(This post might make more sense if you read the ones below, first)
It’s ages now since I’ve managed to get to one of the monthly workshops at Cannon Poets – this Sunday is one when I’d be free to go, but it doesn’t happen to be the first one in the month. I’ll be visiting my mother in Sussex on the weekend of the June meeting – and so another month will slip by. I’m only an associate member now, but I still feel attached to the group, and very grateful for all the opportunities that it gave me.(Yes, I will make it to a meeting at least once this year!)
Not the least of the benefits of this group, is their practice of reading aloud round the huge, angular table in a room at the top of the Midlands Arts Centre in Cannon Hill Park. (Now temporarily meeting at a different venue, during the renovation the MAC) There were often more than twenty of us there, and at first I found the readings very daunting – we started the meeting with poems of our choice, by established poets, alive or dead, and finished by reading one that we’d just been working on. To encourage us to develop our delivery of these poems, everyone had the chance of putting their name forward to fill the monthly twenty-minutes member’s slot.
By the time my turn came round, about a year after joining, my voice had grown accustomed to this large audience and was managing to remain not only steady, but also, reasonably expressive.
It was after this reading that I was approached by an experienced poet, Don Barnard, who later became Poet Laureate of Birmingham, and asked if I’d like to be the fourth member of a group that he was putting together with one other woman and another man, both of whom lived further south, and were keen to take part in this venture.
And so my role as a member of the performing poetry group, Late Shift, began.