author. Eliot Simpson
I wasn't sure what to expect from the Homework Poets, but it certainly wasn't what I got. It wasn't poetry is the sense of Wordsworth or Blake... Instead of "I wandered lonely as a cloud" I got "Kylie Minogue internet dating". It was bizarre, unexpected, fast-paced, bonkers... And quite brilliant.
Over thirty minutes the audience was treated to four different poets. Though each of them took a comedic approach, they all had distinct styles. Tim Clare - whose poem I've quoted above - started the show with a bang, cracking jokes and performing a rendition of Age of Aquarius. He followed this up with perhaps the strongest poem of the show, "Noah's Ark & Grill". Every line was laugh-out-loud funny and Tim Clare delivered each one perfectly with a certain ranting gleefulness. Every time I thought the poem was about to end, Clare just kept going, becoming more crazed and enthusiastic as he went on. I don't think I've heard a more poignant or emotional final line to a poem than "Don't eat a burger with a scab".
The performers that followed on from Clare continued the theme of offbeat, funny poetry. Molly Naylor delivered a delightfully odd poem about judging people by their shoes - and how that process ceases to work when you go bowling. Ross Sutherland performed a monologue from the point of view of a haunted painting while holding a painting in front of his face. John Osbourne finally concluded the half-hour with a pair of fantastic celebrity poems. The first was about George Alagiah having a strange obsession and the second about Kylie Minogue dating on the Internet.
All in all, the Homework Poets were a real highlight of the festival for me. They demonstrated that despite how old poetry is as an art-form, it still has the potential to surprise us.