This is a guest post by Natalie Popow on behalf of the Mouthy Poets
Firstly, let me tell you about this really exciting event coming up in Nottingham in a few weeks’ time. On Saturday 19th July the Mouthy Poets will be performing alongside John Agard at their 7th Say Sum Thin show at the Nottingham Playhouse. There will be two shows written, performed and curated by the Mouthy Poets; the first more intimate in the Neville Studio and the second explosive on the main stage. The fresh way in which each of the poets have approached the theme of displacement will blow your mind, whether or not poetry is your cup of tea.
Special guest John Agard will be performing at the evening show. He is a Guyanese poet who in 2013 was a recipient of the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry. His poems have been featured in the English GCSE anthology since 2002 and he is a BBC Poet in Residence. His published poetry includes We Brits, Alternative Anthem, Clever Backbone and most recently Travel Light Travel Dark in 2013. Perhaps you’ll recognise his poem ‘Half-Caste’; memories of a video clip I’d watched in year 11 of a performance of this came rushing back to mind when I first found out he would be performing at our show.
Also on the day is the chance for ticket buyers to get involved with spoken word/poetry workshops run by the Mouthy Poets themselves. Speaking as someone who practically skipped back home from my first workshop with the Mouthy Poets gushing with excitement and renewed creativity, I would recommend to any budding poets who have the opportunity to participate in one of our workshops to grasp it wholeheartedly. As there is a waiting list for new people keen to get involved with the Mouthy Poets, this is an excellent opportunity to give you a taster of the kind of things we do.
I joined the Mouthy Poets earlier this year as part of a blogging work experience placement advertised by the School of English at the University of Nottingham. Like many other third year English students I had notebooks filled with heart-wrenching poetry recording the trials and tribulations of my adolescence which I was gradually hiding deeper and deeper amongst the piles of notes and essays that I had written about the masters of poetry and literature. Before university I had entertained the possibility of becoming a poet and/or novelist and believed that learning more about the literature that I loved to read would somehow rub off on me and make me a better writer. As the years passed, however, I began to despair about my ability to ever even begin to write anything in a unique or interesting way. I began to slip into a terrible “why even try?” frame of mind.
A lot of people at Mouthy have said that it found them just at the right time and this was the way with me for more reasons than I will have time to explain in this blog post. A group of around 50 poets, all creative, energetic and insightful, the Mouthy Poets burst into my life like the biggest firework display I had ever encountered. I considered myself to be a shy, soft-spoken being and was wondering how successful my initiation into a poetry group that called itself ‘mouthy’ was going to be. I was terrified by the prospect of sharing anything I had written, convinced I would be exposed as the phony poet I believed myself to be. I began to wonder whether I had made some horrible mistake in applying for the work experience position.
But as you can probably guess from the tone of the narrative of these initial doubts that I share with you, I was indeed proved wrong and there was a very happy resolution. In fact, despite being assured in the sessions that I didn’t have to share if I didn’t want to, I found myself wanting to. Now that I reflect on it a few months later, I think a part of me had always wanted to find a medium to voice my thoughts. For me, the beauty of the Mouthy Poets is that everyone involved has come from all kinds of walks of life and are so fantastically different but we all share this love of the spoken and written word. I soon learnt the real meaning of ‘mouthiness’. Quiet or loud, introverted or extroverted, shy or confident, it didn’t matter; being ‘mouthy’ meant having a platform to finally say something and be heard.
Now I could continue telling you about how much I love the wonderful and talented Mouthy Poets for quite a while longer but this is really something that you have to discover for yourself. In the run up to Say Sum Thin 7 we will be posting up a video of a poem from our last show every day on the Facebook event page so make sure you have a look at those:
You’ll also be able to find us at various Open mic. events in Nottingham coming up in the next few weeks, including The Sneinton Mini Fun Day at King Edward Park on the 10th, The Broadway Summer Festival on the 11th, and Live at the New Art Exchange on the 18th July.
You may also happen to see us doing a flash mob reading session in Market Square while you walk around town on the 12th July. Before the last show a few Mouthies entertained travellers on the trams in Nottingham by performing their poetry. July is most definitely an extremely exciting time to be in Nottingham if you like poetry and even if you don’t for that matter, believing as I do that poetry is for everyone.
You can buy your tickets for the Say Sum Thin 7 show online via this link:
Or by calling the Nottingham Playhouse Box Office on 0115 941 9419.