July Review

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At the end of June’s review I wrote;

Roll on the sunshine! Morning-Sun-mit

I was looking forward to the Summer holidays. Well, sunshine happened  – lots of it and the sunburn from the 52 Event formed a base tan that other people commented on when I was out Tuesday night. I have very fair skin and usually just freckles darken and I get a golden glow, my legs remain blue! This year – thanks to outdoor events and our lovely garden (that Mr G is constantly tending and creating) I have a tan – for the first time in my life and even my legs have some colour!

This sunshine is wonderful – but it has kept me away from the laptop – which I could use in the garden, but find that scribbling in my notebooks and catching on up reading a far more appropriate garden relaxing activity!

I have also had an exceptionally busy time offline and Mr G took a week off – which is a week I barely logged on at all.

 __________            July         _______________

Brought me abundant opportunities, some fabulous events and wonderful experiences.

Blogs and Projectslaptop

I continued to write poems for 52 and got behind on my MOOC course (due to real paid work), I hope to re-enrol next time this course is offered. It is a shame but I don’t think I could deal with the stress and pressure of catching up.

I didn’t hear back from Naked Lungs and presume they have invited other artists to collaborate on the pop up event for Birmingham Literature Festival. I also missed there open mic event this month but have already booked a slot for the one at the end of August.

The blog now has 778 followers, an extra 13 people joined in July. I am grateful to you all and hope you enjoy splashing in the Fountain.

Last month the most popular post was;

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Writing Short Stories – Tips on Planning and Structure More stats 367
 

It continues to gain popularity with over 300 reads once again:

Writing Short Stories – Tips on Planning and Structure More stats 306

I am delighted – because many of them may have been 52ers that the most popular post in this last week of July was…

52 Meet and Perform for the Stratford Poetry Festival More stats 146

Followed closely by Tips on Planning & Structure.

Submission and Publishing type

My poem Clench – appeared in the July issue of Hark, an online magazine.

I had another poem ‘Fallacy‘, a 52 poem from the weather week accepted for print publication, the anthology will be out later this year. This was as a result of entering GBWO – Great British Write Off.

Jean Atkin kindly published my 2nd farm poem on her blog for Acton Scott Farm, it was called ‘Combine Harvester’ but it has been re-titled ‘The Cart’ because that is the subject of the poem.

 

I submitted work to the Mental Health Festival Scotland

HCE – Here Comes Everyone for the Girl/Boy Issue

Popshots – Time Issue

I also worked on several short stories – unfortunately I didn’t have the time to get them up to scratch before the deadline, after finding out about them a month too late.

 

Offa Press rejected my mini sample manuscript, I have yet to find out which 2 lucky poets have been taken on by them this year.

Popshots rejected my submission for the Time issue.

motivation secret

I have read many articles about not taking rejection personally, I didn’t seek these articles out, I did spend a weekend catching up on reading my writing magazines, but I am also a firm believer in the universe responding (even when you didn’t think you called) – I needed to read the wisdom and toughen up. Rejection is just part of the course.

 

 

 

Performing Poetry

The month started with a 9 day break from performing, although during this time the Ledbury Poetry Festival had started and I did attend some events. At the beginning of the month I drifted into auto-recovery after an exceptionally busy week working full time and supporting many events at WLF – Worcester LitFest. Later on in the month I took another 9 day break – so the performances and events this month have taken place over less than a 2 week period.

I need these sorts of breaks more regularly now after 10months of flurried activity. I enjoy events more if I am not too tired to stand up and besides I knew with work and writing as well, I wouldn’t have the energy to keep the relentless touring up. That was never my intention.

Stratford -Upon -Avon Poetry Festival and Ledbury happened this month.

There were as always events which I missed and open mics I had no energy to attend, my hope is that before the end of the year I may get to attend them all at least once.

I am gutted that I lost my opportunity to send audition video in to support Hollie McNish on her Birmingham Tour in October. Scheduling and technical equipment were against me, couldn’t even use my mobile as it broke! I guess also part of me felt I wasn’t ready for this, despite talking to her after ConFab in Malvern and her telling me how much she enjoyed CakeMan…. if the Offa experience is anything to go by – the poet can love and adore you and your work – it won’t necessarily lead to the powers that be, publishing house, agents or Performance Companies agreeing!

When things should happen I will be ready to jump – I did get my 2nd exciting booking for paid work this month and a new role for me to try on for size to boot. Both BIG opportunities I have had this year I have grasped with a quick and confident YES! Both will lead to more things and both are beyond what I imagined I would achieve 10 months into my poetry journey / 20 months into my writing journey.

143551349motivation worth it

 

 

 

 

Mouth and Music Summer mm

Speakeasy Poetry

Spoken Word at The Ort This was a pre-book launch set by some of the contributors to the Born Free Anthology Restless Bones

Poetry on the Farm – celebrating the end of Jean Atkin’s poet residency by performing in the Old Barn, inspirational day! Setting up Poems for the Farm 10 best

The Event

Performing at The Shakespeare Centre, Stratford Upon Avon as part of the 52 Event 52

The week following this I was fairly exhausted by the 4 day run and 300+ miles of driving on top of some work. I was also writing for submission and Mr G had taken the week off to spend time together in lieu of a holiday. I missed 5 events this week, but had a lovely week with Mr G in the beautiful garden making it even more special.

