Mouthy Poets On Tour – Review

In Uncategorized on January 13, 2015 at 7:46 pm
Taken by Katherine Leedale

Mouthy Poets at Battersea Arts Centre, 1st stop of their tour. Taken by Katherine Leedale

Mouthy Poets – eclectic, exuberant and heart-felt. I’d heard a lot about Mouthy before I had the pleasure of meeting them. I had followed Deborah as she set up the organisation, and watched it flourish from afar, and I am lucky enough to know some of the members who have all spoken incredibly highly of the ethos and community spirit that Mouthy embodies. So when I was asked to be the headliner for their first date of the Mouthy Tour in London, I was excited to finally meet more of them as a collective, and hear their work. In the pre-show warm up, led by Debris, the energy and passion that each member brought was infectious. They (and eventually I) were not afraid to look silly, or make ridiculous noises in the vocal warm-ups – this level of commitment to movement and intent transferred to their command of the stage.

What struck me most about Mouthy Poets On Tour was the originality, both in the content and the way this content was expressed. The themes were as broad as online relationships with ‘cyber women’, the burden a family name can sometimes hold, and whether to listen to your head or your heart in matters of love and biscuit consumption (yes, that section was as hilarious as it sounds). It felt performative in a very real sense, transporting us to these various settings and states of mind – hospitals, night-clubs, airport security. It was much more than a series of poets reading their work, but in no way did it feel like an overly theatrical, disconnected production. The balance was perfectly struck, creating a seamless performance with no scripts in sight that felt fluid, conversational and accessible.

The show itself was carefully shaped to guide the audience through a range of emotions and thoughts. A particular effective shift for me came with a poem in the voice of a young girl in a psychiatric ward. What had been quite a light, humorous beginning was unsettled with this vulnerable, truthful monologue. The variety in tone and topic, for me, highlighted the work that Mouthy seek to do as a collective – they give a space to be who you are, without apology, and offer complete acceptance of that person, a space to explore what matters to you, through your unique voice, whilst getting continuous support from the other members. Just before the audience entered, each member was asked to say in one sentence why they were there – one answer stuck with me more than any other – ‘Before Mouthy, I was drifting’ – I believe that the wider community of Mouthy poets which exists beyond the show is what makes the level of honesty and truth in the show possible, and it was a beautiful thing to witness.

Catch Mouthy Poets On Tour at their next stop – Mumford Theatre, Cambridge on the 7th of February – and look on their website for details of all their other stops. If anything, it’s worth it just to hear the chocolate Hob Nob line (you’ll know the one I mean).

Aisling Fahey

Julia Copus – Extract from ‘This Silence Between Us’

In Uncategorized on January 5, 2015 at 8:02 pm

This silence that lays between us like a body
that long ago gave up responding to pain,
still less to light (which is pain’s opposite),
that cannot hear and cannot be awakened,
that is, in fact, incontinent and catatonic,
but nonetheless demands to be sat beside
and talked to, prayed for, cried over, whose limbs
and torso must be gently sponged, forehead
smoothed, even in the dead of night –
especially in the dead of night – this silence,
how long do you suppose it can continue?

Extract from ‘This Silence Between Us’ in Julia Copus’ collection The World’s Two Smallest Humans

FREEWRITE – 2nd Dec. 2014

In Uncategorized on December 2, 2014 at 6:03 pm

-If you sit in a café that plays old school jazz for long enough, looking out at the wind playfully pushing the Christmas tree like a mischievous lover, by the park you used to sit in at seventeen, when you still had nothing better to do, your muddled mind might start making sense. It probably won’t though.

Give me an ocean to drink.
Give me a boat not to sink.
Give me a night to lie half-awake upon.
Give me a sheet to unroll myself within.
Give me everything.
Give me the love you were saving.
Give me your hand, gloved, or cold as denial.
Give me your sorry state, do not hesitate.
We have all been an endangered mountain bear
they call vicious, too sad to bare our teeth
and make them run to give us peace.
We have all been mere mortal, all realised this
on a day that did not start with someone muttering
our name, mid-sleep, as we left them.
Give me a minute, there is always something else
to do, before I can get to you.


We are not ok, but let’s not tell anyone,
just yet. Place your hand over mine as
I try to get the bar man’s attention,
kiss me as I carry your pint and my
wine glass to our table of friends
who cannot feel this world shifting
under my black platform shoes.
There will be other nights to sink
our teeth into. Let’s not let it be tonight.
Let’s practice this skill of pretending:
me, on your lap, I am not a weight
you have to bear, I was what made you
feel light again, remember?
Remember when I made you what you
thought you were too old to become?


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