I've booked all the performers for my next poetry and music event in Montrose and I can tell you that it will take place in Spring of next year (23rd April 2010 to be precise). I'm not going to tell you who I've booked yet (The suspense! The drama!) but I can tell you it's going to be a really, really good night. It's all very exciting...who needs Xmas?
As I've been thinking and planning this next event I have been wondering if maybe readers here could help me get together a wish list of poets for future events (I might ask for ideas about musicians another time). Obviously I have my own ideas about the poets that I've seen but I'm interested in yours too and I'm sure you've all been to events that I haven't and have seen lots of poets that I have yet to hear in the flesh (as it were).
So, think of all the poets you have heard read (live or on radio or on youtube or whatever) and tell me who has impressed you the most so far (list as many as you like). I am very open-minded about genres so I don't care if they write in Latin with their hat on or call themselves performance poets and play the bongos throughout – what I'm interested in is how well they communicate with an audience and how good they are at what they choose to do. Judging from the October event the audience here in Montrose is very varied (mixed ages, sexes, interests - some poetry hardcore, some poetry not-really-sure-what-it's for...) and that should be kept in mind. It is not StAnza where you've got probably 90% of the audience calling themselves poets, for example. It might help too if you keep all the following in mind as you decide who to nominate:
- Whatever their style and content the poems your poet reads/performs should be really, really good. I know it's subjective but even so...this is essential for the kind of event I'm aiming for. I want people using words in really interesting ways. And they've got to be able to keep that up for 40-45 minutes at least!
- The poets should be able to really keep an audience's interest (whatever their subject matter, language, style and so on). For example, Raymond Vettese who read at the October event here reads poems in Scots (which I can only half understand!) but he still completely held my attention and interest and taught me lots of new words into the bargain. This is the kind of performer I'm looking for - someone who really makes an impression with what they say (the poems and the bits in between). There should definitely be some kind of Wow factor (even if it is a very quiet and gentle wow). You should go home thinking 'my goodness, I'm glad I went and heard that poet today! My life is the better for that!' Or maybe that feeling will creep up on you as the next week goes by (you know what I mean...).
- The poets don't have to be funny (absolutely not) but if they can be then that is great. The reason I have put Hugh 'the goat' McMillan on twice is that he can make an audience cry with laughter and cry with real, sad tears (and teach them all kinds of historical details – result!). And his poems are brilliant! Range, my dears, range is a real bonus. For me all the best writers have range.
- Obviously I don't have huge grants to pay wages and I can't pay for air tickets or anything like that but at this stage why don't we make it a real wish list and you tell me all the poets you've seen who could fit this bill (no matter where they live or how famous or obscure they are). I'm just interested to know what you think as much as anything.
Can't wait to see who you all mention!
3 hours ago