Joshua Seigal Q&A

Performance poet, Joshua Seigal talks to Fest about his free family poetry show and why poetry doesn't have to be boring.

feature (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 13 Aug 2013
28456 large
Joshua Seigal

Tell us about your show – what can we expect? 

My show involves lots of weird and wonderful poems about a variety of things like mums, dads, animals and being lost in the supermarket. There is a healthy dose of chaos and silliness and audience participation is non-negotiable! 

Why poetry? Is it something that you’ve always been into even as a kid yourself?

I view poetry as playing with words, and I really love making words do interesting things. I also like jokes, and many of my poems are basically jokes told in rhyme. Most poems are also quite short, which suits my microscopic attention span.

But a lot of poetry is extremely difficult, unaccessible and frankly boring. My aim is to show, through my poetry performances that poetry doesn’t have to be boring and hard.

Tell us a bit about the work you do with schools – how can poetry help children?

My view is that everyone can be a poet; poetry is not something reserved for the clever or bookish. It provides a great medium for tackling a variety of issues, and can provide a host of new ways of looking at the world. Last year I got pupils to write poems from the perspective of a bully. This helped get at some of the root causes of the problem, rather than allowing bullies to remain as cartoonish villains.

But it’s not all about ‘deep’ and ‘important’ issues. Probably my main goal in working with children is to demonstrate that the written and spoken word can simply be a lot of FUN!

Through all of the children that you get to meet and work with, what has been the most enjoyable or rewarding experience so far?

Every school visit provides masses of rewarding experiences: the kid who has never put pen to paper who is finally inspired to do so, the kid who comes up with a better poem than I ever could or the kid who finally cracks a smile. Working with children really is amazing.

This year all kids shows will be reviewed by Fest Force; our ten-strong kid’s review panel. If you were a superhero who would you be?

I would be called Edinburgh Man, and I would be able to magic myself a five-star review.