On Thursday 17th April 2014 the local community of poets and poetry enthusiasts were treated to another fantastic ‘Hit the Ode’ at The Victoria in Birmingham. With some amazing open mic performers and two fantastic guest performers from sunny England, the stage was set perfectly for international poetry phenom Shane Koyczan to set the stage on fire, and he duly obliged! Here are a few things about the event which stood out to me, personally, making it a great privilege to be a part of.
Bohdan Piasecki, where to start, this man holds and effortlessly displays an intelligence and grasp of humour that could make for an engaging show all on its own. His quick witted interaction with the audience, his classy and smooth transitions between poets means that the show runs at a good pace and his interludes are a massive strength, so many times at events like this the host lets the talent down… Not at Hit the Ode, Birmingham – Bohdan, take a bow.
Opening the Open Mic section of the evening was a huge rush for me, the crowd were brilliant and very generous to me. I thank them for that, but don’t really want to talk about my own time on stage, because that’s just weird. I enjoyed all of the acts that followed, but will quickly mention two who stood out to me.
Liv Barnes A poet from Worcester (actually a small village near Worcester I later found out) performed two poems, both of which had a very neat melodic flow. This made me think that Liv was a fan or a member of the hip hop/grime rap/mc scene. Her second poem, based around celebrity and how they are worshipped like new gods, was a fantastic concept and she explored it skilfully. At one point she led us to ponder – ‘Could Jesus compete with Justin Bieber for followers?’ My own answer to that scares me… A lot.
Carys Matic Having heard Carys read once before, and knowing hat she was on the open mic, I was excited to see her performance. She did not let me, herself or anyone in the room down! She shared an epic dissection of a school encounter with the deputy head and her Dad. Within this, she touched on her relationships with each, her relationship with herself and her school environment at the time and made it clear, that being a ‘Complex Character’ is not the negative that her deputy head seemed to imply it was. Courageous, Contagious, Cool and Collected… The alliterations and superlatives could continue, Carys Matic was exceptional and by the reception I feel that all agreed!
Jodi Ann Bickley
Jodi Ann took to the stage as the featured local guest. Her accent and tone soft and endearing, you immediately wanted to listen to what she had to say. She shared off the cuff jokes with the crowd throughout the set, poking fun in particular at the way her poems revolved around relationships. It was such a poem that I appreciated most in her set, talking of falling in live in one night to the back drop of Bob Marley music, with a number of well placed ?Marley defences to really add to the quality of the piece. She was a joy to watch and listen to, if the opportunity arises again, I will certainly take it.
An amazing poet and clearly a real enthusiast too, when watching others perform Jasmine showed appreciation for what she enjoyed and listened intently to every word spoken. When she took the stage the same passion was shown, with an eclectic set which touched on a number of subjects clearly very close to her. With poems on her race and heritage, her treatment based on this and her father, there was so much going on in this set and so much to love. But the poem that I appreciated the most and that really tugged at my heart strings was about her mother’s fight with a debilitating illness, I felt that she opened up and let her audience in, and I for one, felt like I shared her pain, worry and helplessness… A truly wonderful set, by an outstanding poet.
The main event, flown in all the way from Canada, with the entire room expecting magic when he hit the stage. Well… This man turned words into wands because magic is what we got! So many fantastic poems shared but a few I felt really hit home with me. An introduction to Shane’s grandfather, and the concept of heaven took us on a twisting roller coaster of emotion. From the idea that he allowed Shane to believe that he was becoming a monster when puberty started, to the feeling of loss for Shane when he was gone, it was a journey. The poem that hit me the hardest of the whole night was about Shane losing a friend… A best friend. This poem hit me because his story was told so clearly, but I still couldn’t hear it clearly, it tangled in with my own loss. At parts I could swear he wrote the poem based on my experience with my best friend who I tragically lost… As I heard it I felt it, and as painful as it was, I loved it… Instantly!
Shane also hit us with the funny short poem, 68. “68, yes yes yes, that’s when you go down on me, and I owe you one”
Check It Out
Hit the Ode Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/hittheode?fref=ts
Check out Liv Barnes – http://www.soundcloud.com/b-liv
Check out Carys Matic – http://www.Carysmaticjones.com
Check out Jodi Ann Bickley – http://www.onemillionlovelyletters.com/
Check out Jasmine Cooray – http://www.jasmineanncooray.wordpress.com/
Check out Shane Koyczan – http://www.shanekoyczan.com
Check Me Out