Tuesday 29th September 2015

A chat with Barbara Brownskirt

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On October 16th we are delighted to be working in partnership with Cultural Hubs to present Fraff, a stand up poetry night for people who don’t like poetry. Compered by Kim Jong-Un lookalike Scottee as part of TakeOverFest 2015. It’s a fun night out and one not to be missed – you can buy your tickets HERE.  The FRAFF line up for St Helens includes Sophie Wilan, Ginger Johnson, Barbara Brownskirt, Rhiannon Faith, Bourgeois & Maurice and Scottee!

We managed to grab a quick chat with Barbara Brownskirt about what to expect at Fraff, plans for a special poem for St.Helens and her thoughts on people who say poetry is not for them…..

bus stop man

Heart of Glass:  Hello Barbara, how are you! Tell us a bit about yourself?

Barbara: I am poet-in-residence for the 197 bus stop on Croydon Road in Penge. Sometimes I bring out my desk into the open air and people watch me think of words live as they wait for their bus. I find inspiration around every day people, plus the site has a view of the flat I shared for six days with my ex, Susan, when we were in love in the glory days. To date I have written 21 volumes of poetry. The publishers are still ignoring me, but I feel, any day now, my luck will change and they’ll want my writing in print.

Heart of Glass: We’re looking forward to welcoming you to St.Helens, have you been before?

Barbara: No, but I like the name. I once had a friend called Helen and she had chunky knees, the sort any girl would like to touch and write poems about.

Heart of Glass: When did you get ‘the call’ and start writing poetry?

Barbara: I remember being left alone quite a lot as a child as my mother was an actress and worked late nights often bringing other male actors home, so I guess it was being shut in the front room, gazing out the window waiting for her to walk up the front path that I used to make up little songs about the street and the noisy cats. I was about four when I wrote my first poem about a plate of fish fingers, called Gold Fingers and Lonely Peas.

Heart of Glass: Amongst other things, St.Helens is famous for Glass, Rugby, Johnny Vegas and tropical fish in our canal! Could you write us a poem?

Barbara: I shall be debuting it on the night of FRAFF, especially written for the occasion.

Heart of Glass: What are the usual responses to your poetry and what do you hope audiences will get from experiencing your work?

Barbara: People sometimes mock poetry but after they have heard me and got a free badge they want to  join the poetry revolution that is happening right under their noses. I feel they wake up from the fog of sameness and realise that poetry can come out of anything, like bitterness, heart-ache, frustration and Judi Dench.

Heart of Glass: What do you say to people who say poetry is not for them?

Barbara: Some people think the Klu Klux Klan is a good idea. You can’t please everyone, especially the ignorant.

Heart of Glass: Fraff will take place in a Library – what section do you want to be in?

Barbara: POETRY or Gardening for women.

Heart of Glass: Say something inspirational to encourage people to come see you?

Barbara: People often say they’ve been stunned by my poetry, so come and see me if you want to be stunned! 

Heart of Glass: Thank you Barbara, see you on the 17th of October at Central Library!

You can buy tickets HERE