LIVES OF F audio-poem #3 – The Gothic School & The Trampoline

 In Poetry

LIVES OF F poem 3 – The Gothic School & the Trampoline – process blog & audio recording.

The idea that all fiction and life-writing is an interplay between inner worlds and outer realities is not a strange one. It can also be confidently said that the outer realities presented are just a projection of a character or author’s inner abstractions. But fictitious worlds and projected versions of reality need to be evocative and cogent enough to be persuasive to the viewer/listener, right? All of the tensions above are so lucid and prone to overlap, confusion and reconfiguration that structure is often a life and art-work’s saving grace. And casting this thread even more widely, it would be safe to say that success at life depends an individual’s relationship to their mental cacophony and the tangible world.

Writing the performance version of Lives of F, poem 3, ‘The Gothic School and the Trampoline’, has triggered a reflection on the structural signposts that delineate inner and outer when making imagined worlds. In theatre, we have the line between soliloquy and dialogue, a line historically drawn for audiences over millenia. In prose, we have the freedom to describe from multiple perspectives, anything from the shadows cast by The Grand Canyon to the feeling of a man’s neuroses about buttons. Then there’s poetry, which offers so many variations of semantic content, meter, lyricism and structure that it could draw close comparisons to dance. Greater abstraction sits more comfortably in poetry than it does narrative theatre and prose because of our existing experience and expectations of it as a form. A whole arsenal of registers, perspectives and forms are available and acceptable to the listener/reader.

If you don’t want to blindside or significantly alienate your ‘end user,’ signposts or structures must be chosen. When initially starting out in the landscape of these poems, I wanted to make the film-poetry versions first. Time and economics has slowed this process down but in making audio-files as a first port of call, I am becoming more keenly aware of what visuals could add signposts and structure to my audience’s journeys between characters, their environments and time-frames. In this poem, to be specific, I have described my heroine remembering – ‘recalling echoes of the last recess…’ and punctuated a change of scene with a visceral action and sensory experience ‘Clap clap clap…hands…’ and ‘ She breathes. Now the breeze clips her ears.’ Later on, there is also a metaphor for Effy’s experience of an asthma attack changing her perception of this world – ‘Scavenging for an inhaler, The Gothic School swims’ and a voice from the present breaking into this warped reality with repetition: ‘‘What possessed you?’ ‘What possessed you?’

On reflection, I could employ technique that mirrors meaning in a more emphatic and lyrical way here. For example, the Villanelle form, which repeats two rhymes and certain lines throughout could potentially heighten the listener/reader’s understanding of shifts between my heroine’s internal and external world by introducing these aspects as familiar, temporal signposts. What the process of writing F, poem 2 for performance has clarified is that there is a page version of this poem waiting to be excavated from its semantic and lyrical field…and that I’d like to experiment with a range of technical signposts (from different media) to clarify shifts between internal and external realities. I predict that subtleties of spacing, changing fonts and the reader’s freedom to receive the message of a phrase more than once will create as physical a perception of internal and external spaces as listening to a recorded voice.

Any thoughts on inner and outer worlds in performance, page poetry and the happy middle-ground between? Let me know 🙂

Tamsin x

click below for audio-track:


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