42 – Dark Fears and Desires Read about it

 

Events Celebrate the World

Ledbury Poetry Festival Ledbury PFLedbury

I also went on a crazy quest to meet my old English Teacher – the one who encouraged me that poetry was where my writing talent lay! He works with Carol-Ann Duffy and she performed at a secret gig in Worcester this month. Read all about the crazy here

The Poetry Army – who I was supposed to perform with at The Artrix, postponed until 2015 due to ticket sales. I was gutted, but will be involved next summer instead, with more confidence and hopefully I will love it all the same. This event was double booked with a wedding invitation we had already accepted, so at least we were both able to attend the wedding. Although I missed performing at The Black Country weekend because of a wedding head the next day!

Antony Owens & Joseph Horgan- Book Launch at the Inspire Bar, Coventry the-year-i-loved-england Reviewed here

Jo Bell and 52 - Picnic/ Performance Event Stratford-Upon-Avon Poetry Festival 52

Poetry Party – my first one and it was wonderful, well worth the journey and a great night spent entertaining each other together. Not to mention some delicious food, thanks to Saleha Begum.

 

The Poet Within Quotes-On-The-Craft-of-Writing-bilo-gde

I lost complete confidence this month, I know again this is a normal status/ state to experience – but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. Losing faith in your ability, in your words is like being trapped in a box with no air. Absolutely terrifying. Fortunately I pulled myself out of the 2 week slump by posting about it and within a few days of enjoying events my thoughts shifted back to believing in the magic.

I have had a crazy 10 months, I am constantly learning and experiencing, opening new doors, facing new challenges. The strength of the writing community keeps me going, people are supportive and always there to offer advice or critique should you want it.

Even my worse writing days are 100 times better than the decade I forgot to pick up the pen.

A month of writing and opportunities.

summer 3 Here’s to AUGUST! bf bd

How has your month been?

Adverts for Events I cannot make

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OXJAM is tonight and tomorrow in Birmingham, a slam to raise money for charity – I had thought I would be away so didn’t sign up, maybe next year. But if you can make it – the line up is amazing and you will definitely get your monies worth in entertainment!

I know all the judges, apart from one and I know you will not be disappointed. If you live anywhere near Birmingham get yourself down there.

oxjam

 

The other event is tomorrow night (it clashes with the slam ^ at the Electric Cinema) is a night celebrating the life of Maya Angelou. It costs £15 and takes place at the wonderful Warehouse Café in Digbeth, Birmingham. It has been organised by  the Shakti Women and will be another fabulous evening.

A tribute to an iconic woman who has enriched women from all walks of life, through her writing, poetry, public speaking and activism. We invite you to celebrate A Night with Maya. There will be live performances, readings and music. Light refreshments provided (a glass of wine on arrival and canapés).
After the event there will be music and dancing.
Tickets are limited, MUST BOOK.

Eventbrite tickets

There is HAPPYHOUR at 2pm today – which means you can book one ticket and take a friend – £7.50 for a night of entertainment and dancing, free wine and canapés (covered in ticket price) sounds like a bargain to me!

Grab a friend and GO!

©womensfundcentralohio.org

©womensfundcentralohio.org

Drummonds 42 – ‘Dark Fears & Desires': Poeting after a 9 Day Break!

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It doesn’t feel like I have had a 9 day break from performing, I have been busy catching up reading back issues of writing magazines -I am now ready for the next one to pop through the post in a couple of days time! I have written lots of poetry and have started to work on a short story, which I hope to finish reworking and editing today (as it is the deadline). I have been busy, although (apart from the reading) I took a break the week Mr G had off – he has been back at work the past 4 days and I have been writing in between household chores and making crumble with our home grown rhubarb, this act itself spawned a new poem about food and cooking.

My creative mind is certainly not on holiday – just as well, Mr G has booked next week off (this time the plan is to start sorting the house, including decorating and building furniture we bought last year) as you can tell we are a bit laid back about it – whatever it looks like – it is home and it has felt like that since we moved in a year ago.

Next week there are a few events and then the following few weeks it all starts to kick in. I am not earning a wage this month as I am not working, just as well because I have the opportunity to get creative and just be. I get to live one life not two, that’s a break by anyone’s measure!

42

Last night was wonderful, a mix of new performers, lots of great tales and poems and Sharon Carr’s storytelling, a very talented Canadian storyteller who you must see if you get a chance. I loved listening to everyone, which was a good job as I was on 2nd from last. Andrew Owens, who hosts the event is entirely fair, sharing opening and closing spots between us all and varying at what point in the evening we read.

I love a themed night and often use the, to create new works, however this week my priority has been the short story I am attempting to complete before deadline (today) and so I consulted my poetry book to find poems to fit the theme.

dark fear People particularly liked ‘Clench’ which was published in Hark Magazine this month, it is more dark desire than fear or desire, but a desire with a different interpretation.

It was great to perform again after a 9 day break, although watching others the nerves kicked in. Mainly because I hadn’t seen the set list and didn’t know if I was going to be on in the 1st half or the 2nd half.

It was lovely to chat to old friends and meet/make new ones. The stage was full of talent and I had a really good night.

I came home just after 11pm and made a crumble with our home-grown gigantic rhubarb and attempted to work on the short story a little.

My next event is probably going to be a Workshop on Sunday.

