Poetry & Performance

Last night I went to see Hollie McNish who was speaking as part of the Ilkley Literature Festival. I was blown away. Not only by her choice of words but also by her bravery in speaking the unspeakable especially surrounding being a mother. I can imagine reading her prose and poems are powerful enough, but to hear her read them out in the rhythm she does so well was really powerful and moving.

I’d not known much about her work before. I’d seen one video about breastfeeding in public which was uncomfortable viewing purely because all of what she said was true and it was such a sad reflection on the state of our society and how women are viewed as mothers.

There were collective murmours in the audience of agreement, of those that had felt exactly those feelings, of solidarity and of relief that here was this young woman so powerfully voicing all of what we felt.

And it was a insight into the power of performance. Something about being in a  theatre setting (or in fact anywhere with a dialogue between a live person/s and an audience) gives strength to what is being communicated. It gives the space a special feeling and energy which is difficult to convey in a medium such as television. It reminded me why I love performance in all it’s different varieties. Music, dance, theatre, spoken word all have the power to connect us with each other and that is the key to the work I aim to immerse myself in during this MA journey.

photocredit: greenbelt.org.uk

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