Reviews and comment from the Demon Crew - creative writers at De Montfort University, Leicester.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Drooling over Words

Should I take my 7 year old daughter Sarah to the poetry readings by Sean Bonney and Maggie O'Sullivan at this year's Cultural eXchange event at DMU? I feared the content might be too adult but the argument of exposing her to culture won.

I love language and word play. At a recent poetry reading by Geraldine Monk, again, at DMU, I agreed with Geraldine's approach when she said she drools over words. I also listen with a mixture of interest, horror and amusement to the evolution of Sarah's own language stye. Recently, the use of 'like' has entered our household, either as a discourse particle: "Mummy, I'm like, really hungry" or a quotative: "I was like, Amber, I saw the Justin Bieber film before you did."

Back to word bandits, Bonney and Sullivan. I needn't have worried about Sarah. We, and the whole audience, were mesmerised by the urgent delivery of Sean's passionate, punky poems, his delivery fuelled by some sort of lexicial power surge. Sarah wrote words she found interesting in her notebook. The one expletive she recognised was written down, complete with exclamation marks and a box to mark it out from the others. What a rebel.

Maggie's poems were, as promised, an event in language, with the focus on sound patterning: assonance, consonance, sibilance, alliteration. I loved the concrete references to base elements and metals, anatomy and nature.

I'm glad we went. We both feasted on language. Sarah commented later on how many 'wow' words she had heard. Indeed - and no further words are necessary from me.

Sally Jack

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