Monthly Archives: February 2014

Final Submissions


My writing diary had a list of opportunities this week which had the deadline of the 28th, I had planned to do something about this on Wednesday and Thursday evening, but we were out with relatives from America.
On Friday I hoped to find a window of time between work and the Library Display and going out to Word Up, I barely had time to choose and rehearse my set and get ready.
I then went out to Word Up thinking I would write when I got home… then there was the waffle house…

The lesson I learnt this month was NOT to leave submissions to the last minute!

I managed to make one out of the three, there was a 4th submission which was international and had already closed before Midnight GMT.

In the end the pressure I place on myself needs to be monitored. I have spent a fortnight reading the submission guidelines and considering suitable work, many of the opportunities meant writing new material and it has been so busy I never had the time nor energy to do this.
I decided not to push myself to the end of my red-line and just look for opportunities in the future.

It is important to be realistic, organised and gentle on yourself when you freelance!
inkspill notebook

Word Up & Waffles


Word Up was amazing – the first time I have made the open mic at York’s Bakery and the Headline Act was Lorna Meehan, I have seen her at events a lot in the past fortnight and I am glad that she has finished her poetry tour because her material is very entertaining.

I had to go on first and found it very noisy without the PA system, it was a lovely receptive crowd and in the end I was glad I was first on, because the rest of the sets were incredible.
I look forward to the next one.

Afterwards a few of us had decided to go for a drink. By the time we got to the bar, I realised that almost the entire gang of poets had come with us. The bar was rammed (city on a Friday night) and so someone suggested a waffle house…ss
It was a great place, despite being across the other side of the City. And we all had a great time and some delicious waffles!

waffle One of the best Friday night’s out I have had in a while!

Family From Over the Pond


Last week was a really busy week with work and writing AND we had family visiting us from the States.
I stayed with them in 2005 and haven’t seen them since! It was brilliant…
We took them to stay with family on Wednesday and saw them again at my brother’s on Thursday night before they left for Dublin.
They have a few days of travels left before heading home and have had a great time!
1 world

The Tiniest Display


After work today I went to check the library out where I have been asked to display my poetry. The Arts Network display a variety of local talent there throughout the year.

From emails I have received, I had expected a display board, perhaps an area of a couple of metres in length…. I walked past it twice before accosting a librarian!

It is smaller than my coffee table and has the added disadvantage of me needing to display poems so they can be read – maybe I should attach them to coffee table books – actually that is not such a bad idea!

I am currently researching ideas online – I am supposed to spend this hour working on submissions – 20minutes on Google is not helping. I have until Friday to get this exhibition created – I am looking forward to it, despite it landing in such a busy week!


Let me know if you have ideas how flat display (lying down on the table) can be made to look creative and wonderful…. for now I am going to run with the coffee table book idea I think!

Diverse Dancers – Exhibition Soiree


A Busy Week Ahead


Lots going on this week which may mean less posts in here… I will see how I go….

I am working the rest of this week and in addition to that we have relatives flying over from the States to entertain for a couple of days too.

AND I have 1 possibly 2 open mic gigs to perform sets out and I am busy writing for several submissions with the end of the month as a deadline. type

In addition to all this wonderful busyness, I am organised a display of my poetry for a local town library, which is due to go up by 1st March, I need to visit and see what the current display is, how many pieces will fit, find other items for the display and choose my work – not necessarily all in this order. inkspill books

I did my finances this morning – I know there is very little money in writing and even less in poetry, I am not reliant on my writing making an incomeimagesCAJBX1JQ – which is a good job because it doesn’t…. however, it does cost, in transport, buying books of other artists, attending events, workshops, training courses, resources etc. I had quite a shock. Last year cost me a lot, but per month was not as high as my outgoings so far, the more you do – the more it costs….

I may have to cut back a little just based on what I can afford…. My flat has been on the market a while and today I think there I have good news, so hopefully my finances will be easier to manage and can be stretched further soon.

