'The Insignificant Poet' by Daniel Dwyran is Write Out Loud Poem of the Week

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The Write Out Loud Poem of the Week is ‘The Insignificant Poet’ by Daniel Dwyran, which was written on the way home from a less-than-inspiring open mic night at which he was the only spoken word performer. Daniel's first poem was about speedway, written when he was aged 13. He has strong views on performance poetry technique, recommends an article on the subject written for Write Out Loud by Cynthia Buell Thomas, and says his favourite poet is Pam Ayres.  

 

How long has poetry been an important part of your life and can you remember why it became so?

I feel it really started with visits to the local library, every fortnight, which was a distance away from where I lived. I picked up a book on poetry and in there was a poem, 'Jerusalem'  by William Blake. In the silence of the library my first thought was that how could this be a poem because I knew it as a hymn? I was put right when I got home by one of my sisters who explained how Donovan, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and even members of The Scaffold were poets in their own right. I started to see and hear music and things much differently. I suppose that was the seed that was sown. I started to write things like journal entries, which followed on to expressions and feelings and tried to make them rhyme. After leaving school and for over 40 years it became my personal safety valve and way of expression. In 2014 I was persuaded to get them out of the loft, read, share them and discovered Write Out Loud. I attended my local folk club session and WOL at the Brooklyn in Bolton on my Vespa. It took off from there really.

 

Can you remember the first poem that you wrote, how old were you, what spurred you to write it?

I was around 13, and I remember it was the last lesson on a Friday at school, it was English followed by the dreaded homework. The task on this day was to write a poem about the weekend, something you did, somewhere you went and you had to read it out (before handing it in for marking), at the next lesson which was on the following Monday afternoon. In Manchester on Saturday evening the 'Aces' used to have their home meetings at Belle Vue in the speedway stadium on Hyde Road. I wrote about that. There never seemed to be any queues at the adult turnstiles but I always had to stand patiently in line at the ones for children.  I can still remember reading it out in class, The words that come back to me are “...single file, ... the turnstile,  ... Belle Vue Aces, ... the speedway races.” I was the only lad in my class with an interest in speedway and so I wrote about that.

 

If you could only have one poet’s work to read which one would you choose and why?

It would have to be Pam Ayres MBE for me.  I find her work hilarious and occasionally to the cusp of black humour yet very poignant. Just as I remember writing my first poem in the early 70s I remember her, as a poet, winning Opportunity Knocks in 1975 and although the spoken word has always been accepted in the realm of storytelling and folk clubs it was a time when poetry dared to be different. Pam Ayres and Dr John Cooper Clarke both really started to have influence and attitude after this. It was the realisation that that the written and spoken word is for everyone:

 

     From Wordsworth, Kipling, Browning, Keats

     To Speakers Corner, Salford Streets

     Good wordsmiths always leave their mark

     Like Digance, Ayres, John Cooper Clarke

 

                                                ‘Performing Ranters’ (Daniel Dwyran)

 

I would choose any of her work – however, it would have to be read out very loud and not silently!

 

Do you perform your work and if so, what advice would you give to other poets just starting out?

Living in north Wales I am very fortunate to be able to perform my work at a local folk/open mic night and recently listen to others and read some of my own at Cybi Poets in Holyhead. I would like to venture more often in the north-west but sometimes life gets in the way.

I would advise other poets just starting out, to attend a Write Out Loud poetry event. We are mostly blessed with two ears and one mouth and use them in just that proportion. Observe, spectate, watch the others but get up and share a piece of your own work or maybe read one from a favourite poet. I always remember and think of the pneumonic RSVP:

Rhythm:  Try and get a good rhythm into your voice as you read or perform.

Speed: Be aware you will want to speed up... slow it down you are in control.

Volume:  They will need to hear you at the back as at the front.

Pitch:  Try to pitch your voice naturally not too high, low, or monotonous ... and  pitch your poem and subject matter appropriate to your audience.

In 2013 Cynthia Buell Thomas wrote a most wonderful article on performance poetry for Write Out Loud. I personally found it inspiring and it most certainly helped me and I often read it again to avoid complacency. 

 

What was the inspiration for this poem's title?

