Last night was the first live performance from new poetry ensemble The Vaginellas at the Boars Head Tap Bar in Kidderminster. A slip of the tongue a couple of months ago led to the villanelle’s rebirth as the vaginelle and from there the idea of a feminine poetic position grew. The new poetic forms of vaginelle, scronnet, hairyku may have started as a joke but, since conception, the Vaginellas have used them to poetically explore sex, gender, seduction, physicality and politics in a fascinating way. So some poems were filthy, some funny (and filthy), some moving, thought-provoking, historical (one vaginelle refrain was a Germaine Greer quote, ‘Lady, love your cunt’) and so on. The five women (only four performing live on the night, alas) have distinct, accomplished poetic voices and approaches which blended seemlessly to make their programme work extremely well.
The open mic was also lively and enjoyable – though I am not quite sure about my five minutes! I erred on the side of filth – on the basis that it’s not often there’s a chance to do a good dollop of filth. My poem, 40-love (New Balls Please), was about a middle-aged lady seeking to carry out her doctor’s orders to take “five a day”; very much in the British innuendo-laden tradition; one verse, for example –
If you’re desperate for a pet,
try for size a rural vet;
white coat and stethoscope over well-worked tweeds.
On examination table
or in secluded straw-baled stable,
he’ll know exactly what a poorly pussy needs.
I also did my quickie: Hat, Gloves and no morals –
She’s knickerless nicking in Waitrose
with her undies tucked under her hat
so she can cannily can cans in her hosiery
and stuff vol au vents up her — [allow audience to fill-in]
Yes it’s terrible – but what fun!
I hope The Vaginellas will carry on with their project – fun and serious sides – and I look forward to their next readings – and perhaps a book?