Daily Archives: October 18, 2013

My Second Stanza


Thank you to Ian Glass for wonderful hosting this evening and Claire Walker for the lift, which meant I could enjoy a glass of wine with poetry. (Perfect combo!) My first meeting, last month, I read my poem last and sat with butterflies for almost the entire night. This time I got to go first. Which, as it turns out, is equally nerve wracking!

Both poems were chosen from Picture It and Write challenges and both poems were about ‘Stage shows’… if I am not careful I will become known as that poet who sets all her poems on a stage! (Now you know what Shakespeare meant…. all the world’s a stage…) This couldn’t be further from the truth of what my poetry is.

Still as I haven’t written a new poem for several weeks, these seemed like good choices. I am grateful for the supportive comments and criticism and now feel I can edit my writing into a better poem – before I perform it at Drummonds 42 in a fortnight for Halloween!

It was a great evening!

I am now working on finding material for Wednesday – I only need one poem and I have something in mind, I am going to Stratford-Upon-Avon to watch the The Mildly Erotic Poetry Tour from Emmapress, a book launch with a difference! Mildly-Erotic-Poetry-Tour Which includes some open mic spots, although by the sounds of the email there are many of us trying to clamber onto the stage, this does mean that we all only get to perform 1 poem – that’s fine by me!

Postcard Poets – Birmingham Literature Festival


Postcard Poets: Home-made, Home-grown

PostcardsTwenty poets were commissioned to write poems on the theme Home-made, home-grown. Six have been chosen to appear on specially-designed postcards, with thousands of copies in libraries throughout the West Midlands.

This year’s chosen poets, Fergus McGonigal, Roz Goddard, Emma Purshouse, Spoz (Giovanni Esposito), Jane Seabourne and Brenda Read-Brown will be appearing at the launch of the Poetry on Loan postcards – and they’ll all be performing their work for you.

© Birmingham Literature Festival 2013

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Having absorbed the Benjamin Zephaniah screening and filled myself with some food, I returned to the Library of Birmingham for Postcard Poets event. Sadly I took no pictures, it was a small room and other audience members were being well behaved!blf ikon 4

I was also enjoying the performances too much to peel my eyes from the stage, it was a great night, exceptionally entertaining!

Postcard Poets was a great event. 20 Poets were commissioned to write poems around the theme of homemade and home-grown. 6 of these poets had come to perform a selection of poetry and their postcard poems. The postcards are free and available at all public libraries in the region.

I really enjoyed this event and wished I wasn’t as tired as I was, I could barely stay awake and by the time I was home I was too tired to even talk!

The performing poets were;

Fergus McGonigal, Roz Goddard, Emma Purshouse, Spoz (Giovanni Esposito), Jane Seabourne and Brenda Read-Brown

Some of whom I’ve met. Roz was on the picture writing course I took earlier in the summer, Fergus popped into the Sarah James book launch and has also been chosen as the MC for an open night event (that I will also write about) that I attended last week, WLF’s SpeakEasy.

Spoz is regionally very famous, he lost his job (with many others) when the Rover car plant shut down (a major employer for generations in the region) he used his redundancy money to relaunch himself as a poet – a great slam poet who now works with lots of community based projects and has celebrated lots of success. I have seen tickets for his shows, but never managed to catch him. I was impressed by his energy.

I loved discovering all the other performance poets.

It was a fabulous evening and one of the best factors of this Literature Festival, is that many events were free, including this one – and it really was superb.


Benjamin Zephaniah – Birmingham Literature Festival


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To Do Wid’ Me

Benjamin Zephaniah 

Film Screening – To Do Wid Me: A Film Portrait of Benjamin Zephaniah

October 9 @ 4:00 pm – 6:30 pmTo Do Wid Me is a film portrait of Benjamin Zephaniah by Pamela Robertson-Pearce drawing on both live performances and informal interviews. It shows him performing his poetry for different audiences and talking about his work, life, beliefs and much else. You see him live on stage at Ledbury Poetry Festival, Newcastle’s Live Theatre, Hexham’s Queen’s Hall and Brunel University, and engaging with school children at Keats House in London, where he was writer-in-residence. As well as the main film, the DVD also has a bonus feature: music videos made by Zephaniah with the Beta Brothers.blf Benjamin-Zephaniah1-for-website-300x225Introduced by Neil Astley, Editor & Managing Director for Bloodaxe Books, and followed by Questions & Answers with Pamela Robertson-Pearce.In Association with Bloodaxe logo

