In February of this year there was a masterclass course with the title 'Get Heard, Get Seen, Get Noticed'. It was in Manchester and being run by Apples and Snakes ( Arts Council grant for 2012/13 £400,000 ). The advert stated that it was appropriate for poets at all stages of their careers, from those who are just starting to seek paid work as well as established artists who want to get up to speed with the best ways of maintaining and growing their profile.
It happens that this sort of course was just what I was looking for as on June 4th the book contract I won as a result of being joint winner of the Geoff Stevens' Memorial Prize ( with Julie Maclean ) is due to come to fruition with the publication of 'The Amen of Knowledge' published by Indigo Dreams Press.
I have no background in the publishing or literary world. Leaving the NHS when I did last year was partly so I could concentrate on writing poetry – a sort of change of career. This class seemed to show the way to how to get readings, generate publicity, learn how to read properly in public etc.
Well, it did and it didn't. The problem was that it was restricted to a group of poets who are termed Performance Poets as opposed to Page Poets ( those are Apples and Snakes words ).
The query then is what makes a Performance Poet. I go to poetry events and read. I've heard many examples of poets who, I presume, class themselves as Performance Poets who are nowhere near as good as, for example, Simon Armitage at putting on a performance.
Which wouldn't matter as much if the funding bodies didn't have to cut as they have been over the last year or so. It's not the time to be discriminating between different ( if they are different ) types of poets.