June – Review of the Month

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June – what a busy month,  brimming with challenges, competition, festivals and longer term projects, as well as taking stock half way through the year.

My MOOC course How Writers Write Poetry with the University of Iowa finished and I enjoyed an incredibly busy month of performing, writing and getting published. The sparkly, golden bits most people get to see instead of being aware of all the hard work and ground work that caused the success in the first place! CN-1780-logo-uofiowa

WEEK 1

  • Voting closed for Worcestershire’s Poet Laureate poems. I reached the final along with 5 other talented poets.
  • I did a workshop with David Calcutt and the Caldmore Garden Poets, they were scheduled to perform a group poem at the carnival day on the 13th, which I couldn’t attend as I was working the final Writing Group for Writing West Midlands. Due to the weather this performance has been rescheduled and I can now take part on the 21st July!
  • A recent poem of mine from the workshop where e.e. cummings was our starting point – ‘Late Spring’ has been published on David’s blog you can read other poems there too. http://naturalhistoriesblog.com/others-writing/
  • My term ‘poeting’ coined last year is becoming widely used by many poets! Hoping to get it into OED next year!
  • Jess Davies had her opening night of a new spoken word event in Stirchley at the P Café, it was packed and well attended. Stirchley Speaks – and it certainly did!
  • Scary Canary hosted another Permission to Speak, Rob Francis’s fantastic night – NOW FREE!! This month saw Brenda Read-Brown and PTR Williams headline.
  • I went to Debbie Aldous’s Spoken Word at The Ort and shared a lovely meal and some Tennis with Tessa Lowe beforehand.
  • I spent a very enjoyable Sunday afternoon at Cannon Hill Park, The Mac (Birmingham) with a collective of poets – we took over the storytelling tent whilst they all went for lunch and performed to some greatly enthusiastic children. We are also hoping to get some of our poems hung on trees down by the lake, later this year. We had a special guided tour to this secret location. MAC With Frankie Ryan, Tony Fox, Syrac Citam, Timothy Scotson, Callum Bate and Nina Lewis at Cannon Hill Park.

© Jasmine Gardosi 2015

All of these events can be read in further detail in my Poetry Wrap post. Enjoy!

Poetry Wrap 5 (A Brief Introduction on Exhaustion)

 

WEEK 2

  • The 2nd week of June saw a performance at HOWL and a great packed night of poetry, hosted by Leon Priestnall. Fantastic headliners and I met two poets who I have only seen around and never spoken to before, Luci Hammans and Sipho Eric Dubepart, A.K.A ‘Unhindered Reign’ – one of three headliners, the others being Glyn Phillips and Jess Davies. I met with Sipho a week later at workshop with Candy Royalle.

I spent most of this week on tender hooks and full of nerves and butterflies as it was the WPL final and the Launch of this year’s Worcester Lit Fest. I spent most of the week preparing for it and missed some previous diary entries for open mics due to energy levels, it was a full on week of work, work for me too.

  • Friday 12th June was the Poet Laureate Finals, the winner this year was Heather Wastie.

WLF Heather WPL

Heather receiving her engraved award with Maggie Doyle at Worcester’s SpeakEasy Lit Fest Special.

© WLF Team 2015

Suz Winspear was the runner up and I came in 3rd position.  WPL

© Betti Moretti 2015

Read all about the experience here WLF 2015 The Launch & Poet Laureate Final even typing this has my heart set on edge again!

  • The WLF took over my life for the next 10 days, this week I saw Ben Parker, Todd Swift and Chloe Clarke (Young Poet Laureate) performing at the Royal Porcelain Museum, where Ben has just finished his residency and Todd is taking over.

BP Chloe Chloe

BP Dr Todd Swift Todd

BP Ben Ben

© WLF Team 2015

It was a super night of poetry. I treated myself to Ben’s collection, I love his work. Ben Parker From Porcelein

  • I had my final session at The Hive as Assistant Writer to Ian MacLeod, from September I take over the senior writing group as Lead Writer for Writing West Midlands. We invited the parents to come and take part with the end of the session, it was great fun!

 

WEEK 3  

  • The week started well with news that my poem ‘Beyond Gas Street Basin’ is to be published in an upcoming anthology of city poems called ‘Birmingham Bound’. It was a poem I was commissioned to write last year by Naked Lungs for Birmingham Literature Festival. I am delighted to be in a book all about Birmingham as it is a city that has opened it’s poetry doors for me since the tail end of 2013.
  • WLF continued and I had the delight of watching John Hegley at Confab Cabaret, Malvern. A SELL OUT Fringe event.
  • WLF I performed at the 42 WLF Special and met Adam Millard for the first time.
  • WLF I performed at WLF SpeakEasy Special and thoroughly enjoyed Brenda Read-Brown‘s set.
  • WLF I watched the Offa Press Poets, Bert Flitcroft & David Bingham at the Institute before seeing Jonny Fluffypunk return from his Austerity March experience in London to perform for us again. A highlight for me.
  • WLF Bert and Jonny joined us on the Summer Solstice Walk up the River Severn, where we all performed poetry at locations along the walk. A super, magical experience.
  • I was asked to perform at a fundraiser next month for Arts All Over the Place.
  • I attended a workshop with Candy Royalle, the international act at this month’s HTO (Hit the Ode) – which I missed as I was performing at the WLF Special SpeakEasy. It was amazing, she is a forceful spirit, driven and dazzling in her buoyant enthusiasm. Great to meet her, gutted I missed her set. I created 3 poems, in the 3 hours as well as picking up some great performance tips. Mainly driving home some things I already know. It was lovely to work alongside friends too!
  • I was invited to be a featured poet, but was unable to accept as I will be at Ledbury Poetry Festival, I am hoping this booking may happen later this year instead. Something else to look forward to!

Read about these events on fine detail here Poetry Wrap 6 & WLF – Worcester Lit Fest & Fringe 2015 – A Wrap! which includes links to individual WLF posts I created throughout the festival.

 

Week 4

  • I had 2 writing days at the beginning of the week, it has been a while since I have been able to dedicate time to actually writing. I did a lot of market research too and drew up a list of submissions to hit before the end of the month – as I realise I have hardly sent any work out there this year.
  • I took part in an open mic as part of my town’s current Festival.
  • I went to the Two Towers Brewery to perform as part of Debbie Aldous’s new night Spoken Word and More.
  • Droitwich Summer Festival invited 9 performers to entertain with poetry and music at a magical Live Lit event hosted at Park’s Café and organised by Malcolm Wakeman and MC-ed by Fergus McGonigal (everything he touches, turns to gold)! Performers included;

Fergus McGonnigall (previous Worcestershire’s poet laureate) & MC

Heather Wastie (Worcestershire Poet Laureate )

Jenny Hope

Math Jones

Mike Alma

Bridget & Malcolm Wakeman

John & Pauline Franks

Nina Lewis

Polly Robinson

Ruth Stacey

Holly Magill

Sarah James (runs the Poetry Society’s Worcestershire Stanza) & Val.

It was lovely to go for a meal with people afterwards too and chat away the night. I finally got to bed at 2:30 a.m after I had worked off the adrenalin! I have been looking forward to this event since Sarah James launched her new book The Magnetic Diaries, KFS Press. Since then she has had Hearth published, a collaborative book (Mother Milk Books) and is about to have PlentyFish – her new collection published with Nine Arches Press.

