It’s nearly the end of 2015: time to reflect on what’s been a whirlwind year of new experiences, new work, and new opportunities. I learned so much this year about making, supporting, and critiquing performance poetry, from the perspective of the poet, the organiser/host, the promoter, and the critic. Here I gather some of my favourite moments of 2015 and project ahead to an exciting 2016! Read more after the jump.
After a January spent mostly muttering poems frantically under my breath in preparation, in February was the Scottish National Slam, which was in equal parts terrifying and wonderful! It was such an honour to compete alongside in such a ridiculously stacked slam, and to perform for such a large crowd. I was delighted to place second, and very excited to be in the mix again for 2016’s competition.
In March I went to StAnza: Scotland’s International Poetry Festival, to volunteer and soak in all the poetry I could. While there, I competed in and won the StAnza slam! StAnza is a wonderful festival full of great artists in a nurturing environment, and I’m delighted to be returning to perform at their Poetry Cafe in 2016 with my fellow Loud Poet Kevin Mclean. Info here.
May included the most ridiculous slam I’ve ever done – the Rhyming Optional Game of Poems Slam, which I did as Brienne of Tarth! Main takeaway? Doing poems in body armour is really hard (even if that body armour is made of cereal boxes and tin foil). Thanks to Kevin P. Gilday – Writer & Spoken Word Artist for putting on an awesome night!
May also saw my first ever tour! Loud Poets asked me along to their England tour in London and Brighton, where I did my first flyering, busking, and teching. It was a whirlwind experience – can’t wait to go again in 2016! I blogged about this experience here.
In the spring I launched my Kickstarter campaign to fund the publication of my debut collection and poetry video. Thanks to your support, it far surpassed its goal, and I was able to achieve both objectives. The collection, Homing, came out in July. If you’d like to purchase a copy, you can find it on the Loud Poets Etsy shop.
In July I got to travel to the Wickerman festival with several fellow Loud Poets and perform in their spoken word tent! It was my first ever music festival, and definitely won’t be my last…
And (how to forget it) in August was the Edinburgh Fringe! Not sure how to sum up the experience, other than: SO MUCH ART! SO LITTLE SLEEP! ALL THE FLYERS! Geniunely, performing and working at the Fringe was one of the best experiences I’ve had, and gave me so much exposure into the life of a performing artist. I blogged about the Fringe here.
Another exciting project I got to try during the Fringe was a dance/spoken word show with The Artifact called FLOW! I did two shows with FLOW!, and both were incredibly fun, allowing me to cross mediums and play in the intersection between dance and poetry. Photo credit: Scott Carroll.
In October I officially came on board with Loud Poets as an organiser! It’s been such a thrill to work with the LP team and build upon the work they’ve done in establishing high quality, fun poetry nights and encouraging new voices. For more information about Loud Poets, check out our website, here. Photo credit: Perry Jonsson.
And in October we filmed the video for Polos! Perry Jonsson, Catherine Wilson, Keith Dunne, and Lewis Phillips from Campfire and I filmed it in the Biscuit Factory. Ridiculously, it’s topped 1,250 views! You can view it here.
No exciting performance-y picture for this one (just a screenshot of my computer this morning), but equally awesome – in October I began my PhD research into spoken word poetry in the UK! It’s a blessing to be able to research from a scholarly perspective the work that I do as an artist. I’m hugely enjoying this work so far and very much looking forward to digging deeper into it this year, including conducting interviews with poets and witnessing as many live shows as I can!
And onward now to 2016! There are so many exciting projects coming up that I can’t wait to share. There’s a big new video project to be filmed in January, new team poems and workshops with Loud Poets, I’ll be editing an anthology of Scottish political poetry, there’s touring in Brighton and Prague, and even a wee talk which rhymes with NED (eep!). More on all of that soon. For now, thank you for the support and inspiration, and for making 2015 incredible. Happy holidays and a joyous New Year to you and yours! – Katie