It began with a link via Twitter to Hollie McNish performing The Mathematics of Immigration on YouTube:
I was blown away by it. There is something very powerful and disarming about the image of a young woman speaking directly to camera. Whether or not you agree with the words, the performance is everything. This is the amazing power of YouTube, creating an instant stage for talent.
This is the ultimate in social media: peer-created content without the complex rigmarole of video production and publishing.
Hollie McNish is a performance poet who writes about real everyday issues – love, sex, old age, motherhood, being a woman. As a result her poems contain easily accessible material and it is delivered in a very straight way. She writes in a really frank, personal and self-effacing way and this is even more effective in a performance than the written word would be. This is shown really well in this tribute to her Gran:
Thankfully, Hollie runs workshops in schools and I can imagine her being an utter inspiration for the young people she works with – talking about their subjects and using their media. For young women in particular there are too few role models. One of my favourite Holly McNish performances is this anecdote about her interaction with a young female student:
Hollie McNish performs occasionally at festivals around the country and hopefully at some point I’ll get a chance to see her perform. In the meantime there are lots of clips on YouTube and she has published two books of poetry.