FEATURE: Five Big Influences On Door-to-Door Poetry | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Poet Rowan McCabe launched the exciting Door-To-Door Poetry project and has gone from strength to strength in bringing live art right to people’s doorsteps. Now set to travel around England, the bright young talent will show he can write a poem for literally anyone, and create a snapshot of England in the process. 

After working with an anti-fracking occupation in Preston in July, McCabe has more ventures planned for the year, but first, he was kind enough to share his five big influences on the project with us.

Street Performances
I used to go out with a gang of poets- the collective term is ‘a procrastination’ of poets- and we’d do ranty, sweary poems on high streets, at public monuments, outside of jobcentres etc. When something like that is happening, most people tend to avoid eye contact and try to get away from you as quickly as possible, as well they should. But every now and again, someone comes up to you and says something along the lines of: ‘I don’t like poetry, but I really enjoyed that.’ This was a penny drop moment for me.

Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs by Hunter S. Thompson
Hunter S. Thompson befriends and hangs around with the Hell’s Angels in the 60’s, taking them to acid parties in California and generally getting off his napper. Door-to-Door Poetry doesn’t have anything to do with the Hell’s Angels, but this is a classic work of gonzo journalism, where the journalist becomes a part of the story. It had a big effect on the way I blog about what happens to me.

The Poetry Takeaway
The Poetry Takeaway is a van that parks up in public places, where people order bespoke poems like a portion of chips. It was originally invented by the fantastic poet Tim Clare and, though I’ve never had the chance to take part, hearing about it was enough to set the gears turning.

Are You Dave Gorman? by Dave Gorman
I didn’t actually find out about this book until well after I’d became a Door-to-Door Poet, but it’s went on to have a huge influence. A man called Dave Gorman and his friend Danny go around the world looking for other people called Dave Gorman, to settle a drunken bet. In a way, it’s about nothing at all. But actually, it puts life into a strange sort of focus.

Lyrical Ballads by Wordsworth and Coleridge
“The principle object […] was to chuse incidents and situations from common life, and to relate or describe them, throughout, as far as was possible, in a selection of language really used by men.”
This is one of the few poetry books I’ve come back to time and time again. The idea of writing about everyday life, in a language people actually use, has been a real inspiration.

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