52 Meet and Perform for the Stratford Poetry Festival

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52 The Event

52 by bernie briggs  © Bernie Briggs 2014

 

Jo Bell – creator of 52 and all round people’s goddess of poetry was this year’s resident poet for the Stratford Festival. She organised the virtual poets of 52 to meet up for a picnic at Hall’s Croft (the house of her residency) on Sunday 20th July, I cannot believe it was just 9 short days ago. Writing this blog post (which won’t look like it), has taken hours and brought all the excitement back to the surface again! Julie Gardener likened it to that strange state when you wake up from an anesthetic, relieved you are alive and a little out of your body and mind.

It was a superb day. The word of 52 has spread across the Midlands well, I had a small part to play in that – and so many local known poets were there – it was great to meet all the other 52ers, although I felt a bit anxious on the day (find me a poet who didn’t!) and didn’t mix as well as I wish I had. There were people I didn’t even get to talk to and some of them regularly comment on the poetry I post. Shame on me. All in the same boat a bit by the time we got to the pub at the end of the day hot, sweaty, sun burnt and thriving on adrenalin  there were 3 different parts of the pub people sat in so mixing with everyone was somewhat challenging – even saying goodbye to Jo at the end of the day was no mean feat as she was wedged between balcony and table – perhaps she was fed up of hugging people by then!

Shall I start at the beginning?

52 raffle  52 Jess Davies Halls croft© Jess Davies 2014

We all met in the gardens at Hall’s Croft for a picnic, Jo had moving speeches to make and treated us all to a poem. Then there was a free raffle, with bountiful journals and poetry/ writing books being gifted and some silly prizes too. I won the little felt penguin who is now sitting quite happily on the book shelves surrounded by all the books I have bought this past 10 months back in my poetry skin (helping the poetry ecology as Jo would say)! 52 picnic 3

Jo had some very special socks made by Liz Williamson, to go with her sock poem 52 photo by Bernie Briggs and during the speeches at certain points Jo sported a colander on her head in honour of Trish Traynor who sports one on her profile picture. Trish couldn’t make the event. Glasses were raised in a toast to absent friends (not dearly departed) just those who couldn’t get to Stratford for this event.52 Liz's magic socks Williamson 52 jo by rachael clyne

Then the mingling began. Excitement grew as our names were put into the colander (there were 54 poets in attendance I think) room to hear 20 of us at The Shakespeare Centre, for the ‘Poetry from 52′ event. Open to the public and many attended who weren’t 52 picnickers. The biggest audience at the centre for the poetry festival apparently.

52 picnic52 picnic452 picnic Hilary52 picnic A52 picnic 5 jess davies52 picnic 3

52 Polly and I52 Jess davies152 Holly Magill, Elizabeth Williamson, Ruth Stacey, Tessa Lowe, Carly Etherington, Julie Gardner, Polly Robinson and Nina Simon

Most of us didn’t even see the names coming out but later on Jo announced them. I couldn’t believe it! I wasn’t lucky enough to win the beautiful journal but I did win a spot for the 52 event.

52 colander of joy52 tess and i The Lucky Dance Tessa Lowe and I performed around it might have helped!

I had only taken 2 short poems to choose from – some 52ers had taken many and there was a flurry of paper and gadgets as people decided what to read. There was also a reserve list of poets. As poets are lovely creatures, we all kept our turns short, avoided hefty introductions and left the stage with enough space for all the reserve list and more – some on the spot (brave) poets performed.

The Shakespeare Centre – 52 Do Stratford

© Sarah Bryson 2014

© Sarah Bryson 2014

It was an amazing hour listening to entertaining and touching poetry, we have spent the year reading it and critiquing it from the safety of a screen but watching the poet’s perform their own words was beyond a powerful experience.

The Poet’s who performed were;

Carly Etherington, Natalie Baron,  John Mícheál Alwyine-Mosely, Sally Evans, Julie Gardner, Ruth Stacey, Nina Lewis, Rachael Clyne, Janice Windle, Carole Bromley, Nicky Phillips, Sue Simms, Simon Williams, Donell Dempsy, Nina Simon, Norman Hadley, Kathy Gee, Bernie Briggs, Tom Sastry and John Lanyon.

52 Carly Etherington 52 Natalie Baron 52 John Mícheál Alwyine-Mosely 52 sally Evans 52 Julie Gardner 52 Ruth Stacey 52 me

52 Rachael Clyne 52 Janice Windle 52 carole bromley 52 nicky phillips 52 sue simms 52 Simon Williams 52 Donall Dempsey

52 Nina Simon 52 Norman Hadley 52 Kathy Gee 52 Bernie Briggs flatpack furniture 52 Tom Sastry 52 John Lanyon

Then we had time for the Poets in Reserve;

Clive Dee, Sarah Watkins, Sarah Bryson, Hilary Robinson,

52 clive dee 52 sarah watkinson 52 sarah Bryson 52 Hilary Robinson

And finally due to no one taking too much time or limelight (egos left melting on picnic rugs), we even had time for some wonderful on the spot poets and I think you can tell they enjoyed a surprise chance of sharing their 52 poetry.

Myfanwy Fox, Susan Taylor,& Tessa Lowe

52 Myfanwy Fox 52 Susan Taylor 52 Tessa Lowe

52 shakespeare centre252 Shakespeare centre52 shakespeare centre 352 shakespeare centre 552 shakespeare centre 4

And the only way to follow that…. a Flash Mob Shakespeare style!

