Poetry Tour with Tom Ball - Guest Blog

Today was the day of the Spoken Word Poetry Tour. Fortunately, I’m glad to think it was a success - though I don’t have much in the way to a frame a reference. It was certainly the first time I’ve done something like this. I’ve spoken at Poetry events in the past, but over a dozen in just half an hour was somewhat daunting.

Our little group of 8 poetry enthusiasts, including a Father with his 2 children, served as a delightful audience. I was slightly concerned that I had written for a more mature audience, however they seemed to be as fully engrossed as the rest of the group were - and even responded with some poetry of their own, which I’m not ashamed to admit made me a little bit envious of their talent.


I was pleased with the end result. I would have liked to write a poem for each of the display cases on show, however the amount I’d written turned out to fit into the 30 minute time-slot exactly. I was pleased in that sense - and based on the reaction of my audience, the decision to focus on quality over quantity turned out to be a smart one. Perhaps, should something similar to this happen again in the future, I’ll dedicate more time to fit in more poems - poetry is something of a dying art, and the more time spent appreciating it, the better.

Looking back, I feel I could have provided a more immersive experience. While reading handwritten poetry is arguably better than attempting to give a tour whilst carrying a laptop around, in an ideal world I would have memorised the poems - some of them, at least. Unfortunately, I am a student, and with essays due the same week as the tour, time simply did permit me the hours to both write and learn the poems. This isn’t to say that reading from the notebook distracted from the experience, but where a person can go that little bit further in the name of art, they should at least write a blog post saying that it’s what they would’ve done.

Overall, I feel like this unique tour was a success. It certainly challenged my creative abilities - existing poetry about 19th century bone-setters to use as a reference point was a terrific way to waste an hour - but it was also a learning experience as well. I had to get to know the artifacts, and the displays, and the lives behind the people featured in the museums, in order to portray them with the respect they deserve. Not only was able to improve my creative builds through writing about niche topics, I was able to appreciate what it was like to be instituted in an early mental asylum, or be strapped into an amputation chair in a time before anaesthetic, or to be a patient-come-victim of untrained bone-setters in a way that I never would have before. Preparing for this tour was a good test of my abilities, and something that I would be very happy to have the opportunity to perform again.