One of the great things about being involved with City Voices Stoke is the great variety of writers we have in the group. We have people of all ages and persuasions and are a really diverse bunch of people. We have poets, short story writers, budding novelists, and – as was proved at our meeting on 16th September – very talented playwrights and actors.
Jason Nicholas Smith is what I always think of as a roaming poet. He spends a lot of time around Stoke on Trent in various locations and events, and even just in the middle of town on the odd day, performing his poems to those who will listen. He reminds me of a medieval wandering minstrel, bringing his lyrical observations to people all over the place. Over the time I have known him, I have found myself often surprised – pleasantly – to see Jason tirelessly attending events all over the city, performing his passionate “catchall” poems that come from the heart.
As well as being a poet, Jason writes short stories – he has read at 6 x 6 Reading Café at Hanley Library – and he recently collaborated with our resident playwright and founder member Paul Williamson on a story called Reflection, that they turned into a play. They performed it to us at our meeting on Saturday and it was wonderful. Jason recited it pretty much by heart and unassisted; the captivating, lyrical musings of the character dreaming of getting out of prison and reforming his ways. A character who is to all intents and purposes Jason himself, who makes no secret of the fact that he had a darker past that he is now rehabilitated from through educating himself and eventually realising that the only person who could pull him up by the bootstraps was himself.
The play was enjoyed by all attending and we look forward to seeing more performances like this – maybe from other City Voices members too in the future.
City Voices Members Paul Williamson and Jason Nicholas Smith performing "Reflection"