The Sotto Voce Slam was held in the Scottish Poetry Library this evening. Claire Askew was the very worthy winner, with Anne Connolly second and Colin Donati third. I really enjoyed the evening, which was full of contrasts – thematic, stylistic and in reading techniques. I thought Claire’s programme was terrific, and the poem about her grandmother was very good indeed.
I placed fourth, which really pleased me for several reasons. First, it’s only the third slam I’ve taken part in; second, I had never read either of the first and second round poems in public before, and third, I was making a deliberate attempt to change my style of writing in these poems. I’ve become a bit dissatisfied with some of my older work, finding it too linear and too predictable. These poems were attempts to break away, to include non sequiturs and, to me anyway, unusual images and word juxtapositions. I surprised myself when writing them, and although they’re still in my ‘voice’, they feel fresher to me. So although ‘The Love Song of the Sensory Homunculus’ didn’t win the Edwin Morgan competition, I’m glad it went down well tonight. (If you Google ‘sensory homunculus’ you’ll see who the poem was about.) I’ll try sending it to mags now.
I also handed over the MS of my new collection tonight. I’ve been wrestling with the sequence of poems in it, and I’ve finally arrived at an order which makes sense to me.