"I didn't even like poetry until tonight!" I cried.
I was feeling elated after an evening at Rhymes with Orange. My friend, Rachel Malham had invited me because she was performing her poems.
I met Rachel ten years ago at a creative writing course. I knew she'd be great, but I assumed she'd be the only relief in a line-up of anxious mumblers allergic to eye contact and happiness.
Too harsh? Maybe. What's also harsh is being subjected to endless abstract sentence uttered in the monotone of a humming fridge. Because that had been my overall personal experience of poetry evenings, until I turned up at Rhymes with Orange.
The theme of the night was 'Work'. Why does work make me think of spreadsheets? I don't even use spreadsheets. The point is, it was a potentially dull theme... right?
As soon Stevie Tyler opened her mouth, I sat up in my chair and thought, Hang on a minute, this is actually going to be good! She oozed confidence and wit. Her poems were entertaining and also made a point. I felt a rush of excitement, which grew as the likeable host, Thomas Muirhead, led the night on.
My friend, Rachel, was next.
|Rachel Malham performing her poem|
Go girl! Don't be shy! I thought, wanting her to blow everyone away.
I shouldn't have worried. Her mockingly sexy and hilarious poem about boardroom meetings resonated with the audience and left me with my mouth open.
Okay, I thought, Is it wise putting your two best acts on first?
But the high standard continued. I wish you'd been there to hear Ellie Dawes' poem about poor old Ophelia (from Hamlet), who wants to be much more than a character who dies off scene. An English teacher came up to Ellie afterwards asking where he could find her piece as he wanted to use it in class.
"I finished writing it six hours ago," she said, and offered him her crumpled pages.
I haven't even mentioned there was a youth group who'd come to be inspired, or the limerick challenge which I ended up judging! Or, the ridiculously good open mic! Or, that I laughed so hard at Sam Wong's poem about working from home I just had to go find him to tell him... (Sam, if you're out there, where can I get a copy?)
This is what 'waxing lyrical' is, isn't it?
Well I can't help it. When I come across something wonderful I have to tell everyone about it.
If you are in London, and you love poetry, better still if you think you hate it, then get yourself to Rhymes with Orange!