Hazel’s Review of Poetry Live

18 December, 2019

Hazel's Review of Poetry Live

Earlier this month, all of Year 11 visited Leeds Town Hall to watch Poetry Live. This was a first for me having not been to a poetry event before and I wasn’t sure what to expect. The format was the poets themselves reading their work aloud, interspersed between sessions lead by the head examiner, which provided us with useful tips and advice.

At first it felt awkward but then everyone relaxed and began to enjoy it. The highlight for me was Imtiaz Dharker, reading aloud her poem ‘Tissue’. Before the event, I already knew that ‘Tissue’ was my favourite but I didn’t know why. After listening to her read it aloud and explain each stanza in the detail, the poem as a whole changed for me. The poem explores how to avoid conflict, questioning if it could be done and how. She pays particular detail to the objects that let light through human tissue that is thrown away in conflict. When you first read it, it seems light and delicate, not as intense as other poems in the anthology. Having listened to it, its lightness and fragile language capture the vulnerability of human tissue in the face of the violence of war and conflict.

During the day we listened to over seven poets, including the current and former poet laureates, Simon Armitage and Carol Ann Duffy. All of them powerful, moving and sometimes funny. If you’ve never heard poetry spoken aloud, I would definitely recommend Poetry Live – it really brings poetry to life!