On the last day of November, eleven intrepid creative writing students set off from Franklin in search of poetic inspiration. And they found it in Lincoln, at the Drill Hall with Mouthpiece Poets. Gemma Baker, Mouthpiece Poets co-founder, heard Emily Beckett, Alex Blight, Lisa February and India Burden, four of the Franklin Poets, perform with Holly McNish earlier that month and was so impressed she invited them along to her open mic session.
The evening started with a beautiful performance by singer/songwriter Alice Came-Banks. Her songs created an ambiance in the venue which, decked with Drill Hall boughs of holly, was one of excitement and expectation. A promise of good things to come that our Franklin Poets fulfilled.
First on the floor was India who delivered a powerful poem about being politically invisible at sixteen. Her passion was conveyed through repetition to create pace, with a serving of sarcasm. A truly dynamic performance which oozed confidence. Members of Parliament take note!
Next came Alex, the master of well-timed wit. He made the audience laugh – more than once, a very difficult effect to elicit, with his intelligent poem about the complexities of humankind and the end of the world. He played the audience, waiting for laughter to subside (over the chimp who wrote the complete works of Shakespeare) then delivered the minor sentence ‘twice’ – the audience
Fell about laughing…again!
Elijah Stratford’s poem was a beautifully intricate personification of the days of the week. He turned them into lovers using exquisite imagery. Not afraid to offer challenging material, Elijah dealt with the disturbing aspects of relationships too; the controlling, the abusive and balanced this beautifully with the elation love can bring.
The final poet was Emily reading a poem she penned in record time especially for the event. Emily challenged gender stereotypes. She lulled the audience into an amusing rhythm with her rhyme, then blasted them with a force so powerful they had to hang onto their seats.
The poets were supported by Joanna Green, Max Griffiths, Jon Gibson, Sam Hodson, Chloe Franklin, Dane Nielsen and Nina Brown.
They came in search of inspiration and heard a number of very different styles and material that gave them just that. But in the true spirit of open mic nights, they also inspired. The tone was elevated when they were on stage. Much was learned, many ideas were planted and many cups of tea downed. A truly wonderful night.
If you would like to be a part of the Franklin College performance poets, please contact Carolyn Doyley – firstname.lastname@example.org for details of the performance poetry enrichment.