Daniel Sluman our Featured Poet IS BACK!

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You may remember we are fortunate enough to be featuring Daniel Sluman on AWF in the lead up to publication of his second collection ‘the terrible’ (Nine Arches Press) – due out later this year.

Here is a reminder if you missed the posts:

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/02/02/introducing-daniel-sluman/

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/02/17/

Sonia Hendy-Isaac © 2014

Sonia Hendy-Isaac
© 2014

GREAT NEWS

Daniel Sluman is back after working on his first draft of ‘the terrible’ he is now in a position to talk to us exclusively about the process of building a second collection.

COMING SOON!

Hay House World Summit 2015 – Week 2

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hay house logo  Since my last blog post I have been busy picking up more work than usual, which is good just before the non-income holiday. I have lots of news for this week’s poetry wrap and in addition to all this I have been catching up with the Hay House World Summit. I also have a week left of my MOOC poetry course which I need to do a quick catch up with over the Bank Holiday weekend. I have assigned a lot of time to Hay House and that finishes next week.

They divide the materials into 4 days stages, I have posted about the first week here, this post is about the 2nd upload of course material – 14-18th May. A 20-Day Journey to Self-Discovery, Health and Success. 

This stage was about treasuring all of our experiences.

not-a-silent-poet-grant-tarbard1Learn to Blogstratford 252 wen 242 superherorachel kelly

notebookswild wordsnapofeature352 Jo Norman Hadleymag diary mecaldmore4

I have thoroughly enjoyed the summit and this week’s lessons have led me to new website discoveries and some inspirational exercises and videos.

I have also found the odd bit of poetry muse occurring, which I have scribbled alongside my notes and then duplicated it in my writing notebook. The printer ink is running low as so many of the experts include PDF resources to follow up. We haven’t had the laptop/ printer long and I am not convinced of the 180 pages capacity, especially as poetry tends to have wide margins and a lot of white space left on the page. Maybe the message pop up is like a fuel light and it will keep going for a bit (for the record I treat my car better than that and fill up before the light comes on)!

I have also started ‘The Artists Way’ recently, a book I bought myself last year. I have started the morning pages and I was already aware of that first waking, lucid state and the access we have and the openness of our thoughts coming back to being awake from slumber. One of the most inspirational quotations this week was delivered in the first video I viewed ‘E-Motion';

‘Each morning as soon as you take your head off the pillow, you have all you need.’

This feeling of security and abundance has not been in my life for long, I know I have felt it at previous points in my life. Recently I think perhaps in the past two years it has returned. I am aware I have everything I need – too much, I need to de-clutter, I know life is simpler with less things. I know I hold onto things I no longer need, this includes my own emotions. I don’t need the biggest and best of everything, even back when I could afford it, I didn’t buy it. I spent my money travelling around the globe, experiencing new places and meeting people.

I know that because of this nature, I will not find having everything I need too difficult to believe and use.

Watching this film brought a lot of my ‘pre-jump’ life back to me. How work affected everything I did, believed, lived. How negative and dark my world was (thank goodness for Mr G) back then. How my mum and Mr G told me to get out of it, years before I did, how ill I became because of it. I recently had a conversation with a friend of a friend who teaches and she could not believe what I had been through or how I managed to survive.

I truly lived in Emergency Mode everyday, the only thought I had each morning when I woke up was ‘Not again!’ Usually after just 4 or 5 hours sleep. I was also really ill for most of the eight years I worked in these conditions. Big things; inflamed sternum, migraine like headaches, slipped discs, discs popping out onto nerves… but I know we are not defined by our past experiences and the past two years have been the equivalent of a paradise island holiday, even the bad days have been nothing more than stubbing a toe on the pain stakes and with no lasting injury or affect. Of course I wouldn’t recognise this if I hadn’t experienced it so bad.

What was also powerful was some connections came up from the previous series. The message of SLOW DOWN – once again came through live and clear – and after reading the first (rather scary) paragraph of this post, I have to agree.

By the end of the film I felt a great uplift and felt ready to create my world – rather than taking on the world.

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I also feel blessed that right at the beginning of my poetry odyssey in the Ort Café Birmingham, I discovered the poetry of Rumi. I haven’t read much of him myself, but am aware of the wisdom in his work, the influence and not a season goes by without a Rumi poem in it. This week I discovered his poem, The Guest House, WOW! Just in case you have never read it… I have to share.

 

The Guest House by Rumi

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

 

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

 

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still, treat each guest honourably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.

 

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.

© Copyright 2011 Leo Norrie

© Copyright 2011 Leo Norrie

I love this hotel with no guests and no beds, no one stays but everybody passes through for a reason. All you need to know will be revealed.

I discovered more about forgiveness, although my mum taught me these lessons well.

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The Hay House World Summit 2015 – Week 1

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In 2013 I took part in the Hay House World Summit, this year I have signed up again. It started on the 9th May, I signed up on the 8th and had access to some additional bonus videos.

My original draft post was just a breakdown of who I have listened to, what I have watched and what I have gained. It is the lessons I am learning which are perhaps most interesting for a blog post.

