With self-promotion increasingly becoming the lot of writers and poets – and social media making it easier than ever to share information – I see many poets doing the spoken word thing, direct to camera, as means of bringing their work to new audiences.
I like the idea of my poems getting out and about but, being the shy, retiring type, I don’t necessarily want to put myself front and centre.
So I had a chat with photographer, Mike Bors, about a poem, The Tiger’s Tail, from my debut collection, and my idea for making a little ‘film’ to accompany it. I wanted to keep it simple, using a slideshow format, rather than live film. We talked about the kinds of images that would fit the mood of the poem – black and white, street photography, night in the city, weekend revellers – and Mike took to the city streets to capture Dublin at night.
The poem itself was written about the events of 30 September 2010, the day Finance Minister, Brian Lenihan, made an emergency broadcast announcing the bail-out of Allied Irish Banks, after the discovery of massive undisclosed debt. I was in Galway and as I walked back to my accommodation, after an evening out, the late-night streets bucked and reeled with gleeful debauchery: Nero, fiddling while Rome burned.
It’s my first attempt at this kind of project and I’m delighted with the result, especially Mike’s beautiful images.
Following on from my own attempt to grapple with the why of poetry, I found this talk by poetry critic, Stephen Burt, on TED Talks very interesting, not least of all because he reinforces the idea that the technical aspects of a poem only become relevant after we’ve fallen in love with its music and how it makes us feel.