Monday, August 3, 2015

For Some Reason They Call it Cluedo

I accuse Heather of committing the crime in London, England with her grandfather.

Just kidding. I am 87% sure I didn’t commit any crimes while I was in England last week. However, we did go with a specific purpose: to attend the 50th annual Poetry Festival at the Southbank Centre!

It was kind of fun, but also sort of awkward, on account of I am not actually a poet. I dabble, but poetry is not one of my strengths. Strangers aren’t my strength either, and, being a foreign country, I recognized no one. Plus, there were occasions wherein participants could share the results of the activities we did, and I don’t like sharing first drafts. Ever.

There I was, sharing the first drafts of an unfamiliar discipline with strangers and my grandfather, a poet whom I could describe with a number of adjectives, although for the sake of propriety I will resist that urge. Basically, it was not my cup of tea.

Still, I had a decent time, and I felt like I did learn many things while I was there—though I decided to narrow the list down to five.
via behance

1. I’m Really Lucky to Live Here

The festival had a large Middle Eastern emphasis throughout the week, especially poetry as it relates to women. In some areas it is shameful and even dangerous for women to write poetry, so even if I don’t write poetry myself, I’m glad to live somewhere where everyone can.

via gifsoup

2. Censorship Can Be an Art

One of my favorite programs was designed for 14-18 year olds (Papa wanted to go, but he is 77, so they did not let him in). We made “blackout poetry” by crossing out words in newspapers. It was fun to do, considering that censorship has been used as a way to control, but in the context of art sets ideas free.
via cyrustarber

3. Poets Are Very Much Into Free Writing

I like freewriting, but I don’t often do it because it never really accomplishes anything for me. Still, I think some of my favorite things I wrote all week came of freewriting, so even if it was a repeated exercise at the events, it was still something fun they encouraged me to do.

via cd.textfiles

4. Poetry is About Experiences and Verbiage

Poetry shares ideas and gives a snapshot into others’ lives; poetry says these things in powerful ways. No one ever defined poetry for us, but they gave us a lot of chances to see other people through it.

via Disney Wiki

5. I Haven’t Even Scratched the Surface of Middle Eastern Cultures

My latest WIP was inspired by the city of Toledo, Spain, where Muslim, Christian, and Jewish communities lived peacefully until Ferdinand and Isabella started expelling folks. (Funnily enough, doing so crippled Spain for centuries, so I guess the joke was on them.) After attending musical performances, poetry readings, discussions, lessons, and other events, I kind of feel silly for trying to write something within that setting. I came away intrigued and interested in the culture I was introduced to there, but it was also a discouragement, because it felt more like a proud showcase of their culture, almost a PSA, and not an invitation to get in their business.


Overall, the convention was interesting and educational, but I enjoyed my time in London most in other places. Still, I’m glad I went. I enjoyed the unfamiliar culture and art I saw, and came to value my own a little more, too.

Have you ever been to a poetry convention? What was it like for you?

14 comments :

  1. While I've never been to a poetry convention (my poetry tends to make people cry, and not in the "wow this is so good" way but "please make it stop" way), I would certainly be interested in going to one. And you are so lucky to have gone to England! What kinds of things did you do there?

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    1. Well, I hope you get to enjoy a poetry convention sometime—maybe by the end people will cry because they love what you wrote! And yes, England was a fun trip. We went to different tourist attractions, but mostly it was the poetry convention.

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  2. Sounds like a great experience! I'm not a poet (I like reading poetry but I can't write it to save my life) but I freewrite almost all of my first drafts--the only way I can finish anything is to stop worrying about how my writing sounds and just get it down on paper. It's something you have to train yourself to do, I think. And congratulations on getting to go to England--it must have been amazing!

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    1. It was okay. Freewriting is rather freeing, isn't it? Lol. Just getting everything out is how I like to start, too, which is how everything gets out so quickly. But, you're right, it does take a lot of work. Thanks—it was certainly a cool trip.

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  3. This sounds like an amazing experience! I've never really gone to anything like this, and while I'm jealous that you got to go to England as is, I'm even more jealous now.
    I kind of consider myself a poet, since I'm a songwriter, which means I turn my poems into music. Of course, that really limits me sometimes in terms of form of poetry and things like that. I love the thoughts about poetry in this post though. I'm glad you experienced so much.

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    1. Ah, well. Maybe you'll get to go someday! I hope you enjoy any experiences you may have there.

      *nods* Songwriting counts as poetry, I'd say. Not as expansive, but it would still fall into that category. There were actually musical performances so that we could hear some musical poetry! Thanks for reading, Kat!

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  4. Wow, a poetry convention sounds absolutely wonderful. It's great that you got a chance to learn more about Middle Eastern culture while strengthening your inner poet. I actually like free writing too, sometimes, but I have to be in the right mood for it. Otherwise, I might end up just staring at the page for hours.

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    1. It was pretty cool. I did like learning about the Middle Eastern culture, and getting some practice in. I agree, too. If I'm not in the right mood for freewriting, it just doesn't really come. *sigh*

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  5. I've never been to a poetry convention. Like you, I more dabble in poetry than anything else, but it sounds like you had a pretty interesting time!

    I wanna try that Censorship Poetry sometime. It sounds really cool.

    And wow, England! How awesome! Hope you'll post more about your experiences there! :D


    Alexa
    thessalexa.blogspot.com
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    1. Maybe you will someday? I did have an interesting time! You should totally try Blackout Poetry; it is super cool, and really easy to do!

      And yes, this whole week is England-devoted. I mean, I'm telling you this on Wednesday, but you know.

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  6. I used to be so into poetry, and I still write prose poetry and reblog Tumblr poetry, but I've fallen out of the knack of freewriting lately and poetry does require a lot of that, you're right. So I'm contenting myself with prose for now. But blackout poetry is something I REALLY REALLY STILL LIKE, if only because if it makes me feel like a mild psycho. (Have you read Vicious?)

    PS: I would totally read a post about you snarking at history. I WOULD.

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    1. *nods* Poetry takes a lot of work for something that is usually so short, you know? But, prose is still enough. I have not read Vicious, but I can go look it up. If you REALLY REALLY STILL LIKE it then probably I should see it, yes?

      That has actually been an idea I have had for a post before, lol. XD

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  7. It would be cool to see your poetry - I love reading poetry just as much as I love writing it, personally. A poetry festival sounds so fun! Being surrounded by like-minded writers is the dream. :') I like what you said in no. 2: censorship art on tumblr is beautiful. It's also a bit of a challenge, but the result looks really clever!

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    1. I may do that for next week's Writer's Life discussion—we'll see what happens! Poetry is pretty cool, huh? I haven't actually seen any censorship art on Tumblr, but now you people are making me want to look it up!

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