Now this is not New Age Mumbo Jumbo – these are writers and scientists and experiences, alongside meditations and book recommendations (of course they want to sell their work – a small price to pay for a 20 day empowerment retreat FOR FREE)… you can sign up at anytime, give yourself the gift.

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Deepak Chopra – Who Am I

This talk was about fears being tracked back to not knowing who we are. I thought you might enjoy this list that I got from my first lesson.

The Gifts of our Spirit – Soul as source of the whole world

love – make this a priority

compassion

empathy

joy

choice

imagination

insight

creativity

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‘Keep your sense of wonder, do things that are meaningful, not just to you, but to the world. Practise self-awareness and mindfulness. Live the questions. Who am I? What do I want? What is my purpose?’ – Deepak Chopra

Bruce Lipton – The Science of Keeping Love Alive

Marianne Williamson – Wisdom from a Course in Miracles

and other videos were also available at the time but it was election night in the UK so I missed the time to watch these.

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The first series started Saturday, there are over 100 hours of lessons, videos and audio. This is why you can buy the whole summit. I am just choosing the material I think will be best for me. Confirming what I know and giving me some new knowledge too. In fact they encourage you to use your intuition when choosing.

SHIFT – Dr Wayne W Dyer the-shift187 Hay House Copyright © 2015 Hay House

Last night I watched the best video – SHIFT with Dr Wayne W Dyer (love his books), I didn’t have time to carve 2 hours in one sitting, as I worked with the Worcester Writing Group WWM yesterday and got home at tea time, but it was a great use of time whilst dinner was cooking.

I wrote notes in my writing notebook as I watched, only occasionally paused the video and even wrote a beautiful nature poem. I would recommend this film, watch it. It will wake up your mind and spirit.

Day 3

This morning, I was wide awake at 5 A.M and I thought – why not get up and make some time for more audio from the summit. I watched, listened and made notes for 3 hours. Lots of discovery.

hay house

 Not only is it great to feel connected to authors that I have read for many years, but also to have positivity confirmed. This leap of faith that is talked about that I know I have made. I am so grateful that when I talk to friends and family about my life now, they show true happiness for me too.

When I went to vote, I bumped into two friends that I hadn’t seen for ages, what felt like months, we worked out has actually been 2 years. I talked to them about my life – they were there right before my illness took over, before I left work and resigned and bought a house with Mr G. They couldn’t believe the change, they were delighted. I also might have arranged new opportunities with work with them too.

I feel inspired again to chase dreams and follow those inner voices that guide and freak out when I don’t listen. I have also discovered some great resources and websites, some of which I will share on my weekly Hays House World Summit but really – you should sign up (FOR FREE) and find your own trail through the videos and interviews you need. I was certainly meant to take part this year. Are you?

Copyright © 2015 The Tapping Solution.comtapping solution dot com

Next I watched another film, this one with case studies, incredibly moving. I had heard of this technique, never used it. Not yet.

I have since heard many of the team at Hay House talk about using it – and have tried several tapping sessions myself now, it WORKS!

Then over the next few days I set about listening and responding to interviews;

Awakening the Oracle Within: How to Powerfully and Creatively Navigate Your Destiny with Colette Baron-Reid, best-selling author of Messages from Spirit and The Map, takes you on a journey to awaken your oracle within.

I learnt a couple of great visualisation and mindfulness techniques, an enjoyable lesson.

Next I turned to davidji Finding Happiness and Stepping Into Your Power

Acclaimed meditation expert and stress-management guru davidji presents a fascinating discussion on happiness and destressifying. Most of us move through life in a conditioned way, instead of with purpose and deeper meaning. If we begin to master our emotions—being reflective instead of reactive—we can pull ourselves out of pain and live lives of greater happiness.

Another great session which has led me to some online meditation. I will remember ‘heart breathing’ and ‘soda’ and discovering davidji, an incredible being.

That’s what I enjoyed about the summit last time too – it leads you to discover amazing resources that you otherwise would be ignorant of – I plan to post a list at the end of the summit.

Leaps of Faith: Trusting the Universe and Allowing Divine WillDoreen Virtue

Join Doreen Virtue for an intimate chat about what it means to place your trust in the Universe and change your life course. During this warm and engaging conversation, Doreen candidly talks about her Divine calling to align with her authentic purpose, both back in the ’90s and again today. Opening up about her next phase of life, she discloses her recent leap of faith and how she is now stepping out into the unknown.

Be ’emotionally unafraid’.

Sometimes the universe answers questions that have unsettled uour mind for a while. Last month was incredibly hard for me as a writer and performer, I was struggling with self-belief and losing faith in the power of the poem. It is funny what we already know and forget.

When I was 12, I had a hobby of writing letters, with 32 Pen-pals all over the world. There was a great company (before the days of the internet) where for the price of a couple of stamps they would send you details of other people and you would become penfriends. Two of these dear virtual paper friends made it through to my adult life (yes we still WRITE – use the post boxes and the stamps – airmail on a doormat is the best kind of greeting). Melinda Wee, from the Philippines sent me a postcard when I was 12 – with the words – ‘You can’t please all of the people all of the time, you can please some of the people, some of the time.’

