Performance poetry, or spoken word as some people call it, is a very popular type of live theatre. It’s like a cross-over experience – part theatre, part rock gig. That’s the best way I can describe the feeling of being in the audience.
It’s an exhilarating, captivating and moving experience. Anyone who has seen a brilliant performance poet knows this – and having had this experience, they usually lust for more.
The big problem for performance poets is attracting new audiences – and that’s because of the word poetry.
Poetry is a wonderful, complex, confessional rhyming, non-rhyming rollercoaster of emotions. But for many people it conjures up painful memories of torturous schooldays being force-fed John Keats or Ted Hughes at an age when they were not ready for it.
People also associate the word poetry with the rather dull, slightly geeky misfits of society who they would try and avoid sitting next to on a bus. The word poetry has an image problem.
Now, I’m going to be honest here and say that some people into poetry are a bit geeky. And some poetry groups, the ones where people meet once a month and read out their own work, can also be like this. I’m not saying it’s bad to be a geek or a misfit – I consider myself to suffer from that affliction – but that perception can put off non-believers from engaging with poetry.
But here’s the thing: performance poetry is poetry but not as you know it. Performance poetry is rock and roll. Performance poetry is the aching honesty of desperate feelings wrapped up in theatrical drama. Performance poetry is a new way looking at things. Performance poetry is learning about other people’s lives you never knew existed.
Performance poetry are the experiences you have had which someone else has been brave enough to put into words. Performance poetry is clever. Performance poetry is cuttingly funny. Performance poetry is high-octane entertainment.
People are put off performance poetry simply because of the word poetry. I’m telling you, if you experience performance poetry, you’ll bloody love it, have a hugely memorable, unforgettable experience and will want more of it. I’ve seen it happen so many times. You will also bloody love me for persuading you to come.
And when I say come, I’m talking about the wonderful performance poet Matt Abbott (a former frontman of a band) who is coming to Preston to do his show Two Little Ducks. He’s at Vinyl Tap pub in on Weds, Feb 13, 2019 at 8pm. It’s only a fiver to see him. You can pay on the door. Cheapest night out ever. See you at Vinyl Tap.