Performing Poetry – Spoken Word at The Ort 6.3.15

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Ort Jan

I haven’t managed to attend Spoken Word with Debbie Aldous for a while, as the dates have often clashed with Stanza meetings. So I was delighted to make it this month and the night proves ever popular. It was originally on a Thursday night and last year they decided to move it to Friday (the Thursday was often shared with lots of other events), since changing the day the crowd has packed the small café.

It was a little awkward standing up for the whole 1st half but I am glad to see the increasing popularity of this event. It was a great night with varied performance; music, comedy, poetry, story telling. Lots of talent on show and as ever, a relaxed atmosphere.

Photographs by Bernard Davies – a selection from the performances.

Ort Sharon Carr Sharon Carr

Ort Joe SmithJoe Smith

Ort Matt Black Matt Black

Ort Andrea Smith Andrea Smith a.ka. Swingerella – but for this evening she performed some raw poetry as herself!

Ort Rachel Mayfield Rachel Mayfield

It was the last event I did for a while as well. Unintentionally I spent the next week doing nothing but work and sleep. I had a dry patch with writing and didn’t attend any of the performance nights that I had intended to support.

Poetry Events in March – Permission to Speak (4.3.15)

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I started to catch up with Blog posts last week and then wordpress ate my draft and I couldn’t find it anywhere and then ran out of time to rewrite. Now I have finished a busy weekend of poeting and have time to start afresh (in a word doc.) just incase!

I am backtracking to the beginning of the month. My first event was ‘Permission to Speak’ with Rob Francis at the Scary Canary in Stourbridge. Caution Poet & Dave Halama were the featured artist this month, great sets from them both. Caution has a book out, ‘Fragile’.

caution poet book Fragile

The words from Rob Francis himself;

Our next spoken word event hosted by the great Robert Francis includes words from the great ‘Caution Poet’ and musical delights from Dave Halama. P2S dave halama

© 2015 Peter Williams

P2S caution and book © 2015 Peter Williams

Caution Poet With a new poetry collection titled ‘Fragile’ available to purchase on the night this writers work reflects life “from his childhood recollections of The Big Brum Estate, to the sobering reality of Tinted Windows To The Soul, Caution Poet slices through life with dark pop poetry precision. As we throw Caution to the wind, accepted reality becomes fragile perception. No-one ever said it was going to be easy…”

MM3 Rob Francis Rob Francis

You can see Caution Poet here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdJ-oXtPMRU

It was a great night! Only the 2nd event and Rob has built up a great crowd of supporters and artists at this event. What made the evening special was Stacey Pilcher the co-owner and creator of the bar, performed behind the mic.

P2S stacey smith Photography Peter Williams

Especially as up until then (not that I’d noticed), I was the only female performer!

Next month the featured artist/poet is Dave Reeves, poet in residence from The Black Country Museum and the compere for the evening in Leamington in 2013 when I took my first step back towards the mic, at Julie Boden’s spoken word event. In May, I will be the featured guest.

This event happens monthly and if you are local enough to give it a try, I would recommend it! Rob is a great host and the audience are receptive and warm.

P2S me

Beyond the event the venue itself is worth a visit, a refurbished site, once a McDonalds with a cafe downstairs and Scary Canary, an excellent venue for entertaining, live events. I love the overuse of lampshades, the homely settees, the leather suites, the coffee tables which were once doors, the MDF drinks mats and the original (maybe) tiled bar area. They also display artworks by local artists, there is always something new on display and it can all be bought!

I have borrowed a recent article to give you a taste.

Stourbridge Venue – Stourbridge News Photographs © James Butroid

Copyright 2015 James Butroid Stourbridge News

Copyright 2015 James Butroid Stourbridge News

Bet You Thought I’d Gone and Left You All! NEVER!

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Apologies to regular readers for the radio silence, I took a fortnight off from everything apart from work and sleeping. I didn’t write (except lists), perform or surf blogland for some time. I would love to tell you I have been on a cruise or a desert island… because the ‘nose to grindstone’ story isn’t as riveting!

You will be happy to hear, I am back with you and will spend lots of time this evening updating the blog and sharing all my great news with you…. because even when life enforces a period of hibernation upon you, the world continues to spin, we have had a solar eclipse and everything!

Besides I was not hibernating in reality, just working hard and needing to replenish energy stocks through sleep. Mr G is still working away and time offline enables me to gain realtime with him, which is gold-dust precious at the moment.

Plus we have had Mother’s Day, World Poetry Day, St David’s Day, Saint Patrick’s Day (not that I marked either this year with an event), and lots of Birthdays which I have barely had the chance to send social media wishes for.

me

HAPPY MARCH – hope you have a good one! Watch out for some new posts and lots of EXCITING news!

Review of February – Another Great Month!

