The most immediately striking thing about an evening of spoken word is the almost tangible electricity in the air. No one is quite sure what to expect because every act differs in tone, delivery, style and content which turns the evening into a mad up and down trajectory of individuals pouring their hearts and minds into a microphone for an appreciative audience.
Poetry for me is now gloriously blurred with colours, images, musics, streaming video, satellites. It is time to give it a new name. It is no longer 'hard', it is not elitist, it is not rarefied or magical or the arena of a select few, it is a safe environment to play with anything you want, without boundaries or judgement.
So what can we get from a Wardwesân reading? It either sounds good, or it doesn't; without the expert guidance of Frédéric Werst, the sense of the sounds is a closed book. It's an anti-intentionalist's nightmare. It's also, perhaps, in one reading - and whether you find this liberating or disturbing will depend on a number of criteria - a logical extension of what we do as writers when we put together sounds into words, and those words into poems.
2012 has been yet another demonstration of why the position of literature in the UK is unique. Where else would a national newspaper feature a poem on its front page , as The Guardian did recently with the poet laureate's Olympic poem, 'Translating the British, 2012'?
Not for the first time, I have been tempted to compare myself negatively to Lord Byron. Like a large proportion of the young men of his time and class, the Romantic lothario spent the years 1809 to 1811 on a Grand Tour of Europe, absorbing the cultural, artistic and military history of tourist hotspots from Spain to Albania.
I've never been a fan of poets navel-gazing, but I suppose the truth is that if poetry doesn't gaze into its own navel once in a while, no one else is going to do it for it. And we ought to remember that the medium in which most people encounter poetry isn't the sold book, but the individual poem, read or heard.
Literary biographers almost invariably conclude that their subject is unjustly neglected and deserves to be more widely read. Few writers have a reputation as uninspiring as Edmund Spenser (1554?-99), a poet who commands hardly any general readers and who English undergraduates routinely shun.
Not since Christian Marclay's The Clock has art been such a cinematic experience as it is with Artangel's latest project, Audio Obscura in St Pancras station by poet Lavinia Greenlaw.