22 Jun 2011

Meeting Aoife Mannix

My meeting with Aoife Mannix 

June 21st 2011
11:00am – 3:00pm
The MAC, Birmingham.

After being selected for the BBC poetry project ‘Verb New Voices’ (see my blog May 5th) I was giving the amazing opportunity to work with an established poet to develop a poem I will then perform on BBC Radio 3 show The Verb hosted by British poet, journalist, playwright and broadcaster IanMcMillan. I jumped on the opportunity to work with the wonderful and the very inspiring Irish poet and writer Aoife Mannix, with a published novel and four successful poetry collections under her belt, Aoife has not only crossed every major spoke word festival off her list of performances but has also been invited to read her poetry in Istanbul, Taiwan, Thailand, India, Norway, Austria, Copenhagen and New York. She is currently poet in residence on BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live and for the Royal Shakespeare Company. For other works, shows, and anthologies Aoife has participated in please see her official website  http://aoifemannix.com/

I've read Aoife’s Novel The Heritage of Secrets (2008), and her poetry collection Turn the Clocks upside down (2008) and have listened to her beautiful Audio collection Different Words for Snow (mixture of poetry and music), and I personally recommend all these publications: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B003BX2JNY the CD is available on her website.

I found my meeting with Aoife most inspiring, she is a gifted, warm, charismatic person, with so much to offer, her enthusiasm about the project and my poem has given me so much confidence and reassurance to the point where I am certain that this poem I am in the process of writing will become a very substantial piece of work and hopefully gain a lot of recognition.

I’ve chosen a very provoking and perhaps a very stigmatizing subject to write about ‘Child Sexual Abuse’ and have come to terms with how much responsibility writing a poem such as this weighs on me as a writer; be it the pressure to produce something that can give a true likeness to the tremendous suffering of the victims and the ugliness of the crime, or be it the integrity and emotional intelligence which the poem must portray in order to carry the audience to where they can ALMOST understand the vast loneliness of the sexually abused and the crippling alienation which many victims fail to survive.

I will continue to work with Aiofe on my poem ‘Self harm’, this title may change a zillion times in the future until we reach the final product in September. My next meeting with the BBC is July 26th to give updates on my progress, and my next meeting with Aoife will be August 1st during which I will continue to write and refine my poem. I will post updates about both my meetings here in the future.
Here are a few lines of my poem Self Harm (still a very rough draft).

why I cut myself?
why I bruise myself?
why I carve my skin blue with hate?
to numb the anger to silence the screams in my head that would not rest
the smell of his stinking breath on my face
as the weight of his body presses me deeper, deeper into the sheets
my comfy cosy bed, my secure hiding, my place of safety becomes my grave.
I repeat it to shrink after shrink, to therapist after therapist; I’m not suicidal,
I just need to burn myself.