I met this young performance poet at SacredEdge: he presented his original poems with dynamism. I like the idea of performance poetry because, while I have published two poetry books, outside of book launches I’m not accustomed to performing my work – and definitely not by memory! So I’m in awe of talented performance poets.
Joel’s work is powerful: each recitation is an escape from the outside world, captivating listeners in the transformation of place that is magically cultivated. He is adept at using the microphone to full advantage, projecting his voice to rise in volume as each poem increases in intensity, then to drop to quietness as it comes to its powerful end. The audience cannot help but be drawn into Joel’s world – and what a lovely place to spend time.
I thoroughly enjoyed watching Joel’s show: it provided respite for me at a time when I sorely needed it, a salve against the stressors that were drowning me.
Watching him, I was reminded of Michael Rosen and the tapes (yes, cassette tapes) I used to play for my children: like Joel, Michael tells captivating stories and draws the audience in. I hold Michael Rosen’s work in very high regard, as his many thought-provoking books and recordings are entirely pleasurable and value-adds to the world. (Any parent who hasn’t shared the joy of We’re Going On A Bear Hunt with their children has missed out!) Joel McKerrow is easily as talented, his work equally as thought-provoking, entirely pleasurable and value-adding to the world. Like Rosen, McKerrow does not shy away from the sad and the unfortunate – because life is sad and unfortunate at times – which makes his work all the more worthy. (Don’t worry, there’s plenty of happy too!)
Joel’s CD recordings add layers to his performance poetry with music so skilfully incorporated it’s haunting. This takes the listener experience to a whole new level of resonance, the deep vibrations of the low notes echoing through the body and providing increased sensory connection as the commanding voice tells the engaging story.
Joel is highly active on the writers’ scene. Check out his website here. This ‘creativity specialist’ delivers inspiring courses through his School for Creative Development and presents at places like the Young Writers Studio. I would love to attend one of his classes – maybe this year will be the year …