After the event at the centre we all met outside Shakespeare’s Birthplace (next door) for a Flash mob!

52 Hilary Robinson Flash mob

This flash mob was rather Stratford in style, in as far as it was announced and rehearsed! We read Sonnet 18 – another wonderful experience.

And to round off the event we all headed for the Dirty Duck pub down by the river,52 a crocodile of poets by myfanwy for more food, drinks and conversation. I didn’t really want to leave but Mr G had promised to cook a roast dinner and I had visions of mine being eaten too! So, eventually I had to tear myself away.

52 river pubJulie-Boden, Mary-Norton-Gilonne, Bernie-Howley, Roz-Goddard-and-Julie-Gardner

52 hardcore party goers

The 52 website – formerly ONLY for poetry and DEFINITELY not for conversation threads was inundated with euphoric poets singing everyone’s praises and raving about the spectacular day and hardly mentioning sunburn at all!

A joy and honour to be part of such a talented group of poets!

52 Jo bell Many thanks, Jo Bell.

I must mention Jonathan Davidson from Writing West Midlands as he organised the Poetry Festival and made sure events ran smoothly! Great job, Sir and Mary Norton Gilonne, who came across from France to celebrate this special day! WOW! 52ers travelled from all the UK, I was lucky to live so close!

Here for your viewing pleasure is one of the performances.

 

52 Donall Dempsey

 

Donal

Donal Dempsey performing his Proverb poem to the delight of the audience in The Shakespeare Centre.

 

Submissions, Picnics (Poetry ones!), Missed Events and New Ventures

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The Week Off

Mr G took last week off work so we could do some work on the house and garden together and spend some time enjoying ourselves, I don’t think we will be going away on a proper summer holiday, fortunately the weather has been amazing and I won’t moan when it turns overcast as I have a ton of things INSIDE to be getting on with over the summer break.

 

New Work

The good news this week is I have already secured 1 job for the new term, it doesn’t offer many hours but will cover my part of the mortgage payment at least, as far as bills, food shopping, car expenses and spending money go, I will have to pick up a few more days work every week. But having that 1st contract means I won’t end up with a month of no work. September is not a particularly busy month for us.

 

4 Day Run of Events – Picnics (Poetry ones)

At the tail end of the week before I went to Coventry for Antony Owen’s book launch, then Birmingham to promote Restless Bones Poetry Anthology (published and launching in 3 weeks!), then took a drive up to Shropshire to go to Poetry on The Farm – an event organised by Jean Atkin to celebrate the end of her 3 month residency at Acton Scott Farm. Then on the Sunday I had an EPIC day – I have not had time to blog post it yet and I cannot wait to do so. Jo Bell was poet in residence at Hall’s Croft for Stratford-Upon-Avon’s Literature Festival, she also started ’52’, you will remember me posting about it in the New Year, we all met up for a picnic – over 52 of us, she has over 500 members in 52 now. It was an amazing day that involved picnics, raffle prizes, poets, reading 52 poems at The Shakespeare Centre to a festival audience, flash mobbing outside Shakespeare’s Birthplace (a sonnet of course!) and then not getting drunk in The Dirty Duck pub, by the river.

 

Watch Out for the 52 Post

I WILL write about it in a separate post, the Acton Scott post has just taken a couple of hours to write and put together, it is now getting late (past midnight) and I have some ACTUAL writing to do. Look out for the 52 post.

During the next week mainly because I was exhausted from the adrenalin of a 4 day run and also because Mr G had booked time off to be together, I didn’t go to any poetry events.

 

Missed Events

On Monday I missed Shindig in Leicester, I was invited and originally began performance poetry in Leicester in the 90s. I will go another time when I haven’t already covered 100s of miles the previous few days.

Tuesday (and I am still gutted about this) I was very tired and had actually fallen asleep when I should have been hitting the road. I missed Poetry Bites in Birmingham, always a great night, organised and hosted by Jacqui Rowe. Anthony and Joseph were there headlining and promoting ‘The Year I Loved England’, (I had already seen them in Coventry), Matt Windle  was the other headliner, always a pleasure (I am seeing him in Kidderminster in a few weeks) and Sammy Joe, who I have seen before, but it would have been good to see her again, plus all the floor spots, it was a cracking night by all accounts and I missed it.

Friday there was a night write event hosted by Jo Bell as part of the Stratford festival that I would have loved to have parted money for, my concern was staying awake 10pm to 6 am – I have spent months attempting to regulate my sleep, to make sure I am awake during the day and the knock on situation after breaking this pattern would be equivalent to jet lag. The decision was made for me when we went up to the garden in the afternoon and enjoyed some cold, crisp wine. Another year maybe.

Saturday there was a performance in the Stratford that I wanted to see.

Sunday there was Sunday Xpress in Birmingham and Al Barz facilitated a one off Poetry in the Park in Walsall. There was also a showing of ‘Tales of the Tat Man’ David Calcutt’s latest venture in Birmingham at tea time.

Phew! A week of activities and I didn’t manage any of them.

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A week of Work- Gardens – Sun – Gas Men, Shopping, Theatre, Reading & Writing

I was still working at the beginning of the week, we spent some time running errands and whilst I was at work Mr G bravely tackled the back garden, completely transformed by the time I came home. We had a fire that evening and the neighbour sat out with us in the garden, although he went in about 3 hours before we did.

