My Rhymes & Records Goodbye Letter!

My Rhymes & Records Goodbye Letter!

 

I felt it was only right to dedicate this weeks post to saying goodbye to my beloved spoken word night! I don’t think I will really be able to convert all I have to say into a blog post but I will try. I have ran Rhymes & Records; a monthly spoken word night for the last two years, and boy, what a journey it has been! The night’s intention was to feature some of the most exciting artists in the northwest with a balance between emerging and established artist. I wanted people in Liverpool to have access to some incredible artists from further afield while providing a platform and paid opportunities for local artists at the same time.

For those who don’t know, Rhymes & Records was held in The Jacaranda, an iconic music venue in Liverpool. The first place that The Beatles ever played to be exact! It’s one of those venue’s that just has an air of coolness to it, without being pretentious. Young or old, everyone seems to have memories of The Jac and with many bars and restaurants seeming to be in flux in this city, it’s great to have this old listed building still around; well used and well loved. When it first began I remember feeling so nervous. I was convinced that despite there being some interest on Facebook, no-one would show up. I wasn’t sure that I was doing anything different enough to warrant interest and there were already so many poetry nights happening in the city. I triple messaged friends, deterrmind to fill the room somehow, so what if my friends weren’t into poetry? I needed to make sure it wasn’t me alone in a room, with a mic for two hours. It turns out that I didn’t actually need to emotionally blackmail my friends and family into attending because our first ever night was sold out to the point that we had to start turning people away! A few months later me and the venue decided to move from the quirky second floor record store into their bigger space; the basement downstairs. For the next two years, the basement of The Jac was our poetry home!

I would say the night was most known for it’s sense of community. There were many valuable insights and stories shared in that room; things that were important for the speaker to say and things that were important for the audience to hear. I know that many people considered this a safe space where they could open up and for that I am very grateful. The support people showed one-another, especially new performers was really heartwarming. Throughout the months, I’ve seen people grow in confidence with their performance and body language. I’ve seen young people too shy to hold eye contact have a room erupt into laughter from their on-stage banter, I’ve seen people use their words to get to grips with all the happenings in their lives and make sense of the challenges they face. I’ve seen poetry become a form of solace for many people. Without going on a tangent I see all of this as absolute proof of the transformational power of the arts and the importance of it especially in this current climate.

I want to say thank you firstly to everyone who’s headlined: Bradley Thompson, Mark Mace Smith, Matty “Delboy” Delaney, Joy France, Steven Duncan,  Miko Berry, Adam Baird, Ged Thomson, Ann Briggs, Rose Condo, Genevieve L Walsh, Lisa Bower, Callan Waldron-Hall, Helen Tookey, Victoria Sanchez, Christina Thatcher, Ciaran Hodgers, Maz Hedgehog, Kieran King, Jake Wildhall and Tryone Lewis! A huge thank you to everyone who open mic-ed, to The Jacaranda for supporting us and everyone who came along just to watch. A big thank you goes out to anyone who’s helped me: take money on the door, came early to help set up, featured us in an article, filmed, took photographs, live tweeted, brought their friends, written something for the theme, bought an artists book, advertised on Facebook, written press releases or jumped in to lend a hand in any other way. I appreciated and took note of everything you’ve all done. A big thank you to FACT Liverpool for the collaboration on the Unfold exhibition, to Liverpool Pride for letting us host an LGBTQ+ themed night and to Writing on The Wall for introducing some immensely talented young people to the night and for choosing us to host their book launch. Lastly, to the people who patiently listened to all my plans and helped me over the hurdles, thank you.

Not everyone knows this, but I never intended to set up a poetry night. I was originally online looking for a venue to hold a workshop in. I had a manager show some interest and during the phone call, I realised that there had been a miscommunication. I had wanted a room to host a one-off workshop, they wanted someone to host a monthly poetry night. In that moment I realised I had a choice. It would have been so easy to explain that we must have got our wires crossed, but something in me decided to grab the opportunity. I came off the phone a little shocked at myself to say the least “so I guess I run a poetry night now” – I remember thinking. I think I may have burst out laughing at that point. Sometimes the best opportunities come out of sheer fluke, or comprise of things you never even knew you wanted to do.

