Liv Torc: Performance Poet

Monday 7th June 2021 via Zoom

Liv Torc Picture

Heralding the Deep Roots Festival, Liv Torc, the super-creative and stunning performance poet, gave us an evening of highs and lows.

To get us in the mood for fun, Liv got us renaming ourselves using a special chart; a bit like that system for fortune telling we played with in primary school! So suddenly, instead of Christophers and Carolines in the audience, we became The Magnificent Phoenix Sirens or The Ultimate Moon Machines . Such was the appeal of our new names that audience members adopted them: Queen M the Tornado whirled on throughout the festival.

Liv explained the driving force behind her Haiflu Project. Wanting to do something to record the feelings and happenings in the first Lockdown, she crowd-sourced haikus and photographs from her online community. The response was overwhelming – and from the contributions she received she made a weekly film: words matched to images. It didn’t stop there – and neither did the hard graft of creating the films! The poems and photos kept on flowing in and she continued mixing and matching them, creating not only weekly films, but carrying on throughout the pandemic. Liv shared a couple of the compilations with us. How moving they are: joy in the small consolations, sorrow at the suffering and loss, wry observations on the absurdity. All accompanied by the specially composed, haunting music, in (please note!) 5-7-5, by Richard Monks.

What an achievement! Liv was honoured by being interviewed on the Today programme on Radio 4 – and by being taken up by National Poetry Day 2020. And in full flow she swept us along too: we all became poets for an evening. Our efforts echoed the haikus in Liv’s celebrated project: “heard a blackbird sing. Almost / sang a song myself”, “Lockdown shut all doors”, “felled by / the Wuhan Killer”.

As if the impact of the pandemic was not enough, Liv told us about the serious autoimmune bowel disease which put her in hospital for long weeks last year. But her tone was bright and observant, sympathetic and caring: even in the midst of suffering and pain she found a way to be cheerful and funny , and share joy and hope with those around her. The image she shared of her multi-coloured toenails beneath tartan-checked pyjamas, on a clinically white hospital bedspread, was enough to inspire us with her courage and exuberance. A metaphor very worthy of Liv – who encouraged us to see the world through metaphors, just as she strives to do in her work – and life.

To end with a newly minted haiku! Mrs Crazy Chaos and Mr Blazing Chaos wrote, “It’s been a good time / exploring more of myself / relating to you”. I think all those in Liv’s audience would all say amen to that: thank you for opening our eyes and minds to your world, Liv.

Ms ‘Line Splitter’ (ADSM Supporter)