6 thoughts on “Speakers Cornered

  1. Bloody good! I love your delivery, it's very natural and intimate, really engaging, poignant and painful yet funny too! The way you respond to the audience so that it feels like a conversation is great, must take a lot of experience to be able to do that and courage.
    As for your story, it kind of leaves me speechless, it's so far out and unfathomable the way some of those adults behaved, can't get my head round it. What is extraordinary is how you are so alive, not just surviving but thriving! Very inspirational.
    I really appreciate the way you say that poetry is for everyday, and for everyone, it's not secular! We need poetry to think to feel, to grow and be alive in the world, everyday…
    It's why I felt drawn to oral poetry in the early 90's, the urgency was there, it came alive off the page, it stood up and walked about the room, did things.
    As for being made to read the bible as a child, do you feel this played any role in your love of language as it did with Jeanette Winterson?
    Your talent is so apparent, from a young age you're aware of your need to write, to communicate, to sing through poetry and The Mersey Sound helped carry you through, showed you other ways of being, which is something crucial for children, (more so for those in care).
    By keeping your imagination alive you were able to grow up intact. As you say in the talk, we're all born creative but too often it gets spirited away as the years go by. Like in Charles Causley's poem 'School At Four O'Clock'. That sense of wonder, curious imagination and sense of play is left in limbo waiting, for us to get back in touch.
    Here I am it says, reclaim me…

  2. Amazing work! You must be one of the best public speakers I've heard…you get the mix so right – humour and passion, intimacy and pronouncement, personal and political, planned and spontaneous…very few people can do it and I think (having seen you years ago) that one reason it works is that you do it so bloody naturally (not in a forced I've-been-on-a-performance-training-course way). I found it a really fascinating piece…so many strands and stories.
    My only other comment would be that you speak very quickly and I wonder if sometimes some people miss bits because they're still taking in something from sentences before. Listen to how slowly Elizabeth Gilbert gave her speech on your previous clip (although for me she's a tad too slow!). It's just a thought…and it is something my nearest and dearest say to me ('take a breath for god's sake! Let people catch up!').
    I loved all the section about poetry. Really right.

  3. Who is this? You are absolutely right about speed. I read it quickly because of time. What was suppsoed to be a twenty minute speech actually became twenty six minutes because because of applause and ad libs… read in the right way it would have been about thirty minutes. I absolutely agree. I shall be doing this speech again at The London Literature festival in July at the Southbank centre with a film too and it is there that I shall get it correct. Thanks for your brilliant feedback.

  4. Wonderful, you could hear the audience enjoying it. Your delivery is exciting taking so many twists and turns, you have a powerful story and you really know how to tell it.
    Regards one of the comments/questions above about forced bible reading, I think Jeanette Winterson actually said that the bible instilled in her the potency of language, (rather than a love of language) quite a different thing no?
    Not that I mean to split hairs!
    By the way has anyone else heard about this poetry contest in the Middle East? Apparently it's similar to these t.v contests to find pop talent….so far so bad I know, except that the poetry contestants are writing their own material and are judged on the merits of both their writing and performance. They're allocated equal time, space etc…it's not a poetry slam.
    One of the 35 contenders chosen from thousands, whom I heard on bbc world service, was asked why the program was so popular, she replied that poetry is at the heart of what it means to be human, a most direct, eloquent and profound art form, held in very high esteem in Arabic culture.
    Breath of fresh air?

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