It’s Who You Know

I recently came back from Peterborough where I had been to the Poetry Rivals Slam.  It was a sunny day, which always helps, and overall it was fun, despite my stressing about getting the last train because I’d been given a late slot.  I was given a nice pack off stuff, including this certificate, where sadly my name was spelt wrong.

So, the Under 18s section was first, though it seemed I was one of the few people from the adult’s section that was there as the room disappeared afterwards.  It ranged from the cute to more impressive stuff.  I chatted to one of their grandad’s who seemed nice, and pretty cool, cool being he had an earring and rode motorbikes haha!

I went to eat at Ask where I had booked a table beforehand in case… being Saturday… it was busy.  It wasn’t.  The staff there were really friendly and I talked to them about what I was doing in Peterborough.  I managed to eat a whole garlic pizza bread and mushroom & chicken risotto, despite my paranoia that there may have been some cheese in it.

My favourite poets from Under 18s slam were Eddy Telford (the grandson) and Nicole Edwards.  Though I didn’t see them all because I went to eat dinner and wanted to make sure I was back for the adult slam.  My favourites in that were Thommie Gillow (who spoke to me and was lovely), Dorothy Beaumont (one of the older contestants who did a beautiful poem to her husband with great dancing imagery), Rochelle Logan-Rogers (who did a great performance of a piece written for Love Music Hate Racism) and Richard Castle (who though rather mumbley and mono-tone, I think I caught some really strong lines and ideas in his poems).  The winner was Stephen Watt, and I was surprised as I couldn’t remember his poem but asked my mum to read it from the book in London and it refreshed my memory and I thought was quite a nice idea with the rubix cube image.  I’m not sure I would have decided on him myself but it was really hard to judge, as the judges said, and I don’t know who I’d have picked.

It was disappointing not winning but I didn’t exactly expect to, and after my reading (which went okay, with one annoying slip up, and maybe a bit rushed and static) I didn’t feel I was going to at all.  I don’t feel ready anyway.  One of the things I want to concentrate on, after my dissertation hand-in in about 3 weeks, is poems for possible publication.

I get annoyed at not being accepted into magazines but I really need to do it constantly.  It’s just hard keeping track of all the dates of stuff, so I have a document trying to organise it but I’m still getting rejected loads, so how can I progress to a chapbook or proper collection?

I’m currently listening to the Gipsy Kings but there’s a few more things I was going to write before this blog post.  They’re not really relevent to poetry, but they are about my life, which some people might find more interesting than repetitive notes on poetry gigs!  I also didn’t record this performance so, no video.

Anyway, I’ve been busy dancing and attempting at drinking in moderation (going well since the cart-wheel incident) as well as doing my dissertation and creative writing work.  I’m also going to be UEA London Correspondent to the Feminist Society next year!  In relation to that, when I went out on Tuesday night someone pinched my bum, and then I later got talking to a guy who said he was gay.  These are things we’ve been talking about in the discussion group (it’s soon to be a society)… the idea that some men think it is acceptable to violate a woman in ways such as pinching bums (though we’ve been talking about more “cat-calling” in the street situations) and also things like The Game when it comes to relationships… pretending to be gay being one of these tactics.  The guy in question here called me “stunning” and then said “if I wasn’t gay…” and that I had even managed to “attract a gay guy”.  I don’t want to be cynical, he was very sweet and seemed to think I genuinely deserved to have a nice boyfriend… but the point I’m making is that because of these “games” it means women have to be wary to trust others, and also… if I am attractive… so what?  Why should I be defined on my physical appearance?  I can’t complain, because if that was the case, I’m clearly not defined by what I look like. I’m judged far more for being slightly unhinged, intense and too honest for my own good, hence coming across *shock horror* desperate.  Which, I’m not.  It takes a lot for me to like a guy but I usually end up ruining things when i actually do give a shit because I come across too keen.  It’s funny.  Anyway, these things are interesting to think about.

Which brings me to my last point.  I knew half the judges on the panel tonight.  But they thought Mr. Watt’s poetry was better, so he won.  We’re always being told “it’s who you know” but this proves… it’s not who you know.  Unless those particular people secretly hate me.

*Yawn* I’m ready for bed!


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