Life, uh, finds a way is the latest offering from Loud Poets, a collective of poets and spoken word artists who are pushing the boundaries of the artform and aiming to make poetry accessible for all. Compère for the night is Kevin Mclean who also finds time to perform his own poetry in amongst a smattering of comedy and some skilful handling of some of the oddest heckling this reviewer has ever had the displeasure of hearing.
It is a format which is as entertaining as it is enlightening; tonight’s line-up of Esme Allman, Paul Case, Iona Lee and Jack Macmillan cover everything from identity to dinosaurs and mental health to pre-sliced vegetables. There is something for everyone and both the mixed demographic of the audience and the inclusion of musical accompaniment and a video project combining science and art are testament to this.
Poetry used to be seen as the preserve of the educated classes, something too complex for the everyday man to enjoy and something English teachers would all too often sadly bore their students with come exam time. But Loud Poets, and all the artists here tonight, quash that stereotype with their rhythmic, engaging performances which give poetry a platform quite different from the stuffy classrooms most will have first encountered the literary form in. That said there is no excuse for bad grammar – “I seen” jarring in an otherwise linguistic haven.
Each of the poets has their own unique style and thus each audience member will have their own particular favourite but as far as complete performances go the stand-out tonight is Iona Lee, reading from her new pamphlet as part of Polygon’s New Poets series. She has a confidence on the microphone, an air of quirky individuality and the right mix of comedy and, in her own words, “wistful” readings.
If this is some people’s introduction to poetry then what a fabulous introduction it is and for those already poetry enthusiasts it would be impossible not to find something to enjoy in this energetic format which has absolutely ‘found a way’ of bringing poetry to the masses.