Let the Poem Breathe

By Lorna Meehan
Directing poetry from an actor’s point of view has been really interesting for me in terms of noticing the difference in delivery when a poet is in front of a mic in a setting they’re familiar with and the possibilities it opens up when you take the mic away. Something I’ve said to everyone at some point this week, as well as bearing in mind for myself is ‘slow it down, let it breathe’. As poets, we can get so use to reeling our poem off we can forget the feeling behind it, the reason we wrote it, it’s sense of pace and narrative. It’s been really satisfying to find moments in each poem where the audience can get invited in to the world of the poem as well as the words. We’ve experimented with finding the perfect middle ground between just the poet and the words and all out theatricality and the result is an atmospheric experience where the performance and the poem are hitting all the right notes. It’s also been great to be able to nudge the poets out of their comfort zones and get them to try something different to colour their default delivery style. It’s been great to see how surprised they are with the results and how much can happen just by taking the traditional prop out of the scenario and giving the poets the added element of physical space in which to bring their work to life in a different way.

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