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‘I cannot believe it is March, but then February is such a short month! This year has been fantastic so far – as you know if you have followed the story – I am now in my 3rd year of the 1st of 4 Olympic challenges… inspired by the Summer Olympics in London, I realised that we hear the GOLD stories and not the 4, 8, 12, 16 years leading up to them. Often athletes may get to GOLD just before they are forced to retire… as writers don’t need to be in peak physical condition (we are only ever warned about the writers saggy bottom), we can (and do) write into our 80s and beyond. So once 16 years has passed I will not lay down my pen, I will carry on, but my beginners strides were to consider my writing life 16 years ahead.

Here is the beginning of year 3 (and considering I rediscovered poetry (my main focus) back in September 2013 I am only 1.5 years in) I read with awe CVs and Bios of writers in their 2nd, 3rd, 4th 5th years of their careers and thought ‘WOW, they’ve achieved that fast’ – and here I am;

Published

Performing and known locally

Headlining events

Mentoring young writers

I  have spent a year working as an assistant writer for Writing West Midlands and now can cover as a Lead writer (with some incredibly exciting news today about my future and this role which matches my hopes exactly)

Work has appeared on the Poetry Trail Wenlock Poetry Festival 2014

I worked on a commission performed at Birmingham Literature Festival (a year after I attended the festival as a wide-eyed gleeful new poet)

I have been booked as a featured act for a Charity event in Birmingham this Spring

I was booked last year (way before the amazing 52) to be 1 of 10 poets on Sarah Dixon’s Quiet Compere Tour 2015

I am working on my first chapbook/ pamphlet

I will be performing on the same night as John Hegley (Poetry God) this Autumn

I have grabbed every opportunity for workshops, tutorials and conversations with writers and publishers

I am supporting Daniel Sluman in the promotion of his second collection ‘the terrible’, right here on the AWF Blog

I AM HAPPY!

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Now to February – how did it look?

BLOGS & PROJECTS

As I get more active in reality, naturally I have less time to blog (I still find it amazing to consider the time that goes into such small posts), however the blog is still healthy and full of life, so thanks for popping in for a read.

Literature Festival Season is upon us, I booked all my tickets for Wenlock Poetry Festival 2015, including the 52 Project with Jo Bell and Norman Hadley, my book has been ordered too. 52 was such an amazing project to be a small part of and it has brought the wonders of the publishing world and success to many of the participants.

This year I am seeking to place my poetry in suitable places, rather than spending my life writing to theme (although no doubt I will do this also). I have been a bit slack this month in sending anything out, with Mr G working away from home I seem to have lost some of my precious writing time and the energy needed to flow creatively. Coping to live alone again is a hard, time consuming struggle, just one month to go though and we will be back to normal!

I did submit poetry to Rethink and entered the Corinium Museum competition.

I continued to attend David Calcutt’s Community Garden workshops in Walsall. We have exciting ventures mapped out for March, including a reading event in the garden and more workshops. Some of the poetry I have produced in Caldmore can be seen on his website (link to follow).

I also had my 2nd workshop with Angela France in Stratford-Upon-Avon, which was even more inspirational than the first and has had me mapping out all sorts of ideas and poetry threads in my notebook since!

I also booked myself onto my 2nd online writing course, this one with the University of Iowa.

SUBMISSIONS

I submitted work to;

Rethink Your Mind (Competition)

Corinium Museum (Comp.)

 

PERFORMING POETRY

This year I decided to pull back on the 100+ gigs of last year to allow more time to work on writing.

Permission to Speak, Robert Francis, Stourbridge. Featuring Fergus McGonigal

Mouth & Music, Heather Wastie & Sarah Tamar, Kidderminster. Featuring Lorna Meehan & Kate Wragg

Hit the Ode, Spoz, Birmingham. Featuring Jasmine Gardosi, Rose Condo & MiKo Berry

Drummonds 42, Andrew Owens, Worcester.

 

EVENTS & WORKSHOPS

Stanza

SpeakEasy, Fergus McGonigal & Maggie Doyle, Worcester. Featuring Gary Longden

Angela France – Stratford-Upon-Avon workshop – mapping poetry

Poets at the Hive – Ben Parker, Sarah James, Ruth Stacey and Todd Swift

David Calcutt – Caldmore Gardens Workshop

Caroline Horton – AND TEXT Workshop, Birmingham MAIA Creatives

Writing West Midlands – Assistant writer/ Lead Writer and cover

I was asked to perform in Mad March Events in Malvern, at a Book Launch in April, interviewed Daniel Sluman for the blog promo tour, stocked up on more books;

‘The Forward Book of Poetry’

‘FU Pardon My Tone’ MiKo Berry

‘A Poetry Handbook’ Mary Oliver

‘The Escape artists’ Ben Parker

‘Unfinished Study of a French Girl’ Todd Swift

‘Magnetic Diaries’ Sarah James

and read a ton of writing articles.