  • New opportunities for training presented themselves and I was fortunate to be online at the time. Looking forward to telling you all about this latest venture in September.
  • I also continued work on my own collection.
  • I had a poem published on Visual Verse – ‘Shame in the City’.
  • News of the 52 ANTHOLOGY published by Nine Arches Press – Out soon!
  • I performed at Sunday Xpress just before coming home to pack my suitcase! They have found a new home at The edge Artspace, Foundation Arts, a great venue in Digbeth. The room was as crowded as outside (it was a hot day – the beginning of this heat-wave, just in time for my holiday! Loved performing this afternoon, it is the first time I have felt this great after Sunday Xpress, fabulous venue, great people, new faces, abundant talent – just a marvellous mix. Unfortunately I missed the bands this time as I have to make some submissions and pack a suitcase. I will be back over there over the summer though. Fabulous success, deserved after years in the pubs of Digbeth. (There are some gems of bars in Digbeth, just noisy and full of local life that is great for a pint but not so accommodating for a poem!)

All this and more can be found in Poetry Wrap 7

inkspill holidayAnd now I am going on holiday for a much deserved rest!

 

THE WRITE YEAR WILL BE UPDATED ON MY RETURN

Poetry Wrap 7

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This week I have mainly been researching markets, which takes so long – but is a habit I need to get back into.

I also logged my writing days and have discovered that I have had less than a month so far this year and that 40% of that time was dedicated to workshops, everything I have managed has been across just over 2 weeks, so instead of feeling frustrated and beating myself up over delaying schedules and losing out on opportunities, I am now proud of everything I have managed to accomplish in such a small window of time.

This year has been strange, I have worked more and Mr G was working away for 3 months so weekends were our only time together, there have been patches of no writing at all and certainly a lack of submissions. I am still pushing, working hard and succeeding though and do not wish to moan over lost time knowing that plenty of writers out there still work full time and have to squeeze time at the keys into evenings and early morning sessions.

I needed to see it – track the data – to find out what was happening as these feelings are new to me. Having spent the best part of 2 years on an ultimate high! Now I have seen what has gone on I can plan to turn it around in the next 6 months. Nothing like a Midsummer to take stock! writing space 2 mote carlo This is not my writing space or view, it is the view of someone I completed the University of Iowa poetry course I did last month. Lucky, hey? It captures how I feel post-analysis.

This week I had just one gig in the week and a whole weekend of performing;

There is a month long festival in my hometown which tends to lean towards classical and choral music more than anything else, but there was one open mic/ acoustic event on Wednesday (also my eldest nephew’s birthday… he reaches double figures)! I went down to check it out and perform.

Friday night was Debbie Aldous’s new night in Birmingham at the Two Towers Brewery, where everyone performs in  open mic spots.

two towers

Spoken Word and More… and there was plenty of ‘more‘. Lots of stand up, singing, musicians – including a medieval harpist and a Polish Violinist – who was the exceptional opener for the night. As well as storytelling and poetry. It was a challenging gig, not an audience who particularly focussed on poetry.

The micro brewery, warehouse setting was interesting and so was my re-calculated sat nav journey. It took about twice the time it should have to get there. An entertaining night that was worth the late night and all performers received beer tokens and a chocolate roll!

Zuzana Klementova harp Zuzana Klementova me Zuzana Klementova tom Zuzana Klementova1 Jo © Zuzana Klementova 2015

It was also Rage Against Racism this weekend down at the Custard Factory – mainly musical acts, with chosen poets performing on Saturday night. I had already been booked for Droitwich Festival so didn’t apply. I wasn’t able to go and support the gig as I was at my own, but Rangzeb took some amazing photos and Ddotti Bluebell has commented on how great the night was. I think it is an important cause – so even though I wasn’t there – here is a flavour of the evening;

Thank you to all the poets who came last night to support such a great cause & the poetry was truly thought provoking & emotional. As Rangzeb Rango said it diluted the poison of racism & expressed a special unity of people through art…. Big Up the Word Up! Crew . © Ddotti Bluebell 2015

All excellent poets and performers.

RAVE

Left to Right: Ddotti, Jasmine, Kamil, Antony, Carys, Sammy, Kurly

RAVE 8 Kamil

RAVE 1

rave 6 Kurly

Rave 4 Ddotti

Rave 3 Stephen

RAVE 2 Carys

Rave 7 Jasmine

Rave 5 Sammy

Live Lit at Park’s Café as of Droitwich Festival Arts Week was a fantastic event and I felt privileged to be a part of it.

Live Lit, featured 9 poets and we each had 10 minute performance slots – a great way to practise for the QC Compere Tour on the 10th July (ever closer)! It was a great night of poetry and fun with friends. Performers included;

• Fergus McGonnigall (previous Worcestershire’s poet laureate) & MC
• Heather Wastie (Worcestershire Poet Laureate )
• Jenny Hope
• Math Jones
• Mike Alma
• Bridget & Malcolm Wakeman
• John & Pauline Franks
• Nina Lewis
• Polly Robinson
• Ruth Stacey
• Sarah James (runs the Poetry Society’s Worcestershire Stanza)

A great night organised by Malcolm Wakeman.

Snippets of reviews for the night;

A Fantastic success – well done Fergus, Malcolm and all of the performers. Angela says it was the best so far! – Peter Hawkins
A big thank you to everyone who took part. A most enjoyable evening. Malcolm Wakeman
Lovely evening — will look forward to doing it all again with good friends. Polly Robinson
Start to finish – poetry, music and prose – a lovely way to spend a Saturday evening, in the company of some very special people. Thanks everyone for another Droitwich ‘Special’. Mike Alma
I think we are all looking forward to next year’s already!

Followed by a great meal at a local restaurant where we had plenty of time to chat and laugh – and eat! I love a Poet Social – we don’t organise them nearly enough! I will plan an after party for my future book launch!

Today I am headed out to Digbeth to check out the new venue for Sunday Xpress, at The Edge – Foundation Arts space – which was a magical venue and for the first time performers who are not musicians were really listened to! I much prefer it at this new venue, I tried to support them as much as I was able in the past, usually Sunday is an allocated home/rest day… now though – being at Sunday Xpress makes me feel on top of the world, so I hope to be back soon to share in everyone’s artistic talent! Lots of new faces too, so that’s a bonus for them.

Now we have had a take-away tea (Mr G isn’t coming away with me on the 1st holiday I have in 2 years, so we wanted to do something special. I had hoped to spend the evening together, it is already 9pm and I still have to submit poetry and pack my suitcase. I am very excited about going away – especially during term time – it’s the first time in 17 years I am able to do that!

My week off from blogging will give you time to catch up with all the posts.

But before I go… in other news…

PUBLISHED

Talking of submissions and projects there are two more exciting pieces of news I need to share in this week’s wrap. After my research at the beginning of the week I found a new creative outlet in Visual Verse, they post an artists work and you have an hour to write about it and post your poetry. I love creating this way and can often be found musing over some image waiting for visual verse of my own to appear, the wait is never long. They published my poem, it is a pleasure to have poetry displayed alongside such great company, the chapter is a great read, treat yourself to some coffee time!

http://visualverse.org/submissions/shame-in-the-city/

Here is the link to read the chapter of verse for yourselves, I performed ‘Shame in the City’ last night for the first time, good reactions. We have all been there on one side of the line or the other, I think!

http://visualverse.org/

52 – THE BOOK!

