Wordly Wisdom for a short month

February 3, 2014 | By | 2 Replies More

Spoken Word Made Manifest

On Tuesday 25th, Talking Heids will be a rainbow of words as it marks LGBT History Month

On Tuesday 25th, Talking Heids will be a rainbow of words as it marks LGBT History Month

Resident poet J. A. Sutherland reports back on recent goings-down in the world of Edinburgh’s spoken word events – and keeps us up-to-date with its goings-on in a month short in days, but not in spoken words…

In previous posts I have spoken of poets (Jem Rolls, Anita Govan, and McGuire) who have tried to define spoken word, or performance poetry, with a ‘manifesto’.

I have also said that spoken word, performance poetry, and ‘storytelling’ are manifested in a multitude of forms. There are no rules, no established criteria; no pigeon-holes to perilously place a poet.

Amidst the myriad of spoken word events this month – it might be short but it is not a short list – none of the organisers, I suspect, would suggest in their unspoken manifesto that they were keeping things inside the box.

Take, for example, The Speakeasy, which sits somewhere between polished performance and ad hoc presentation; stand-up comedy and semi-truthful storytelling; reality and surreality.

Although this show sometimes feels as if it is finding its feet, with some guests taking liberty with their time-slot, what pulls it together is the host. In January, storyteller Fiona Herbert took Jo Caulfield’s usual role, and not only bridged the amorphous gap between truth and lies, comedy and storytelling, spoken word and theatre, dolphins and tuna, but also deftly linked the disparate acts with wry, often self-deprecatory humour.

By some miraculous design, the eclectic mix of performers – storytellers, comics, musicians, actors, poets – came up with a manifestation of broken-down relationships. Whether between partners, our own bodies, a pair of hapless ministers, or that assumedly-embattled couple, England and Scotland, there was a prescient hint of this month’s likely themes.

Boundaries blur, and seasoned performers stand alongside newcomers

Music features increasingly in spoken word events. Even 10Red, which generally sticks to ‘10 poets, reading words, 10 minutes each’ (nb, Speakeasy!), has added music to its bill. This month, singer-songwriter John Porro will perform at 10Red. Having said that, while John is a regular at Henry’s Cellar Bar, he is also a poet – but let’s not get into the debate about poetry versus lyrics…

Lach’s  Antihoot Open Mic is another place where boundaries blur, and seasoned performers stand alongside newcomers.

As Lach says: if you try stand-up and nobody laughs, just tell ’em it was poetry! It is evident that spoken word, in whatever form, is hugely enjoyed; Jem Rolls said, ‘the most dynamic show has to be Soap Box.’ On a freezing cold Friday, people flocked to the Counting House for Rally & Broad’s first event of the year. The Shore Poets, one of the more subdued poetry events, had a packed-out café last Sunday; and the Stanza Poetry Festival Edinburgh Launch Event was sold out weeks ahead.

One thing I do question is whether adding new spoken word events to an already crammed calendar is wise. One group are due to ‘launch’ themselves this month, although they’ve already made a name for themselves, as mentioned in this column. The LOUD POETS are very much manifesto-driven: “No reading from paper, no monotone drones, no wearing tweed and NO BORING POETRY!!!”

Three exclamation marks already breaks a rule, so I’m keen to see if anyone else throws the book out of the window. These new, young poets are positively passionate about poetry, are vibrantly entertaining, and will certainly draw a crowd. As for their wisdom in throwing down a tweed gauntlet: only time will tell.

Here endeth this month’s wordly wisdom.

Listings for February

Sunday 2
Musselburgh Hot Pot Stagg’s Arms, 7.30pm.
Musselburgh’s own open floor performance hot-diggety returns, hosted by Stephen Barnaby.
Stagg (Volunteer Arms), 81 North High Street, Musselburgh, EH21 6JE;Event website: The Hotpot on Facebook.

Monday 3
Antihoot (words and music) Henry’s Cellar Bar. Sign up 7.30. Free
£500 IN PRIZES! Hosted by BBC Radio 4 comedy star Lach. Admission is free. 18+ only. Doors at 5pm. Sign-up to perform at 7:30pm. Show starts at 8pm.
16 Morrison Street, EH3 8BJEvent website: www.facebook.com/Antihoot
Tricolour National Library of Scotland. 6.30pm. Free.
Three different voices, three different styles, three different takes on life. Faturing: Agnes Török, Michael Pedersen, Jem Rolls.
National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, EH1 1EW. Event website: www.nls.uk/events

Tuesday 4
Inky Fingers Open Mic Forest Cafe. 8pm. Free.
Open mic for literature and spoken word lovers. Email ahead for a chance to perform, or just watch and admire. The featured performer for February is Sandra Alland, a writer, filmmaker, performer and interdisciplinary artist.
Forest Café 141 Lauriston Place, Edinburgh EH3 9JN. Event website: www.inkyfingers.org.uk

Wednesday 5
10Red The Persevere, 8pm. £3 including FREE raffle ticket
10 writers, 10 minutes, with music. Ft. Helena Nelson, Jenny Lindsay, Kevin Gilday, Anne Connolly, Sally Evans, John Porro, Camilla Chen, Iain Morrison, Bob Shields, Alec Beattie.
The Persevere, Easter Road, Edinburgh, EH6 8HTEvent website: www.facebook.com

Friday 7
Illicit Ink, Skyground – Geraldine’s Gun Scottish Storytelling Centre, 8pm. £5/£3.
Storytelling with a twist, ft. Lake Montgomery, Rachel McCrum, Siân Bevan, Lizzie Cass-Maran, Lynsey May, and Ariadne Cass-Maran.
Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43-45 High Street, EH1 1SR Event website: www.tracscotland.org/scottish-storytelling-centre/
Vive the [R]évolution, Poems in Translation Institut français d’Ecosse. 7pm. £5/£3.
A triptych of poetry nights à propos translation of and between French and Scottish poetry hosted by three contemporary Scottish poets.
At this première event, Glasgow-based poet Peter Manson will consider Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-1898), who started a typographical and spatial revolution in poetry with « Un Coup de dé jamais n’abolira le hasard », paving the way for all poetic experiments thereafter.
Institut français d’Ecosse, 13 Randolph Crescent, EH3 7TT. Event website: www.ifecosse.org.uk/

Saturday 8
The Burns’ Ball The George Hotel. 6.30pm. £40.
Edinburgh J-Soc’s biggest event of the year: a formal traditional Burns’ ball with a little Jewish twist.
The George Hotel, Edinburgh, 19-21 George Street, EH2 2PB. Event website: www.facebook.com

Monday 10
Blind Poetics The Blind Poet, 8pm. Free.
Open Mic, ft. Janette Ayachi. Launching the 4th Blind Poetics Collection, with work by recent B.P. performers.
The Blind Poet, 32 W Nicolson St, EH8 9DD. Event website: www.facebook.com
Antihoot (words and music) Henry’s Cellar Bar. Sign up 7.30. Free
£500 IN PRIZES! Hosted by BBC Radio 4 comedy star Lach. Admission is free. 18+ only. Doors at 5pm. Sign-up to perform at 7:30pm. Show starts at 8pm.
16 Morrison Street, EH3 8BJ. Event website: www.facebook.com/Antihoot

Tuesday 11
The Speakeasy Scottish Storytelling Centre, 8pm. £6.
Invited artists, an eclectic mix of storytelling, song, spoken word and cabaret. Presented by comic, Jo Caulfield.
Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43-45 High Street, EH1 1SR. Event website: www.tracscotland.org/scottish-storytelling-centre/

Wednesday 12
The Accelerator Canons’ Gait, 8pm. £4/3
MCs – Jem Rolls & Bram E. Gieben, ft. Tim Turnbull, Kevin Cadwallender, Skye Loneragan, Miko Berry.
Canons’ Gait, 232 Canongate, EH8 8DQ. Event website: www.facebook.com/

Thursday 13
Soap Box Pleasance Cabaret Bar, 8pm. Free.
Open Mic, run by University Lit Soc; theme: Missed Connections.
Pleasance Cabaret Bar, The Pleasance, 60 Pleasance, EH8 9TJ. Event website: www.facebook.com

Friday 14
Caesura Artisan Bar, 7pm. £3.
Edinburgh’s monthly night of bespoke spbroken word and experimental poetry returns with it’s first event of 2014 and the final event in The Artisan. Avant-jive for the masses.
Artisan Bar, 35 London Road, EH7 5BQ. Event website: www.facebook.com

Saturday 15
The Living Room Collective Meadow Bar, 7.30pm. Free.
Welcoming poets, storytellers, musicians, artists, anyone who has something they want to share.
Meadow Bar, 42 – 44 Buccleuch Street, EH8 9LP. Event website: www.facebook.com

Monday 17
Antihoot (words and music). Henry’s Cellar Bar. Sign up 7.30. Free
£500 IN PRIZES! Hosted by BBC Radio 4 comedy star Lach. Admission is free. 18+ only. Doors at 5pm. Sign-up to perform at 7:30pm. Show starts at 8pm.
16 Morrison Street, EH3 8BJEvent website: www.facebook.com/Antihoot

Wednesday 19
Readings at the Sutton Gallery The Sutton Gallery, 7pm.
Poetry, pictures and wine, ft. Michael Schmidt, Caroline Bird, Michael Pederson.
The Sutton Gallery, 18a Dundas Street, EH3 6HZ. Event website: www.facebook.com
Percy Poets Persevere Bar & Restaurant, 8pm.
Intercommunity Group and Craigmillar Archives Trust present “The Edinburgh Flyting 2014” to celebrate World Community Arts Day 2014
Persevere Bar & Restaurant, 398 Easter Road, EH6 8HT. Event website: www.facebook.com

Thursday 20
Lit Soc Poetry Slam Pleasance Cabaret Bar, 7.30pm. Free.
Staged by The University Lit Soc, with a feature performer, 7.30. Performers should sign up in advance
Pleasance Cabaret Bar, The Pleasance, 60 Pleasance, EH8 9TJ 

Friday 21
Rally & Broad: And the beat goes on… The Counting House, 8pm. £5.
Words, Music & Lyrical Delights, ft. Hannah Silva, Billy Liar, Miracle Glass Company, Jim Carruth & Claire Askew.
8pm, The Counting House, West Nicholson Street, EH8 9DD Event website: www.facebook.com

Saturday 22
Loud Poets Teviot Row House, 7.30pm. £4.
“A Spoken Word Revolution!” Featuring performers from across the Edinburgh spoken word scene – and beyond.
Teviot Row House, 13 Bristo Square, EH8 9AJ. Event website: www.facebook.com

Sunday 23
Shore PoetsHenderson’s at St John’s, 7.15pm. £4/£3.£price.
An invited feature poet, a Shore Poet member and introducing a local poet; two wildcard opportunities, and Lemon Cake raffle.
Henderson’s at St John’s, 3 Lothian Road,  EH2 2EJ. Event website: www.shorepoets.org.uk/

Monday 24
Antihoot (words and music). Henry’s Cellar Bar. Sign up 7.30. Free
£500 IN PRIZES! Hosted by BBC Radio 4 comedy star Lach. Admission is free. 18+ only. Doors at 5pm. Sign-up to perform at 7:30pm. Show starts at 8pm.
16 Morrison Street, EH3 8BJEvent website: www.facebook.com/Antihoot

Tuesday 25
Talking Heids – LGBT History MonthSofi’s Bar, 7.30pm. Free.
McGuire hosts ‘Talking Heids’ and LGBT extravaganza of poetry exuberance and musical delights!
Sofi’s Bar, 65 Henderson Street, EH6 6EDEvent website: www.facebook.com

Thursday 27
Soap Box Pleasance Cabaret Bar, 8pm. Free.
Open Mic, run by University Lit Soc
Pleasance Cabaret Bar, The Pleasance, 60 Pleasance, EH8 9TJ Event website: www.facebook.com

Friday 28
Neu Reekie 43 Summerhall, 1 Summerhall, Edinburgh, EH9 1PL 7.30pm, £9.
Heating up your winter with a fire-blazing feast of spoken word; film; animation; and music fusions. Brought to you by Michael Pedersen and Kevin Williamson, February’s starring stack is sizzling: Momus, Patience Agabi, the Band of Holy Joy, and Luke Wright.
Summerhall, 1 Summerhall, Edinburgh, EH9 1PL Event website: www.summerhall.co.uk/

J. A. Sutherland also has his own blog at: http://throughtheturretwindow.blogspot.co.uk/

If you would like a spoken word event listed on All Edinburgh Theatre, please use the contact page to get in touch: http://alledinburghtheatre.com/about-2/contact/

ENDS

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Comments (2)

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  1. Thanks Jamie! The new poet at Shore Poets this month is William Letford, while our two headline performers (no Shore Poet this month) are Diana Hendry and Stewart Conn. We’ll be presenting the Mark Ogle Memorial Award to Meg Bateman, AND there’ll be music from The Whole Shebang. Promises to be excellent!

  2. Johnni Stanton says:

    Hi Jamie
    The Persie Poets are no more. Since the Persevere Lounge is now a restaurant … we have moved to the Constitution Bar in Constitution Street … in the plush surroundings of the Red Room. We’ll come up with a name later, however we will still be the 3rd Wednesday of every month, starting with the 19th of March from 7.30pm to 10.30pm.

    Cheers
    Johnn

    https://www.facebook.com/events/680310205364401/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular

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