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© 2015 Forward Arts Foundation

© 2015 Forward Arts Foundation

CN-1780-logo-uofiowaWWM PINKCorinium-Museum-Logo

Sonia Hendy-Isaac © 2014

Sonia Hendy-Isaac
© 2014

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Hit the Ode – Jasmine Gardosi, Rose Condo, MiKo Berry & Spoz

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Last week I went to Hit The Ode, it was amazing! I promised you a blog post about it and here it is.

Thursday 19th February – Birmingham hit

It was an incredible night. This event is hosted by Bohdan Piasecki, but he was in Poland, so Spoz (a.k.a Giovanni Esposito) took over as the compere. He was a superb host and entertained us to a frenzy, Bohdan left us all in very capable hands. Spoz is a pro!

I love the fact that every guest they book is always (without exception) mindblowingly brilliant and you know you will always have a great night! I have discovered so many talented performers through this Apple & Snakes event.

The evening was superb! I wanted to support Jasmine Gardosi, a great talent and main feature, what made it more special was this had been her dream from the start, booked to headline Hit the Ode. A rare opportunity to see another headlining set from Jasmine, twice in a month – spoilt!

Although, I have to confess that I contacted them for an open mic slot too. I was looking forward to ranting out ‘Taxing’ – I did realise that I lost many of the younger audience, who perhaps not yet owning vehicles have not experienced the joy of updating paperwork and paying vast sums of money annually to be allowed to use the pot-holed roads of this fine Island! Fortunately the audience can range from pre-18 up to 60 (possibly +) so I was understood by a few and the end of the poem should raise a smile or laugh or too, it did, I even got my first click!

It was an amazing night, the open mic-ers rocked the stage with stonkingly good performances and the headliners… well… WOW – it has been months since I managed to get to Hit the Ode and every headliner drummed in how much I had missed it. hit 1

Hit the Ode brings the most exciting poets from the region, the country and the world to the heart of Birmingham. Join us! We have poems. Poems which scratch that one spot you can never reach on your own; poems whose volume knob was broken off last time you had a party; poems you had better not leave unattended, or they will be taken away and disposed off. Good poems. Come and get them!

jasmine Rose Condo

Featuring: From Birmingham, Jasmine Gardosi Jasmine Gardosi is a spoken word poet, Poets’ Place coordinator, part of the team behind Opus Club, and Birmingham Poet Laureate 2014/15 finalist. In other words, a pillar of the Brummie poetry community. Come and discover her complex, entertaining, often surreal poetry.

From Yorkshire, Rose Condo A Canadian based in West Yorkshire, Rose Condo is a prolific performance poet and the winner of Newcastle’s Slamalgamate (pictured)  – coming to Birmingham for the first time to claim the prize, a featured slot at our own Hit the Ode. rose condo1

From Edinburgh, MiKo Berry All the way from exotic Scotland comes MiKo Berry – the Scottish Poetry Slam Champion, European poetry slam finalist, founder of the renowned Loud Poets, his flair for combining the finest literary technique with stage savvy distinguish him as a poet and a performer.

Miko The Thin Book of Poems launch party at Woodland Creatures in Leith.

MiKo Berry The Thin Book of Poems-launch party- Woodland Creatures in Leith

I was lucky enough to talk to Rose Condo during the interval, we had a great chat about performing and writing poetry. Now I will think of her every time I look at my bathmat. Go and see her and you will see why, it has nothing to do with bathing, bathrooms or personal hygiene and more to do with place.

MiKo Berry blew everyone’s socks off (almost literally), one of the most exciting performers I have seen… and you know how many I have seen. Get yourself up to Scotland, Edinburgh and go and see him.

Jasmine Gardosi performed a touching set, performing material that was brand new and fresh and deeper than deep, alongside crowd pleasing favourites and clever poetry that played with metaphor, reality and rhythm!

Great – all highly recommended!

hit

And in the words of the headline poets, hot from social media press, (well lukewarm, as I am a week and a day late posting)!

Had a cracking night at Hit The Ode. Spoz was the host with the most! Open mic was ace. The place pumped with energy and what a thrill to share the mic with the amazing Jasmine Gardosi  and MiKo Berry. Holy high on poetry batman!

Rose Condo

So many awesome poems and lovely people. On the train home now but still smiling :) Thanks everyone for a brilliant night!

Miko Berry

Still picking up brainy pieces of my mind which was blown from two ridiculous sets from Rose Condo and MiKo Berry  and a splurge of quality open mics from Brum’s finest. Great job Spoz and Bohdan.

