Newcastle Uni rules! Excellent, now that I have your attention, I can get to the important stuff. Poetry rules! Ah, a noticeably less enthusiastic response. Having said that, I expected as much. Poetry ain’t an American sport; it does not lend itself to thousands of drunken fans swaying arm in arm, chanting their belligerent support. And, frankly, what a relief. We don’t need any more noise in our lives, at least not in an ever-growing city. Nor do we need, sticking with the sports theme, any more competition or irrational, deep-set divisions. Rather, our society is calling out, in a quiet and contemplative voice, for an egalitarian space of, you guessed it, poetry.
Pantisocracy Poetry is a monthly poetry evening that harks back two hundred years to a quest for equality by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey. Now, as you may well have gathered from the current state of the world, they did not succeed – but what do they know? Nowt, that’s what. Or at least, what do they know in comparison to an enthusiastic and talented group of people containing the perfect blend of Geordies and Newcastle University students? Definitely nowt.
The evening itself consists of a tabula rasa of spoken word performances; it’s a free, authentic open-mic night, which means that there are no pre-booked performers, instead, anyone who fancies turning their hand at some poetry at the time and place does so – in a short, sharp gobbet: they rock up and rock it. Yes alright, I hear you: what does this all have to do with equality? Well, granted, not a lot. The idea, though, is that by creating a space where everybody and anybody can take the floor, and that when they do, the audience will be respectful and fervent, that we will manufacture an environment of equality, both empowering and liberating the performers and spectators alike.
I’d like to conclude by saying, no, we cannot promise an impending revolution, and no, we do not have any answers with regards to what makes the perfect poem, but importantly, yes, we can host a peaceful and thought-provoking evening for poets of new and old, coupled with those of us who just love chilling out in a pretty darn-tootin’ rad bar in the toon.
If you’ve been inspired by anything that you’ve just read – it’s a big if I know – then check out our Facebook and Instagram pages Pantisocracy Poetry, and pop along to our next free event at the DrInk Art Bar on Wednesday 24th April.
-Charlie Winn-Davison , Host to Pantisocracy Poetry