Idea For A Poetry Show

An open mic. The Poets read work written by the other open-mic performers.

One Sentence. Audience members write down one sentence on a piece of paper and place it in a box. The Poet compiles them and then reads them in an order of their choosing. Poetry emerges; authorial identity becomes confused, drifts.

A film Poem. A sound collage composed from the errs, umms, and accidental pauses in other people’s film Poems.

Lose a Letter. The Poet reads a Poem. Afterwards, the audience pick a letter. Any word with that letter in it is removed. The Poem is read again, altered. A second vote is taken, a second letter is removed. The Poem is read again, altered. The process repeats until the Poem, and the show, no longer exists.

Gridlines. A warehouse floor is painted to look like the map of A City. As the Poet walks the room they stop at Significant Places and recite Poems about what they can remember.

An open mic. Famous Poems are read backwards.

Idea For A Poetry Show: a Silent Poetry Disco.

The Same Poem. One Poem and ten Poets are selected. Each Poet reads the selected Poem. Each reading produces differences: the ways the words are expressed; the unique places each Poet puts pauses and emphasis; the way the Poet stands; the way they breathe; the tone of their voice; the way they build their performance towards the conclusion; the way it ends; the way it begins again in the mouth of the next Poet.

A film Poem. A camera is elevated to the edge of the atmosphere. Prior to reaching the highest altitude it plans to reach, it begins to film. At the highest point, the camera is allowed to freefall back to Earth. In a Poetry Venue in A City, Poets compete to create the best improvised Poem to accompany the footage.

Idea For A Poetry Show: The Book of Revelation. The Poet parses the entire text of the Book of Revelation from The Bible until each clause contains an isolated identity. The Poet enters this into an Excel spreadsheet and crafts code which allows the clauses to be randomised. The Performance sees the Poet produce a randomised extract of this, a length of text that fits with the designated booking, which is then printed. The Poet begins to read. In the last five minutes smoke begins to fill the room. By the end of the performance the Poet has been consumed and all that remains is their voice, rising through it, louder and louder, until they are screaming, screaming, screaming.

A night of film Poems. Poets write Poems confessing to their deepest, darkest fears. Their words are anonymously given to a different Poet. These new confessions are filmed. The films are shown to an audience who do not know that the words of one Poet have been put in the mouth of another.

An open mic. The Poets are required to read Poems by writers they hate.

Steamed Hams. A Night of YouTube Poetry.

Regret. The Poet enters the room with a steely look on their face. The Poet speaks one word, “Regret”, over and over and over. They move from the stage to the floor, through the audience, and eventually back to the stage. As the Poet passes members of the audience, they selectively hand out folded pieces of paper which detail the Poet’s regrets.

An open mic. Each Poet performs 4’33” by John Cage.

The Metaphor Gym. A Poetry show, a world perhaps, crafted from the Kanye West tweet which read: “Truth is my goal. Controversy is my gym. I’ll do a hundred reps of controversy for a 6 pack of truth.”

A cabaret. Ghosts are summoned.

Dragon’s Pen. Poets stand before a panel of Poetry Publishers / Poetry Magazine Editors and pitch a Poem in the format of a Business Presentation. The Poem is not performed, and the Poet is only allowed to share a sample, two lines maximum, of the work in question. Using the language of business, the Poet must explain the merits of their work, the context in which it has been written, and its financial and literary value. The Poet must also barter away a portion of their future earnings / reputation / energy, and must do so in a manner that is acceptable to the Poetry Dragons.

The Haunted Poem. A Ghost Poem. Poetry is dead and it wants revenge.

An open mic. The Poets share their favourite vegetarian recipes.

Attention. The Poet will list, for an hour, the things they enjoy more than attention. They stand, in silence, for the entire hour.

Partner’s Complaint. A night of Spoken Word and Poetry written and performed by the long-suffering partners of Poets. Their work deals with the spectacular amount of bullshit that comes from dating someone who is a Poet.

Goth Dentist. Goth Dentist! Goth Dentist! Goth Dentist!

An open mic. Ghosts are summoned.

I’m Sorry I Haven’t Seen It. Poets create work based on a film or television series that they have not seen. From cultural osmosis, they do their best to explain the plot of the film or series in a Poetic mode of their choice. From these pieces, new worlds emerge, errors. Places that were hidden from view by the works being guessed at.

Poetry About Paintings About Historical Events That Have Had Poems Written About Them.

Tony Hawk Poe Skater: A Poetry Show hosted by a Poet on a skateboard.

Concrete Poetry. The Poet writes ghoulish realist Poems then throws the pages into the foundations of a newly built house.

The Poet gets everyone in A City to say one word at the same time.

A feature performance at a literary festival. Ghosts are summoned.

Wedding. The Poet goes to a wedding and avoids mentioning that they are a Poet as best they can. When People They Are With tell Relative Strangers that they are in fact A Poet, they must say something different each time. When they inevitably ask What Sort Of Thing Do They Write? Instead of answering honestly, they must tell everyone they meet something different, a new genre that they disingenuously inhabit: Magic Surrealism, Scottish Hyperbole, Experimental Gordian Knots, Sailing Limerick, Negligent Emotional Leftism, Goliath’s Chalice, The Retro-Futurist Enlightenment, Comma Maximalism, Verb Enhancement, Nu-LiPo, Concrete Brutalist Poetry, That’s So RaVillanelles, The Squandering, Post-Post-Post-Ironic, Graduate of the Poem University School of Cadence Dynamics, Non-Newtonian Poetics, Austenian Post-Referendum Neo-Classicism, etc. The Show gets glowing reviews but only The Poet is entertained.

Message in a Bottle. The Poet writes a Poem, rolls it up, and stuffs it in a glass bottle. The bottle is thrown into the ocean. On a beach in A Town far away, an audience gathers. When the bottle washes ashore, a member of the audience announces that they are A Poet. They pluck the bottle from the sand, pull out the Poem, and begin to read.

Idea For A Poetry Show: “Idea For A Poetry Show”. The Poet stands before an audience and reads out a list of “Ideas For A Poetry Show”. The Poet keeps reading until the audience is gone, the venue is closed, or until they become bored by the sound of their own voice.

Ross McCleary

About Ross McCleary

Ross McCleary is from Edinburgh. His work has been published by Penteract Press, 404 Ink, Riddled with Arrows, and Structo. His novella, Portrait of the Artist as a Viable Alternative to Death, was published by Maudlin House in 2016. He runs monthly open mic night Inky Fingers and co-produces events and podcasts with Andrew Blair under the name Poetry As F*ck.

Ross McCleary is from Edinburgh. His work has been published by Penteract Press, 404 Ink, Riddled with Arrows, and Structo. His novella, Portrait of the Artist as a Viable Alternative to Death, was published by Maudlin House in 2016. He runs monthly open mic night Inky Fingers and co-produces events and podcasts with Andrew Blair under the name Poetry As F*ck.

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