Poetry 1992-1996

I have just added a number of my poems to the blog archive. I wrote them in a period in the mid-nineties, read them again the other day, decided they were actually pretty good and as part of who I am should be put out there. So here you go! I have estimated the date that I wrote them, but can’t be sure. Here is what I was up to over those years.

1992 was my final year of studying French and German at Exeter University in England, where I spent much time directing and acting in theater productions in French and German. I was particularly interested in the absurdists – eg Alfred Jarry, Albert Camus, Sartre, Ionesco – as well as one particularly striking character called Antonin Artaud. Artaud wrote dozens of tomes of poetry, theatre and treatises, many of them very hard to read, but what stuck with me was his very lucid writing on the nature of sanity and insanity, suggesting actually that the insane saw reality more clearly that the so-called sane. He himself was locked away in an asylum for a bit (this partly inspired me to direct a Peter Brook inspired production in German of Peter Weiss’ Marat/Sade which won a national drama prize).

1992-3 took me to Paris where I taught English for c 12 hrs per week at Universite de Nanterre (Paris X), and worked c 30 hrs a week in the evenings with a theatre company called Le Théâtre D-Nué run by an Iranian director Sadreddin Zahed who had worked closely with Brook and integrated improv, physical work (Grotowski-esque) and Persian story-telling – an amazing experience!

In 1994 I went to northern Ghana with Voluntary Service Overseas, teaching English in the small rural town of Bole. At the same time I was studying development economics (eg Wolfgang Sachs) and spirituality (eg Gurdjieff). It was a year that shook the foundations of my being, including having to look death in the eye.

I returned to the UK in 1995 and threw myself into Green activism and politics, before starting on a cross-disciplinary MSc in Human Ecology at the University of Edinburgh.

These were key years in my development, full of passion, fun and creativity. Since then I have not written poetry – maybe this is part of reconnecting to that side of me?

The poems call all be found under the Poetry category of the blog. Enjoy, and let me know what you think!