My poem ‘Monkey Bars’ is currently being displayed at the Roundhouse, along with poetry from some of the other members of the Roundhouse Poetry Collective. They will be displayed throughout April as part of Circus Fest. I took these pictures whilst going to see ‘She Would Walk the SKy’, which finishes tomorrow. I was amazed by all the tricks they could do – my favourite was probably the ones where performers let themselves fall after entangling themselves in rope, but there were so many amazing parts, it’s hard to say. There was so much skill and strength in each act.
My piece was inspired by the festival, as well as my own experience pole dancing at university, where I won 1st place in a double routine (see above video). To me, the few skills I learnt during my time at pole dancing lessons was similar to circus skills. The poem was meant to be extended to any circus act, but I was thinking of a move in pole dancing where you push against the floor and hook your leg around into an inversion. I remembered how thrilling it felt to let go of the fear of going up-side-down, because that’s what it felt like – letting go of any fear or inhibitions. A lot of people talk about pole dancing being empowering and people tend to think it’s connected to sexuality, but for me it wasn’t to do with sexuality at all. I wanted to capture what pole dancing meant to me, in a way that also connected with different circus acts.
I have recently been to Portugal on a writing residency called ‘First Impressions’ where I got a heavily discounted rate to stay at the apartments to write. In turn, I wrote a short story based on the name of the residency, which I still need to edit. I met up with a fellow UEA student, Silvia Rose, who was also staying there, and I was so thankful to have her there – not only because I was nervous to be in a non-English speaking country alone, but we had some fun times together too. We had a day at the beach and were able to take frequent ferries trips to Lisbon too.
Find out more about my time at the Poetry Potting Shed with Michael Rosen and Niall O’Sullivan, with my blog posts – this is day one. Look out for my upcoming performances on my events page. The first is on Friday 25th April and it is a project working with Anchor House and You Press, where artists have been paired together with homeless residents from the centre in Canning Town, and we have created pieces about each person’s story. Mine is around 8-9 minutes long, and the night features lots of great performers, so I’m really excited to see everyone else. The next event also connects with social change, as Spoken Word London are working together with ‘Survival Guides’, putting on the opening night on Thursday 1st May. There are some great poets that will be down for that, plus there’s an open mic’ section. Fellow Roundhouse Poet, Chris Lawrence is also performing that night, and some of the other members of the group are taking part in NaPoWriMo this month. I’m cheating with pseudo-haikus and pictures, but I recommend the other poets’ work. Lastly, I also had a poem published alongside Matthew Dickerson’s illustration here, in the ‘Blackout’ anthology from Keats House Poets.