Kate Nissen reviews the Amanda Baker event

11 May

Ever heard of a comedic poet? No, neither had I, until I had the pleasure of seeing Amanda Baker live at the Hexham Book Festival. I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect from her show ‘Snail Love’, but I was thoroughly entertained throughout her short, but sweet, act.

The show took place in the café of the Queens Hall, which created a relaxed and friendly atmosphere where you didn’t have to sit in uncomfortable silence with a few awkward laughs and obligatory applause. Our laughs were genuine and our applause was honest.

Amanda started off with her poem ‘Soap Opera’: an enjoyable poem with a mix of sarcastic comments and satirical humour about the soaps we watch. The audience enjoyed the poem, as most of us in Britain are secret (or maybe not so secret!) soap addicts, and what she was saying was very true and also very funny.

Amanda then went on to comment that inspiration for her poems can come from everyday things, for example TV and radio advertisements. This led on to another humorous poem, ‘Aspirational Bathroom’, which mocked advertisements from how they are said, to the strange things that are actually said to try and convince Joe Public to try, buy and use products. The truth in this poem generated many laughs.

The poems Amanda then proceeded to deliver varied from serious topics, such as Irish terrorists, to arguing with bus drivers and experiences of going to an all black church. However, all the poems had an individual spin, making the audience see the funnier side of subjects usually seen in a negative light.

After these comedic poems, Amanda went on to tell us how she had written a more serious poem about the grief after someone close to you has died. This poem was submitted for the Bridport Poetry Prize and Amanda said, ‘My socks were blown off when I found out that it was shortlisted.’ The poem demonstrated just how talented she is and left the audience speechless.

The audience enjoyed every moment of this event, from the witty sarcasm to the comedic rhymes. It was a brilliant, lighthearted way of listening to poetry.

Amanda Baker appeared at the Queens Hall, Hexham at 6pm, Thursday 3rd May as part of the 2012 Hexham Book Festival.

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