The second exciting piece of news is that the 52 Anthology has made it to press, cannot wait to pick my copy up in Stratford in July. It is £7.99 and will be a great read, guarantee it. This is the result of Jo Bell’s 52 project in 2014. Published by Nine Arches Press, a labour of love which should sell really well. On the back of the hundreds, thousands of people who have been touched by 52, Jo Bell’s recently launched ‘Kith’ is already on it’s 2nd publication run! I have a feeling her last collection ‘Navigation’ had a second run of copies pre-52 as well. It could just be the magic of Jo Bell and the weight in her words of course! Poetry Goddess to many people.

52 the book

http://ninearchespress.com/publications/poetry-collections/the%20very%20best%20of%2052.html

Various Authors

Chosen by Jonathan Davidson, with foreword by Jo Bell and Norman Hadley

ISBN: 978-0-9931201-7-6

Price £7.99

Date: 14th July 2015

Format: Paperback

Jo Bell’s 52 project started with a simple idea: Write a poem a week. Start now. Keep going. In the 52 weeks that followed, this global workshop group became a phenomenon. Hundreds of poets took up the challenge and their poems swept the board of poetry prizes, publications and personal successes. Thousands of poems were written and shared. This selection by poet Jonathan Davidson offers a taster from the poetry banquet of 52.

“Poetry changes lives, both in the reading and the writing. The 52 project brought together well-established poets with rising names, and generated world-class work. We wrote a poem a week – enjoy reading them, one week at a time.” – Jo Bell, founder of 52.

notebooks

Have a good week everyone and

keep writing x

WLF – Worcester Lit Fest & Fringe 2015 – A Wrap!

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WLF&F logo concepts

Worcester Lit Fest 2015 has been an awesome 10 day festival! I loved it even more than last year, as last year was my first WLF I was boundless in energy and enthusiasm – so to say I have enjoyed this year even more is a BIG thing!

The programme had a great combination of events, some of which I was lucky enough to attend, others I participated in and a few I missed completely due to work and the fact that I live away from the city and don’t have unlimited funds!

 

DAY 1

As you know, as I was a finalist, the launch night was also a night of awards and celebration, for young writers, students of the university, Flash Fiction Competitors and the six poets brave enough to compete for the Poet Laureate position 2015/16.

This link takes you to my post:

WLF 2015 The Launch & Poet Laureate Final

WLF PL

The Launch Of The Festival – Poet Laureate Competition
And Young Writers’ Awards
The Guildhall, High Street, Worcester WR1 2EY
Friday 12 June – 18:30 for a 19:00 start
Join us for the launch of the Festival and watch 6 poets go head to head as
they compete for the title of Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2015.
Judges include: current Worcestershire Poet Laureate Fergus McGonigal,
Poet Laureate Emeritus Maggie Doyle, County Arts Officer Steve Wilson,
Young Poet Laureate Chloe Clarke and the Secretary of LitFest.
To open the event, we will present the prizes for the Young Writer
competition and the winners of the Flash Fiction competition will be
announced.

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

Day 2

There was lots of activity on Day 2, most of which I missed as I was working for Writing West Midlands.

A wonderful workshop by Alison May – who has a new book out – details COMING SOON. We weren’t in the same library or I would have attempted to pop in.

Writing Workshop With Alison May
From Idea To Draft–
–Developing Character And Plot To Make Your Novel Work
St John’s Library, Glebe Close, St John’s, Worcester WR2 5AX
Saturday 13 June 13:45-15:45

Award-winning writer, Alison May, is a Worcester-based novelist and short
story writer. She ran a popular series of workshops for LitFest last year and returns this year for a workshop on Using Character and Plot to develop
your novel. The workshop is aimed at anyone who is working on a novel, or
has a strong idea for a novel they would like to write.
Alison’s debut novel, ‘Sweet Nothing’ was published by Choc Lit in
November 2013, followed by her first novella, ‘Holly’s Christmas Kiss’, in
December 2013 and a second novella ‘Cora’s Christmas Kiss’ in 2014. Her
short stories have appeared in Romantic Novelists’ Association, Harlequin,
Choc Lit and Black Pear Press anthologies, and she is former winner of the
RNA’s Elizabeth Goudge Trophy. Her fourth book, ‘Midsummer Dreams’,
was released this spring.  www.alison-may.co.uk

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

I was fortunate enough to attend the evening event at Royal Worcester Porcelain Museum. Here is the link to my blogpost Poetry Wrap 6 scroll to the end of the wrap to find out about my night at the museum.BP Royal Worc

‘A Night At The Museum’
Ben Parker & Todd Swift – Poetry Book Launch
The Museum of Royal Worcester, Severn Street, Worcester WR1 2ND
Saturday 13 June – 19:00 for a 19:30 start
 Ben Parker From Porcelein
This book launch marks the conclusion of Ben Parker’s tenure as poet-in
residence at The Museum of Royal Worcester. Ben Parker will be reading
from a collection of poems produced during his residency, which will be
available for purchase for the first time. This event also marks the beginning
of Todd Swift’s residency at The Museum, and Todd will be reading from
his highly acclaimed poetry.
Ben’s poetry has appeared in a number of magazines, including The White
Review, Under the Radar and Oxford Poetry, as well as Lung Jazz: Young
British Poets for Oxfam. His debut pamphlet, The Escape Artists, was
published by tall-lighthouse in October 2012 and shortlisted for the 2013
Michael Marks Award.

Todd is a British-Canadian poet, publisher, critic and editor. He is the editor
of numerous anthologies; and has published eight full poetry collections. His
poems have appeared widely, including in Poetry Review, and Poetry
(Chicago). In 2004 Todd was the Oxfam Poet-in-residence. He blogs at
Eyewear and runs the indie press Eyewear Publishing. Todd’s PhD in Creative
and Critical Writing is from The University of East Anglia (UEA). He was
born in Montreal, Quebec.

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

 

Day 3

Our Illustrious Crime Panel
St John’s Library, Glebe Close, St John’s, Worcester WR2 5AX
Sunday 14 June 18:00-20:00

Cally Taylor
“I know your name’s not really Jane Hughes…” (‘The Lie’ C.L. Taylor)
Cally Taylor loves a dark, twisted tale. She lives in Bristol with her partner
and young son. Born in Worcester, she studied for a degree in Psychology at
the University of Northumbria then moved to London to work in medical
publishing.

Cally worked as a graphic designer, web developer and
instructional designer over the course of 13 years and now writes full time.
Her first psychological thriller ‘The Accident’ has sold over 150,000 copies
in the UK alone and was one of the top 10 debut bestsellers of 2014
according to The Bookseller. She credits Roald Dahl’s ‘Tales of the
Unexpected’ for her love of dark tales.
“Claustrophobic, tense and thrilling, a thrill-ride of a novel that keeps
you guessing.”
Elizabeth Haynes
“An enjoyable rollercoaster of a suspense novel with multiple twists.”

Daily  Mail
“This dark and creepy book is a must read.”
The Sun
Sarah Hilary
Sarah Hilary has worked as a bookseller, and with the Royal Navy. Her
debut novel, ‘Someone Else’s Skin’ was the Observer’s Book of the Month
(“superbly disturbing”), a Richard & Judy Book Club bestseller, and has
been published worldwide. ‘No Other Darkness’, the second in the Marnie
Rome series, is out in 2015. The series is being developed for television by
the BBC.
“Impressive”
Times

“Stunning”
Mark Billingham

“An extraordinarily good debut”
Observer

Alex Marwood
Alex Marwood is the pseudonym of Serena Mackesy, a journalist who has
worked extensively across the British press. Her first book, ‘The Wicked
Girls’, was a word-of-mouth sensation, won the prestigious Edgar Award
for Best Paperback Original in 2014, and was nominated for an
International Thriller Writers Award in 2013. Alex lives in south London.

