I was brave today – I went to a real life poetry reading; now I understand that that may not seem like an act of bravery, but for someone like myself, chronically shy, awkward and terrible at chatting to folk, it was a big step. Poetry is important to me – it’s also a way of communicating with others without having to actually talk. Lately though, I’ve felt I’m missing out. I’ve enjoyed the zoom readings and classes I’ve attended, and in a lot of ways the way the world has opened up to people like me has given me the courage to try “real life” poetry things.
Country Voices is as close to on my doorstep as I could wish. It’s hosted by Offa’s Press, in the beautiful setting of The Water Rat, just on the edge of Ironbridge. The poets reading today were Jean Atkin, whose work I’ve long admired, Jane Seabourne, who is new to me but made me laugh and reflect plus we enjoyed a wonderfully entertaining tale courtesy of Micheal Thomas. I’ve been aware of these monthly sessions for a while, but kept finding excuses not to go. Today I took the plunge…and I’m so happy I did. In an hour and a half I took a journey by bicycle down the east coast of France, did a spot of time travel and pondered on whether an invasion of sweet potatoes might look a little like a walrus herd. Hearing the nuance of tone, hearing the exact emphasis the poet’s intended, seeing their expression, their body language made words come alive, and made that magic fizz I recognise when I encounter something that resonates with me.
It was a fab afternoon – I did slip away from the social side (everyone was very friendly) but I shall be brave next time, and chat more. I realise that if I want to be working as a poet in the community, I have to find the courage to become part of it, and today was the first step. I feel proud of myself today.