On Tuesday after I had tutored we spent time sunbathing on our new sun loungers in the garden and then watched a box set that we haven’t seen for ages, we managed to get onto the next season.

Midweek, we had the excitement of a house full of Gas Men changing meters and discovering holes we shouldn’t have had! The oven works better and poor Mr G spent the whole time out in the baking sun tidying up the front garden – which now looks amazing! A warm welcome. Again once the house was empty we went to sit outside.

© National Theatre 2014

© National Theatre 2014

In the evening my mum and I went to the Arts Centre to see the National Theatre production of Skylight. I have never watched a theatrical performance on a screen before (wonders of the digital world) but with the cuts to Arts funding this allows people who don’t live in London to see the shows. It was more like watching it live on stage than a cinematic experience would be. I loved it. (And the Arts Centre has Air con.- most places, including our home, don’t – because it is rarely this hot or dry for this length of time in the UK. So that was a real treat!)

I also took a couple of shopping trips for summer clothes and caught up reading my writing magazine, I have been an issue behind pretty much the whole of 2014, one day I read the July issue and then over the weekend read the August issue, freeing my time up to write now for a couple of weeks before the next issue arrives!

I also had submissions to make – one for a project very close to me, I wrote three pieces for that in the end and the other was 3 poems, 1 written especially and the other 2 heavily rewritten to a publication I have previously been rejected from, fingers crossed – we will see.

We discovered a new garden centre and spent an afternoon choosing plants for the garden display. We will be going back there soon.

We have frogs in our pond and the plants are establishing themselves well around it.

We have eaten lovely home-grown salad potatoes and beans, we are waiting on the tomatoes – they won’t be long. We have had strawberries & pak choi already, the cucumbers are growing and we have decided we need to give the allotment up. We have done it for 5 years and it was good when we had no garden of our own, but now we have the house project and a garden that needs constant TLC and I am gallivanting off into the world of words all the time, we just cannot find regular time to go and tend the plot. We never had the right tools, as we were very ‘natural’ harvesters, this meant jobs done in no time with machinery were taking forever with tools not fit for purpose. It has been a big decision, but there is room to grow some stuff in the garden and at least this way there will be less waste.

I had a brilliant time with Mr G, lovely to have the company, much missed today when he went back to work… (although my mum popped in for a catch up), Mr G is off again soon, although the poetry schedule won’t be abandoned next time, we are hoping to make a start on the house.

 

Current Submissions

I am currently working on submissions that have a tight deadline (of a few days) – a one act play/ monologue and a short story. Fingers crossed I planned and mapped out plot/action and characters today. I am hoping to write them tomorrow, edit and redraft/ proof and submit on Wednesday! Not ideal, but having been so far behind on magazine issues, have only just discovered the opportunities.

work

This week I have a Poetry Party tomorrow, Drummonds 42 event on Wednesday (performing), a possible road-trip to Wales, hoping to finish the week off with a workshop.

If the road-trip works out – I will miss OXJAM Slam which is a charity fundraiser (OXFAM) and a night celebrating the life and words of Maya Angelou.

Hope you will understand now why my posts have been infrequent this month – will try harder to regularly post in August as my writing life will be getting very exciting!

 

Happy writing x

 

Poems for the Farm Event – Jean Atkin at Acton Scott Museum

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A Acton 8 Richard Beaumont played us in.

On Saturday 19th July, Jean Atkin organised the Poem for the Farm Event at Acton Scott Farm to mark the end of her residency. I was lucky enough to manage to get to a workshop she facilitated there earlier in the year (June) and was delighted to be invited back to read my farm poems.

If Acton Scott Historic Farm sounds familiar, you may have been watching Victorian Farm, the programme was made there.

The long drive up to Shropshire was worth every minute and the journey wasn’t too bad (considering the summer sunshine disappeared for a day and we had rain and even a storm once we had all settled in the barn) – as I have just mentioned we were all undercover.

Before the event Jean reflected on her residency at the farm, this is what she had to say;

© Lucy Carmel 2014

© Lucy Carmel 2014

‘Just been counting up, nostalgically, how many poems people really did write for Acton Scott Museum during my residency. Which finishes this Saturday with its Last Hurrah, our cream-tea-fuelled Poems for the Farm event. I am actually quite staggered to report that children, adults, indeed poets from all over the place wrote a total of 87 poems since Easter. Some are on The Poetry Fence, some are in the Hut, lots are in blog posts, some were emailed from as far away as Canada, USA, India… This does make me happy.’ A Acton 10

This is Jean’s Poetry Hut before she made it home A Acton 12 Poetry shed and the wonderful inside once Jean had moved in!

© Lucy Carmel 2014

© Lucy Carmel 2014

My own input to this project/ residency started with a short poem on the Poetry Fence, which I performed on Saturday, published on Jean’s Farm website/ blog and displayed on the poetry fence, it was written about this little fella… the half and half pig, hybrid breeds aren’t usually so literally represented. george-and-halfhalf-pig-mr

40 poets came to share or listen to poetry inspired by the farm. It was a great event and we were able to indulge in some of the best cream teas – if you visit, don’t forget to go to the Old School, now a café for a cream tea of your own. We listened to each other’s farm poetry and watched a slideshow of Andrew’s animal shots whilst listening to Jean perform her poems in the dark. It was a really friendly atmosphere and a supportive audience too.

