Clare Shaw, Kendal Poetry Festival

This was the first time I have ever seen Clare perform live. We have looked at her poems at poetry club in the past and I have read both of her collections – so I knew that I was going to be in for a treat. However, I couldn’t have pre-empted what I received when I watched her perform. She was absolutely amazing. She had the room in the palm of her hand, one second laughing, and in the next crying. I know that sounds like a cliché, but it is genuinely how she made the audience feel.

A particularly memorable part of her performance was when she read one of her poems alongside another poet’s. She was doing this as an emotional response to the shootings in Orlando which had occurred just days earlier. The poems she performed were ‘The Garden of Love’ by William Blake and then without a break her own poem ‘I do not believe in silence’. It was extremely powerful. I noticed several people crying, while others were wiping their eyes.

Clare also performed some of her new poems, about the effect of flooding in her area. To be honest, I don’t usually enjoy poems with subject matters such as this – but with some Clare Shaw magic I was totally captivated.

If you get the opportunity to see Clare live just do it. She is incredible.

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