Jasmine Gardosi

hit ode rose miko spoz jas

Rose Condo, MiKo Berry, Spoz & Jasmine Gardosi at Hit The Ode, Birmingham 19.2.15

A whole week later and I am STILL buzzing, was a splendid night of poetry!

Half Term Week – Workshops, Writing, Courses and Performances

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I hoped that half term would bring me plenty of time to write, sometimes things don’t work out as planned. I was very grateful for booking a workshop back in January, as this was the first time this week I actually sat down and wrote.

Last year I was fortunate enough to get a last minute place on a workshop during half term with Angela France in Stratford-Upon-Avon.

On Thursday I had the opportunity to attend another workshop with Angela and it was wonderful. I have pages of ideas to sink my teeth into and have been surprised by some of the poetry that has come from the mapping work we completed during the day.

Copyright 2013 peonymoon

Copyright 2013 peonymoon

Thursday evening (why does everything always happen on the same day?), I went to Hit the Ode – it doesn’t seem like months since I was there but I think it has been 4 months since the last one! Primarily I went to support Jasmine Gardosi – another local (and phenomenal) poet who is fast becoming a favourite headliner in our region. I did manage to get an open mic spot too. These are usually 5 mins and I planned to treat the audience to my poem about taxing my car and another about a friend who bakes the most amazing cakes. Performers tend to do poetry by heart and I only knew the 2nd poem off by heart. When I got there – there were so many open mic-ers that we only had time for one poem. Although I have performed ‘Cake-Man’ there before. Hit the Ode was such a great night I have written a separate blog post (link to follow). hit 1

I have managed to squeeze some writing time in this weekend and have a schedule / action plan I devised on Wednesday that I am trying to keep on top of. I am missing Sunday Xpress today and having a belated Shrove Tuesday (Pancake day) with Mr G. instead.

Next week I am going to catch Ben Parker perform again *and this time I will buy his book, his collection has had rave reviews. He is performing at The Hive in Worcester alongside Todd Swift, Sarah James and Ruth Stacey.hive5

I booked two more workshops which I’m looking forward to – another Community Garden workshop in Caldmore, with David Calcutt and one with Caroline Horton during the afternoon (of the same day) in Birmingham, I will be exhausted by the time I get home in the evening and have full time work around these workshops too. Sadly this means I shall miss Confab Cabaret in Malvern in the evening but hope to make it to one soon, haven’t been able to attend for events clashes for months.

I am busy trying to write ‘ghost’ poems for Drummonds 42 on Wednesday and have since found out about a clashing event which I would love to attend, I have committed to the performance in Worcester and think I can deal better with a night there than a really late night in Birmingham, especially after work, with work the next day. However the GOOD TO TALK TOUR is worth a mention and if any of you are in Birmingham it will be well worth you turning up to support.

david allen poetry tour

The 4th event in 1st Time Dave’s (aka David Allen’s) epic charity poetry tour of the country goodtotalktour.wordpress.com Taking in 10 gigs in 10 cities in 10 days – all by pushbike!Entry is £3 but donations welcome, all money going to Birmingham’s Open Door Youth Counselling serviceFeaturing:First Time Dave
Dave is the Reading Poetry Slam’s most winningest (it’s a word) poet. He’s an Archimedes Screw showcase champion and a Bang Said the Gun golden gun winner. He mixes the serious and the silly, the personal and the political. This is the 4th gig in his Good To Talk Tour, raising money for counselling and homelessness charities all over the country in honor of his friend Lizzie Lee who passed away last year.

PLUS! Two favourite poets of mine;

Lorna Meehan
Lorna has been on the circuit for over ten years, performing at festivals like Glastonbury and touring with Apples and Snakes with her mixture of candid hilarity and mellow introspection. She is also an actor, playwright and Associate Director with RoguePlay Theatre and is currently experimenting with longer narrative based poems with theatrical elements.

Jasmine Gardosi
Jasmine Gardosi is a spoken word poet, workshop facilitator, coordinator of West Midlands Poets’ Place and co-host of poetry nights Word Up and Opus Club. A speaker at TEDxBrum’s 2014 International Women’s Day event, her talk addressed the taboo surrounding menstruation. She was placed as the runner up in the the 2014 OxjamBrum Poetry Slam and was shortlisted for Birmingham Poet Laureate 2014/15. She’s also a karate world silver medallist, but that doesn’t really have much to do with poetry so she slips it in subtly wherever she can.

It will be a real shame to miss this event, but I don’t believe in getting out of one event to support another, no matter how unique it is.

I will also probably miss Word Up this month as after a week of work, I don’t think I will have the energy and also won’t have seen Mr G as I am working the day he is home. This is a shame, but I did intend to cut back on events this year. However, I found a downside to this on Thursday night, after a break in performing it was really hard to manage a confident performance, it took the first few stanzas to gain the audience, I think it worked out in the end though.