I literally got there just in time and the table of people I knew was already full, there were people I wanted to talk to on that table that I never really had a chance to talk to at length, but it meant that I met more people and Steve Harrison sat with me, he had just won the Ledbury Poetry Slam, pipping Catherine Crosswell to the post, he was very modest about it. It was his first slam, he is a great poet and I am always entertained watching him, he was joking about needing to learn his farm poem (the fence poems were 6 lines maximum) and obviously he had learnt his set for the slam.

Here are some photographs of the event © Jean Atkin & Nadia Kingsley 2014

A Acton 1

Adrian Perks reads: I sink into the hammock by the haystack./ This is the life.

 A Acton 2 Andrew Fusek Peters A Acton 3  A Acton 4 Colin Fletcher reads ‘Thomas Acton’s Winged Collar’.A Acton 5 A Acton 6 Nadia Kingsley reads: ‘He turns his head – a Shakespeare
mask: too large, too monstrous – his body is far, far, far too long, which makes me think, that it is his legs
that are short, all wrong,

  A Acton 9 Steve Harrison (who’s just won the Slam at Ledbury Poetry Festival!) and remembered all his words!reads:
Not plugged into cells,
nor stacked in towers.
Wireless chickens
pecking, preening, 
just solar-powered.

Poems A Acton half-half-pig-mr A Acton poems-for-the-farm-event-004

Here I am reading my two farm poems. The Cart poem has now been published on Jean Atkin’s blog along with Meg Cox’s Farm Poem.

A Acton 7

This shot also shows Andrew‘s very impressive piece of kit, he spent some time in the early hours with Jean taking photos – the animals thought they were being brought breakfast! The barn had an exhibition of photography by Andrew Fusek Peters and Jean’s poetry, they plan to exhibit them around the County – so if you get a chance go and see them, they are beautiful and very inspiring. Andrew is not only a talented writer but shoots fantastic (that doesn’t give it enough justice) photography, a real delight, a master of capturing the exact split second of motion or stillness. He was selling his artwork and I was very tempted, unfortunately I had only taken book money with me. I did manage to buy his book ‘Dip’ that I have been after since I met him at the Wenlock Poetry Festival, back in April. Wishes do come true, keep asking!

When my writing schedule has calmed down (I am currently working on poetry, a monologue and some short stories!) I plan to revisit Andrew’s photography and write some poems of my own. I also have several pages of notes from Jean’s workshop to develop into poems and shots of my own taken on my day at the farm, to create more poetry from.

Other poets involved in this event were; Mike turner – read his son’s poem – Oliver aged 15, Liz Roberts, Helen Paris, Meg Cox, Julia Dean Richards, Jacob, Frank, Peter Holliday, and Paul Francis.

Setting up Poems for the Farm 3

We have all been lucky to know Jean and for her to have involved so many people in her 3 month residency is impressive. Taking poetry to the people on the farm. Poet’s are lucky to be given a residency, it is wonderful when the setting suits the poet as well as it did here. Jean loved her time on the farm and the impact she and her poetry residency have made will continue to linger I am sure.

I will finish the post with a collection of Jean’s photos from the farm and one of the cutest poems written by a visiting child, Huxley aged 3.A Acton poem-charlie-by-huxley

A Acton Lucy on a shire aged 4  A Acton dusty-by-freya-8y

 

A link to A Acton Poet on the farm Jean Atkin’s Farm Poetry Blog and write up of the event here

Restless Bones: Pre- Book Launch Promotion

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Restless Bones is a poetry anthology compiled by Elaine Christie and edited by Jacqui Rowe, featuring four of my poems and lots of my poetry friends too -all talented writers – it is a spectacular collection of work and I can’t wait for the published copies to be in circulation.

Elaine Christie had organised a pre-launch tour around some of the regular poetry events in Birmingham. I had been unable to attend due to work commitments, however on Friday night (along with a tribe of other poets) I managed to make an event in Birmingham.

The 18th July was also another Stanza meeting, I have missed quite a few unfortunately. It was a good one too by the sounds of it, in the end I could probably have managed both as we went on quite late. 1 birm ort1

It was the Spoken Word night at The Ort, a very warm evening Elaine introduced the project and the book, then Tom Wyre, Tessa Lowe, David Barber, myself and Chris Fewings performed some of the poems from the collection.

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Rather excitedly the next time I perform them will be at the REAL book launch!

Of course I will reveal more information about the publication then. You will be able to buy copies a % of sales is donated to the Born Free Foundation Charity.

Poet Cloning

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Seriously – poet cloning – it is a necessary experiment! I have struggled since re-launching my writing career with clashing events. It used to be two things I wanted to go to – nowadays it is double bookings and I really get a lot of negative feelings rising when I come across one.

I have missed the last two months of Stanza (and some before the last meeting I made it to back in May) due to performing at events in Birmingham. This month’s meeting was last Friday and I missed it as I was promoting Restless Bones in Birmingham. As it happens, although it is not customary for poet’s to do so, I could have gone to most of stanza, missed the last few poems and made it across the 20+ mile trip to promote the book as our set was late. I had no idea of the running order of the night or our set of 6 promoting poets before the event so couldn’t have made the decision to do both and to be honest I was mid a 4 day run of poetry events which may have turned into a run of 6 had I not fallen short on energy, so the idea of squeezing 2 events in and being barely present at either didn’t really make sense.