I had travelled to an open mic night and it was not long after I had started out with poetry performance. I chose a venue which was folk music orientated in the north-west of England, I attended and found myself to be the only spoken word performer and a little out of my comfort zone. (It was not a Write Out Loud event). All my pressure was self-inflicted but it seemed to me, at this venue, when the poet went on it was the chance for some of the audience to go to the bar, visit the toilet, check their mobile telephone etc etc. I had driven for an hour and a half to get there to practise my craft and share my two poetry slot creations. At the end of the evening and on the monotonous drive back, through the rows of traffic cones and diversions on the M56, I began to rant to myself as I drove. I decided to come off the motorway and started to write it down. (It would probably be forgotten well before I reached home if I did not do this). The feeling of 'insignificance' began to go away as I rejoined the motorway and carried on. It was completed with a celebratory cup of tea when I got home.

 

         You may have travelled near or far

            On your bike, by bus or car

            The spoken word is my guitar

            I'm The Insignificant Poet

 

What is your desert island luxury item? You can only have one - just lately other POTW winners have been getting greedy!

I would want to stop the “mites and bites” so for me it would have to be mosquito net to sleep under ... and as for the desert island ... I'm in not in a rush if you are thinking of a rescue. I may well just become 'The Insignificant Castaway' ... hmm, now there's a thought?

 

 

THE INSIGNIFICANT POET

by Daniel Dwyran 

 

 

My thoughts on paper hour after hour

When I lie in bed or in the shower

I do it all so you can glower

I'm the insignificant Poet

 

I stand up here and on my own

Hearing every sigh and groan

Whilst you sit and play on your mobile phone

I'm the insignificant Poet

 

I write it daily, profound and deep

Words to make you laugh or weep

Inspired whilst you were fast asleep

I'm the insignificant Poet

 

Behind the mic' and heard not seen

You sit there with your magazine

Don't you think it's pretty mean?

I'm the insignificant Poet

 

Poetic licence, humble lad

Kind of thoughtful, slightly mad

Watching you on your I-pad

I'm the insignificant Poet

 

Sweating on pronunciation

Working on annunciation

The spoken word is my salvation

I'm the insignificant Poet

 

Pleasing you is all I'm yearning

Up all night, these verses, learning

Wasted effort, I see you spurning

I'm the insignificant Poet

 

I'll never be a big sensation

I don't want a full standing ovation

Just some respect for my creation

I'm the insignificant Poet

 

You may have travelled near or far

On your bike, by bus or car

The spoken word is my guitar

I'm the insignificant Poet

 

◄ Write Out Loud at Bolton Socialist Club tonight

'It took him an hour for the half mile all the way up the hill' ►

More from Poem of the Week

Comments

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raypool

Sat 22nd Apr 2017 22:46

By espousing the cause of being insignificant you have risen above it, Daniel; that in itself is clever - so well done for POTW.

Ray

Martin Elder

Wed 19th Apr 2017 11:38

Hi Daniel
it's good to see you posting again and with a most worthy piece. I love the whole nature of this poem, I think we all feel this way from time to time.
congratulations on POTW.

Martin

me

Mon 17th Apr 2017 10:54

like it

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M.C. Newberry

Sun 16th Apr 2017 18:24

Good to see a rhythmic style in use.
Without getting too religious about it:
Annunciation - or enunciation?

Lisa Hooton

Sun 16th Apr 2017 14:40

Another great poem from Daniel. Well deserved to have Poem of the Week and an interesting interview. I think the responses so far say it all. P.S. Hope you continue at Folk Plus 😃

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Colin Hill

Sun 16th Apr 2017 12:29

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and experiences via the Q&A's Daniel. I have always felt that POTW provides an excellent platform for WoL contributors to expand on their inspirations, methods etc. And let's face it, the process of writing is a continual one of learning.

I have often wondered whether open mic events which mix music and the spoken word are the right venues for poetry. There needs to be a respectable level of silence, respect and interest for the spoken word performance to work. It doesn't always follow that the musicians or people who have come to listen to the music are so much bothered about listening to the poetry, and vice versa perhaps.

I used to attend one particular local event until a musical act was included. The act had often travelled a distance, been paid expenses and therefore had to made good use of, which meant the local regular spoken worders were cut to one piece each. The whole dynamic of the event shifted. Apologies if this sounds like the beginning of a wider discussion thread!

But well done you for persevering. We can all certainly relate to having to pull over and write down our rants before they are forgotten. And well done for picking Pam Ayers. And well done on POTW.

Colin

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Graham Sherwood

Sun 16th Apr 2017 11:21

Very well deserved Daniel,

A harrowing experience perfectly reproduced!

and perhaps the best Q & A answers we've ever had.

Great Work!

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