Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Just what is it that you want to do?

Transgressive Poetry. That's what I'm calling it.

I was sitting at Victoria Coach Station, waiting for the 9:30 back from London and slipping in and out of normal waking consciousness, when it suddenly occurred to me that most of the poetry I like has a number of features in common. Most of the poetry I like reminds me of what in the 90s we began calling Transgressive Fiction. I like poetry which deals with outsiders, with lives lived on the edge of the law, at the borders of consciousness, at the dark end of the street. Poetry which deals with sex, and violence, and the ways they shade into each other: the ways in which we can sexualise the violence to which we are subject; the subtle violence of discourses which seek to normalise some forms of sexuality and gender while othering those which do not fit with simple binaries (man/woman, straight/gay, normal/kinky etc). Poetry which deals with drugs, and the myriad ways in which we alter our consciousness (and the ways in which, again, the subtle violence of the mainstream tries to alter it for us). Poetry which deals with the experiences of those groups forced to be outsiders, for whatever reason. Poetry which, in the words of my colleague Angela Readman , 'isn't safe and cosy, poetry that asks why and won't take it lying down - poetry that isn't polite.'

Transgressive Poetry. That's what I'm calling it, and that's what I'm using this blog to promote. I'll be posting poems, from myself and others, which I think fit with my idea of what transgressive poetry is, or could be; I'll be providing links to other transgressive writers and artists who I feel should be brought to your attention (such as today's find, Nicole Blackman) and I'll be updating you on my progress towards my eventual goal of organising a poetry and performance night in Newcastle, and some kind of regular publication available anywhere, dedicated to showcasing the best transgressive writers, artists and performers out there.

It's going to be a long road, and a weird one, and I don't have all the skills I'll need to bring it all off perfectly yet. But who ever does? It's a Fool's Leap: the only kind worth making. A month or so ago I had no idea how to write a press release, deal with media, set up a mike and amp or fundraise for a charity before. My London adventure led me to skill up in all those areas. Setting out on this journey will make me better in a hundred other ways. But more importantly it'll open up more space for freaks like us to express what we are without fear. That's why I do what I do now, and I do it with the tool I have, and the tool I have is poetry. A few weeks ago, when interviewed by the local press, I squirmed and struggled when I was asked to define what type of poetry it is that I write. But now I have an answer.

I think you know what that answer is by now, so I'll spare the empty knell of repetition.

No comments:

Post a Comment