FORKED: A Review

Nestled in the cobbled streets of the Barbican, surrounded by velvet curtains and candle light, you will find the FORKED poets ready and waiting to entertain… FORKED first-timer, Seren Kiremitcioglu, reviews Plymouth’s favourite spoken word night…

On a rather drizzly and wet Thursday 19 May, I made my way over to The B-Bar in Plymouth with my good friend by my side; sitting down in the warm, inviting room with Thai food and beer in hand, I fully enjoyed a night of entertaining, insightful and thought-provoking performances of poetry and spoken word.

As I sat down in my chair, I was immediately engaged with the environment around me. Everyone was happily chatting and being sociable – I didn’t see one person on their phone. It was a truly sociable event where everyone was really excited to interact and see the acts perform. Under a canopy of red curtains and twinkling fairy lights, the place was set for the poets to take the stage and wow the audience – which they definitely did.

RikkiLivermore-ForkedBlogFirst up was Essex-based performance poet ‘RikTheMost’, who approached the stage with a relaxed and welcoming manner. His opening rap caught my attention quickly, and sustained it with his engaging talk of current affairs and politics. He performed one of the most memorable poems of the night, ‘Trauma’; a poem on personal grievance, which left the room in silence and transported me to a place I’d long forgotten. A fantastic opener, he was a great choice for the line-up, as well as a truly gracious, welcoming act to my very first poetry and spoken word evening.

FeatureImage-SaraHirschNext up was Sara Hirsch, a bubbly and lively London-based performance poet who not only is a former UK Slam Champion, but also third place runner-up of the World Slam Championships 2014. The runner of the Genesis Slam opened her segment with a ‘joke’ that spoke of how she’d rather have a tough life than an easy one, whilst her concluding excerpt from her upcoming project comically pointed at all the distractions of life; iPads, apps, dieting fads and the like. A comedic and spritely performer, she made the audience laugh with her more than amusing poetic creations.

Selina NwuluThis was no doubt a tough act to follow up, however the current Young Poet Laureate for London, Selina Nwulu, definitely managed it. Making her poems politically personal, she reflected on what her life would be like had she been brought up in a third world country rather than in her home in Yorkshire. However, she brightened the serious topic up with her self-deprecating reflections on being single, with a poem based on the rather renowned concept of online dating; something most, if not all of us could relate to on some level!

However, the star of the night had to be Zena Edwards. Edwards had a brilliant introduction by our rather quirky and highly entertaining host and poetess, Mama Tokus. Tokus not only hosted the night in her own fantastically bizarre way, but she performed some poetry that left the audience in fits of laughter. Introducing the Tottenham raised poet, Tokus told the audience how Edwards has made her way around the world by performing some true 21st century literature.

Zena Edwards webZena Edwards was down to earth and realistic in her performance; telling her audience the story of a homeless woman on one of ‘the richest streets in London’, her poetry was politically fuelled and left us all literally singing at the end of it. After teaching her audience the words, Edwards got everyone to sing along with her, bringing the shyest of people out of their shells and showing me a whole new side to performance poetry.

Thanks to Apples and Snakes for making Forked happen, overall it was an amazing introduction to Spoken Word and Performance Poetry; I would recommend this night to anyone and I can’t wait to go again!

forked-general-banner_696x260FORKED returns on Saturday 27 August as part of Sea Change Festival, with an amazing line-up including Ria Hartley, Rose Cook, Rob Barratt, and Jackie Juno, hosted by Mama Tokus! Details here. Keep up with Apples and Snakes in the South West: Facebook | Twitter

Seren Kiremitcioglu is a 19 year old freelance writer and editor based in the South West. You can read more about what she’s up to, at www.serenkiremitcioglu.com