Ten Letters

I go to lots of poetry readings, and they're pretty varied. most of them are a mixture, good things, average things, things that need a lot more work. So it was a real pleasure last night to go to the Mac to hear Ten Letters, a sequence of poems about Birmingham. The poets involved were areal mix, in race, social background, gender and age. There were reflections on the changing face of the city, anecdotes from the Austin factory, memories of school and a stunning piece about the victims of gang violence. All of the performers had learnt their pieces, and clearly worked on how to present them  - no mumbling introductions, embarrassing pauses, or poems that outstayed their welcome. Each piece started with a short piece of video, a large picture of the next poets, briefly talking about their relationship with the city - then the lights come up, and they're standing there, launching into their poem. Wonderful stuff.