I have really enjoyed working on this night and I can honestly say it’s something I’m very proud of. Rhymes & Records helped me grow as a person and an artist. I have so many ideas for exciting events I want to create next and I know that the ethos and spirit of Rhymes & Records will be infused into all of them in some way! Here’s to celebrating a fantastic two years, and to all the new experiences that are just around the corner for all of us.

Lyndsay

A Year of Poetry

A Year of Poetry

Since my poetry baby Rhymes & Records turned one in January, I thought it only appropriate to commemorate this wondrous occasion in a blog post, reflecting on the year we’ve had and thanking some of the people who have been involved along the way.

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For those of you who don’t know: Rhymes & Records is a spoken word night in Liverpool, held on the second Tuesday of every month at The Jacaranda, Liverpool featuring some of the most exciting artists from the North West.

Humble Beginnings

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Starting out in the Record store upstairs in The Jacaranda, we soon had to be ushered into a bigger space after the first event filling up to the point where we had to start turning people away (something we had a: not anticipated and b: never seen happen before at a poetry night!)

Stand out Moments

My favourite moments have to be the collaborations we did with FACT Liverpool and Liverpool Pride. (Although watching headliner Joy France do a live experiment with the audience involving Mira Berries, pickle juice and tequila is very high up on the list too) (Don’t worry if you’re confused by that last one, you kind of had to be there)

Lets start with FACT. On 11th March, 2016, 9 poets showed up at FACT Liverpool to view Japanese artist Ryoichi Kurokawa’s exhibition Unfold. We proceeded to walk out an hour later with our minds well and truly blown. We then had the task of turning our reaction to this mind-bending, multi-sensory, synaesthesia-inducing, art exhibition into a piece of poetry to perform (simple right? um, no not really)

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Artists at FACT’s Unfold exhibition

Liverpool Pride’s collaboration took place in our temporary home (for one month only) of Heebie Jeebies and turned out to be one of the most packed, vibrant, engaging nights we’ve had so far!

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Poets Mo and Victoria waiting for our Pride themed night to start

Which leads me to…

The Community

By far, the absolute best thing to have come out of this monthly night of poetry would be the sense of community that we have created.

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Some of the lovely messages this night has received throughout the year
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A stellar review from poet Paul Pyke!

The overwhelming volume of talent (that only seems to be growing), the support people show one another and the conversations that happen afterwards are the reason I keep turning up and forcing my shy self to get on a mic to host month after month.

To everyone who made the night what it is, no matter how big or small your role has been, I appreciate all of you and want to say a resounding THANK YOU for being part of this community.

To another year of chaos, mayhem, stories and poetry! *clinks imaginary champagne flute* You’ve all came a long way and I sincerely hope you celebrate that.

To join the party and attend our upcoming nights, click here

Rhymes & Records, 2nd Tuesday of every month

The Jacaranda, Slater Street

7:00pm £3 entry (free for performers)

Find Your Voice

Find Your Voice

A 10 week programme exploring poetry & spoken word

Have you always wanted to write poetry?

Together we will explore writing techniques, play around with performance styles, cover some of the more common mistakes made by artists and look at professional practise; giving you the tools needed to take your writing to the next level!

Suitable for people of all abilities, whether you’ve been writing for a while and would like to refresh your skills around like minded individuals, or you’re brand new to writing and would like to blossom in a supportive atmosphere; this course will be perfect for you.

What better way to begin the New Year than by stepping out of your comfort zone and getting your creative juices flowing.

Minimum age: 18

Pricing:

£7 per session when booking for whole course in advance

£10 drop in

£5 concessions

Please get in touch for information on how to make payment and to fill out an application form. If you need support in filling out your form or need it in a different format, please let me know.

Ran by Lyndsay Price

Lyndsay is a spoken word artist based in Liverpool. She runs a monthly spoken word night called Rhymes & Records and has previously performed at Liverpool Pride, Threshold Festival and Alternative Fashion Fest. A seasoned workshop facilitator, drama school graduate, National Youth Theatre of GB alumni and previously a creative resident at mac birmingham. Lyndsay tailor’s her workshops sensitively and gains great joy from supporting artists in carving out careers for themselves.

Contact: lyndsaywritespoems@gmail.com

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I wrote ONE HUNDRED love poems for STRANGERS: THIS IS WHAT I LEARNED

I wrote ONE HUNDRED love poems for STRANGERS: THIS IS WHAT I LEARNED

“This isn’t a collection of my best work, or a collection of poems I spent the most time on, or even a collection of poems dedicated to the people I love the most. This is a collection of work created for people I had just met. Each poem I wrote in 10 minutes, typed frantically onto a piece of recycled paper, using a vintage typewriter.”