“A modern-day ‘Rebecca’, mixed with a suspense-filled Gothic novel and
served up with generous helping of wit – a real treat.”
Associated Press
“Fresh, sparky, funny and sadly poignant.”
The Big Issue

“Brilliantly observed … a gripping read.”
The Times

Clare Mackintosh
Clare Mackintosh is an author, feature writer and columnist. She has
written for The Guardian, Sainsbury’s Magazine, and many other
national publications, and is a columnist for Cotswold Life and Writing
Magazine.

Clare spent 12 years in the police, including time on CID, in custody and as a public order commander. Her debut novel ‘I Let You Go’ is a tense, emotionally compelling psychological thriller perfect for readers of ‘Gone Girl’ and ‘The Girl on the Train’.
“A terrific, compelling read with an astonishing twist that floored me. I
loved it and did not want it to end” ‘
Peter James
“A hugely assured and gripping debut and a twist that made me green
with envy”
Mark Billingham
“Absorbing, authentic and deeply unsettling: a stellar achievement, and
so deliciously clever”
Elizabeth Haynes
Following the Romantic Novelists’ Panel last year, this year we go into a
world of darkness and psychological chills and thrills from four crime
writers who look like butter wouldn’t melt…

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

This event was well attended and received lots of rave reviews. It is one I would have liked to attend and a real bargain for a whole panel of experts. Shame I am human and had to pace myself!

Day 4

‘Sport and Spice’
Chris & Teresa Green    Anita Sharma-James
Bindles upper room, 55 Sidbury, Worcester WR1 2HU
Monday 15 June – 19:00 for a 19:30 start
Get sporty and spice up your life! Award-winning author and broadcaster
Chris Green accompanies his wife and business partner Teresa – one of the
first women sports editors in the UK. Teresa’s roles have included sports
editor at the Bromsgrove Advertiser, assistant editor at the Kidderminster
Shuttle and sports reporter/sub editor at the Sunday Mercury. Chris is the
author of five highly acclaimed sports books, including ‘Every Boy’s Dream
– England’s Football Future on the Line’, which was nominated for the
2010 British Sports Book of the Year.
Anita will give a live Indian cookery demonstration. Our fabulous local
expert will invite you to enjoy a mouth-watering Indian finger buffet made
to her authentic recipes from her wonderful cookery book ‘A Life of Spice:
Raksha’s Story’.

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

I saw Anita Sharma-James at an event in my hometown a few years ago and only have interest in tennis and world cup football! This was a SELL OUT event though, they had to turn people away.

Meanwhile I was over the hills at another SELL OUT event with John Hegley and the Confab Cabaret team, who provided the FRINGE part of the Festival (Geographically) – definitely not with the billing or event – it was one of my festival highlights. CONFAB j2 Myfanwy Fox © 2015

John Hegley at Confab Cabaret – WLF & Fringe

Festival Fringe Events with ‘ConFab Cabaret’
John Hegley
John Hegley – ConFab Cabaret Special
Monday 15th June 20.00-22.30 (Doors Open 19.30)
Tickets £10 online (address below) or £12 on the door
A fun packed variety night with lashings of Spoken Word.
John Hegley will be headlining an extra-special ConFab
Cabaret. John performed on the streets of London in the early eighties,
fronting the Popticians, with whom he also recorded two sessions for John
Peel, and has since been a frequent performer of his words, sung and
spoken, on both local and national radio and television.
Tip top support will be provided by luscious lovely local Malvern muses –
Adrian Mealing, Amy Rainbow, Catherine Crosswell, Clive Dee, Myfanwy
Fox and Sue Thompson. With a fabulous audience poem and
added merriment from international circus performer Steve Kaos!

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

 

Day 5

John Hegley did a workshop – which I missed because I was working and also because I am seeing him again in Ludlow and have booked the workshop there as it is on the same day as the event.

It would have been great fun – what I heard was all fabulous but I had asked people NOT TO TELL ME ANYTHING about it as he may repeat the same ideas in Ludlow.

I had Tuesday off from the festival, I was working and trying to write some new material and work on my editing too.

CONFAB J Myfanwy Fox © 2015

John Hegley – Workshop
Tuesday 16th June 10:00-12:00 (Doors Open 09:45)
Tickets £12.50 in advance online (address below)
After a night of ConFab Cabaret jollity, John will be up bright and early
delivering a 2 hour workshop.
This will be an opportunity to work closely with Mr Hegley using drawing,
poetry and gesture. John has produced ten books of verse and prose pieces,
two CD’s and one mug. An Edinburgh Festival regular, he is noted for his
exploration of such diverse topics as dog hair, potatoes, handkerchiefs and
the misery of human existence.
Places are limited. Please book now to avoid disappointment.
Both John Hegley events to be held at: The Harcourt Room, The Mount
Pleasant Hotel, Belle Vue Terrace, Great Malvern WR14 4PZ

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

 

In the evening – Worcester Writers’ Circle took over with a Rubber Swordplay Event – where Mogs was awarded the Rubber Sword for his performance.

Worcester Writers’ Circle And Friends Present: ‘Rubber Swordplay’
St Swithun’s Institute, The Trinity, Worcester WR1 2PN
Tuesday 16 June – 19:00 for a 19:30 start
The gifted and humble members of Worcester Writers’ Circle and Friends
present a selection of their humorous stories and poems in an evening that
is sure to leave your sides aching. Mein host, Tony Judge, has once more
successfully brought together performers who are out to give you a laugh.

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

Another event happening Tuesday evening was at The Commandery.

An Event Organised By The Battle Of Worcester Society
As Part Of THE CIVIL WAR NIGHTS At The Commandery
Anita Seymour – Civil War Novelist
Anita Seymour
Tuesday 16 June
19:00 at The Commandery, Sidbury, Worcester WR1 2HU
Tickets: £7 (From The Commandery Shop)
Anita’s first novels are ‘The Woulfes of Loxsbeare’, a 17th Century historical
family saga, the first two titles of which are, ‘The Rebel’s Daughter’ and ‘The
Goldsmith’s Wife’. Followed by ‘Royalist Rebel’, a biographical novel based
on the early life of Elizabeth Murray, Countess Dysart. Her latest release due in June 2015 is Murder On The Minneapolis, a Cozy Mystery set on an
Atlantic Steamship in 1900.

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

Day 6

I was back in it, to see Adam Millard at 42 WLF Special – read all about it here

WLF 42 Special with Adam Millard

WLF 42 me1WLF 42 Adam

WLF © 2015

42 Worcester Festival Special
Drummonds Bar, The Swan With Two Nicks,
28 New Street, Worcester WR1 2DP
Wednesday 17 June – 19:00 for a 19:30 start
42 Worcester’s Festival Special this year sees the welcome return of Adam
Millard. A writer, mainly fantasy and horror, Adam’s whole life consists of
movies, books, and writing. He’s 31 and lives with his beautiful wife Zoe,
and son, Phoenix Justice. Adam has over fifty tattoos and smells of rich
Mahogany.
Who can resist?

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

Wednesday night also saw another event at The Commandery.

‘The Crimson Ribbon’
19:00 at The Commandery, Sidbury, Worcester WR1 2HU
Tickets: £7 (From The Commandery Shop)
‘The Crimson Ribbon’ is a tale set during the English Civil War, exploring
the developing roles of women in an era of turmoil and change. The novel
deals with superstitious fear, injustice and persecution. Her central character,
Ruth Flowers, is torn between her desire for liberty and the need for utter
secrecy, for if people find out about the events of her past she is in mortal
danger.