Next month’s Stanza was booked back in June, it is 2 days before my birthday and I have arranged to take cake! Then yesterday I discovered Word Up – which is an open mic event I regularly attend is celebrating a 2nd Birthday on the 15th AND they have Rueben Woolley, Jacqui Rowe AND Sammy Joe as headline acts AND I CAN’T GO!

Then later in the month 21st August I was already booked for a KAF Festival show and then discovered this was the evening of the Restless Bones Book Launch. Argh! There are 7 days in a week – why does everything have to fall short?

 

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Today is my first writing day in a while, I have been scribbling in my notebook over the past week when I was out on the road and have managed to get some material edited and completed. Mr G has taken this 1st week of the summer holidays off though, so I had to get up at 6AM to squeeze in writing time.

I was working on Monday still and yesterday had a private tutoring so today IS my 1st holiday! I am 2 hours in on a Things to Do List…. less than 1/3 through it.

After my busy poeting weekend I was sad to miss poetry events on Monday night and Tuesday but my energy levels are back to normal and I am going to the Theatre tonight, I know if I had gone to Shindig on Monday and Poetry Bites last night I would not make it through the show tonight nor would I have the energy to complete my submissions, next on the To Do list.

Mr G and I have managed to pack lots into the time we have had together so far and we do have the rest of this week to do more. Today my priority is not the garden, or the man, it is writing… there are deadlines…. I need to knuckle down.

My plan now is to go and write, submit and then come back later to update the blog on the wonders of the past couple of poetry days. It has been an EPIC weekend, truly and I cannot wait to share it with you.

 

Happy Writing

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Hanging up the bunting for ‘Poems for the Farm’…

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neenslewy:

This is where I am today. Looking forward to it.

Originally posted on Poet on the Farm :

The New Barn is all ready for tomorrow’s final event!

The New Barn at Acton ScottAndrew Fusek Peters appeared with a huge box of photographs, and I set out my poems on boards next to them to make a preview of our exhibition ‘Luck’s Weight’, inspired by the Farm.

Setting up Poems for the Farm 10 best

Setting up our Exhibition: ‘Luck’s Weight’.

Setting up Poems for the Farm 4

Setting up our Exhibition: ‘Luck’s Weight’.

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Setting up our Exhibition: ‘Luck’s Weight’.

The cream teas are ordered: home-made scones, and strawberry jam made from strawberries ‘scuffled’ here on the Farm by none other than Dusty the donkey with his little harrow.

And I have a long list of 20 readers, each of whom has visited the Farm, actually or virtually, and written a poem for this special place.  Over 50 people tell me they’re coming!  I’m hugely looking forward to welcoming them.

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Book Launch: The Year I Loved England By Antony Owens & Joseph Horgan

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© 2014 meco

© 2014 meco

I had a great night in Coventry last night (Thursday 17th) at the book launch of ‘The Year I Loved England’. I had been looking forward to it for some time and have seen Antony a few times reading poems from the collection, I almost pre-ordered my copy.

The venue was perfect, the night was balmy (hot), the crowd were attentive and all the poets were fabulous. I have been to a fair few book launches and this one was really an uplifting experience, or maybe that has to do with where I am at the moment, my recent post about dips and writing and all, this evening was perfect for lifting me out of that mire.

I had never been to Coventry so my adventure started before hitting the motorway. The Inspire Café was a great venue – with plenty of outside seating and a few pews inside – as well as huge Church windows. inspire

Joseph and Antony started collaborating after a twinning scheme with poets in Cork, Ireland. This book has been a 2 year project, Antony wanted us to all know it hadn’t just happened overnight. It is published by Pighog Press and is an amazing collection of thought provoking and sometimes raw, poetry. The thing that I was touched by was this, unlike many other poets who collaborate Joseph and Antony have decided not to name the poems, as you read you can only speculate if you are reading Owen or Horgan.

Another lovely touch of the evening was watching Antony’s pleasure in supporting other poets, the evening was a true celebration of talent.

© 2014 Antony Owens

© 2014 Antony Owens

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© 2014 Joseph Horgan

There were many people involved in this lovely launch and I took great pleasure watching the faces of Antony’s family members enjoying the night as well as the publisher and fellow poets and some people who hadn’t had anything to do with poetry since Junior School – as Antony said ‘Poetry for the people’.

The night started with the stage being warmed up by the talent of Adam Steiner of Silhouette Press, Mal Dewhirst who was a Stafford Poet Laureate and Janet Smith, who I had seen perform before. Each poet delivered a feast of words and I particularly enjoyed the music world Mal took us too.

Then the main event – the book launch – but not just Antony & Joseph – No – the book is about England and there are a rich mix of accents and cultures in our country – this was demonstrated by other poets performing some of the works from the collection. Personally I think there is something very special in giving your words to someone else – hearing them from another mouth and I hope Antony and Joseph enjoyed it as much as we did.

Barry Patterson, a poet from the North East, played the tin flute (an antique one, no less) and read PADDIES and THE SUBJECTS, Leanne Bridgewater read VANISH and CANDY CANE, Saleha Begum read I THINK OF ALL THE MOONS I HAVE SEEN which was a tribute to Malala Yousafzai who was shot by the Taliban for continuing her educational rights in Pakistan.

