Brave New Voices |2| Poet Profile: Neasa McCormack

Ireland is sending a team to compete on the world stage at Brave New Voices. The team led by Stephen Murray features four teenagers who will be Ireland’s first International Slam Poetry Squad. Last week we featured Iobhar, now it’s time to meet Neasa.

neasaName: Neasa McCormack

Age: 17

From: Clare


Year: Going into 6th Year

Why/ How you got into poetry, particularly performance poetry?

I’ve always liked writing, I got into performance poetry about two years ago after watching a video on Youtube of someone performing a poem in the US. It got me from there, I was obsessed with the expression in his words, and his movements, everything about his performance was perfect, and I knew that’s what I wanted

Do you get stage fright/ how do you deal with it?

Yes, I start to shake and get knots in my stomach anytime I have to get up in front of a crowd. I don’t deal with it, I just kind of get up and do it anyway because I know I’ll regret it if I don’t. Once you get through the first few lines I find that the nerves just go away, it’s just like you’re practicing it in front of the mirror again, trying not to mess it up.

Who are your absolute favourite poets and why?

My favourites would be American slam poets who I found through Youtube, Michael Lee and Niel Hilborn being the top two. They’re the ones who got me into poetry, their writing and their self expression is amazing, they have the ability to alter you mood, or give you another view of things, I think that’s what makes a good poet, someone who can change the way you see things, change the way you feel. They had that affect on me straight away.

What do you think of the poetry you’re taught in school?

It’s a lot different to slam poetry, it gives people a bad view of poetry, having to write three pages on why Yeats said a line a certain way, or why he used this metaphor really takes all the fun out of it. We aren’t shown the other side of poetry, the rebellious side, the side that isn’t afraid to say things, and when you find it, it’s amazing.

Where do you see poetry taking you?

I’m still getting used to the fact that it has taken me this far, I don’t know where I would be now if I had never started writing, because it has helped me so much with expressing myself, I can’t wait to see where it takes me.

 What would you say to other young poets that are too afraid to put their words out there?

Don’t be afraid to do it, it’s so worth it. If you don’t want to tell people you know about it, start a tumblr page and put it out anonymously, it will build your confidence, give you ideas, and get you friends who run in the same circles. It is worth it.

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