As part of our regular series A lump in the Throat sends a friend and poetry novice to poetry events and evenings to gain the perspective of a newcomer to the scene. This week we attended Shout Out, a collaborative event between Edinburgh University Litrature and Feminist Societies at Middle Bar, Teviot.
Your last review was of your first ever poetry reading, what expectations do you have now?
Having really enjoyed the last event I wanted to have high expectations of enjoying this event as well but was also apprehensive of a student event – what if I was the oldest person in the room?
On reflection did it being a student event affect the experience?
The students were enthusiastic and that was infectious. The event was quite well organised and it turned out there are some students even more “mature” than me so I was able to relax and listen. The late finish wasn’t so good for us working oldies, we left early and missed the final set of poets and the open mike set.
What did you think of the venue?
A nicer room than any I remember in the students’ unions of my youth, proper architectural features instead of grubby concrete! Good sound and a cheap bar as well but it would have been better without the herd of elephants doing an aerobics class upstairs!
What was your opinion of the readers?
There are so many readers I can’t possibly comment on them all individually so I shall restrict myself to general observations. I loved the enthusiasm of the students and felt for the couple that were so nervous they could hardly read. I did feel that most of the students haven’t found their “poetry voices” yet and were perhaps too influenced by how they think poetry should sound or perhaps held back by their limited experiences of life. I wonder if maturity and life experience matter in becoming a good/well-developed poet? Having said that most of the poets showed potential for the future and I really enjoyed a couple of them. In particular an American chap (Nick Spengler?) who’s poem Anastasia about his sister caught my imagination.
The last poetry reading left you very enthused, do you still feel the same way?
Yes, I am still enthused. It was great to see so many students at the event, the room was absolutely packed and everyone seemed to be enjoying it. I think poetry in Scotland has a great future. I probably won’t go to any more student events though!