At 12 I didn’t really understand this, I was living, or perhaps surviving in EGO already and couldn’t really wrap myself around this context. Years later, I understood this lesson and then I forgot it. Doreen Virtue (the lady of cards) brought it back to me in the lesson ‘Leaps of Faith: Trusting the Universe & Allowing Divine Will’ – when she said;

You have to not care and trust. Trust that there is an audience who think the same as you.

Don’t worry about them. There is no-one in history on Earth, that everyone liked. You can’t please everyone.  

AND POW! Immediately my fear was gone – and I can tell you my performances since at Mouth & Music and Howl have been fabulous sets where pins would have rung out if they had of been dropped! Poet 2

This photo was taken before my 1st performance back in October 2013.

LET IT GO – or do an ‘Elsa’ which is a Frozen term I have invented. It may catch on like no worries and being in a bubble…

Write from your heart and people who resonate with you WILL follow. Doreen Virtue

The Motivation Renaissance – Brendon Burchard

Join best-selling author and personal-development guru Brendon Burchard and Hay House president and CEO Reid Tracy as they explain how to claim your personal power amid the ocean of distractions presented by modern life.

6 practises of integrity;

1) Think before you act

2) Never commit to anything for which you lack passion

3) Keep our word

4) Always treat others with respect

5) Tell the truth

6) Always favour ACTION

I might follow the advice of writing a 3-5 page manifesto when the retreat is over. My thought to take away at this point is;

Advance towards things that matter – let go of everything that isn’t.

The Soul: Understanding Its Journey & Lessons- James Van Praagh

James Van Praagh, author of Adventures of the Soul, talks about the soul and how understanding your soul will reveal your true essence. James describes the soul as the “core of our being” and explains how the body, the spirit, and the soul are related.

This was one of those strange happenings, an audio lesson I had originally decided to gloss over as I wasn’t convinced by the subject matter or the brief of the lesson. In the end I decided to give it a go.

I received my most powerful experience of the summit yet. I learnt about pace and how I am perhaps racing around at 4x the speed of those people I admire, the ones who exude calm connectedness. He has produced some soul reading cards and I think the best thing to do is just provide a link, tell you to give it a chance and hope that you find yourself in blissful euphoria by the end of it, as I did.

https://www.hayhouseworldsummit.com/lessons/the-soul-understanding-its-journey-and-lessons/

A Acton 10

I dipped into and wrote my way through many more lessons and carry away some important thoughts.

Series 2 has been live since the 14th and I am already a few lessons in. Look for the post next week. I have not felt this light and connected for a long while, this summit has come at exactly the right time for me.

Hay House World Summit 2015

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In 2013 I was lucky enough to take part of the Hays House World Summit, this year I have signed up again. It started on the 9th May, I signed up on the 8th and had access to some additional bonus videos.

I will post a weekly overview for the next few weeks, sharing what I have watched and heard and learnt.

It is FREE to sign up, I would encourage you to so if you are open to empowerment – or even if you are not.

hay house logo https://www.hayhouseworldsummit.com

Poetry Wrap 3

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A week of poetry; getting it published, reading it, writing to form and performing as a Headline act.

A busy and rewarding week with some full (much needed) writing days.

The first weekend I was without my car and missed The Ort with Debbie Aldous in Birmingham, the end of Cheltenham Festival, Caldmore Writing workshop with David Calcutt and Confab Cabaret in Malvern with Matt Windle ‘Poet with Punch’ and Kurly, who I recently saw perform at SpeakEasy in Worcester, which is where I will have to catch him again when he Headlines.

 

Studying Poetry and Writing West Midlands

I spent time catching up with my MOOC course, writing poetry, reading poetry and preparing this weekend’s writing session for WWM, as Ian is away and I get to be Lead Writer again. WWM

 

Submissions, Publications, Poetry Festivals & Blogs

I submitted to the Seamus Heaney anthology and had a poem accepted, to be published in print form later this year. I booked tickets for the 52 event as part of Stratford Poetry Festival and emailed a couple of poets about Guest Blog posts.

 

Performing Poetry/ Headlining

Performance wise I had just the one gig, it had been a week since I performed and I also (made what I have since learnt is a mistake) took a set with 80% new material to Headline at Permission to Speak, the Scary Canary – a wonderful new spoken word night created and hosted by Rob Francis.

MM3 Rob Francis I was headlining alongside the ever talented Ian Passey, a.k.a Humdrum Express.

http://heyevent.com/event/2141316629340676/permission-to-speak-4-poetry-spoken-word-feature-poet-nina-lewis

I complete my week working with the Senior writing group at The Hive. hive3

Next Week at a glance:

  • Mouth & Music Love in the Revolution
  • HOWL
  • SpeakEasy
  • & it is Mental Health Awareness Week

The Ups and Downs of Creatives: Motivation & Mindset

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notebooks The Ups and Downs of Creatives

YOU ARE NORMAL – IT IS NORMAL!

