Return to Live Canon

I’ve been shortlisted for this year’s Live Canon poetry competition. Live Canon is a troupe of actors led by Helen Eastman. As well as an annual competition, they memorise and perform older poems you might not hear read aloud often. Their next show is a performance of Sweet Ways the World Ends, a piece specially written by Glyn Maxwell for Live Canon. It’s being performed this month and described as somewhere between ‘a poem, a play and a party’. Check out livecanon.com for tickets.

I’ve been shortlisted in this competiton a couple of times before. There’s a recital at Greenwich Theatre where the hopeful poems are performed. It’s surprising the rush you get when an actor recites something you’ve written from the stage. In 2011, I’d invested so much of myself (and the previous summer) in ‘The Clay Body’ it was really very moving. A release from the private world of the poem.

One of the great things about last year’s event was that I’ve managed to stay in loose contact with a few of the poets via Twitter, one of whom, Isabel Rogers, is shortlisted again. Andrew McMillan won with a great poem that year. I have commitments this month but I’m hoping to attend the performance and maybe meet a few more poets come the big day. I’m happy to be on the list again.

The living word

I’ve been shortlisted for the Live Canon 2012 poetry competition. The brilliant thing about this competition is that you get to see your poem, and those of the other hopefuls, performed by some great actors. Humour, darkness and beauty all shine more brightly in the embodiment and interpretation that actors can breathe into a piece.

My poem is ‘Weather’. Last year I was shortlisted with ‘The Clay Body’ and seeing that long poem performed on stage is one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had when it comes to writing. You can check out the full shortlist on the Live Canon website. This inventive troupe do a lot to promote poetry of all eras.