A few weeks ago, the artistic collective I’m a part of, Spiderweb Salon, did a “ladies’ night,” where all the performers were women. Among the music, shadow puppet show, short films, and performance art, there were quite a few who read poetry or prose. One particular poet was this willowy girl whose name I didn’t get, probably because I was stunned by the beauty of the performance. I’d seen her read before, but never like this. In fact I’ve never seen anyone read like this.
She took the microphone off the stand and held it as she read from papers in her other hand, which was shaking, almost violently, because she was so nervous. When it was done, I was confused and awe-struck, though I couldn’t figure out why. The poetry, while good, wasn’t amazing – in fact I don’t really recall much of what she said.
It took me all this time to assemble why the performance affected me so strongly – it was obvious how nervous she was, yet she didn’t stop. There wasn’t a sense of momentum either. Usually when reading in front of people it gets easier as you go, but if anything her trembling became more pronounced as she went on. BUT SHE WENT ON. Her voice didn’t falter, she didn’t screw up or rush through her reading, and she didn’t stop after just one poem. Or two. Or even three. I don’t recall exactly how many poems she read, but the point is that she could’ve called it after any of them, but she didn’t. Afterwards my brain was going “WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED?”
If you’re out there poet chick, your shaky performance was beyond inspiring.