Performance Poetry

This week, I went to my first ever poetry performance. My uni was lucky enough to get in the incredibly talented Jive Poetic and Mahogany L Browne from New York to do an amazing workshop with some students, and to put on an incredible performance for us afterwards.

I’d had doubts about performance poetry previously, because generally I prefer to read poetry and attach my own sounds, rhythm, and feeling to it. I like taking the time to evaluate the poem slowly  on the page in a way that can’t be done in the rush of spoken word.

Poetry performances give a completely different feel to the work, and it means that you can hear the words exactly how the poet wants you to, rather than playing about with it yourself. I’ve got to say, this experience of watching Jive and Mahogany perform was absolutely amazing.

I found myself feeling such an attachment to their words, hanging off every syllable with my mouth wide open, in awe at the passion that came from the way they rolled out each word. I’ve never felt emotions that strong because of poetry, and it’s certainly not something that you can get from a piece of paper. I laughed, and I also found myself close to tears. The spaces between the words were just as profound as the words themselves, and the body language of the performers accompanied the poems so perfectly, telling you everything that you needed to know about their stories before the words even began to flow.

I have a new respect for performance poetry now, and that certainly won’t be the last show I attend. I was absolutely transfixed the entire time, and I wish it could have gone on for longer. I know for a fact that I will never have the same kind of experience as this from reading poetry, and I can’t wait to see what kind of shows Southampton has to offer from different poets.


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