Word In The North

One thing I miss about home (Teesside in the North East of England) is the insanely active literary scene. Open mics were a regular occurrence and I had plenty of opportunities to get up on stage and present my work to a wide array of people. I love being on stage. I thrive on the confidence it gives me. Taking something that I’ve spent hours, days, weeks, maybe months working on and letting it breathe, for me, is magic, pure and simple.

I first performed my poetry when I was in my teens and it rapidly changed me as a person. It helped me to become a better writer, a deeper thinker, and more effective listener. It developed my curiosity about the world and those that inhabit it.

When I attend open mic nights, everything and anything is possible. I get high off other people’s words, and find myself laughing, smiling, joking with strangers as well as friends. I find myself entirely at ease with myself as a woman and a writer. I love it.

I’ve made the decision to set up an open mic night in Oslo. I’ve done some research into what’s already out there, and there isn’t really that much. I want to set up a new night because I have a strong desire to get to know the literary scene here inside out.  I want to meet all the writers creating in Oslo and further afield. I want to discover their work and enable other people to as well. I want to provide a platform for those who are just starting out and I figured that establishing a new open mic night would be an excellent way to do this.

As passionate as I am about wanting to engage with Norwegian writers, I also want to bring other writers from different countries to Norway. Introducing a foreign voice into the framework of an open mic night can have monumentally positive effects. I was fortunate enough, when I lived in the North East, to experience first-hand the poetry of a number of highly respected Finnish poets. These were poets who came over to the North East on an exchange over a decade ago, and returned year after year.

Witnessing their striking performance methods and sinking into their unfamiliar accents and visions blew my mind. It also made me insatiably hungry for the work of poets from other parts of the world. I think being exposed to the work of foreign poets, and being exposed to it in a face to face manner, has immense power. I know that for me, after experiencing the work of Esa Hirvonen, Kalle Niinikangas and Katariina Vuorinen I felt deeply inspired, even joyful. The fact that the people in my home scene were active in this important networking made me feel immensely proud. I want to play a role in the exchange of creative visions. I want to bring these people together and let them experience each other’s work, and then go on to continue networking and potentially collaborating.

I’ve held open mic nights in the past, and they’ve always – I’m proud to say – been successful. I’m a confident host and want to be as active as possible in the literary scene here. Performance poetry opened up so many doors for me, and really encouraged my personal development. I would love to be at the core of something that does the same thing for other writers.

I’ve come up with a title, in case you’re curious. It’s going to be called ‘Word in the North.’