  • Writing can be particularly isolating – get out and find Local Creative movements or find an online community.
  • Keep your motivation up. If you’re not excited – then who will be?
  •  Be brave – look in the mirror and see courage – and if not, repeat the words a few times.
  • Find time to put in practise
  • and practise what you learn

MOTIVATION

Look at some great examples (people/work) and aspire, see what achievements they had, do you see yourself having the same?

maya creativity

  • Share your own learning experience
  • Pass it forward

Then you get to a place you feel you should be and it is all waterfalls and rainbows after that? Wrong.

You keep growing – keep learning – keep failing and succeeding. Many creative areas are like small planetary systems and the orbit around us is called REJECTION – occasionally you see a small opening – shoot for it and make it through to success – and even success comes with a ton more lessons.

Don’t let that put you off wishing for it – in fact wishing for success is your first step towards it – pull it closer towards you.

Be prepared for your confidence to take a knock – and quite often you are the one responsible for throwing such punches.

Be prepared for a lack of self-belief to raise its ugly head from time to time.

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GOAL SETTING

Set goals – be clear on what it is you want to achieve and when things go wrong make 1 of 2 decisions;

– kick it to the kerb and try again

OR

– decide that fate has other plans and move in a different direction  – fight or flight really – of course it is TRULY something you really want – keep fighting – don’t give up – but set a time limit on the punches (mine was 16 years*, now closer to 13, despite it taking 9 months to find my writing niche).

Right now, especially if I reflect on the past 4 months, there are things that haven’t gone as well as I would have liked. Things that have failed completely (note I say ‘things’ and not I – rejection is not personal) but also there has been success, achievement and a few opportunities I had not dreamt would be on offer this early on the path of my goals.

A happy summer 2011 SEEK HAPPINESS

Of course a certain amount of dream/ambition and perfect working world comes from a place where we seek happiness. If you are serious about making it part of your life/existence you will need to accept that it will be jolly hard work (often not jolly at all) … but if you love what you’re doing it won’t feel like work and when it does and you feel it dragging you down… do what I do and think about what WORK used to mean/be! I can guarantee you are doing better now -right?

Stress(ing) takes up abundant amounts of energy and you may find (if like me you still have paid employment to keep you alive) that this is becoming ever more stressful.

DAlma© 2014 Deborah Alma

This year for many reasons (not least that I am finally well enough to do so) I have taken on more career work. The result of this has meant losing writing days – for the first few months this made me angry. Mr G was working away and I wanted to spend my free time with him, not the laptop – and I am glad I did, because we got through it and are now reunited and the laptop can make an appearance at any time without neglect or imbalance occurring.

Looking back considering what a challenging (timewise) writing year it has been so far, I am not doing too badly. There is one major project that I wish I had spent more time on in the New Year, on the flip side although I have inevitably delayed something exciting and forward propelling from happening, I have created new material which wouldn’t have been written in time or possibly would never have existed.

writing space 2 mote carlo CREATE SPACE

Remember to create some space and time for you to address what’s happening, what you are thinking. What do you want your life to be like? Start with the ideal and work backwards.

What is important to you?

What creative direction would you like to take?

 TOP TIPS:

  • step out of your comfort zone
  • seek new opportunities
  • plan and schedule – only say YES if you can do it
  • Celebrate the good times and try to acknowledge the bad times, they will often teach valuable lessons. Many times over, usually.
  • Remember all those famous people who failed, that we only see the success (which is why I like to blog the fails too). If you have been walking around without an eye on the internet for the past decade and happen to have missed the list and have no clue what I’m talking about…. here are just a few popular examples:

DURING THEIR LIFETIME…Motivate faith

Vincent Van Gogh: sold only one painting, and this was to a friend and only for a very small amount of money.

Emily Dickinson: had fewer than a dozen poems published out of her almost 1,800 completed works.

I have (and probably you have) already beaten this in today’s world of publishing.

Theodor Seuss Giesel: 27 different publishers rejected Dr. Seuss’s first book.

Steven Spielberg: was rejected from the University of Southern California School of Theater, Film and Television three times.

Stephen King: The first book by this author, the iconic thriller Carrie, received 30 rejections, finally causing King to give up and throw it in the trash.

J. K. Rowling: was nearly penniless, severely depressed, divorced, trying to raise a child on her own while attending school and writing a novel.

ELVIS PRESLEY got fired after his first show;

“You ain’t goin’ nowhere, son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.”

world poetry day LOOK BACK

Look back – YES

I look through my schedule, which I annotate as I go with highlighters/markers, I know my key: Performing, writing, submitting, publishing etc.

Then I have a system where at the end of the month I write on a small post-it all the MAJOR achievements, that way when I reflect I just look over the 1-12 post-it notes.

Other people keep their TO DO lists in a separate notebook and just look back through these.

It needn’t mean extra work for you, but this reflection will boost your creativity/ output and success in the future.

I have also learnt to let the dips happen, they are a natural (and necessary) part of any creative career. Plus many creative people are likely to suffer depression, anxiety… so let go, give in and feel the rip and pull of the tide until you enjoy it as much as the gentle white horses of the sea covering your feet on the sand.

The best way to deal with it or anything is to

JUST KEEP GOING!

motivation keep on

Happy Writing x

* Brief information on my plan = 4 Olympics… all this is training for my first – 2016.