© Birmingham Literature Festival 2013

Wednesday the 9th October I was booked for a full day of work on the understanding that I had already booked events at the Literature Festival and had to finish in a timely manner to make my way into the City. Well two reasons I am good at what I do is I am committed and thorough – so I couldn’t leave before I had completed marking and then my car was blocked. Traffic into the city was mad and although I found parking- prayers answered… I was half an hour late! Which meant I missed Neil Astley’s introduction, gutted – especially after meeting Simon Thirsk at the network event in Oswestry, back in September.

Ironically I was booked the next day for more work at the same place & could have caught up with paperwork then!

The film made by about Benjamin Zephianiah was great. I use his poetry a lot in schools and when I was a performance poet on the Leicester circuit I met a good friend of his Oscar, who also wrote great poetry and made amazing Carribean dishes!

I wanted to see this film and am a bit gutted I missed the first hour, the seats were uncomfortable and plastic and I doubt I could have managed the whole 2 hours after a full days work!

It was inspiring and poignant and insightful. A very enjoyable show to watch.

A Day as a Writer


plannerYou have no idea how excited I am, it has been over 2 weeks since I had a day to myself to freelance and work on my action plan!

Yesterday I only worked a half day and hoped to get producing. However, our internet has been non-existent due to a pesky mouse (of the electronic variety) and actually my online time was spent catching up with emails and blog posts.

I did manage to choose a poem for tonight, but I had hoped to write  a new one.

Now I can!

550px-Overcome-Lack-of-Motivation-Step-2I have been up and online catching up in Blogland for nearly two hours and it’s not even 9:30 – I plan to spend the rest of the morning working through emails and action plans, peppered with a few breaks and possibly some beckoning household chores!

After lunch I plan to spend some time with poetry pen in hand and later this evening I am going to my second Stanza (Poetry Society) meeting, where I have a spooky-ish poem in need of some help, once polished it will form part of my set for Drummonds the week after next.

I also need to email some writers to ask for permissions for references to their material during our INKSPILL Writing Weekend Retreat (Oct25th-27th)




Earlier on this year I submitted some work to Emmapress for an anthology of slightly erotic poetry, turned out I got a little carried away (thank-you EL James!) and my material would have been better suited for an erotic poetry anthology in the end. (Maybe if I am brave enough!)

Anyway the publishers have received a grant from the Arts Council to run a tour during the book launch. I am hoping to go to a performance in Stratford next week and am keeping my fingers crossed for a workshop opportunity in Oxford next month. Which sounds more like a poetry clinic where we take a poem and work on it. But will be perfectly timed to work on some more of mine, well 1, we are allowed to take 1 poem.

And there’s more…. the Stratford show has an Open Mic (yes, you know what’s coming next!) I have signed up – again it is just a 1 poem slot but I get to practise one of my poems for SpeakEasy next month! I only hope they have room for one more.

I need to spend some time this weekend trying to learn the -so-far-set-list off by heart!

Exciting times!

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Whilst checking my email this afternoon I have had confirmation of both. A seat & slot in Stratford-Upon-Avon 1 of 6 places on the Oxford Workshop!



Art in the Heart – Book Launch – Birmingham Literature Festival


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Art in the Heart

Ikon Gallery book launch

Art in the Heart was a joint venture between art galleries and poets. Five commissioned local poets and five people who had their work selected from workshops they had attended with Philip Monks.

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They created a book of images and poems from over 20 Arts venues in the region.

The evening at the Gallery celebrated the book launch. I bought a copy. It is diverse and thought provoking. – I quite like the challenge of using the artwork in the book to create my own series of poems. blf art heart book

We heard about the project from guest speakers including the man responsible for actually producing the book. As passionate about typography as writers are about language and words!

Then were treated to 10 of the poets performing their work, upstairs in the gallery.

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It was a long way to go for such a short event. I think it was worth it too.

One of the poets published in this collection was Jane Commane (Editor at Nine Arches) and leader of the workshop I booked for Poetry Publishing. I completed all my own research the first time around. So much has changed if there are opportunities to hear others talk about it, I will.

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The evening started with a drinks reception and was a wonderful experience. I even managed to get a special Literature Festival biro.

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