Naomi offers aspects of varied life during open mic poetry

UNIVERSITY of Chichester part-time lecturer Naomi Foyle is guest poet at the next in Chichester’s new series of open mic poetry nights.

Wednesday, 20th October 2010, 9:55 am

Following the successful launch session with poet Alan Morrison, Naomi will be in action on Wednesday, October 27, offering the experiences of a varied life and career.

Born in London, she grew up in Hong Kong and Saskatchewan and now lives in Brighton.

As well as poetry publications, her work includes theatre, video-poetry and opera, as well as writing on the World Cup.

Her mission is to bring poetry alive in a way that doesn’t often happen in schools.

“You can definitely teach people to write poetry,” she says. “It’s a craft. There are techniques. In fact, I would say that it is almost essential to teach it, but I think poetry is very badly done at school level. They start with very old poetry which tends to put young people off because they can’t relate to it.

“There are all kinds of poetry. There ought to be a place for poetry that is more complex, but for young people, to get them interested, you have got to start with stuff that is more accessible.”

You need also to remember that it is an oral art form; that it is meant to be spoken: “We are creatures of language.

“Look at nursery rhymes. People love language. I think if you repress it out of people, it is a great shame.”

Which underlines the value of events such as the open mic poetry night (New Park Centre, Wednesday, October 27, 8pm; no tickets - admission £3 on the door).

“I think it is really important to buy books and read poetry because it repays re-reading, but poetry is meant to be heard.

“To hear the poet’s voice adds something immeasurable. You get the tone. You get the rhythm with the poet’s voice.”

Organiser Barry Smith said: “All are welcome, whether they wish to read their poems on any subject and in any style, traditional or modern, or just wish to listen to our visiting poet and the poetry of local writers.

“We aim to provide a friendly, relaxed, environment so people can feel free to share their poetry with a sympathetic audience.

“Sessions always end in the New Park bar so there is a social side to the evenings, too. Future meetings on last Wednesday of the month in November, January, February, and March.”