Thursday, October 10, 2013

Jean "Binta" Breeze

Happy Black History Month! I went on an amazing poetry masterclass with Jean "Binta" Breeze today. It was organised by the Writers' Centre Norwich. I loved her vocal warm ups - how she got us to play with phonetic letters to see where they formed on our tongues, our lips, our teeth, our throats. I loved the way she talked about the power of silence  - how the audience hush before a poet speaks is beautiful and the poet must ‘seduce the air’(thanks Laura for recording this so perfectly in your blog). I asked her if she chose poems in advance when she's doing a performance and she said no, she has her book and she responds to the audience and the atmosphere, almost like a DJ. I thought there was something very person-centred about this. It wasn't a case of "listen to me, I'm the great poet", rather she listens to the audience to see what they need. It was such a privilege to spend the afternoon with her - an unforgettable experience.

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