I have a reserve about poetry events. Even at its most oblique, poetry must be one of the most personal forms of expression we have. And since there is a current trend of poetry being confessional, these events have, even with the bravado of slam, become a place where people expose themselves to an audience. In essence, we go to see people’s truths- putting them in a vulnerable position. Still, I can handle the truth, but what if I don’t like their poems?
Recently I attended The Word House, a poetry night organized by Amy Yoko Stratton and hosted by Dan Simpson. I wondered how I would feel during the performances. Whether I would be sitting uncomfortable and slightly embarrassed for the person confessing their everything, with no real skill or tact. And then Dan came on, and everything just happened.
The three feature acts, Emma Jones, Sabrina Mahfouz and Mark Grist excelled in their performances. However, the open mic slots were just as stimulating. I’ve been trying to think of a way to describe what poetry does and why I enjoyed the evening so much. I came up with: poetry is a way of communicating the ineffable. The void between emotion and rationale. But I fear I miss the point with this. The poets on stage reminded me that poets are just people, talking about being people. Showing they take the time to put down their experiences in bright, illuminating and poignant ways. To craft the things that make them.
Aside from the high caliber of poetry, the night offered a great atmosphere. The people were warm and engaging and the room had energy. Clearly the night had been as well put together as the poems themselves. It was one of the best poetry evenings I’ve been to and I would recommend it both to regulars on the scene and newcomers to the spoken word. Perhaps the only problem was space, but with rumours of a change of location, let’s see what’s in store for next time.
For more details on The Word House visit: