That sounds fun, I thought, about being a man for a day. But I didn’t expect it to be such a challenge.
I don’t mean keeping the boobs flat (damn bandages kept rolling up), or keeping my ‘penis’ in place, or even perfecting the man’s walk when, essentially, a woman’s hips are different to a man’s.
Yes, these were annoying but all the women poets taking part in Diane Torr’s Man for a Day (Swindon Festival of Poetry) had these problems and it created a certain comradeship between us.
No, what was hard was knowing what kind of man I wanted to be. And this journey – for a while at least – was a lonely one. Did I want to be myself, but male? Did I want to be a man I admired? Or a man I didn’t?
This year’s poetry competition didn’t quite go to the moon and back but they certainly made it to the other side of the world.
Judges David Morley and Cristina Navazo-Eguia Newton both took the entries on their travels. On the plane to Australia, David shared the poems around the passengers and asked them to read the poems aloud. Cristina took hers to her native Spain.
A good proportion of the winning pieces were about birds. “I’ve got a feeling some of the entrants researched my interests,” remarked David who’s into ornithology. Continue reading
As an English white woman, I wouldn’t describe Saturday’s event – The Evening News and The Roof of the World – as a culture shock (far too gentle for that) but it was a beautifully different experience.
The spoken poetry on Saturday was in Hindi by Mohan Rana. There were no English subtitles, but this didn’t matter. I opened my mind to it like I would music or dance; a different way of understanding, enjoying the musicality of the language.
To emphasis this and compliment the poetry, Mohan had invited his friend, ‘cellist Jo Quail, to perform alongside him. Jo had previously interpreted his poem The Colour of Water (From the Sea).
Don Share, editor of Chicago-based Poetry magazine, with musicians at Swindon Festival of Poetry
Event compere Sam Loveless
I guess the obvious question is: did I manically squander my evening last night? So I won’t ask that.
The music was very Cinematic Orchestra / The Free Association (David Holmes) – sinister moody-style jazz travelling from 1970s Shaft to Lemon Jelly.
And Don Share, editor of Chicago-based Poetry magazine, recited to the music.