January 22, 2016, by Charlie Porter

“Do Something Different”

When I first came to the University of Nottingham, I was a visionary. I had decided before I even got there I would dip my toes in gymnastics or skydiving or other sports I’d never tried; that I’d be part of a handful of societies; and that I’d try things out that I’d never get a chance to do elsewhere.

And then reality hit.


This isn’t to say I haven’t enjoyed the things I’ve done. I have made the most incredible friends through my course and my halls and the societies I have joined. I’d never change my university experience for another. But by the end of my second year, I realised I’d fallen into such a comfortable routine that I’d closed myself from other opportunities. I’d pick up flyers with the intention of reading, for them to be lost in piles of others. Interesting events would come up but if I had no one to go with then I’d just shrug it off. Some of my tutors would put on additional lectures, but it would be after a three-hour seminar so I’d go home and make lunch instead.

So at the beginning of this year, I joined Mouthy Poets.

Deborah Stevenson, the founder of Mouthy Poets and one of my tutors from first, created the group for her final year project at the Uni of Nottingham. She felt that “there were many disillusioned young people who needed a voice and could benefit from being given tools to express themselves.” Thus was born Mouthy – a place for inspiring, incredible individuals to write, edit and perform poetry.

I’ve always been quite an artsy poem and poetry is something I’ve always wanted to get into, so when the email came through telling me I’d got in I thought I’d go for it. Truth be told I was absolutely terrified on my first session: I’d brought no reinforcements with me and so had to sit next to strangers and ‘mingle’ (what a terrifying thought). The result? Meeting link-minded, amazingly talented and wonderful people.

I’ve been with Mouthy for several months now, going to the weekly sessions at Nottingham Playhouse, writing poems I never knew I was capable of, meeting a variety of interesting and lovely people. We watch poetry, we write poetry, we perform poetry (and the next performance is going to be on the 5th and 6th of February for the bi-annual Say Sumthin show, so come along if you want to do something different on the weekend #shamelesspromo).

Some people don’t understand it – “Poetry? Oh that’s… cool” – but that’s not the point. The point is it’s something new; something different; something exciting. The point is to not forget to try something new. Next time you walk past an intriguing stall at Freshers Fair, don’t just walk past it. Go over. Talk to them. Do it.


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