Photo by Alvin Katek.
Photo by Alvin Katek.

Originally posted on Wordsmiths of Kuching on Facebook.

The first time many of us in Kuching ever heard of performance poetry / spoken word was in 2006 when the British Council brought a poet named Francesca Beard to Kuching, when gigs with amateur bands were starting to get popular. Somehow or another, I was handed the task of tracking down the local writers and poets, and have them come read their work in a show that featured Francesca.

I wrote a post mortem blog entry about the event, which also detailed how Maclean and I met.

I was no poet at the time. The poetry I came across at the time was extremely boring. So all I did was enjoy this revelation of what you can do with poetry, and resisted what I feared to be a regression to my angsty teenage days.

Here’s a couple of pieces that Francesca did at our 2006 show, which we didn’t film:

And her official website here.

I did not consider poetry again until this guy called Neil Hilborn blew up on the Internet last year with his poem “OCD“, which you really should check out if you haven’t.

I went through a lot of Button Poetry’s artists, discovered others and it was just wow goddam wow. I’ve written very little in terms creative work and toyed with the idea, but I didn’t write anything until I was asked to read at the opening of a typographical exhibition called ‘Strong Words’. I decided to give this poetry slam thing a go. I drafted about a dozen poems, shortlisted three which I read. The one that got the strongest reaction was ‘Dear Skinny Girl‘, which I also did at Shades of Art X.

While I used to be enamored by the number of words I could spew into the word processor, I’m now fascinated by how much more I can say with fewer words. I am still trying to find my voice.

This is my story. Tell me yours.