You cannot fail to be moved by this collection and if you grew up anywhere in the UK I urge you to treat yourself to a copy! Spend the whole summer reading it!

 

The Year I Loved England – in the words of others;

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***THE YEAR I LOVED ENGLAND***

The product of a highly successful collaboration, this anthology voices the experience of living in the rapidly changing urban landscape of 21st Century Britain. The poems explore changing attitudes and identities attributed to immigration, conflict, loss, unemployment.

The pages of the book loosely represent the house numbers of a street where people of different ages and different backgrounds co-exist with each other. The poems range across a timespan from an industrial Britain in the shadow of the Second World War through to the modern day.

Approximately half of all the poems have already featured in highly respected literary magazines including The Echo Room, The Stinging Fly, Abridged, The Meadowland Review, Ink Sweat & Tears, Brick, Ancient Heart, Turbulence Kumquat, Poetry Nottingham International, Weary Blues, The Stony Thursday Book, The Lake, L’Allure des Mots plus many more.

PRAISE FOR THE YEAR I LOVED ENGLAND

‘Strong and moving and real. The Year I Loved England has a Jack Kerouac feel of beat beauty.’

FRED VOSS

“The objectives I wrote down whilst reading ‘The Year I Loved England': evocative, poignant, surprising, funny, questioning and relevant. The wonderful economy of words remind me of poetry as condensed literature. Great stuff.”

HORACE PANTER (aged ska legend,)

“This poetry expresses poignantly the emotions that I at times find difficult to articulate. The words pierced my soul and brought back the images, emotions and feelings of those days in August 2011 when Britain burnt.”

TARIQ JAHAN

The Year I Loved England exemplifies the recently rediscovered tendency toward collaboration in contemporary poetic practice. For its authors’ sensibilities fuse and mesh in felicitous synergy, interweaving like helixes in which we find coded not only a most articulate rage but also a dark playfulness, white-hot anger tempered by a delicate lyric touch. In these thrilling poems –unflinchingly bleak but unfailingly alive- a city is manufactured from flames, freedom is figured in a job application and beauty resides in a two-tone urban morning. Horgan and Owen indict England for unforgivable failures both foreign and domestic while hinting at a country that might yet be. This is work marked by fury and frustration but also by a stubborn and beleaguered love.

BILLY RAMSELL

This powerful collection offers a vision of the middle of England. This is in direct contrast to the Middle England the mainstream political parties and media have made so much noise about for a generation. “My city lost its voice today,” goes a line in Coventry Street. Joseph Horgan and Antony Owen’s poems seek to regain that voice in some sense: a voice that is layered, elegiac, plural, and clear-sighted about the pain that much of this country is forced to endure while others look on.
There is much pain in these poems, and a desire to escape from that pain, “people in the sky are falling up” says the opening poem Address, which turns a midlands street into a Chagall dreamscape. “Tonight I’ll walk you home to the sky…wish upon stars of a 747” says The Dreamer of Samuel Vale House.

For all the dreams of weightlessness, though, “anchors to childhood are heavy/sometimes they drown us” explains the The Little Things Destroy Us. And so they do. And the big things too – economic catastrophe, family history, race, migration, war, the accidents of geography – as these poems show us. The childhood anchors in question come from the 1980s, the decade in which much of the West Midlands, and the rest of the country’s industrial areas, were turned to ruin. Thatcher appears once, she glides “by in a Daimler”, a car made, of course, in the Coventry she attempts to destroy. But the roots are deep, Churchill is here also, an architect of a “city made by flames”; “what will you weave for Dresden from Coventry’s stone elbows?” asks the poem Fat Man. These are voices of England aligned with the powerless on all fronts.
 

In the beautiful title poem, “…a man left the house/and returned unmade from the smokeless factory.”From Samuel Vale House today we watch, “bored kids re-open the factory/admire their work where there is none.” This loss is the anchor which drowns people in these poems, the landscape too, “hills had their backs broken” explains Ghost Town, a poem that echoes The Specials’ lament, and, with its haiku stanzas, references the Coventry Nissan plant, and a new economic world order. And yet the drowned voices are here. We hear them throughout this collection, which is one of the reasons it is important, The Dreamer of Samuel Vale House or the narrator who tells us “at the back of my house there are wild dogs” in Compline. This voice also tells us “I’ll wait for partisans”, and it is in this sense of defiance and endurance that some hint of redemption comes. “I still have hope between my teeth,” we are told in Place.
The Year I Loved England is rooted in place. The damaged terrain and the battered emotions become one, “a map of everything there’s ever been” says The Curve of Chaos. This moving collection also offers some answers to its own complex, layered question, “Where is here anyway?”, with answers that are both sensitive and vivid, in the voices of an England that it seems too many people have decided is too hard to love.

ANTHONY CARTWRIGHT.

I am now a proud owner of a signed copy, complete with Limited edition postcards featuring urban photography by Rangzeb Hussain. Who has spent some time photographing Birmingham.

The year I loved England by Joseph Horgan & Antony Owen (Pighog Press Publishing)the-year-i-loved-england

the year I loved © 2014 Rangzeb Hussain

You too can buy a copy of The Year I Loved England by following this link to the press Pighog