Last night I went to Pop Up Poetry in Guildford. It’s the closest spoken word event to where my sister lives in Woking and it’s the closest to where I grew up in Surrey. For these reasons it always feels like coming home . Not that South Devon doesn’t feel like home. Most if my friends live in Devon but in my heart I am a Surreyer. Or whatever you call someone from Surrey. Reaching out towards London, fingertips quivering.
So it’s always with strange emotions that I revisit my old home area particularly that I had no interest in spoken word or poetry when I moved to Devon. And now, every time I come back, well, there’s actually something I’m good at! So on a psychological level, performing in Surrey is very important to me.
And what a wonderful night Pop Up Poetry is! Donall is a magnificent host full of energy and humour, he bounds around like a teenager and interacts with the poets, while Janice provides support and administrative duties. Between them they have cultivated an atmosphere of acceptance and creativity.
One of the joys of performing somewhere far from my normal area is that I get to see new poets and styles and there were plenty of fantastic poets. I was particularly taken by a young man in a trendy hat who did a fantastic slam poem taking Alice Through the looking glass as his inspiration. There were also a couple of poets who had only just started performing and they were both of a very high standard, and very funny, too. It was also great to catch up with Rodney Wood, we met before the show started and spent an hour or so chatting about poetry and poets we’d seen and inspiration and stuff.
So if you’re ever in the Guildford area and you fancy some poetry, get down to the Bar des Arts next to the River Wey.