Thursday, 17 December 2009

The best live performer of poetry in the world? And some thoughts on getting noticed

A while back (here) we were talking about which poets are good performers of their work. I've only seen video clips of this one but even so I'm not sure there's a poet alive who can hold a candle (careful!) to Chloe Poems. Here's a little something I watched this morning via a facebook link from Chloe's other half Gerry Potter:





Some of Chloe's output is a lot ruder than that (much, much ruder) so it's not for everybody (though it probably should be). Living here exiled, as I am, in a very beautiful but very suburban and sometimes polite-to-the-point-of-real-rudeness part of the world, a few snatched moments with Chloe and her delightfully free mouth can sometimes make my day feel more real somehow. And you should hear her on Jesus...and the Queen...(though not together...at least not yet).

Also this week I've been dipping into a couple of books I found in the library by Scottish poet John Glenday. I saw his name for the first time the other week (on a website somewhere) and noticed that the very marvellous musician, singer and songwriter Kim Edgar was playing at the launch of his new book 'Grain' (remember Kim played at an event I organised in Edinburgh back last year – she's brilliant). Then I noticed one of Glenday's books in the local library poetry section, liked its title 'Undark' (Peterloo Poets 1995), opened it up and saw a poem called 'Colours' with the first line “Memory is blue. Yes,” All those factors made me take that book (and an earlier one of his, 'The Apple Ghost') home.

And all that makes me wonder – what makes you pick up a book (especially a poetry one) and take it home for closer inspection? In that case (for me) I suppose it was a mixture of online mention, link with someone whose work I like, stand-out book title and a good first line inside. As folk have been saying elsewhere recently there's a lot of poetry about and it can be a fight to get noticed...so these things matter I suppose (if you want to be read...or heard)- even if it does take some readers (like me...) 14 years (at least...) to get to you (sorry, JG). Luckily poetry (on the whole) does not have a sell-by date so this year's must-have book is no more must-have than anything that went before (and anything to come). We are not in a race for the poetry Xmas number one after all...and thank X for that.

x

22 comments:

John Baker said...

Thanks for that, Rachel. Better than christmas.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Polite to the point of rudeness, is an interesting thought.

Sorlil said...

For me it's a mixture of recommendation - if I poet I really like recommends someone else I'll definitely check it out (ie Kenneth White as recommeded by swiss), people whose poems I've consistently liked in magazines (Claire Crowther), sometimes just by vaguely web-surfing and coming across a poet whose work I like (you). Also by publisher - I've just ordered a batch of chapbooks from Happenstance just beacuse I generally like what she publishes.

Rachel Fox said...

JB - yes. Magnificent.

TFE - oh you know the kind of thing...the mouth smiles but the eyes say 'god, i hate people like you...'

Sorlil...yes, I just read your list of new acquisitions. Lots to get your teeth into...

x

The Weaver of Grass said...

I must say it is a jolly long way from that old recording of Tennyson reading his own poetry, Rachel!

deemikay said...

I've been meaning to write something about the "too many poetry books" (Conclusion: we've got too much creativity altogether... but in the wrong areas. If we, as a species, spent as much time saving the planet as we do writing poems or songs or making paintings or writing novels, etc. think how good it'd all be.)

What makes me pick up a book? What I've read. But I like impulse buys as well which can involve nothing more than opening at random and finding a line I like. Sometimes simply for the niceness of the book as well... a nice cover can do it for me. :)

Rachel Fox said...

Maybe, Weaver, but the times need to keep achanging, don't they? He's got passion (Potter/Poems) that's for sure. And talent.

D - we can put out poetry books and save the planet...it's not an impossible combination (though it takes work, planning, strategies, sacrifices...). I did contribute to the 'too many books' debate at Magma...sort of...not sure anyone noticed.

x

deemikay said...

Yes we can and I hope we continue to put out poetry books... I quite like them. :) But whether we can continue to put out millions upon millions of books, pieces of art, song, etc. every year and come to some kind happier world as a result, hmmm, I'm not sure. (And that's not the same as me saying "no".) If only we had as much imaginative dioarrhea when it comes to charity, technology and local politics.

I'll get off my soapbox now and say that I found Chloe rather entertaining. :)

Rachel Fox said...

There's loads of Chloe on youtube and myspace. Go fill yourself with her!

Sorry...my inner Frankie Howerd is never far away. I watched a lot of TV comedy as a child. A lot.

x

deemikay said...

It looks like she likes to fill hertube - sorry - youtube with things. Ahem, ooh err.

;)

Liz said...

Yes, she is good - a natural that makes it all (performance and poetry) look easy and right!

Can there ever be too many poetry books? The Internet is huge, we are all global...I love the idea of poetry coming at us from every angle...disorientation...variety...and room for everyone. ; )

Rachel Fox said...

Yes, Liz, I am certainly more inclined to think that way. I think anyone (and I mean anyone) who says anything like 'I can have a book of poems out but you can't/don't deserve it' is well on the road to having their head up their arse. It may be inconvenient in some ways to be flooded with creative outpourings (some that we approve of, some that we don't) but it will settle down (and if not there'll be a nice world war or something along soon to keep us all busy and distracted from too much enjoying ourselves).

x

A Cuban In London said...

This is mad, this is bollockingly crazy and great. Love you Christmas pressies so far.

Greetings from London.

Rachel Fox said...

Chloe does get to London sometimes I think...though of late it has been more Gerry than Chloe doing the shows maybe. But there are myspace pages for both so I'm sure they would have any dates for next year (plus lots more clips).

Glad you liked this Cuban. Poetry can all get a bit too polite at times...well, for me anyway.

x

Crafty Green Poet said...

Given that if there were controls on the number of poetry books they'd probably be coming from a different poetic aesthetic than mine, I'm glad there's such a variety out there. (I hope that makes sense) I buy almost all my books (and even most of my poetry books) second hand which is recycling and helping to save the planet. What makes me buy a poetry book? I like to have a poetry book in my handbag at all times, so slim volumes have a particular appeal, some poets I know and love and want to read more, some poets are widely known and I want to find out what's so good about them, a good cover or title can draw me in. I usually stand and read a poem before I buy the book too..

Rachel Fox said...

Oo titles...I just love titles. I come up with a new poetry collection title at least once a day.

x

deemikay said...

Well, I don't have (and never will have) a book coming out so I can pontificate as much as I like on how many poetry books there are. :p

I just continually think of Tulipmania and the shelves and shelves of unread-and-soon-to-be- pulped books in clearance sales... it makes me sad. :(

Now, I'm off to youtube for some Chloe. I need to recover from my office Christmas lunch (it was "curry-oke" - I didn't sing.)

Bill said...

I'd add to the list of what makes me want yo get into a poet(ry book), knowing that a poet I already like likes it.

Bill said...

I must be going mad. You already said that, more or less! It's too early in the morning...

Rachel Fox said...

Yes, D, Chloe has a poem for every occasion.

And Bill...I know you despite the disguise! Everyone's a bit blurry this week...it's not just you!

x

hope said...

That was hysterical and freeing at the same time! Thank you for the break from "preparations". Have a wonderful Christmas with the ones you love!

Rachel Fox said...

Glad you enjoyed Chloe too, Hope. She is an unforgettable gal.
x