PUBLISHED

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I have been slack with submissions this year, my focus has been on writing and editing poetry. I am delighted to receive news of current submissions and successes.

I am keeping my fingers crossed to hear more on current submissions later this month.

When I found out I was preparing my headlining set for tonight, Permission to Speak, with Rob Francis at the Scary Canary. Performing poetry is something else that has been addressed this year. There was no way either myself or my car was going to make it to another 107 events! I do enjoy performing though and look forward to any bookings!

Short break momentarily to dance around my living room doing a little happy dance.

Once this period of writing is behind me I intend to get on with some serious submission. I miss knowing my words are out there waiting.

not-a-silent-poet-grant-tarbard1 At the end of April Reuben Woolley published three poems I submitted to ‘I am not a Silent Poet’

Bomb Damage

Girls on the Ground

Weapons of War Ghanda’s Story

They were written for 16 Days of Activism Event last Autumn and performed at the Library of Birmingham.

Reuben deals with the darker side of human existence – many poets write about things that otherwise have no voice.

16 days

Tuesday evening I found out the submission deadline for a Seamus Heaney Anthology had been extended. I had great fun listening to Seamus as I penned poems of him.

I had news earlier this morning that the editors, Grant Tarbard & Bethany W. Pope, have accepted one of poems for publication.

More news on this soon.

‘Don’t Be Afraid: An Anthology to Seamus Heaney’

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Stratford Literary Festival: The Power of Poetry to Heal

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Stratford-Upon-Avon Literary Festival

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I was lucky enough to attend the ‘The Power of Poetry to Heal’ event last week, at Stratford Artshouse

1803_BlackRainbow_Dhb.indd I read ‘black rainbow’ at the beginning of the year and was touched by the story of Rachel’s struggle through depression. After reading it I was inspired to post my own message of honesty Truth & Rainbows which itself inspired me to contact Rachel and seek permission to use part of the book in my New Year blog post New Year Message

I was looking forward to meeting her in person, but she wasn’t the only speaker at the event.

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Speakers: Rachel Kelly, Susanna Howard & Jill Fraser

We all have a piece of literature or poetry that restores us, calms us or inspires us, but these things can work a deeper magic by triggering long lost memories, rebalancing mental health and giving hope where it may have been lost.

These three women have experienced the power of words and poetry at first hand and, in a fascinating discussion, will look at the power of words to heal.

Rachel Kelly is a journalist whose book, Black Rainbow – How Words Healed Me, charts the story of her perfect world shattered by the savagery of depression and her recovery from it.

Susanna Howard is a poet who runs Living Words and works with terminally ill patients and dementia patients weaving their words into poetry.

Jill Fraser is the director of Kissing It Better, the charity that works within the NHS brightening up patients’ lives through activities, music, drama, and poetry.

Listening to the work the women in this panel do was an inspirational experience. Learning how poetry has helped healing and how it is at work in the community, how the government are FINALLY realising mental health is as important as physical health and how there will be more focus on wellbeing in the future was heartening.

Books are bridges and words connect us all.

A very moving experience which I can barely put into words, so I hope you will spend some time checking out these links to websites. Please share the work they do… maybe even get involved; buy the books, support or donate to the charities or maybe you know people who could give their time.

Susanna Howard – Living Words

http://www.livingwords.org.uk/living-words-team/

livingwords-logo

Living Words was created and is led by artistic director Susanna Howard. … She fell in to working with people with dementia after a period of personal displacement, when flow writing saved her. Living Words emerged out of the darkness of this period. All of a sudden the journey that took her in to that first hospital ward, to work with people who were struggling with their own personal displacement, made sense.

THE BOOK Antholgy-1-front-cover-web-199x300

We are thrilled with our first paperback, THE THINGS BETWEEN US, Living Words: Anthology 1, coming in to being- Sir Andrew Motion has called it ‘An important collection of witnessings to an important subject, and valuable for what it address, as well as the way it addresses.’.

http://www.livingwords.org.uk/poetry/buy-our-book/

All proceeds go to the charity.

Susanna-Howard stratford artshouse Susanna Howard

© 2015 Stratford Artshouse

Jill Fraser – Kiss it Better

 

Volunteers from the “Kissing it Better” charity read poems and recite songs to residents of a retirement home in Stratford upon Avon who have been diagnosed with dementia. (AFP-Yonhap News) http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20131128000975

http://www.kissingitbetter.co.uk/about/

Kissing it Better is about sharing simple healthcare ideas. It is also about harnessing the energy of the most dynamic groups in a local community and inviting them to use their specialist skills to make a difference to the care of patients and their carers within hospitals and care homes.

http://www.kissingitbetter.co.uk/jill-fraser/

Jill is the co-founder and director of the charity, she involves local schools in the programme, reading poetry to the elderly in hospitals and care homes.

We regularly give talks at a variety of venues across the country. We have spoken at major conferences, dinners, and other major meetings. These have included The House of Lords, The Royal Society of Medicine and the QEII Conference Centre in London. We also run Master Classes and Workshops.

Copyright Kissing it Better

Copyright Kissing it Better

Jill Fraser

Black Rainbow Rachel Kelly

http://www.blackrainbow.org.uk/about-rachel/

You can watch media interviews on this page.

