Thursday, 13 March 2014

All That Jazz... 'Love in Leamington.'

photo by Joanna Ornowska

It's almost a month now since I read at the 'Love in Leamington' event. What a lovely evening that was. Before Christmas I was asked if I'd like to take part. I had to write a poem along with my husband, Jonathan Taylor, on the theme of love. The poem would then be performed with a jazz accompaniment. The musician in question was Steve Tromans, an EXCELLENT pianist and composer. One lyrical Saturday afternoon in late Jan, Steve came round to ours with Charlie Jordan. Charlie's a fab poet and she's also a radio broadcaster, so you can imagine how smooth and engaging her delivery would be. So there I was on my own sofa listening to Charlie and Steve practising their music and poetry on our piano in the front room. Bliss! Our house had become a sort of Jazz commune for a while. Beret wearing will follow...

Jonathan and I reading the poems. Photo by Joanna Ornowska

On the 14th of February, Valentine's of course, we all performed our pieces, with jazz piano from Steve, percussionist  Lydia Glanville and singing from Alyson Symons. Everything was new and specially commissioned for the evening. The other commissioned poets were Roz Goddard, Spoz, Julie Boden, Roy McFarlane and of course Charlie. Roy managed to battle against the storms outside, various cancelled trains and made it to the show just in time to perform his very passionate piece. It was an evening of uplifting poems and music. Roz moved everyone with her poem about her daughter leaving home; Spoz made me giggle with 'Writing You'; Roy's piece 'A Love Supreme' was powerful and deeply felt; Julie's dealt with the loss of love and Charlie's piece 'Beginnings' was about the moment of starting a new relationship. One of the many highlights of the evening was Charlie's red dress. I'd be working on a poem about wearing red and Charlie inspired me to finally figure out where the poem was going.

Charlie rocking the red dress look. Photo by Joanna Ornowska

Talking of writing I learnt something rather interesting about how we order poetry into verses. When I gave the original copies to Steve, they were neatly organised into stanzas of particular lines. When he worked his jazz magic the poems came back to me looking very different. The words were the same of course, but the line endings and overall structure of the poems had changed. He managed to needle out all the lyricism which was there that maybe I couldn't 'hear.' It's made me really appreciate the 'sounds' involved in writing poetry and even a plain-spoken conversational style can have that going on. Our poem was a question and response style piece and Steve's imput was invaluable. What a special treat to have your poetry set to music.

The event was a sell-out and held at Leamington Library. It was funded by 'Poetry on Loan' and hosted by Librarian Jan Dawson and Radio Wildfire impresario David Reeves. Photos were taken by Joanna Ornowska. The idea for 'Love in Leamington' was devised by Julie Boden and a round of applause for her.

I am also writing this after another Jazz and Poetry event last night in Nottingham. More on that later. It'll be berets, stripey tops, capri pants and black shoes for me perhaps.

Of course if you'd like to see all the photos and listen to the performances do click here.

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