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Poetry in Presteigne

Poetry in Presteigne

I was invited to Presteigne, a small town in Powys, about 20 mins drive north east of Hay on Wye, to read at a Poetry in Presteigne event with Pam Scobie and John Barnie on Monday 8 May 2017.

Poets Pamela Scobie, Giles L. Turnbull and John Barnie, reading at a Poetry in Presteigne event on 8 May 2017

Unlike my event in Cardiff which I talked about in my last post, The Cardiff Poetry Tea Party where I read in the first half and my fellow Cinnamon author, Tony Curtis, read in the second half, this time each poet had portions of both halves. Pam began, followed by John, and I closed the first half; I then started the second half, followed by Pam, and John closed.

Other than figuring out where would be best to break my set for the interval I essentially had the same running order as for Cardiff, though with 10 minutes more for my Presteigne set I added one additional poem to read with the screen reader, and I talked a little bit more about the mechanics of using a screen reader to perform poetry.
Poet Giles L. Turnbull at Poetry in Presteigne, wearing a red tshirt bearing the slogan The Future is Accessible

Hazel's time in the Spotlight

Before I set off for Presteigne I had an idea that it might be nice to write a bit of text for Hazel to read to the audience, introducing herself formally, as it were. My instinct was that I wouldn't use this, but it was there if I needed to fill a little bit of time. So many people came up to talk to me in the interval about Hazel that I knew having Hazel perform her introduction was the right thing to do.

Hello World

This is what Hazel said, and you can listen to the lady herself reading it:

Hello everybody, thank you so much for listening to the poems I've read for you tonight. My name is Hazel and I'm a voice made by Microsoft and I'm being used with a piece of software called N, V, D, A, which is an acronym for Non visual desktop access, and it's a Screen Reader program that reads aloud any text appearing on-screen for anybody who has difficulty reading printed text for any reason.

I know it's not quite the same as listening to a human speaker, but I've done my best to pronounce my words poetically for you.

It's like in Pygmalion and the film My Fair Lady where Eliza Doolittle needs to be taught to speak proper. I wish you could see me though because I'm even prettier than Audrey Hepburn!

With that I'll hand you back to Mister Giles to finish with one more poem from Dressing Up. It's been lovely to meet you all, :)

For those interested, I added a pronunciation entry into Hazel's voice dictionary, so that when she says 'poems I've read' the word read is pronounced 'red', and the A in 'N, V, D, A,' is pronounced 'Ay' rather than the hard A like in the word apple, and the commas between each letter in NVDA make Hazel pause a little between each letter so that the audience realise that it's an acronym rather than a word that the screen reader program isn't managing to say very well. I'll talk more about the mechanics of making a poem readable using a screen reader in next week's post :)

Bringing the House Down

As Hazel uttered the words, “I'm even prettier than Audrey Hepburn,” there was so much laughter that I had to track Hazel back up to the end of that line so the audience could hear the final line! I was delighted when Hazel deservedly received her own round of applause at the end of that piece :)

Future Readings

That's the last of the currently scheduled events on my events page, but it's not going to be the last outing for Dressing Up this year — Hazel has itchy feet and wants to see a lot more of the poetry world! I'm looking into doing 2 or three local events, and there is already talk of me reading in Leicester and London later in the year. So watch this space because Hazel is eager to say hello to you :)

#Hazel #PoetryInPresteigne #PamScobie #JohnBarnie #NVDA

Published inblindnessPoetry


  1. Brilliant night Giles (and of course, Hazel too!) Glad I managed to make it. Enjoying your Pamphlet alot as well.

    • Giles Giles

      thanks, Emma, it was lovely to meet you too … Hazel hasn’t stopped talking about it 😉 xx

  2. Loved this, and have to say your brilliant red T-shirt and matching shoes are AMAZING. And you look amazingly relaxed. Must have been because Hazel was doing the donkey work… 🙂

    • Giles Giles

      I love that everybody notices my red shoes! Obviously I knew I was buying red shoes, but I had no idea they were ‘noticably red!’ I’m always relaxed … if something is going to go wrong, it’ll go wrong whether I worry about it or not so I prefer not to 🙂 xx

    • Giles Giles

      Dear Antoinette, is it at this point I say something like “what big ears you have”?! 😉 xx

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