Rachel Kelly is a journalist with a long-standing interest in mental health. Her best selling memoir Black Rainbow describes how poetry helped her overcome depression and is published by Hodder & Stoughton, with all author proceeds going to the charities SANE and United Response. It was awarded the prize for Best First Book at the 2014 Spear’s Book Awards.

‘Rachel Kelly has written with bracing honesty and considerable courage about her own struggles with depression. She tells of both her own travails and the solutions to them, and her book will be immensely helpful to others in like circumstances.’

Andrew Solomon, National Book Award winner

Rachel worked at The Times for ten years as a reporter, feature writer and columnist on alternative health. In October 2011, she co-created iF Poems, a children’s poetry app for the iPhone and iPad. iF Poems was on the Apple Editor’s Choice: All-Time Favorite apps list and has sold in over thirty countries. A book version of the app, If: A Treasury of Poems for Almost Every Possibility, was published in 2012 by Canongate and is now in its fourth edition.

United%20Responsesane_logo saneorgcouk

Meeting Rachel was amazing, she remembered me from the emails and blog post and urged me to write another – so here it is Rachel.

rachel kelly Rachel Kelly

Maybe, in the future I will invite some Guest blogs on the Power of Poetry to Heal.

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LINK

http://www.stratfordliteraryfestival.co.uk/

Celebrating its 8th year in 2015, The Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival will be held between 25th April and 3rd May, 2015.

The Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival is the highlight of the regional calendar and has become one of the most significant literary festivals in the UK, attracting thousands of people who share one passion: a love of books, writing and reading.

WENLOCK POETRY FESTIVAL 2015

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I LOVE WENLOCK POETRY FESTIVAL – it is such a great programme and a lovely town too. I dream of a year when I can book in and make a weekend of it. Last year I went alone, on the Sunday and bumped into lots of people I knew. This year there were so many people going that I knew, it was part festival, part reunion.

wenlock poetry festival

The programme as ever was a delight with so much choice. Claire Walker and I spent a while with the decision of which events to book, we had a limited budget as we had to get there and wanted to buy people’s poetry on the day.

There were lots of events I would have loved to attend on the Sunday including workshops, I had half a mind (a silly notion) that after driving to Wenlock and back I would have the energy for Cheltenham Festival the next day. Truth – my Sunday was a day of recovery and had I been at the festival would have probably missed the morning!

wenlock poetry fest

We were about to set off when we heard from our friend Kathy Gee, she’d arrived! We were only about an hour away. We hoped to meet up with her in the morning, but reception and signal are two things that Wenlock is not great for, we managed a quick conversation outside the bookshop, WPF Trish farrell © 2014 Tish Farrell she was in the pottery going to see Kei Miller. A poet I recently discovered at a workshop in Stratford-Upon-Avon.

Claire I started out at The Edge (Arts Centre), perused the book stall and bumped into Hannah Lowe, who was an inspiration to Claire when she started writing, great meeting your heroes in the first half hour.

We dipped into the poetry film and then decided to walk down to the town.

We bumped into Mogs (who had come 2nd in the Wenlock Poetry Slam the night before, the winner this year was Paul Francis). We saw Jo Bell, Jean Atkin and Emma Watkinson, love the fact you just see poets walking about on the streets of Wenlock.

We went to George and Dragon for lunch and the open mic Poems & Pints hosted by Mark Niel. I read two poems, the first one competing with two noisy dogs barking at each other. Tough crowd. I wasn’t stopped in the street this year but I thoroughly enjoyed the event and listening to all the poetry.

WPF G G Trish Farrell

© 2014 Tish Farrell

After this we walked up to the Pottery for our first ticketed event – 52.

Jo Bell

For the 52 weeks of 2014, Jo Bell ran online poetry group 52 under the banner “Write a poem a week. Start now. Keep going.” A unique brand of collective critical encouragement generated the largest workshopping group in the world. The resulting community has claimed prizes and publications ranging from Bridport to the Rialto, from the Charles Causley prize to valued fellowships and PhD places.

Join some of the 52ers including organisers Jo Bell and Norman Hadley for a celebratory reading, and to hear work from a new anthology published by our publisher in residence, Nine Arches Press.

Norman Hadley

https://fiftytwopoetry.wordpress.com/

I was not prepared for how emotional reuniting with everyone was let alone the event itself – and of course the aftermath of packs of 52ers let loose on Wenlock once more.

52 wen© 2015 Rachael Clyne 

It was the best party atmosphere ever. Even greater than the initial impact of Stratford Poetry Festival 2014, where we were strangers. We all piled into the Pottery, Norman Hadley (Head Boy) Master of Ceremonies and he did such a grand job, he got through all the names in the hat – those of us who had read last year in Stratford and those who hadn’t (who went first of course)! It was emotional.

52 wen 2© 2015 Rachael Clyne 

He made Jo Bell get up and speak at the end too.

52 jo Jo Bell © 2015 Norman Hadley 

52 and the extended prompts of Norman has recently come to an end and I think we all feel it a bit. Thank goodness for Hannah Linden who founded a group for us to continue sharing our successes and the community.