Just in case my writing diary isn’t packed enough (which it is) I have just enrolled for an online writing course in Spring with CN-1780-logo-uofiowa – I completed one back in 2013 (my 1st year back in my writing skin), it was fun. I am hoping this one will be even more beneficial.

Have a great week, keep writing!

EXCLUSIVE Interview with Daniel Sluman

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AWF is lucky to be promoting Daniel Sluman and his new collection of Poetry ‘the terrible’ due out later in 2015.

Interview with Daniel Sluman – By Nina Lewis

Sonia Hendy-Isaac © 2014

Sonia Hendy-Isaac
© 2014

1) You studied a BA in English Literature & Creative Writing in 2008, had you written poetry before then?

Like a lot of people, I’d tried writing poetry in my teens. I think it was probably a way to try and come to terms with my disability, and the general confusion that comes with puberty. The writing was absolutely awful, lots of she’s so pretty, why doesn’t she love me? type poems. I can’t help but wince when I glance at them now.

2) Can you remember the first poem you were really proud of?

I don’t think that feeling has really happened yet, I’m not sure it will. The perfect poem in my head is always going to fail on the page, I see my job as minimizing the damage. I think that ‘Absence’, the first poem from my debut, was really important to me in opening up a dialogue between myself and my disability, so that definitely stands out in that way.

3) What motivated you to complete an MA in Creative & Critical Writing?

I enrolled on the BA in English Literature & Creative Writing on a kind of a whim. I was staring down the barrel of temp work and I felt like I was at an important crossroads in life. I enjoyed the BA so much, the MA seemed like a no-brainer, and the theory and workshops I engaged within my MA have been vital to me as a writer and as a researcher. I’m incredibly happy that I made the decision to do my MA, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to take this step up to PhD level.

4) What would be your best tip for combating procrastination?

Repetition and routine. I write pretty much every day, and it’s something I’ve just got used to through forcing myself until it feels normal. Facebook, Youtube and Twitter always poke their head around the door on occasion, and rather than lambasting yourself for engaging with it, it’s important to cut yourself some slack on occasion. Balance is really important, so doing an hour of editing should definitely be seen as worthy of fifteen minutes of idle surfing afterwards, and maybe that reward structure that works well for me, might work well for others too.

5) What does your writing space look like?

Until now, it’s always been a laptop slung on the corner of a sofa, or a dinner tray. Now I have an actual desk space for the first time, which I’ll be using soon. It will have sheets of notes and my manifesto on the in front of it, and the whole living room will have poems stuck to the wall. I like to think that this helps me see the collection as a whole; I can walk around the house, noting how the poems look against each other, and I can make notes directly to them with a pen, to be taken down, updated on my computer, and re-printed for the wall again. Other than that, just a laptop, my fingers, and a cup of tea, which is obviously crucial in lubricating the creative process.

6) Could you tell us a bit about your poetry life before your first collection was published?

Striving is probably the best word to describe it. I wrote, edited, read, and listened as much as I could. I would draft at 3 am outside my halls of residence, with a cup of tea and a stack of drafts, I tried to make every reading I could, and I volunteered for helping with workshops. I started getting a few poems in journals, expanded my network of poetry friends on Facebook and locally, and I just tried to remain focused on getting a book deal. I achieved that in the last year of my BA and I was over the moon (still am!).

© 2014 Nine Arches

© 2014 Nine Arches

 

7) How does the process of writing a second collection differ from writing your first?

It doesn’t much really. I work on developed ideas on my computer, print them off, scribble obscenities on them, and try again. An awful lot of poems get discarded, or bits recycled from them, and it can take dozens of drafts to write what still amounts to an unusable poem, and years to get something right. That’s always been my process. It’s messy, it’s time-intensive, it’s emotionally exhausting, but it’s the only way I know to write poetry.

8) Where do you get ideas from?

The places in my head I don’t want to enter. Misheard lines from TV. Programmes on Radio 4. The internet and weird forums I find myself in at 3am in the morning. My childhood, and specifically for this collection – my anxieties, nightmares, guilt and shame complexes, and every behaviour these have manifested themselves in

9) How do you write?

First ideas go into my phone, then they get moved to my laptop as a document, then they get their own folder with various drafts of the poem included. I used to write in a notebook but my bad handwriting and shaky hands mean that it’s a lot harder to do nowadays.

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10) Who do you like to read?

Melissa Lee-Houghton and Bobby Parker are the two British poets who I come back to again and again. Other than that, lots of poets from across the Atlantic, like C.D. Wright, Brenda Shaughnessy, Rosmarie Waldrop, Dorianne Laux, Robert Lowell, and Adrienne Rich.

11) Was there a specific person who spurred your interest in poetry or encouraged you with the form?

