It was a real pleasure to meet with him, learn a little of the academic approach to poetry and feel that we had been able to plant the seeds of spoken word in the laureate world. He commented at the end that he had certainly learnt a lot from our visit, a real compliment I'm sure you will agree.
We then went straight to a 3 hour planning session for the NYDS poetry in performance course we will be teaching at the end of April before starting our roadtrip and heading down to Te Henga Studios for my next gig; The studios are set against a bush backdrop and the scenery we drove through coming out of Auckland completely took my breath awaty. Te Henga is an artist retreat and on arrival we were shown round the grounds of the quirky building and then offered a cup of mint tea before heading to the yurt, the setting for my workshop/performance. The workshop was really lovely, the group were very keen and seemed to take a lot from my prompts and wrote some beautiful pieces on the theme of identity. I even read them a student's poem from back in the UK which was from the same writing prompt and they really loved that.
The performance went well too.. It was a really intimate setting, with ten or so people sat around a yurt to the sound of insects outside and it gave the evening a real sense of community. The writers attending also offered some poems up for the circle and the atmosphere was really warm and supportive. It was unlike any performance experience I have ever had in the UK and will stay with me for sure. I then had the honour of spending the night in the yurt, which was really special before enjoying a shower in the luxury of the main building the next morning.
Then, after sampling some of the local fish and chips (hard to beat!) I performed a 45 minute set for the local Whakatane audience with support from Ben who had performed there last July and got a great response to some of his new poems about London life.
This is a really small town in New Zealand and so spoken word is not a common occurance and so I was really happy to see smiling faces in the audience.
By the end of the gig it truly hit me how much we had packed into a week! It was time for a bit of relaxation in the form of hot springs and a massage which was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had!
This brings me to the end of this epic update! It has been a very busy week of touring but I can honestly say I am having the time of my life! Next time I hope to have some poetry to share as well as more photos and reports. Do keep in touch on the hashtag #WhatAWayToTour @sarsbars89.