Andrew Henon, poet, painter, film-maker and tower of strength, recorded our collaborative performance in Bath last Saturday. Here it is.
“Waterwoven” is a sound-collage for six voices and rain-stick. Forty-two poems by six poets were cut up and rearranged to form a sequence for performance, beginning with the first drops of rain and ending with the vastness of the Atlantic. Blocks of blank verse were whittled down to slender elliptical stanzas. Sonnets and villanelles were ruthlessly dismembered. Often, opening lines or first stanzas were discarded. Choruses emerged. We had the first draft of a script. Through four weeks of rehearsal it was refined bit by bit by all of us. Another week of rehearsal might have yielded further changes. It is a work in progress.
The performance was followed by a half-hour discussion/Q&A session between compère Nikki Kenna, poet John Richardson (Jay Arr), the Bluegate Poets from Swindon, us Fountain Poets from Wells, and several members of the audience. Many of us said what a pleasure it had been to collaborate, and that we had learnt much. Hearing ones own lines spoken by another can be a useful experience. Andy’s filming of two rehearsals was enormously
embarrassing helpful in pointing out our strengths and weaknesses. Rachael Clyne’s years of experience as an actor made her an excellent coach, and it was she who wielded the rain-stick.
Later in the day Rachael read a selection of poems from her latest collection “Singing at the Bone Tree”. Here is the link to the footage of her reading.
Big thanks to Sue Boyle for making it happen, to Nikki and John for their reassuring competence and close attention as compères, to the whole team of technicians, welcomers, bookstall-minders and caterers, and to our friends and family who came to listen. As Walt Whitman said, “To have great poets, there must be great audiences.”