strength on your journeys,