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March 4, 2012 | by  | in Arts Books |
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Words On Edge

The Fringe Festival event Words on Edge proved that Wellington is filled with poetry enthusiasts, drawing a capacity crowd to Meow Café. The event, a night of “high alert” poetry delivered by local poets Lynn Jenner, Amy Brown, Aleksandra Lane, and New Zealand Poet Laureate Ian Wedde, was filled with narrative dynamism, colourful characters, and the greatest tricks of the trade, but, above all else, the power of words.

The onstage presence of the first poet, Jenner, was enhanced by the accompaniment of three musicians. She immediately delved into her poem’s narrative, a common structural theme in all of her work, and as a lover of stories and storytelling I was impressed by Jenner’s unique and effective poetic style. Her love for narrative poetry and passion for certain historical characters made her words alluring and irresistible.

The next poet, Lane, read from her recent book, Birds of Clay, with impressive speed, subtly revealing her talent as a writer. Her work is often political, and her signature style is dark and foreboding, bringing in influences from endless subjects.

Amy Brown, the third reader, has an uncanny capacity for creating subtle and detailed pictures through a careful selection of words, an ability enhanced by her equally delicate delivery. Her poetry carries warmth, but this belies an altogether sinister undertone. Brown’s amazing talent for creating poetry that simultaneously carries two perspectives was enlightening.

The final speaker was Ian Wedde, New Zealand’s Poet Laureate, whose reading focused primarily on the theme of memory. The function of memory takes on many forms in his work, being represented as both vivid and dreamlike. Wedde’s reading created a profound and intimate piece which was heavy with intense emotion, and the raw honesty in Wedde’s poetry struck me as extremely effective.

Words on Edge was an excellent event. The readings lived up to the expectations of an enthusiastic audience, filled as they were with humour and intrigue. The poets read and commented upon each other’s work, giving unique insight into the poetry from a professional perspective.Words on Edge demonstrated that the importance in poetry writing is the profound thought, moving themes and relation to the readers, or, more effectively, its listeners.

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