-taken from the intro to my book Love Poems I Wrote for Strangers

I have spent the last 2 years of my life appearing at festivals and events around The UK creating custom poetry for strangers. It started with asking a series of questions in order to get to know a person better. I remember doing random google searches of “best questions to quickly get to know someone” or “best questions to know someone’s soul”. After a series of trial and error, the following were the questions I whittled it down to:

“Name?” “What’s up?” “Favourite smell?” “Favourite time of year?” “What are you afraid of?” “One thing you would change about the world?” “One thing you would change about yourself?” “What’s your superpower?”  “Love is…..” And finally “tell me a secret”

Why do it?

At first I treated it as nothing more than a great writing exercise. It can take me months to finish a poem in some cases. This was a perfect way to commit myself to creating multiple poems in a day (normally around 20/30) When you take down the answers of another person and give them a timeslot, you know that they are going to come back and expect a fully formed poem waiting for them.

It’s kind of liberating. Knowing that you have to make quick decisions can actually make you skip the b.s. and make some pretty bold and confident choices. Typing straight from brain to page without any sort of redraft and liking what you come up with is actually a pretty cool feeling.

It helps beat perfectionism. There’s something really beautiful in knowing that there is no way you can possibly create something perfect (well I wouldn’t say no way but there’s certainly no expectation). There is something really charming in reading something that was created in 10 minutes for a complete stranger!

It gives you a pretty good insight into peoples lives and the way that they perceive the world (more on that in a minute)

The Things I Learned 

Firstly that the quality of the poem really depends on how deep people go with their answers. For the most part, I do not know these people and I have to spend a lot of time reminding them that I can only go on their answers to my questions.”Give as much detail as possible” is what I used to say. Writing “Don’t have any, lol” in response to “tell me a secret” isn’t going to give me much to run with. That said sometimes the people who wrote the least ended up being my best poems because I had to go a little deeper with my imagination, had to think a little harder, had to use a little more intuition in order to create something that would stir them in even the smallest of ways. Sometimes those people were the ones who came back and hugged me after.

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Something I was not expecting however was to be so utterly blown away by the answers I got. I couldn’t get over just how much people were willing to trust a stranger with. I couldn’t believe by just putting a piece of paper and a pen in front of someone, they could so easily spill their soul, their insecurities, their worries, their heartbreak, their jokes, the colour of their bedroom walls, all of it. No details spared.

Who’d have thought that just by asking strangers to divulge intimate insights into their lives, they would! All people need sometimes is the right outlet.

Some of the things I read moved me to tears. Whether it was the breakdown of a relationship, the start of a family, feelings or displacement or those feelings that you can’t quite put your finger on; there were things I read within those answers that sparked a whole new respect for humanity within me. I wish everyone could read them and I understand that I have been extremely lucky to have had this opportunity, for people to trust me with so much and also to trust me to try and make art out of it.

Sometimes I would just type out direct quotes from people’s answers because I felt they were art, all on their own

The thing I want everyone to realise is just how delicate we can all be. What I learned from that is that given the right context, people are willing to talk about more than on the surface happenings of their lives. I think ultimately what we want is to talk about the things that mean more to us, to make sense of our experience here on this earth. It’s that age-old cliche of “everyone has a story to tell” however it is only through experience that you can begin to understand how powerful that sentiment can be in uniting us together.

I honestly think vulnerability can be one of the most strongest states of being.

I urge all of you to stay vulnerable, stay open and most importantly, be ready to listen. You have no idea what you might learn. One of the messages I wanted to convey to the people I worked with was that their words contain so much beauty and power. I wanted people to realise that they all have an experience or insight or story to share that can benefit other people around them. Everyone has a poem in them, my collection shows just a few of them.

My book Love Poems I Wrote for Strangers is out soon. For updates you can follow me on Instagram: @saltwaterpoetry

If you would like to order your own custom poem before the project ends, you can do so at: http://saltwaterpoetry.bigcartel.com/

Say hi on Twitter: https://twitter.com/saltwaterpoetry

Check out my monthly spoken word night! Rhymes & Records

If you have any questions about the project, you can leave a comment below.