21st July, 2018
WRITE ANGLE JULY: SARA HIRSCH FLIES IN
Sara had flown in from new Zealand where she's taken on the role of Education Director/Associate artist of 'Motif Poetry', spreading the word about poetry there and in East Asia. Still jet-lagged, for her third gig at Write Angle,she gave poems in her usual broad range of topics, including family history and the travails of moving country.
Sara led off with Deaf Poem - “The doctors in audiology have the loudest, clearest, voices you've ever heard.” In Blocked, writer's block becomes a blocked road; “It feels like the end of the road for us.” Nocturnal went back a year and started with the statement “His biggest fear is we won't want to live in each other's country; his biggest fear is geography.” Three poems followed, dealing with her moving to New Zealand: How to Move Country, On Emigrating and Welcome. The last of these was a hilarious welcome letter, approving her visa - “If you need help, you may communicate with a New Zealander who may understand your accent!”
Heritage was a poignant and emotional journey back into family history; of her great-grandfather who travelled to the promised land: “....and stepped off in America – only to discover it was Dover!” She told of how, if he had not come, his whole family would not have existed: “My ancestors...making up a line of the people who define me.” She continued the theme in These Hands: "These great, great, grandfathers were boxers, were entrepreneurs who fought against the odds, tight-roped along their blood-line towards a better life.” In Oranges and Lemons, “sometimes the deathbed [of her grandfather] is as unexpected as the death”.
The Open Mic brought Dick Senior, who started with Turtle Dove - “a jewel”. Then, Ted Collins, a poem about his grandfather coming back from the Great War - “You fixed your gaze down upon the solid earth lest it sway away and prove as fleeting...as the shadow of a dragonfly.” A visit to Dublin produced On Grafton Street, about a blind man singing - “...and as verse three begins, the dog joins in.” Finally, in Poem for Tim, his childhood friend who died last Christmas - “Be glad for what we had; be glad for the days; I won't forget a single one, believe me.” Then, newcomer Ross Chapman, with his poem about being homeless in Paris, called Positive Night - “Everything is encompassed round with darkness and decay.”
Janet Turner, all the way from Brockenhurst in the New Forest, read View from the Top Deck, Sea Horse and Grannie, in which she portrayed herself as adventurous, saving her grandchildren from a tree only to find “I was stuck, wedged fast, can't turn around.” Sue Spiers provided 40 Degree Heat, Not Quite Warm Enough to Swim, and Breasts, the last of which brought nervous titters from the audience as Sue told of her experience at the Breast Clinic - “One nurse will manhandle them into position.” Damian O'Vitch, rejecting microphone and paper, started with a sonnet, Wind, then Tea Time Gigolo, beloved of women over seventy - “He comes not to judge, just to make them feel loved.” Finally, The Internet of Things, in which everything is micro-chipped, told of a distopian future.
This reviewer joined in with Judgement of Paris, in which his daughter said, “..we can love each other without that sex thing getting in the way.” This was followed by I Remember It Well - “Do all our memories tell more about us than the things we recall?”
Leah read Our Side, about a visit to family in Ireland – “...I can see photos of our trip. And maybe, if I look real hard, I'll find a leprechaun winking .” Dick Senior and she read Leah's short play, The Cherry Tree, in which nine year old George Washington decides to tell that he cut down his father's favourite tree to save his best friend – (a slave), from disastrous punishment “...my father will believe it 'cos he knows I never lie.”
The play seemed to have hit a raw nerve with the evening's guest, who then wrote to say it was inappropriate to use the 'n' word, (although spoken by the slave, and at that time, would have been considered common), or for a white person to read a black part. - Should a poetry venue aim to be a 'safe space, where nothing controversial is permitted?
Write Angle would appreciate any comments from its audience who were there that night
regarding the play and how it affected them.
The raffle, a meal for two at excellent Turkish Fez, was won, yet again, by one of Write Angle's loyal regulars.