After the event a bunch of us 52ers went to the Poetry Café and I popped in to see Deborah Alma, The Emergency Poet, on the way, to pick up a prescription to draw me to the ocean.

 © 2014 Writing West Midlands

© 2014 Writing West Midlands

www.emergencypoet.com  EP dot com

 In the Poetry Café I saw Jean Atkin, Poet in Residence at the festival and bought a much sought after copy of Luck’s Weight. The book of poems alongside Andrew Fusek Peters which grew out of her Acton Scott Farm residency 2014.

Then it was back to  The Edge for the rest of our events.

Jonathan Edwards – Costa Poetry Prize Winner– his event was great. I am inspired that, like me, he is a teacher too.

The opportunity to hear the Costa Poetry Prize winner for 2014 Jonathan Edwards reading from his prize winning debut collection ‘My Family and other Superheroes’, and talking to Anna Dreda about his Costa win.

jonathan-edwards-book jonathan-edwards-pic-370x278

Jonathan Edwards’s first collection, My Family and Other Superheroes (Seren) won the Costa Poetry Award 2014 and was shortlisted for the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize 2014. He won the Terry Hetherington Award for young Welsh writers in 2010, received a Literature Wales New Writer’s Bursary in 2011, and in 2012 won prizes in the Cardiff International Poetry Competition and the Basil Bunting Award. He won the Ledbury Poetry Festival Competition in 2014. His work has appeared in a wide range of magazines, including Poetry Review, Poetry Wales, New Welsh Review and The North.

Jo Bell and Robert Peake with Nine Arches Press launching their new collections

We warmly welcome The Canal Laureate, Jo Bell, described by Dame Carol Ann Duffy as “one of the most exciting poets writing today,” alongside the illuminating and sharp-minded Robert Peake to Wenlock for 2015. 

We are thrilled to announce that both Jo and Robert will be launching their new collections at this year’s festival: 
Kith

‘Kith’ by Jo Bell is her  long-awaited second collection spanning love, sex, boats and friendship and yet so much more, as these bold and generous poems interweave bigger questions of place, identity and community and what these mean to us, here and now. Jo Bell joins us to launch her long-awaited new collection, Kith. Her work is sharp, joyous, precise and plain. As the Poetry Society’s Canal Laureate she covers the industrial waterfront, but is often diverted for a roll in the hay. These poems celebrate our fellow-travellers, honouring deep friendships, one-night stands and the ongoing pursuit of home. “MacCaig meets Bukowski – on the towpath.” 

Robert Peake The Knowledge
‘The Knowledge’ by Robert Peake is a stunning a collection of stirring and delicately attuned poems that not only roam but actively seek – travelling to all manner of places but also moving through time, taking leaps of faith or journeys into memory and sensation.

A wonderful start to your festival evening!

Introduced by Jonathan Davidson with Jane Commane, Nine Arches Press

It was great to finally get my hands on a copy of Kith and to speak with Jo, although I missed the evening catch up over Curry as I was at another event. I will make sure we get to speak at Stratford! It was great to meet Robert, the man behind the Transatlantic Poetry sessions I have enjoyed this year.

and Hollie McNish to finish the night off. Hollie McNish

This April, the extremely talented Hollie McNish will be hitting the road once again, after her first UK tour in October 2014 sold out across the country. She has now added a further 12 dates, including Wenlock. The gig will be an hour of pure unadulterated poetry, spanning two albums and one book, to be released March 2015. A true festival gem!

Hollie is a UK poet who straddles the boundaries between the literary, poetic and pop scenes. She has garnered titles like “chick of the week” (MTV), “internet sensation” (Best Daily)” , “really, really amazing” (Davina McCall) and poet Benjamin Zephaniah stated “I can’t take my ears off her”. Her poem “Embarrassed” was tweeted to fans by renowned singer Pink. Her album Versus was released in October 2014, recorded at Abbey Road Studios, London.

It was a bonus to see a set from Emma Purshouse too.

wenlock 2015

Other highlights included buying MyFanwy Fox’s collection and falling over at the feet of Liz Berry, bless her. Mostly, discovering a festival that doesn’t just repeat the success of the previous year, but builds on it.

I had a great Poetry Day and I look forward to next year!

LINKS:
https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/04/27/a-great-day-at-wenlock-poetry-festival/

http://www.wenlockpoetryfestival.org/

Poetry Wrap 2: April

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April was busy, I plan to write the blog posts this Bank Holiday weekend and get the blog on track for May.

Digbeth Garden Hannah J Graham A New Path of Poetry

Stanza

I started working on a very different style of poetry, sometimes this happens. What happened is I plotted the narrative, like a story and then free wrote the poem, next worked it back to bare bones. I was worried that such a brutal approach to editing would leave the reader searching around for meaning. Feedback was positive and resulted in me writing another small poem. Small poems (a little book of) is what I am working on right now, alongside other things of course.

Commissions

My attention was drawn to an Arts Council Commission. Beatfreeks were searching for 3 poets to participate in the Night at the Museum commission for the Pen Museum, Jewellery Quarter – Birmingham. I applied and kept fingers crossed as I felt I would love working with a museum filled with my favourite things. It stung a bit to not make it through. I want to be honest in the information on my blog, all creatives – in any field know, that for every success there was a lot of failure – people never see that part (usually).