I had an English teacher at Secondary School called Mr Adams, who was probably the best teacher I’ve ever been taught by. I remember one lesson where he read ‘Eve of St. Agnes’ by Keats, and I was transfixed. It was the first time I was aware that poetry could have a physical effect on me. That felt like a revelation.

My lecturers at University of Gloucestershire, Angela France and Nigel McLoughlin were incredibly nurturing in the period where I started to take writing very seriously. The advice and critique they both gave was invaluable to me, and I owe them a great deal.

12) Has your idea of what poetry is changed since you started writing poems?

I think it continually does for all of us. We change as people and that means we change as poets and our notion of what we do is always in flux. Personally, when I HAVE to write something down, that’s poetry, it’s an unrelenting feeling that I need to communicate something that I don’t think I’ve seen communicated in a certain way before. So poetry for me is vital, it’s incredibly personal but at the same time it’s universal and porous (as language is itself).

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13) What does ‘being creative’ mean to you?

It’s a reason for living and a part of everyone. It’s play, it’s the opposite of destruction, and it’s making something for its own sake, which is all the more vital in our current capitalist, mass-manufactured, superficial society.

14) Do you have any creative patterns/ rituals?

I edit for most of the day, and when an idea seems ripe enough in the notes app on my phone, I tentatively put it on a Word doc and hope something sticks. I try to read as much as I can at some point during the day, but my concentration levels are severely restricted by my medication.

15) What advice would you give to aspiring writers? (You knew that one was coming) 

Don’t compromise. We compromise with our feelings, our dreams, and what we really want to say to people every day, but the page asks nothing of you, it doesn’t judge, so don’t be afraid to put anything in it.

16) Do you still owe Carol Ann Duffy a drink?

Hahahaha. I’m sure she won’t remember buying me one, it was five or six years ago. I was attending a festival where she was reading and I briefly stood beside her in the queue when she bought me a glass of red wine. I’d love to buy her one back though, yes.

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Daniel’s debut full-length collection, Absence has a weight of its own, was published to critical acclaim in 2012. His second collection the terrible will be published Autumn/Winter 2015, also with Nine Arches Press. He tweets @danielsluman2012 brighton 382

Look out for more posts about Daniel Sluman and his new collection ‘the terrible’ - COMING SOON!

Reading, Writing, Submitting, Organising, Celebrating

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A week of reading articles, catching up with writing and ordering poetry books (well I was online buying Mr G’s Birthday presents). I missed a submission which fell on Valentine’s Day. Mr G celebrated his birthday on Friday and then Saturday was busy celebrating Valentine’s, so any writing that wasn’t finished by the weekend didn’t get written at all.WP_000735

Writing diaryI spent yesterday writing – for about 5 hours, I am working on some performance poetry about Ghosts – which is hard for me as I tend to avoid this subject, in fact whilst I was immersed in YouTube research I started getting chest pains, that was a tad scary. I have yet to finish my poetry for this set at the end of February, but I am glad I attempted the challenge and have written some poems which wouldn’t have existed otherwise. I was also working to a submission deadline. I like to find opportunities to support and promote Mental Health, after what I have been through, part of my goals is to use writing as healing with others at some point eventually. I wrote a couple of poems for the rethinkyourmind, they should be live on the website in a couple of days, I will let you know.

Rather excitingly I ordered 2 new poetry collections, I bought Maps & Legends in Nine Arches Press sale at the end of January, my Forward Poetry Collection arrived on Saturday, just 2 days after I ordered it – along with Mr G’s presents. I have treated myself to a short bed-read on my first day off and am now online preparing for some writing time before I go out.

© 2015 Forward Arts Foundation

© 2015 Forward Arts Foundation

It is important for writers to read and keep up to date with current trends. Treat yourself, if you can’t see it as research.

I also completed some research on events and venues. Jill Peers asked me to be part of Malvern’s Mad March Book Promotion Event- 11 days of events happening around Malvern EVENTS I have finally decided however tempting other venues and days were that I am taking part in a weekend event so I am still free to earn money in the week.

It will be the same day that I am working for Writing West Midlands, but Malvern is no further to Worcester than my hometown, so I should be able to do both. More about this closer to the event (14th March) and after. Come along if you can, enjoy yourselves, most events are FREE. WWM

Daniel Sluman has been interviewed exclusively for AWF and I am delighted that the interview will go LIVE later today.

Sonia Hendy-Isaac © 2014

Sonia Hendy-Isaac
© 2014

EXCLUSIVE DANIEL SLUMAN Interview COMING SOON!

 

3 in a Row: Mouth & Music, Howl & SpeakEasy – A Week of Events

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This week was a fairly busy one, due to full time work I was not able to make one of the events listed in the title, but as it is a NEW Word Event – I thought I would take this opportunity to promote it, I am hoping to make next month’s and then give you a real flavour. I heard it was a great evening – but more on that later!