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

Day 7 – One week in!

What better way to mark it than a performance at SpeakEasy.

Read all about it here WLF – SpeakEasy with SPOZ & Brenda-Read Brown

SpeakEasy Festival Special
Thursday 18 June – 19:00 for a 19:30 start at The Old Rectifying House,
North Parade, Worcester WR1 3NN
Here’s your chance to read your short stories, poems, prose, try out your
performance poetry or music that tells a story. This evening is for you!

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

WLF Brenda2 WLF © 2015

There were other events again at The Commandery

An Event Organised By The Battle Of Worcester Society
As Part Of THE CIVIL WAR NIGHTS At The Commandery
Chris Bryant MP – The Biography of Parliament

Following his election as Rhondda’s MP in June 2001 Chris Bryant has
served on the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee of the House of
Commons, as well as the Joint Committee of the Lords and Commons on
Reform of the House of Lords. From November 2002 to May 2007 he was
Chair of the Labour Movement for Europe. He is an Associate of the
National Youth Theatre of Great Britain and a member of the Coop Party,
Amnesty International, Amicus and the Fabians. Chris speaks fluent Spanish
and good French, lives in Porth in the Rhondda Fach, and famously
corresponded with James Blunt. His book ‘Parliament: The Biography
(Volume 1 – Ancestral Voices)’ was published in December 2014.
Thursday 18 June
19:00 at The Commandery, Sidbury, Worcester WR1 2HU
Tickets: £7 (From The Commandery Shop)

WLF Programme © 2015

Day 8

On Friday I took a day off from work and WLF to go to a workshop with Candy Royalle in Birmingham, which was magic! Meanwhile back in WLF the events continued.
ThreezAcrowd
Bindles, 55 Sidbury, Worcester WR1 2HU
Friday 19 June 14:00-16:00
Jan and Campbell Perry and Mike Thomas’s band will entertain in the upper
room at Bindles…don’t miss it, or you won’t be there!!

WLF Programme © 2015

Another exciting event on offer, that received lots of positive feedback was this talk and Q& A

Covert Operations! Cameron Addicott
Friday 19 June 19:30 at St John’s Library, Glebe Close, St John’s,
Worcester WR2 5AX

An undercover story…covert operator, Cameron Addicott, talks about his
contact with customs and the serious organised crime agency.
Cameron Addicott
An undercover story…covert operator, Cameron Addicott, talks about his
contact with customs and the serious organised crime agency.
Cameron Addicott is a former undercover officer with H.M. Customs and
the Serious Organised Crime Agency. In 2008 he left SOCA to travel the
world and write the first part of his memoirs. The Interceptor was published
by Penguin in July 2010 and went straight to number 1 in the Amazon True
Crime Bestseller list. The BBC purchased the rights to the book and has
been turned into a BBC1 crime drama series. Directed by BAFTA award
winning director Farren Blackburn. Starring OT Fagbenle, Robert Lonsdale,
Charlie de Melo and Anna Skellern star, with Trevor Eve playing the leading
‘Villain’. It is due to be broadcast on BBC1 in April 2015.
Cameron’s media work includes appearing as technical expert on Chris
Atkins’ C4 Dispatches documentary about the sale of personal data and
playing the ‘Spymaster’ who taught Jared Murillo on Strictly Come Dancing’s
‘It Takes Two’. His radio work includes Radio 4’s Midweek with Libby
Purves and Five Live with Richard Bacon. In addition Cameron has advised
on numerous other TV docs and has been interviewed on many local and
European Radio shows.
Fighting on the frontline of the war against crime, ‘Cammo’  was one of the
very few hard-boiled and highly-experienced surveillance operatives to get
called up to the secretive and elite Alpha Projects unit – a group of
dedicated undercover Customs officers who hunted the UK’s most
dangerous criminals by extraordinary means – starting with the interception
and decoding of their phone calls.
This talk will give an entertaining and informative insight into working
against organised crime. Topics covered include criminal motivation,
methods of intelligence gathering, cocaine production, plus smuggling and
money-laundering.
The talk will be followed by a lively Q&A session and a book signing.

WLF Programme © 2015

Day 9

Was my final day in the WLF and one I had been looking forward to – nothing to do with Jonny Fluffypunk! Oh, no! WLF – Jonny Fluffypunk & Offa Press Poets

Offa’s Poets And Jonny Fluffypunk
St Swithun’s Institute, The Trinity, Worcester WR1 2PN
Saturday 20 June – 19:00 for a 19:30 start

‘Thought-Apples’ is a collection of 25 poems by Staffordshire poet Bert
Flitcroft. They are philosophical, occasionally piquant, always accessible and
pleasing to the ear. Bert was born in 1946 and grew up in Lancashire.
Nowadays he lives near Lichfield, a retired English teacher.
David Bingham’s debut collection from Offa’s Press, ‘The Chatter of
Crows’, includes impressive Japanese-influenced haibun and haiku, which
amuse and intrigue in equal measure. David lives in Ironbridge, Telford, is a
retired Humanities teacher and has a Diploma in Creative Writing from
Birmingham University. He’s currently editor of Blithe Spirit magazine.
‘Good on the page and good on stage’ are Offa’s Poets’ watchwords.
Jonny Fluffypunk
And…the unforgettable ‘economic refugee’ from the Home Counties
returns to LitFest. Stand-up poet, sit-up storyteller and give-up musician

Jonny Fluffypunk has been dragging his art around the poetry, comedy and
alternative cabaret circuits for over 10 years. A multiple slam champion who
hates competition in the arts and an outspoken voice for anarchy, peace and
bicycles, Jonny’s a favourite with LitFest audiences. His ‘Sustainable
Nihilists’ Handbook’ is published by Burning Eye, and he is currently
touring his no-fi stand-up spoken word show ‘Man Up, Jonny Fluffypunk –
One Man’s Struggle with Late-Onset Responsibility’ to rousing acclaim.
An evening not to be missed!

WLF Programme © 2015

WLF jonny WLF © 2015

My final event was to celebrate Summer Solstice/ Midsummer’s Eve – with poets, bugs and torchlight! WLF – Summer Solstice Walk

LitFest Solstice Walk – a fabulous freebie
Starting around 10:30pm Saturday 20 June
Join us for a spookily fun walk around Worcester’s famous waterside for the
Summer Solstice – this year we’re keeping it local – the walk will be along
the banks of the River Severn. Starting outside Cripplegate Park gates on the
St John’s side of Worcester Bridge at 10:30(ish) Saturday 20 June, following
the Jonny Fluffypunk / Offa’s Poet gig. We’ll bear health and safety in mind
and ask everyone to bring a torch and wear stout shoes / boots and warm
clothing.
The route will be along the riverside to Diglis Lock and encompass the
Diglis basin marina area. There will be poetry and prose performances along
the route to entertain you.
Start time 10.30pm – finish anticipated just after midnight.

WLF Programme © 2015

This was a fabulous, magical event, unique.

