A finance worker with a penchant for poetry and a well-known local wordsmith have teamed up to form a new group with a Jersey twist, aiming "ignite inspiration" among the island's up-and-coming talents.
Two local poets are organising monthly get-togethers to celebrate all things poetry and give everyone the opportunity to read and discuss their own work or their favourites.
Juliette Hart and Stefan le Marquand want La Poèt'tie to be "as diverse and inclusive" as possible and are hoping to see many new faces for their second monthly meeting tonight at the Old Magistrate's Court.
Video: The idea was born following a Poetry Slam event last year.
The group evolved from the Poetry Slam event organised in September at Pizza Projekt as part of the Festival of Words with Farrago Poetry.
Stefan Le Marquand, a Trust Administrator by day, who says he has been big into poetry since age 14, confessed he "hunted down" well-known Jersey poet Juliette Hart after the event. "I had always thought about setting up my own group but never quite had the right idea or concept," he explained, adding that he found local groups critical.
Stefan therefore went to Juliette for help, telling her: “I have got this fantastic idea, I want to recreate this, but will you help me with your knowledge and wisdom and black book of contacts.”
Juliette said she was pleased when Stefan got in touch and said “yes to everything”. Despite Juliette confessing to not being “a crazy do-er” person but rather “quiet and focused”, the pair has managed to get organising.
Pictured: Juliette and Stefan met at the Poetry Slam event at Pizza Projekt.
“It’s been an amazing little journey,” Juliette said. “Really our different paths and different passions with poetry and the lack of having a venue or group to share it with, Stefan said ‘let’s set up our own’ so here we are.”
With the help of Jèrriais specialist Gerraint Jennings, the pair picked ‘La Poé’tie’ as the name of their group, after what they described as a lot of debate and struggle.
“We wanted something that was distinctly Jersey, to keep it fixed to home,” Stefan said. Gerraint came up with the idea of the name, explaining that the ‘tie at the end creates a new word out of the jerriais word poete.
The name, which means “collective of poets, a place where poets gather, a place where poetry is made”, fits the ethos of the group like a glove.
The monthly meetings include a discussion about poetry to get everyone “warmed up” followed by an open mic where aspiring writers can read their work or read their favourite poems. If anyone wants to hear their work but can't bear the thought of taking the mic in front of other people, they can send their poems ahead of time for someone else to read it out loud.
“We have had a really good response,” Juliette says. “We had some very interesting discussions last month about concrete poetry and how poetry is not always about how it sounds.”
“We want people to be inspired and motivated, in a warm, cosy environment,” Stefan adds. “We want it to be as diverse and inclusive as possible. We encourage as many people to come as possible, even if it’s just to come and soak in the vibe and the atmosphere.”
Pictured: Everyone is welcome to take to the mic at La Poèt’tie.
But the pair don't want to stop there and hope to “to ignite inspiration” in others, no matter their writing style. Stefan and Juliette themselves have different styles - she admits spending a lot of time reading her poems and re-reading them, while Stefan writes on the spot and forgets about it.
“We work well together because you can bounce ideas off of each other,” Juliette said. "We just love the poetry and we want to share it with other people.”
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