Andra Simons

14 Oct
Andra Simons

Andra Simons

Andra Simons blew me away.

The last poet to read at Poetry Swindon Festival – poetry was actually banned after him – and it felt a fitting send off.

“I heard him and thought he was special and wanted to share him,” said director, Hilda. This is the job of an artistic director as far as I’m concerned – to have impeccable taste.

Andra is from Bermuda; he yelled, he repeated words into a rhythm, he smeared facepaint all over his poetry film, he mentions LGBT issues, and showed his love for his mom.

Andra’s work could have been a tirade of bitterness. He’s the son of an illegitimate child who was called ‘the bastard’ at school – by the teachers – and it was assumed that neither Andra’s father or his offspring would amount to anything.

His father learned who his father was on Andra’s grandmother’s deathbed – someone they’d known their whole lives – but was never bitter.

His is a wonderful kind of performance poetry – words, intonation, visual, story, a vibe; an immersion I personally don’t get from the spoken word alone; words alone can be impenetrable on first hearing. But it’s not the derivative stuff about coffee and cupcakes and love which often comes from the performed word. It’s pain and frustration, happiness and joy. Life.

It was there he taught her to walk on water when it is frozen, to listen for the cracks beneath the ice” Bishop in Love

PS Thinking about Andra, I’ve looked back through the poetry programme/gave my brains a tidy and found these too
– an Irish bohemian
– a surreal Swindondian, born n bred
– a daughter of a scaffolder and a shoe factory worker
– a comedy writer performing sonnets about Music Hall
– a son of a first gen Indian shopkeeper
– a child
– a woman who wrote in a child’s voice
– a woman with Downs Syndrome
– a greyhound race commentator
– a man who didn’t realise his emails were poetic enough to be a poem, luckily Hilda did

Andra Simons performed at Poetry Swindon Festival, 9 October 2016, at the Richard Jefferies Museum Tent-Palace of the Delicious Air.

Chronicle written by Louisa Davison

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