Day 10

The end of the Festival – marked with the traditional (now in it’s 5th year) Double Whammy Slammy

LitFest ‘Double Whammy Slammy’! and end of fest party
PLUS The BIG FAT RAFFLE Draw!
Sunday 21 June
Drummonds Bar, The Swan With Two Nicks,
28 New Street, Worcester WR1 2DP
Flash Fiction Slam: 18:00-18:30
Poetry Slam: 19:00-21:30     
Come, watch and vote for flash fiction aficionados who will perform their
short, short stories. Last year’s winner Rod Griffiths may be competing
again! You could be the second Worcestershire Flash Fiction Slam
Champion. To take part in the flash fiction slam write your flash fiction (a
short, short story, up to 300 words) and turn up on the night to read it!
And…the grand finale! Come, watch and vote for competing poets in the
final event of the 2015 Worcestershire Literary Festival in the legendary
poetry slam championship.  Participants will vie for the chance to become
the fifth Worcestershire Poetry Slam Champion. Previous champions:
Fergus McGonigal, James Dolton, Alison Absolute and, last year Brenda
Read-Brown.

WLF Programme © 2015

The Poetry Slam winner this year is Peter Wyton, who will perform at next year’s Worcester Lit Fest SpeakEasy as a headliner, Math Jones came 2nd (for the 3rd year) and congratulations to Suz Winspear (runner up Poet Laureate) and 3rd in the Poetry Slam and Leena Bachelor who was trying out slamming for the first time!

Andrew Owens won the Flash Fiction Slam. Well done to everyone who was brave enough to take part and for those strong performers who did BOTH slams.

WLF Heather WPL WLF © 2015

Last but not least congratulations to the small and mighty WLF team! Superb festival WLF 2015 – thank you!

WLF – Summer Solstice Walk

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After Jonny Fluffypunk Saturday night, 16 poets and WLF committee members met at the gates of Cripplegate Park on the other side of the River Severn for a Solstice walk, it being Midsummer’s Eve and all.

We needn’t have worried about passing nightlife, we were not heckled by any drunks, we managed to intimidate a boy on a bike and a dog walker with our presence and other than that it was small groups of hotel dwellers, tourists even who were rather polite about everything.

I think I was more excited than worried – can you recall the feelings you had about your first sleep-over as a child? It was like that. Staying out late with a bunch of poets, talking and walking. The other good thing was we were able to chat – we all get along (remarkably well for people who compete for titles and awards against each other) but at events the interval is just long enough to do what you need to do with little spare time for mingling. After events people have to shoot off, so we don’t get to just chat unless we arrange to meet for cake or coffee, as some of us sometimes do. Or if you take a poetry roadtrip like some of us did earlier this year.

I used to go to college in the city (many moons ago) but had only walked the river in the opposite direction and never got beyond the Diglis Hotel. They have spent a lot of money making good the wasteland and derelict buildings, they even have a new bridge that feels vaguely familiar to one in London – other than ours is steadfast. The one side of the canal is well lit (the nightlife side with housing, restaurants etc.) it was the opposite side to where we started, which was more like walking a woodland path next to a river. I discovered the fishery and saw the back of the Cricket ground. I thought it was atmospheric that we had the audio soundtrack of a city on Saturday night behind some of our poems, tunes carrying on the breeze, familiar lyrics making themselves heard.

We basically stopped at particular points chosen by Polly Robinson, our leader and organiser of this event. It was a magical experience. Just to see the solstice in – without adding the poetry and company of friends on top!

What made it even more exciting for me was despite long days, several performances and early starts both Bert Flitcroft and Jonny Fluffypunk came to join in for part of the 2 hour walk (which my ankles, knees and hips felt this morning)!

The route will be along the riverside to Diglis Lock and encompass the Diglis basin marina area. There will be poetry and prose performances along the route to entertain you. WLF team/ programme © 2015

Jonny Fluffypunk treated to us to a couple of poems under a tree and had the largest group of passers by of the night pass by, who questioned what we were doing until the only girl in the group remarked ‘It’s Midsummer’s Eve tonight innit. They’re a group of those or sommit.’ (Poets/ Druids – we are interchangeable!) We were all delighted he joined the fun and was taken by the concept.

I went next with no passers by that I was aware of but a million bugs and midges coming for the light and then me or my poems. I had to read them as they were freshly inked, although I was fairly pleased with them, they do need lots more work to polish, if anything my editing resulted in them becoming too stripped back.

Kevin Brooke – told us all a story that had an ending that made us all go ‘oooohhh’!

Leena Batchelor – who’d treated herself to a book-light for the occasion shared emotive poetry.

Math Jones – treated us to 3 wonderfully recited poems connected by Shakespeare to Midsummer’s, he performed in the new basin area along with a fairly large cut out installation  almost cardboard looking characters.

Christine Shaw – read a wonderful poem, it was lovely to hear.

Rod Griffiths – performed a great recount of the life of the river, in front of his old dwelling and showed everyone the floodtide markers in the wall.

Damon Lord – performed outside the cathedral as the bells chimed midnight. I was glad he had his Poet Laureate poem requested, because this time I was really able to listen!

Polly Robinson – rounded the Solstice Walk off with a poem about the river and one about the spiders on the bridge, needless to say we walked the non-bridge way back afterwards!

It was a magical evening (although I think I am afraid of the dark still), only trumped by photos of friends who camped out the whole night to see the dawn and those who made it to Stonehenge!

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WLF – Jonny Fluffypunk & Offa Press Poets

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Last night was my final WLF event, the festival finishes tonight with the Double Whammy Slammy, which is a poetry slam & a flash fiction slam! As well as it being a party to celebrate the festival, one year I will make it to the final event, perhaps even enter the slam…

http://worcslitfest.co.uk/2015/05/11/double-whammy-slammy-the-details/

I have work tomorrow in two different schools and tutoring as well, so I need an early night and need to recoup some energy, writing time and time with Mr G before another week of busy work and poeting (more about this in this week’s Poetry Wrap).

JONNY FLUFFYPUNK * STAND-UP POET * GIVE-UP GUITARIST * SUSTAINABLE NIHILIST *

I love watching Jonny Fluffypunk perform and was delighted to see him return to the festival. This is the 4th time I have seen him perform and after he’d spent the day in London at the Austerity March, I was bowled over with the energy he still had to carry him through his set.

I was delighted to hear some new material and poems that weren’t in his fantastic book The Sustainable Nihilist’s Handbook – which you should all buy because it is brilliant! I bought it first time I saw him. speak I also won the SpeakEasy raffle that night, hence my prize sharing the photo!

I was equally happy to hear poems from his collection. I always love to buy the books, read the poems at my own pace, dip in and out – but I stand by the fact that it is BEST when you hear the poet in those words, saying them. A delight! As always.

Jonny is currently touring his show jfp

NEXT ‘MAN UP…’ SHOW:

LONDON MAMA LOSCHENS’@JW3, Finchley Rd

Details/Tickets Here

‘Acute social obsevation, intricate humour, surreal fantasy, sharp irony and wit… and England’s most pretentious moustache’- The Independent

I have to disagree with The Independent on this one – he has the most splendid, ravishing facial hair, it inspired my ever-becoming-more-renowned Moustache Poem with Fact Bombs and I certainly enjoyed performing that one with Tim Scarborough at Mouth & Music in front of the legend himself.

My selfish hope for the future is he publishes a second book. Although having embarked on that part of the poetry journey myself, I know how much work goes into editing a small chapbook collection (just 25 poems) so I imagine, a second book may not be something he is attempting to work towards right now as he is an extremely busy stand-up poet and the only Sustainable Nihilist Poet that we know of!

