A Christmas Reading in Liddington

I am preparing for an annual poetry reading in Liddington. This year I have four young people as side-kicks. They chose poems that suit their personalities and I have to tell you that rehearsals have been a hoot.

It’s one thing reading but if you want to get real satisfaction from a poem you have to say it out loud. Simple things like projecting your voice, lilting the lines so they don’t sound “dum-de-dum” and adding a bit of acting and passion to the mix. Young people are thought to be shy in public but they have no inhibitions when it comes to acting. My four are really up for some great craic this evening!

I wish it was the same for poets. Many are dreadful readers, even with the finest of work. I have never understood why they don’t seek feedback.

It is one of the reasons why Open Mic is a great concept. You can ask for feedback from another poet in a quiet corner. If you do come to Swindon Poetry’s Open Mic and want support, seek me out!

We will be reading some of Mary Oliver’s poetry in Liddington. If you don’t know her I recommend you look her up on the web site www.poetryfoundation.org. “The Uses of Sorrow” is a short poem by Mary that makes you stop:

Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.


First published in Swindon Link magazine