Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Chloe is gone, long live Gerry

The Men Pomes: Gerry Potter, Friday 21st October, 7.30pm, Contact

Words by Daniel Carpenter.

The first thing you hear is the thump, thump of a walking stick. It echoes across the room and from the corner, he enters. A cloaked figure, stomping his way to the microphone. Once he shuffles on stage, he casts aside the cloak and stick and grasps the microphone tight.

If there’s one thing to say about Gerry Potter, he knows how to make an entrance. Even back when he performed as Chloe Poems, he was a powerhouse of poetry.

It’s not just his approach to the stage, it’s his presence once on there. He is warm and friendly between poems, or should that be pomes? As referenced by the title of his latest collection, The Men Pomes, we quickly learn that men don’t like to say the word poem. The poetry he performs tonight is an exploration of this idea. Delving deep into the male psyche he brings with him a combination of working-class anger, love for Liverpool and a unique voice on the poetry scene.

Poet Dominic Berry who was also in the audience said, “Queer culture really, really needs this and too few even try to do what Gerry does so stunningly.” He’s right of course; Gerry Potter is a unique talent. The climax of the first half of his set, a poem called Bashed left most of the audience in tears and is one of the finest pieces of performance poetry I have ever seen. There is an honesty to a lot of his work, and it comes across on stage, so that even when he forgets his words, or stumbles, the audience is with him every step of the way.

There was a huge turnout for the evening and a vibrant crowd. Upcoming poet Zach Roddis commented, “He was in turn funny, thought-provoking, and poignant. It was really an honest portrayal of his own life in Liverpool, nothing was altered, and that's why it stood out for me as a performance that I will never forget.” Dominic Berry continues, “My all time favourite poet used to be Chloe Poems but last night Gerry Potter well and truly killed her dead.”

Daniel Carpenter is a writer and one of the organisers of the monthly spoken word event Bad Language. He blogs at Winter Hill.

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