Last night’s event was great fun and we even convinced Jonny to join us on our Solstice Poetry Walk.

http://www.jonnyfluffypunk.co.uk/

Performing regularly throughout the UK, Jonny has won Poetry Slams in Brighton, Bristol, Brixton, Cirencester, Lydney and Ledbury Poetry Festival amongst others (plus 2nd place two years running in the National All-Stars Slam at the Cheltenham Literary Festival)- whilst remaining, of course, fully opposed to competition both in the Arts and life in general.

Have a watch here – more You Tube videos are available.

FUTURE DATES where you can see the wondrous poet for yourselves – some details TBC – check his website for updated information;

Thurs 25th-Sun 28th

Glastonbury Festival

POETRY ARMY:POETRY CAN F**K OFF

Stage / date / time TBA

PLUS SOLO STUFF AROUND SITE.SPONTANEOUS!

 

July 2015 

Sat 11th

Stroud

SVA

MR FLUFFYPUNK’S PENNY GAFF:

with Liz Bentley: Crash! Bash! Trash!

 

Fri 24th-Sun 26th

WOMAD Festival

Malmesbury, Wilts

Hip Yak Poetry Stage. Times TBA

 

Fri 30th-2nd Aug

Port Eliot Arts Festival

St Germans, Cornwall

 

August 2015

Sat 1st-Sun 2nd

As July 31st

 

Thurs 27th- Sun 30th

Shambala Festival

Market Harborough

Wandering Word Stage. Times TBA

 

September 2015

Sat 19th

Stroud

SVA

MR FLUFFYPUNK’S PENNY GAFF:

Rob Auton: The Water Show

 

October 2015

Sat 17th

Kendal

Lakes Comics Festival

Details TBA

 

November 2015

Thurs 19th

Torquay

Poetry Island @ The Blue Walnut

7pm £TBA

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Photo Credit WLF Team © 2015

WLF Offa

The Offa Press Poets

Last year I was fortunate, along with Adrian Mealing to perform a poem before Jonny’s show. This year WLF invited the Offa Press Poets to open the first half of the evening. Bert Flitcroft and David Bingham won the same competition I entered (and was obviously rejected from) last year. I have bought both of Bert’s books previously and recommend them highly.

apples_book_large   singing_puccini_book

It was lovely to see him and hear him perform again.

‘Thought-Apples’ is a collection of 25 poems by Staffordshire poet Bert Flitcroft. They are philosophical, occasionally piquant, always accessible and pleasing to the ear. Bert was born in 1946 and grew up in Lancashire.
Nowadays he lives near Lichfield, a retired English teacher. – WLF Programme

I always enjoy discovering new to me poets, David Bingham is the editor of a couple of magazines: Blithe Spirit & Journal of the British Haiku Society and has a selection of wonderful poems in his book. He also chatted freely after the event, which was a lovely connection.

http://www.offaspress.co.uk/shop/

David Bingham’s debut collection from Offa’s Press, ‘The Chatter of Crows’, includes impressive Japanese-influenced haibun and haiku, which amuse and intrigue in equal measure. David lives in Ironbridge, Telford, is a retired Humanities teacher and has a Diploma in Creative Writing from Birmingham University. He’s currently editor of Blithe Spirit magazine.
‘Good on the page and good on stage’ are Offa’s Poets’ watchwords. – WLF Programme

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As Sweet as Candy: Poetry Workshop with Candy Royalle

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I was excited to find a link 5 days ago via Social Media for a FREE workshop. Candy Royalle is an Australian Poet who performed in the INTERNATIONAL slot at Hit The Ode, Birmingham (Apples & Snakes) Thursday night, which I missed as I was performing in Worcester at WLF SpeakEasy.

candy royalle pic

I will certainly catch her next time she is in the UK. She gigs all over Europe and America, so you don’t have to make a long haul flight to catch her, in the meantime check out YouTube.

Her remaining shows on the tour are in Wales and London:

Event: The Butch Priestess International Tour
21/06/15
http://candyroyalle.com
Candy Royalle in
London
Queer’Say
Time: 7:00pm.

Address: Hackney Attick (Hackney Picture House) 270 Mare St Hackney.

27/06/15
http://candyroyalle.com
Candy Royalle in
Swansea, Wales
HOWL Poetry Presents…
Time: 7:00pm.

Address: Mozarts 76B Walter Road.

I signed up for my ticket and marked my DAY OFF over in the diary with WORKSHOP. I was (as always) a little nervous beforehand and once I had done my route I had the thought that it would be full of HTO poets and I wasn’t wrong. Lovely to turn up to a bunch of familiar faces. I knew everyone, which was great – as we all knew each other it made for a relaxed atmosphere without that heightened anxiety sharing work with strangers can have. Big kudos to Candy and Bohdan Piasecki for organising this amazing, free event.

I had no expectation of this workshop other than I wanted to come home with some new work, I have… pages full of ideas. It was great to meet Candy too, an enthusiastic writer with boundless energy and an easy manner, Australian’s tend to have this gentle presence – this is a huge generalisation, but I have travelled East and West coast and found it to be a common connection.

I had the best afternoon, lots of writing exercises, 3 new poems and some great tips for pre-performance nerves. I couldn’t think of a much better way to spend a day off.

Candy managed to condense a day’s workshop into 3 hours and cater for all our varied needs.

I LOVED IT!

As thanks for a free workshop I bought her book ‘Heartbeats’. You can buy it too.

$19.95

<!– Buy now –> Candy Royalle has performed alongside many of the greats including Ursula Rucker (who said “Candy Royalle is all at once fragile, powerful, raw, sensitive, beautiful, unflinching and honest. She, her spirit and her work, will change you”) Shane Koyczan, Sarah Kay, Phil Kay, Rives, Anis Mojgani and Holly McNish to name a few. A festival curator once described Royalle as “an act you remember for years” and the Austin International Poetry Festival Chair stated Candy had “…changed the face of poetry in Austin, forever”. Few who see her can forget her intensity, her combustible blend of intellect, imagination and heart. 

Bio from http://candyroyalle.com/ © 2015

RELATED LINK:

http://applesandsnakesblog.org/blog/poet-of-the-month-candy-royalle-vulnerability-the-new-cool

WLF – SpeakEasy with SPOZ & Brenda-Read Brown

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I am so happy with the programme for WLF this year, they made the right decision to have a small selection of brilliant events and not to overcrowd or overstretch the team (as far as committees go, they are small), no-one yet seems too exhausted and so the energy and buzz surrounding each event is electrifying – and that’s before you settle down to watch and listen to the abundant talent this County offers.

It was a real treat to have SPOZ MC the event, especially as it clashed with HTO – HIT THE ODE, Birmingham, it was also lovely to see Maggie Doyle have a well deserved night off and enjoy the entertainment, of course Maggie still had an important role to play, as Heather Wastie – Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2015-2016 officially received her engraved PL trophy.

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Heather Wastie presented with her poet laureate trophy at Worcester Speakeasy by Maggie Doyle. WLF Team © 2015

The venue was packed and the list of open mic-ers extended for the LITFEST. The booked performers included;

Leena Bachelor (who is loving the Lit Fest and reminds me of myself last year, when I was taking part for the first time too. A certain familiar Cheshire Cat grin).

Mogs (who was booked as King Mogs after winning the Rubber Sword Play Award on Tuesday evening at WLF).

Kathy Gee (who delighted us all with her character set and a requested performance of her crotch watching poem).

Alan Durham (who moved me with his prayer poem at the end of the set and was a delight to watch as always – another voice I could listen to forever).

Heather Wastie – of course, invited in her official role as WPL (who treated us to some of her new work, including a new commission).

