Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Singing again


There's a choir for people who are homeless, church choirs, choral singers, rock and gospel choirs, LGBT choirs, choirs just for women, choirs just for men. Some audition, some don't. Once I was in Jam Tarts, the Brighton choir run by Li Mills, now performing far and wide at festivals. I dropped out when I was working a lot of evenings and now there's a waiting list as long as my street. But Li runs three choirs - one a much less pressured daytime group, Wham Jam. So I am back, singing, with homework.

It has to be good, doesn't it, for a writer to experience words put under such pressure - repeated, harmonised, stopped and started again, broken up, mispronounced...

I am singing because I want routine, to have fun, to rehabilitate my lungs. I hadn't expected the singing to send me back to my writing and give it a different once over. The oldest Chinese poems, Shih Ching, are called song words.

Kwame Dawes explains better than I can in this interview with the LA Review of Books and delivers the phrase 'mistakes of sound' to explain what can damage a poem. So I shall go on singing as midwinter approaches, bleak and frosty.