It is about time I took a step back and started writing! pencil paper freestock I have a lot coming up over the next few months. Exciting times.

open road

Caught the Sunday Xpress to the End of my Poetry Week!


I have really enjoyed wearing my poetry skin this past week and I finished off with a set at the Sunday Xpress, in Digbeth.

It was good to see everyone, especially some people who have been away from the circuit for a while.

do415com open mic

Knock Those Demons on the Head – Advice for Creatives


I know from analysing data from my blog that some of the most popular posts are helpful advice offered to writers on many HOW TO … themes.

Well here’s another one.

Born out of recent online conversations over my review of last night came the idea for this post!

This is the extract …

‘I shouldn’t beat myself up less and need to stop comparing myself to other artists. We are all unique and talented in our own ways and how I feel, what I think is not what the audience experiences.’

I think many of you will relate to this dent of confidence that comes when you’re watching other performers doing their sets.

This is the response I wrote;

I think all humans do it and artists especially…. there is something attached to the ego that makes it happen. Wise words like ‘be yourself, write from what/where you know’, are all true and if you can manage that then you are taking steps in the right direction.

I trained as a Life Coach & I learnt to let go of judgement & unhealthy comparison which helps me argue against the doubt in my head…. sometimes. It is a hard thing to do, but a good exercise.

Art is subjective, you put it out there and people see/hear/grasp the bits they want or need. Editors for example always choose what I would slush & reject what I love! 😉

There’s no accounting for taste… just let us keep on doing what we do!

Believe ~ breathe.


Diverse Dancers Exhibition – Najma Hush – Performance Event



Diverse Dancers Part I:   An Exhibition for Exhibitionists, with Art, Poetry and Music.

I had a great night at the Diverse Dancers Exhibition/ opening night at The Ort in Birmingham.

I found out about this event in January and excitedly signed up. Najma was looking for artists and performers to come to the opening of the event (although the gallery exhibit opened on 19th February), it was such a lovely gesture to get the wider community involved and there were plenty of audience there tonight too.

Diverse Dancers

^^^ See Najma’s photography!

The exhibition is there until the 4th March.

It gave me an opportunity to meet and watch new (to me) talent and I always love events at the Ort because it is such a hippy vibe place to be that I feel totally at home in the café.

1 birm ort

A superb night, I really enjoy having the opportunity to share my poetry in events other than Open Mic nights, there is something rather special about performing for other reasons. Plus I love the challenge of writing for specific reasons/ events/ venues…. I may not think this when I get commissions.

Najma is a fantastically talented photographer who captures moments of dance through her magic lens. Being an ex-dancer I LOVE her work and feel so much when I look at the images she has shot. Her work speaks to me on a personal level, tonight she passed comment that my poetry spoke to her in the same way. Great synchronicity!

I adore the way (in this 3D crazed world) that she can captured such movement in a 2D form. It was a delight to write poetry especially for this event. It was in my writing diary as a task to do mid-February, a week ago, a bit like last minute homework assignments, I ended up writing two of them at 4:30 am after my Hit the Ode gig and then another one around 3pm which I hurriedly emailed to Mr G for printing! My final poem in the set was written for one of the challenges and appears in some form somewhere on this blog, I will try to find it and link it up here. I don’t tend to ‘publish’ my work on this blog as I am hoping it will appear elsewhere.

Here’s the link – cannot believe it has been a year since I wrote it – retitled –

The Fourth Wall

Writing these poems brought all sorts of memories back to me, from Martha Graham to learning Labanotation, from being taught choreography by a Japanese speaker to the pain of pointe shoes and all of it was wrapped up in a neat bundle of 3 new poems.

Rather like Thursday night, when I got back from the city – I am now working the adrenaline out of my system. Honestly tonight was soooooooooo good it may take a while to come down!

It was lovely to receive such positive feedback after my set – especially after last night’s fiasco and it has helped boost my confidence again. The thing is my set may not be as dramatic or as well presented / polished as people who have been doing it for the past 6-10 years… but I am nearly 5 months in and my poetry can speak for itself, there is a lot of meat on my words, people can already enjoy a feast – and one day maybe silver service!

