Pre-Pandemic I was one of many poets, and a fair number of prose-writers, who enjoyed performing work to a live audience. I even had the gall to think I was fairly proficient at it. I’m now putting that down to the generosity and common feeling of others in the writing community who appreciate how hard it can be to expose yourself in that way.
Since the Pandemic Zoom boom and my taking part in written/spoken word events by this medium, I have become more self-conscious and self-critical. Hearing and seeing myself back in some of these events has been revealing and made me question whether I even have the capacity to step up my game.
Though I haven’t yet pursued this option (and probably won’t) I seriously considered getting a voice coach or tips on controlling one’s facial expressions during video presentations.
At the other extreme, the simple solution would be to restrict myself to the page, safe from potentially awful audio-visual. However, it appears to be the reality that, unless one is already a well-read writer with a large and loyal following, there appears to be only one way at the moment to promote new literary work.
So, here I am; continuing to brave the lesser-known cyber-byways, trying to convince myself that it will all come across okay.
Currently, I am involved in two Soundwalk Projects, which at least avoid the visual aspect of performance.
The first of these is a Langside, Glasgow Soundwalk project featuring the untold stories of some locals involved in World War 2. Many of these, including my own What Doesn’t Go in the Letter, are pieces of Creative Non-Fiction (Prose or Poetry). This Soundwalk can be experienced on location at Langside or can be accessed from anywhere via this link https://www.guidigo.com/Web/Langside-Walk–Untold-Stories-from-WWII/gt0rISHO_LA/Stop/1/Welcome-to-Our-Tour
My prose piece is the third contribution at Stop 21 of the walk (introduced at 5 minutes, 44 seconds in).
I understand this will be available for a limited time but am not sure how long.
However the second project to which I contributed, the Grenfell Soundwalk, is a permanent installation. I provide a link here which gives some information, including a list of the contributing poets and brief biography Giovanna Iorio, the sound artist commissioned to complete the installation. Unfortunately the audio from this installation is geolocated so that it can only be accessed by visiting the relevant location.
In these circumstances, I’ll finish off this blog post with the text of my poem Carnival as it appears in Poems for Grenfell Tower (The Onslaught Press)
Carnival Enjoy but samba slower passing the Tower Briefly remember when softly beating samba drum not the crematorium become but the wretchedness of this destroying the lost and damaged, all deserving more Black box skeleton looms (no more photos please today) charcoal-sketched into multi-grey darkly-etched against the blue of summer contrasting with your brightness and colour When a festival becomes a tribute on an out-of-season dia de los meurtos just samba slower past the Tower samba slower