This evening I went to the MCB for an evening of poetry. Open mic for the first half and guest readers (Leonard Lambert, Jan Fitzgerald) for the second half.
I have been going to the Canterbury Poets' Collective autumn series ever since I first started writing poetry around 1999, after a summer school course in creative writing. I think it was the second time I went that I dared to get up and read a poem. There are some in the audience who say they wouldn't dare. Actually, I don't think it's that big a deal. After all most of the audience is probably thinking one of two things: (a) is my reading going to be OK? or afterwards, was I OK?
(b) how brave they are for reading, I wouldn't dare.
For the most part the audience is warm and appreciative of a very wide range of poetry - sad, silly, sometimes sublime but rarely totally ridiculous.
As a newcomer said tonight "Now I know what poets look like. They look like people".