I shouldn’t beat myself up less and need to stop comparing myself to other artists. We are all unique and talented in our own ways and how I feel, what I think is not what the audience experiences. I can compare myself to myself and each time there is a good night – keep that one and know that being human involves making mistakes sometimes. At least I can’t hurt myself with mistakes, not like athletes or medics or something, nothing catastrophic will happen as a result.

Najma Hush Najma Hush

The night started with the wonderfully talented Andrew Clayton playing music on the keyboard, he also accompanied Carys Matic Jones later in the second half with improvised music which worked fabulously alongside her words.

I have added some photos of the evening taken by Bernard Davis © 2014

Adele kicked off the poetry – Stage name Ddotti Bluebell, she hosts Word Up at Yorks Bakery, where I will be performing next week, it was great to meet her and hear her lively and amusing set.
Adam Laws was extremely brave, his first approach to the Open Mic and unless he had said, I don’t think many of us would have guessed, he was nervous and still gave a stellar performance! I hope he will do more now, I encouraged him to keep going and I am sure others did too!
adam bernard davis
Al Barz, who runs Purple Penumbra which I went to before Christmas amazed me with his dance poem, complete with backing music and audience participation dance moves, a great warm up for performers in the first half and fun too! Al Barz - bernard davis
Jude Ashworth, who I met a few times last year, at Jane Commane’s workshop and Jan Watts – Books to the Future festival – Phenomenal Women event read two poems which had depth and vision.
Andrea Shorrick was brilliant! A Cinderella who certainly managed to go to her ball – what a performance! Drama, monologue, a Fairy Godmother tick list, a broom, a ‘brave’ (I say gorgeous) dress and a poem! A real treat. Andrea bernard Davis
Ian Henery, Walsall’s first ever Poet Laureate in (2011), performed his poetry and likened the talent of the first half to that beyond the Nation’s favourite, Kipling!
Olufemi Abidogun  femi
Fami mesmerised me with his words, a gentle, fantastic poet, who I regret I ran out of time to talk to, I tried as much mingling as I could manage.
Tessa Lowe, who hosts Poets with Passion events and when she is not writing, performing or being lovely, travels. Was brilliant as always and described how completely happy she is about her decision to relocate to this part of the city, with vibrant descriptions of the location and obvious love for the event itself, her words carried us all to the interval.
1 birm ort1
Carys Matic Jones kicked off the 2nd half and she ‘kicked’ it, performing poetry and have an impromptu improv. with Andrew Clayton, before producing her new toy and drumming us right up to my set, she was dynamic and the injection of music livened up the atmosphere!
carys andy
  • I nervously took to the mic and had a moment of clarity when I suddenly realised my words stand up for themselves! nina
Kate Walton katewalton bernard davis was absolutely amazing, I really enjoyed talking to her afterwards as well, known as the ‘Storytramp’ and a nominee for some amazing storyteller award, kw she wowed us with her physical and spoken performance – the sheer joy was obvious in her face and was infectious!
Lorna Meehan, one quarter of the Decadent Divas, recently back from her 1st Poetry Tour under Apple and Snakes and someone who I have seen 3 times in 2 weeks performing at the same events was amazing as always. Her poise and performance ability blow me away!
Simon Pitt – Birmingham’s Poet Laureate 1999- 2000 performed a random set it has to be said, amusing though his outbursts were, he also treated us to the first poem he ever declared in public!
Najma Hush treated us to two poems, her second poem spoke to me and was a treat of words.
Max Jalil M performed a great poem and really had no need to be nervous, it was a supportive atmosphere and his poem stood up for itself.
Then I was treated to the artful jazzwork of Roy Mcfarlane, Birmingham’s Poet Laureate 2010- 2011 a brilliant poet from what I heard this evening and a dreamy, narrative, sometimes baritone voice which leant itself to the content of his poem too. A timeline through Jazz, politics, rights and history. A joy to listen to.
frugal cafe creative commons champers
I hope I have not missed anyone out, the whole night is whirling around in my head! Some of the performers sadly couldn’t make it and some people had to leave after the 1st half. This did not dampen the atmosphere of the evening, wonderfully relaxed and all taking place with the inspirational backdrop of Najma Hush’s Exhibition ‘Diverse Dancers’.
And the best bit is there are 2 more events on the horizon in April and May. Can’t wait to write for them – hopefully not at 4a.m this time!

