The newcomer reviews: Shore Poets

2 Dec

As part of a new series on A Lump in the Throat I shall be taking a friend, who is not at all interested in poetry around many of the poetry readings, or evening incorporating poetry in or around Edinburgh.  I wanted to get the point of view of a non-poet, the woman on the street, the every woman.  We have started at Shore Poets on the 29 November 2009.

What is your experience of poetry?

Like most people my only experience of poetry is being forced to read it at school for English exams.  Since then poetry has seemed irrelevant to my life.

What did you expect from a poetry reading before tonight?

I wasn’t even really aware that poetry readings went on so I had no expectations!

What were your thoughts on the venue?

I felt a bit like a naughty school girl in my seat in the back row!  I like The Lot as a venue, small and cosy and serves good cider.  The upstairs room is a good shape and size to be able to hear all the poets really well.

Did you enjoy the readings?

yes, I enjoyed all the readings.  Each poet brought something different giving a good balance to the evening.  I enjoyed the humour in Ellie Stewart’s poems and I like that she writes about everyday events that I can relate to and places that I know.  Ian McDonnough’s poetry was possibly more in the style I had been expecting and he forced me to think a bit deeper.  I did laugh at his poem in the style of a hotel TV welcome screen, perhaps my appreciation of poetry is rather shallow still!  Lastly Anne Frater read in Gaelic and then again in English, the Gaelic sounds so lyrical, I wish I understood.  Anne’s poems were very moving particularly the one she finished on about the death of her friend.

What stood out for you about the evening?

Without a doubt the poetry.  To be moved so much by just a few lines is magical.

Did the evening change any of your expectations?

Yes it did.  As you might expect of a librarian I read a lot (mainly novels) but now I understand that poetry is much better read aloud.  I need to take my nose out a book and listen sometimes.

Would you go to a poetry reading again?

Yes, when’s the next one?

Shore Poets is on the last Sunday of every month at The Lot, The Grassmarket, Edinburgh.

Our reviewer is loopy_lor (as she is known on twitter and flicker) and is a Scottish law librarian and believer in the Healing Power of the Star Jump

2 Responses to “The newcomer reviews: Shore Poets”

  1. George Ttoouli December 15, 2009 at 3:13 pm #

    Hi Mairi, thanks for the heads up to this. Really enjoyed this review!

    Have you seen the ‘young reader’ reviews at Sphinx? E.g. here:

    It very simply positions the reviewer’s bias, and paves the way for the review to be read within the right context.


  2. alumpinthethroat December 16, 2009 at 9:37 am #

    Just checked out the ‘young reader’ it’s a great idea – I love it.

    I think that poetry can be such a small community that often it can appear daunting and elitist to those outside. One way to break down that misconception is to make sure we listen to those who are new to it.

    Approaching reviews in a different way, as Sphinx is doing, is a great way to start.

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