Tonight I read at The South Bank in The Blue Room which was full. It was my book launch, sort of. It wasn’t really a launch, it was a reading and a talk, part of Poetry
International. For the first time I saw Washing Lines an exhibition of poems on washing lines in a darkened room filled with music on the subject of Freedom of Expression. The audience walk into the room with a torch and discover the poems. It is performance poetry at its best. I must do it again.
But my reading in The Blue Room was shabby. Not the audience, they were generous and kind. Why I started to talk about the wrongs of slam poetry I have no idea. It must have felt like I was slapping some of the people who were in the audience. I have this thing about slam poetry but the audience didn’t deserve such unformed views. The fact is, there are some good poets – brilliant ones – coming through the slam poetry scene. But no more
than if the scene was not there, and in fact I believe less, and with less range. The thing is, why would I choose my book launch to talk in such a way? I really do apologise to the good people who had the grace to come out and see a poet tonight.