When I won the Poetstars competition, I was asked to be a 'guest reader' at Sheffield Hallam University's creative writing e-zine launch. The e-zine in question, E-Sheaf, has yet to materialise, but I will post the link as and when I receive it.
So, after the excitement of the comp, I wasn't really listening when John Turner, creative writing lecturer and insane rapping poet legend, told me about the night. The upshot was that by 'guest spot' I understood 'we'll fit you in for 5 minutes before the real poets arrive' when in fact it meant 'you're headlining and have a 20 minute spot.' Fortunately I called John a couple of hours before the show to double check times and he enlightened me as to the length of my set!
20 minutes doesn't sound like much, but after a poetry 'career' consisting exclusively of 5 minute cabaret spots and open mic nights, it's pretty much an aeon. Getting the mix of funny and serious right is more difficult as well. I'm lucky because I can memorise a lot of stuff, and know all my favourite poems off by heart. I was able to throw a set together, including some new stuff, and it did go down very well. it was more like a 15 minute set in the end. I was so nervous I forgot to read a few poems.
This in fact is a good thing, as I've now been asked to read at a student-run Amnesty International Benefit, which will have largely the same audience and it's comforting to have a lesbian and a chihuahua up my sleeve for that gig.
18th of November, 15 minutes. I can write some new material by then, right?