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Tuesday Night saw Mouth & Music – this month upstairs in the Gallery (a space I love) with headliners Lorna Meehan and Katie Wragg. I was lucky enough to catch Katie last month headlining SpeakEasy, I wanted to hear more from her, a talented guitarist/songwriter who has collaborated on performance work with Heather Wastie and I hope one day will write Kidderminster, the Musical. (Although she may hate me mentioning such an idea as I have made it sound like a feasible project! Sorry Kate.) And Lorna – who I would follow around the planet listening to, a fantastically talented performance poet, who herself has been booked to headline these 3 events this month – so you read more about her in a minute.

It was an incredible evening, some real talent and great pieces shared. Even had an open mic-er who has spent a year listening to us all and joined in at the mic. Magical when that happens. Splendidly dramatic performance as well!

Stonking night at Mouth & Music – Lorna Meehan, Jasmine Gardosi, Katie Wragg, Heather Wastie, Peter Williams, Paul Francis and a ton of talented open mic-ers…. and in the warmth of the gallery! Loved it – I had the inspiration for 5 new poems and scribbled notes all over next month’s flyer!

I am beyond excited that Tom Crossland and Joe Whitehouse grace the stage in April and before that, next month we have the talents of Paul Francis and Rich Stokes, as if last month’s Spark Off wasn’t fabulous enough!

Next month’s theme is Politicians and as I am attempting to write some similar themed poetry for submission this week I should have it covered. My research this week was to watch and transcribe a programme which in turn pushed me towards focussing on a few specific areas. Should be a fun challenge – I use Media/ politics in poetry but have never written one purely from a political point of view. It is good to stretch yourselves as writers.

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I wanted to get to Kings Heath for Howl the next evening – but had also been working full time with some older children and was still tired from the previous week I think – my medication doesn’t help with the tiredness (in case you were wondering why tiredness and sleep feature so heavily on the blog).

Long story short, I did not make it. I fell asleep before 6pm right after my fast-cook-pre-gig tea and didn’t wake up until they had already kicked off. It is some drive too and I really wouldn’t have been safe behind a wheel – I could barely keep my eyes open! So I traded myself an early night and was actually reading in bed by 9:30pm and asleep before 10pm. All sure signs I wasn’t able to make it to the gig.

The day after was also my 5th writing day and I thought if I went to HOWL I would definitely spend most of it asleep- unfortunately that was the reality even without the gig – I think my day started at lunchtime.

Howl Feat is a new evening in a great little pub ‘The Sun at The Station’ in Kings Heath, Birmingham. Hosted by Leon Priestnall, this month’s featured artists were Casey Bailey, Lily Blacksell (who featured alongside Antony Owen and myself at Word Up last month), Lorna Meehan and Joe Cook.
Howl provides a space for the best spoken word artists in Birmingham to speak freely, no restraint, express themselves, provide food for thought, rock the house and entertain.

Casey Bailey
A spoken word poet and rapper from Birmingham. Poetry style is literal and lyrical, touching on a number of different subjects, from growing up in inner city Birmingham to world events. These subjects are tackled with a combination of straight talk and humour.

Lily Blacksell
Lily studies at the University of Birmingham, where she is president of Writers’ Bloc. She has performed her poetry in pubs, theatres, pub-theatres, poetry slams and literary festivals. In 2013, she was part of Apples and Snakes’ Lit Fuse programme, and she also had a poem filmed in the centre of Brum as part of their Power Plant series last summer: http://vimeo.com/109935773

Lorna Meehan
Lorna has been on the circuit for over ten years, performing at festivals like Glastonbury and touring with Apples and Snakes with her mixture of candid hilarity and mellow introspection. You can listen to her work here: https://soundcloud.com/lornameehan

Joe Cook
A.K.A Cookie, is a poet, musician, workshop facilitator and political activist from Birmingham. Heavily influenced by Hip-Hop and Reggae his musical background shows in his lyrical poetry. Described as “The Streets meets Joe Strummer” , his voice is raw, full of passion and heavy beats. He’s performed all around Birmingham at prolific venues such as The Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Mac Birmingham, Recently opening for Hollie McNish at the Rainbow Warehouse as well as performing in London with the Burn After Reading Poetry Collective

HOWL

Then Thursday rolled into view and I had finished the early mornings with work. I struggled to wake up though and after a brief early morning coffee and scan of some writing articles, I fell back to sleep. I had supposed to work on some submissions due mid-month which I knew with Valentine’s and Mr G’s birthday would be impossible over the weekend, as it is I missed these deadlines yesterday.

I completed my politician research and shopping online for Mr G and to book Valentine’s tickets, ran out of time for any actual writing, not that MUSE was shouting loud enough to get through.