Jess Davies & Sammy Jo are both part of the project and will enjoy it lots, I’m sure.pen museum

It looks exciting.

On the same day I applied for a festival commission (hoping to have more luck with that one).

Writing West Midlands – Network Meeting

We all met at the Custard Factory for another lively meeting, high points for me – apart from seeing everyone of course, included gathering more resources AND a free poetry book! WWM were having a clear out.

WILD WORDS – Restless Bones Fundraiser

Hosted by Tessa Kate Lowe
An evening of Poetry, Comedy & Music RESTLESS BONES readings, Comedy from Dave Rees-Jones & Music from Rachel Mayfield, Afro Mio & Joe Smith wild words

The Restless Bones team performed poetry and listened to some invited guests storytell and play music too. It was a great night. I didn’t win the raffle, but we had a signature competition which Tessa Lowe and I won. Lots of prize goodies; Born Free T- shirt, DVD, book. We have now raised over £6oo to fight against the fur trade. It was lovely to see everyone again and share the night with a great audience.

The book costs £9.99 and all proceeds go to Born Free.

Elaine Catherine Christie

RESTLESS BONES £9.99 plus P&P £2.80

Check out Elaine’s website for more information.

Word Up – Bobby Parker, Jackie Smallridge & Sarah Dixon

It was a fantastic night at Word Up.

Bobby Parker’s poetry plays truth or dare, baring the soul of the small town blues: undaunted by subject matter and fearless of propriety or prettiness, he writes with dynamic clarity of frightening, lonely places within and without our selves. Publications include the critically acclaimed experimental books Ghost Town Music and Comberton, available @ The Knives Forks & Spoons Press. His debut full collection, Blue Movie, Parker holds back on nothing – both daringly up-front and utterly candid, Blue Movie veers between disaster, horror, comedy, sex, drugs, love and parenthood with dare-you-to-laugh brilliance. Along with their starkness and mucky-faced honesty, these poems are meticulously crafted, canny, and always one step ahead.

Sarah L Dixon, The Quiet Compere of Quiet, quiet, LOUD! in Chorlton, Manchester. She runs regular writing workshops. Sarah has been published in Stare’s Nest, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Loose Muse, BOMP 3, YorkMix, Rain Dog and many more.

“Sarah’s creative energy and enthusiasm are legendary. She encourages and gives a platform to fellow poets. Where would we be without her?-Carole Bromley

Jackie Smallridge’s infamous collection of poems SCRUBBERJACK published by Heaventree press is the kind a lot of ordinary people relate to as Jackie’s work is a real portrait of estate life. What she has to say in no uncertain terms is beyond the boundaries of political correctness & shoots straight from the observations of an honest mind. She doesn’t seek to make her audience feel safe, keeping her performances thrilling, raw & relentlessly entertaining.

Join us for a night of POETRY-MUSIC-SPOKEN WORD provided by the wonderfully talented inhabitants of Birmingham and beyond. We guarantee a night you’ll never forget.

Wenlock Poetry Festival wenlock poetry fest
wenlock 2015
See the WENLOCK post here.
It was a fabulous day, shared with great poetry friends. I performed at the Open Mic ‘Poems & Pints’ and at the 52 event, I saw Jo Bell, Hollie McNish and Jonathan Edwards. I needed Sunday to recover (which was Cheltenham Poetry Festival) – I am hoping someone develops an energy supplement for poetry festival goers next year!   wenlock poetry festival
 
Stratford Literary Festival – The Healing Power of Poetry
Power of Poetry to Heal < read a review of the event here.
It was great to meet Rachel Kelly in person and the sessions was moving and worthwhile. sua litfest
42 Super Heroes 42
I always enjoy 42 and I missed it last month, it is like being reunited with a big family and this particular theme was a winner. Everyone performed fantastic Super Hero themed work, I had struggled for ages to write a super hero poem and ended up taking a prose poem (we have been working on these in the MOOC), then as I watched other performers I suddenly had a flashback to being 5 and wanting to be Wonder Woman. I wrote a poem minutes before I took my turn on stage, it wasn’t bad either. Positive reactions to the wit and wording. 42 superhero
Webinar on blogging
On Friday I found a link to a webinar on blogging – it was really aimed at people who generate an income through their blogs and those who blog a business. I decided to give it a go. I looked up the international time difference and was an hour late! Oppps. The end was good though and have had an email since saying I can link to a repeat for the next 24 hours.
I have been back to webinar Learn to Blog since and written 3 pages of notes which I can implement, some of which I have already started. More on this another soon.
MOOC course 3 weeks in
In 2013 when I first stepped back up to writing, I signed up to some online courses, none of which were a patch on this one. How Writer’s Write – I have discovered new poets and poems and styles through the weekly Master classes, I have created 6 new works, have been inspired by other things in the community to produce more. It is great to focus on the weekly assignments. The course was delayed and we are just about half way through now, it would have worked better in March as April and May are busy festival seasons, but it was worth the wait. CN-1780-logo-uofiowa