10th March

Today I met Julia Bird, boss of JayBird Productions, in a pub in Battersea to discuss her approach to making poetry shows. She set up JayBird as a way of making poetry readings more of an event. Her performances have largely involved poets (the first show featured a novelist and two poets) and have each had a theme. The first show was around the idea of 'love', and subsequent themes have included power, light and social interaction - being set in a party! 

The themes work loosely - Julia said that her approach to theming was more like that of a dance show. So that the themes helped with 'patterning rather than narrative'. Patterning things according to mood, pitch and pace of particular sets of poems. This is really interesting as it heightens the importance of the musicality of the poems, whereas much staging of poems involves some kind of attempt at weaving a narrative that isn't really there in the poems themselves. 

Another factor of performance that Julia has explored, which is often missing from theatre but is a major part of poetry readings is the 'inter poem chatter'. This 'chatter' is essentially anything poets say to the audience aside from the poems. These can be introductory comments, things that might make understanding the poem easier, or simply things that are extra that the poet wants to say - either about their poem, their mood, their journey to the venue - anything really. 

Lots for me to reflect on not just for the Rule of Six - but for other potential shows - including one I am considering with two other poets, Ruth Valentine and Selina Rodrigues. All three of us had books last year from the same publisher - Smokestack Books.