Performance poetry and music are common partners. Music can lift a poetry reading to new heights and add to the gravity of the words. Poetry Can F*ck Off at Summerhall puts four different poets on stage with solo blues musician Dr Blue. The poets read the lyrics and words of Jim Morrison, William Blake, Gill Scott-Herron, Pussy Riot, Oscar Wilde and a long, long list of others. It is a diverse bunch of revolutionaries and it is their words that serve the story of the performance. Poetry Can F*ck Off is a show about how words can change people and how poetry can and has made a difference to the world we live in.
The poets on stage are Roy Hutchins, Sameena Zehra, Selina Nwulu and Jonny Fluffypunk. Hutchins delivers the story of the show while the remaining trio read segments from poetry and lyrics of the revolutionaries that Hutchins references. We are told the plight of US textile workers, Irish freedom fighters and various other activists the world over. The poetry links the protest movements together, where the words of romantic poetry Percy Bysshe Shelley can draw parallels to Gandi and the Arab Spring. The performers manage to cram a lot of knowledge into the performance and educate the audience with words of power, aggression and passion.
Sameena, Selina and Jonny do an excellent job of grabbing the attention of the audience. They take turns to read and use repetition and speaking in unison to emphasise the importance of the text. Poetry Can F*ck Off was written by Heathcote Williams, but it is the four poets and Dr Blue who bring the words to life and keep the importance poetry alive.