I tore to the shops to pick up some birthday/valentine’s bits & made it home with half an hour to spare before SpeakEasy (or at least before Claire’s kind lift), I wasn’t sure if I was able to go this month, had I made Howl – I doubt I would have had the energy.

Speakeasy was great – we were late getting there and missed the first half almost, just caught Kathy Gee! The Headline Act was Gary Longden (Staffordshire’s Poet Laureate), was great to catch a whole set of his.

Lichfield poet, Gary Longden returns to Worcester after a long break. He is our headliner for SpeakEasy on Thursday, February 12th. We are also delighted to welcome one of the Decadent Poetry Divas – Lorna Meehan (Headlined at Mouth & Music at the Boars Head Gallery on Tuesday, February 10th). Kathy Gee, John Lawrence, Neil Laurenson, Math Jones and Charley Barnes, together with open mic slots, complete tonight’s event. We hope you can join us for an evening of varied poetry, unique styles, plenty of entertainment and, of course, the fantastic raffle.

It was a good night and enjoyable to watch for once – although Claire Walker and I have both been told to perform at the next one! There was a clashing event I may have been involved with but so far next month’s still free.

speakeasy

 

 

A Week of ‘S’ Scary Canary – Permission to Speak, Saxon and Stanza

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CORINIUM MUSEUM POETRY COMPETITION

I have had a busy week with just 1 day off, which I used for writing, with everything else that has been happening I have only managed 4 writing days ALL YEAR so far! I finally got to write my poem for the Corinium Museum Competition, a group of us Stanza members went on a road trip/ research/ field trip last month. Corinium-Museum-Logo I was relieved to get my poem written after hours of research and trying to make sense or find creativity in the pages and pages of scribbled notes. Now that the pressure is over, I am sure I will manage to write more – there’s a Mrs Getty poem and a sheep poem at least waiting to be written.

 

PERMISSION TO SPEAK – Scary Canary the Venue – with Rob Francis

MM3 Rob Francis Photo Credit: Mary Davies

Rob Francis – a local poet who has moved back to homelands from Leeds and has started a new Poetry Night in Stourbridge, I met him in November and have enjoyed watching him perform his sets ever since. The headline was Fergus McGonigal and I wanted to go and support Worcester’s Poet Laureate. I have been asked to headline myself and have chosen May as I have a few other things happening in March (will post about these soon).

I had a fun time finding the venue – who knew there was Scary Canary the Ladies Dress shop, and Scary Canary in Victoria Passage, a now empty menswear shop and then finally – down the other end of the high street the venue. It is such a cool place – I will take my camera next time (Caution Poet is headlining in March) and post photos. Rob had a very successful first night and it was great to perform under a spotlight (because you can’t see the audience)! It was a great night, thoroughly enjoyed. It was great to catch up with friends and get lots of positive feedback on my set.

permission to speak Feb

 

SAXON

After working all day I took Mr G and two friends to see SAXON at Civic Hall. Mr G and I saw a tribute band a while back who were brilliant and Mr G decided he wanted to see the real Saxon. He made do with some DVDs that Christmas, then they decided to tour! So we got tickets.

It was a fun night and I was front row all night! Really good position, it was funny seeing people of all ages rocking out. Afterwards everybody wanted to carry on partying, which would normally be okay – but I had work the next day. The booking was originally for Monday and got changed to Friday – I had attempted a day off after the gig. I spent the day with Nursery – it was a good job I had been driving the night before.

 

STANZA

After work on Friday I was so exhausted I came home and went straight to bed. This just about revitalised me for an evening of poetry, but I was very glad I went as there were an abundant amount of strong poetry and I received ideas for mine that I hadn’t considered. It was an enjoyable night as always.

However, I had no energy left to get to the Opus Club on Saturday night – hope to make the next one.

I spent some time on Tuesday checking out Arts Jobs and festivals. There are tickets I need to buy for Wenlock and Stratford (both in April). I nearly applied for a job this evening but there is a higher level of commitment and investment than I first realised and I am unsure whether the position is right for me right now.

I also received my copy of Maps and Legends – Nine Arches Press and can’t wait to get stuck in and I saw Mike Alma and bought a copy of his book too.

I have spent most of the weekend asleep and now have a week of poetry and work to look forward to again. I have 2 days work so far, Tuesday evening is Mouth & Music in Kidderminster – Guests are Lorna Meehan and Katie Wragg, Wednesday night is a new one called HOWL, in the city – hoping for Open Mic spot and Thursday sees SpeakEasy in Worcester with Gary Longden (Stafford’s Poet Laureate) headline. I am hoping to just enjoy a night out listening to everyone else perform. Then it is Mr G’s birthday and Valentines Day … so a busy weekend coming up too.

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