Exeposé Arts Issue 613, Page 32 (15 October 2013) and Exeposé Arts online (19 October 2013)
Exeter recently witnessed some pretty intense debate at ‘Beyond Borders’, a Poetry Week event aiming to explore the increasingly controversial labels attached to modern-day poetry.
Nationally reputed poets Roddy Lumsden, Hannah Silva and Peter Finch delivered tasters of their respective works before taking part in a discussion based on the issues surrounding the labels ‘mainstream’, ‘performance’ and ‘experimental’, used to differentiate contemporary poetry.
The performances from Lumsden, Silva and Finch sparked applause, laughter, and general appreciation from the audience, as well as some consideration as to what exactly it is we find entertaining and thought-provoking in poetry.
For me personally, some of the work presented seemed quite challenging; thoughts of “I’m an English student; I should get this!” crept guiltily into the back of my mind as Silva raced through one of her (debatably) more experimental pieces.
However, continuing to stress myself out and trying to decipher meaning in everything that was performed, the thought occurred to me that perhaps I was learning something new about poetry here. Manipulating word and sound as Silva was doing created an audibly beautiful piece of work, the rhythm and character of which made the piece entertaining and inspiring in its own right.
Audience members were invited to participate in the debate, and as promised, contrasting views sparked heated reactions from poets and audience members alike.The intense atmosphere of debate, as well as the passion evident in Lumsden, Silva and Finch as they articulated and defended their points, made this a stimulating experience for any poetry enthusiast.
Overall the evening proved an eye-opening experience in terms of how much poetry has to offer us all for deliberation.