Amanda Bonnick (whose poetry I ADORE, it is always a pleasure to listen to her and now has to write a new poem after her ‘Door introduction’ I think).

Mike Alma (who treated us to snippets from chapters of a much longer work which I think was never finished, it was different to hear his words chopped up this way – I enjoyed letting the sentences seep over me. As his set was 6 minutes he couldn’t treat us to chapter and verse).

Neil Laurenson (who entertained us with his usual dry humour, short poems with a punch-line delivered in a confident, straight manner).

And myself, I changed my set at the last minute – only 1 poem remained from the 3 I had prepared. Andrew Owens greeted me with a gift, he and his wife were shopping for a family camping trip, when he came across a polar cup that made him think of me…

WLF Polar cup

There is a ‘Moustache Poem with Fact Bombs’ that I perform, originally part of the set Tim Scarborough and I presented at Mouth & Music for the ‘Body Hair’ theme. It is far more fun to perform it with Tim and use the fake moustaches etc. but as I researched and wrote it I have been known to perform it solo.

Anyway – I hadn’t performed it for about 4 months, but found I had it on my phone so as a thank you I performed it and then embarrassingly remembered I performed it last year for the WLF SPeakEasy special (back when I still had print outs of all the moustaches)!

I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and all the open mic-ers were fabulous as well, people keep telling me my performance is getting stronger – I think that goes for everyone in Worcester! (Something in the water?!)

The full list of performers (including open mic)

Leena Bachelor 
Mogs
Bronwyn 
Kathy Gee
Alan Durham
Kevin Brooke
Heather Wastie
Amanda Bonnick
Tim Stavert
Mike Alma
Polly Robinson
Neil Laurenson
Nina Lewis
Damon Lord
Headlined by
Brenda Read-Brown

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Then the headline – Brenda Read-Brown, was delightful – a perfect mix of humour and touching sensitive poetry. I have always loved watching her perform since the 1st time I came across her in Birmingham (Literature Festival) October 2013, at the beginning of my Poetry Odyssey.

WLF Brenda

A smashing night. Spoz made up unique rhymes for all the open mic slots to introduce them and filled Fergus McGonigal’s MC shoes right up, creating extra energy in an event which was already ‘on fire’!

Photo Credit WLF Team © 2015

WLF Mag WLF me WLF SpeakEasy WLF Spoz

WLF 42 Special with Adam Millard

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WLF 42 Adam   WLF&F logo concepts

Wednesday night was the 42 Festival Special at Drummonds. This event does not usually feature a headline act, despite showcasing some fine Worcestershire talent every month. The Lit Fest Special is different though, Adam Millard headlined & treated us to some of his poetry!

Usually 42 has a (dark) theme, the Special is open. I chose two poems & a 42 Ghost theme poem about The Stanley Hotel (The Shining), my set went well & I received some great feedback, both constructive & positive.

The other acts were;

Jill Peer
David Walbank
Leena Bachelor
Tim Stavert
Polly Robinson
Chardonnay Jade
Andrew Owens
Dayna Norton
Nina Lewis
Kevin Brooke
Suz Winspear
  and we managed to convince Damon Lord to perform too!

I particularly liked a sketch devised by Suz Winspear & performed with Leena Bachelor. It was lovely seeing some writing folk I had not seen in a while too.

Equally great was meeting Adam, he gave us two great performances and certainly left our brains swimming!

Pictures Worcester Lit Fest © 2015

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Leena Bachelor

WLF 42 Polly

Polly Robinson

WLF 42 Kevin

Kevin Brooke

 

WLF 42 Sketch

Suz Winspear – The Sketch

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Nina Lewis

WLF 42 Sketch1

A GREAT NIGHT WAS HAD BY ALL

Congratulations to Andrew Owens for hosting such a spectacular night!

 

John Hegley at Confab Cabaret – WLF & Fringe

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I had not seen John Hegley perform since the 90s, when I lived as a poor student/writer/actor/poet/reluctant retailer. Earlier this year news was released that he would be performing and doing a workshop in Ludlow. I snapped at the chance and very much look forward to performing on the same bill later on this year and from what I hear of the workshop, creating an abundance of new material!

Then Amy Rainbow and Catherine Crosswell released the news that they had John Hegley headlining during Worcester LitFest – I hadn’t made it across to Malvern for months as Confab Cabaret kept falling on windows that just weren’t open. I have missed seeing the Malvern crowd – and after a 15 year drought – who can pass up the opportunity to watch their hero in action TWICE?! Not I! So I bought my ticket and have been counting down the days.

john hegley

I had a great night, on a par to the feelings you get from a great music gig, of course there was some great music, both from Catherine & Lindsey and later John Hegley, juggling, poetry & song. Photo credit: Myfanwy Fox © 2015

The open mic support was the best of Malvern Confab Talent including;

Amy Rainbow, CONFAB Amy

 

Clive Dee, CONFAB Clive

Myfanwy Fox  CONFAB Fran

Lindsey & Catherine, CONFAB Catherine Lindsay

Sue Thompson CONFAB Sue

Adrian Mealing CONFAB Adrian

With a fabulous audience poem and added merriment from international circus performer Steve Kaos!

CONFAB

John Hegley, Steve Kaos, Amy Rainbow & Catherine Crosswell

Elizabeth Crosswell © 2015

‘Poet, comic, singer, songwriter and glasses-wearer. John Hegley captivates audiences with travel tales and amusing anecdotes, blurring the line between profound description and fine comedy. A consistent favourite at the Edinburgh Festival and with over half a dozen bestselling books under his belt, he is not to be missed.’

‘Comedy’s Poet Laureate’ (The Independent)
‘Scandalously talented’ (Sunday Times)
‘Bl**ding marvellous’ (NME)
‘Marvellous, joyful fun’ (The Daily Telegraph)
‘An incurable entertainer’ (The Guardian)

CONFAB J

It was a SELL OUT gig! And despite incredible heat at a packed out venue, I had a ball. Even managed to catch a few words with John, very briefly at the end. (I will wear different glasses to Ludlow, so he doesn’t think I am a complete stalker!)

Sadly John had not taken any books to sell, hope he has them at Ludlow. He did gift one as a special raffle prize, which was generous! I laughed more than I did when I saw him before. He was amazing. I think even poetry friends who are not fans of the style and wit fell in love with him after the 1st 1/3 of his incredible show. I am so happy that I booked to see him as part of the Worcester Lit Fest, despite already having tickets for Ludlow. What a star SUPERSTAR!

CONFAB crowd

Many thanks to the Confab team – you were FABULOUS!

WLF&F logo concepts

This was a collaborative initiative as part of Worcestershire Litfest & Fringe Festival 2015.

For more events happening during the festival please go to www.worcslitfest.co.uk

Thcooy

Published Poems (May)

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I cannot believe that I have neglected to give these successes a proper post, they deserve more than a mere reference in a monthly review.

In May the deadline for submissions to the Seamus Heaney Anthology were extended, I took full advantage & submitted some poems, one of which – ‘Bridgework’ was accepted for publication.

The launch is planned for late summer in Norwich.

Later in May, an April submission bore fruition. Paper Swans accepted my poem ‘Ambiguous Answers’ in the up and coming School Days Anthology.

There will be London, Oxford and Edinburgh launches for this publication.

I am delighted.

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This year I have been focussing on building my own collection and have watched submission deadlines sail past without entry. So I am hugely fortunate that 6 months into the year I already have work published in three anthologies and several websites.