My Poetry Day Thursday 20th February


Today started with Poetry for Lunch, the wonderful lunchtime feast of words, organised by Jan Watts every week. I was at the first few, including the launch on January 9th and now I have to work Thursdays and can only make the school holiday dates… so my next Poetry For Lunch won’t be until Easter – at least it may have stopped raining by then! lit7

Today was ‘suitable for children’ as we hoped lots would be around the library – I took public transport into the city and wrote my poem on the way in!

A lovely children’s poem about Baby Owls.

It was sunny all morning and still blue skies as I walked to the library in my winter coat…. no sooner had I got ready to perform than the heavens opened and I had to put my coat back on – I was worried about my hair going frizzy before the evening performance.

It was lovely to see Jan again and I had fun, even though there was only time to perform one poem this week.

William Gallagher has also been trying to make one of these performances and today he had a meeting at the library and was able to stay and watch the performances. great to speak to him after and catch up briefly.

imagesCA11997Y I was then lucky enough to spend the entire afternoon with new(ish) poetry friends. I feel a little bad, as I was mostly a bag of nerves (as I had attempted to learn my poems off by heart and was thinking about the performance, not drinking, attached to the time, fanatical about checking the time, panicking about being late etc. etc.)

It was good to sit and chat – so often all that is confined to the interval!

This evening I took the biggest leap in performance terms and learnt a lot at my first ever Hit the Ode event! hit 1

My attempt to perform from memory went wrong and the words I had practised and managed for the past 24 hours, fell out of my head, flustered I came off stage to grab my paper and read the poems…. I completely messed up, I was mortified and have never felt so bad about a performance, not since I was a child… but I was able to save the set – and got positive feedback on the poems and my recovery.

Fortunately (for me) it is no longer the vogue to perform from heart and many headline acts still read – or at least have the text in front of them somewhere to use. I knew I should have used my hands as prompts… a few ink reminders.

It was also lovely to see Julie Boden again and meet Ann Porro and Paula Varjack, they each lit up the night with fabulous headline sets!

I bought Ann Porro’s book, with free doggy! Mingled and chatted after the great night and then headed home – or to the bus stop at least – having bought my return ticket.

I had 15 minutes, I got to the stop – double checked timetable I had already checked earlier and there in the FAINTEST print it had a little 1 and the footnote FRIDAY only *(in reference to the last bus home 11:20pm which I guess has been cut because there is never anyone on it until the weekend!)

I had to run to the train station and make a snap decision on the platform – the train went to 2 different stations near (a taxi) home…. I chose the 1st one, thinking there was more likelihood of taxis or a rank. There were neither. I walked to a local hotel and asked them to phone me a taxi – by now the battery in my phone is dead – because I have also spent some time on the phone with estate agents and they may have sold my house. (A week after we went in and kicked up a fuss, funnily enough!)

The taxi was called – someone else jumped into it – the firm was called again – eventually half an hour after we called – the place I was is small enough to drive end to end in 10 minutes my taxi appeared, then I was charged more than the suggested fee as it was after midnight – I wanted to argue against this but I was too tired and just wanted to get in at the time! And it wasn’t a massive amount compared to the total expense of the day – it is NOT cheaper than driving and parking and tomorrow’s gig I will be driving to. Tomorrow is actually later on today and I still have to write the poems for the event!

Lessons I learnt today; imagesCAH8TZHF
1) Drive to ALL gigs
2) Read my poetry – I am not yet ready to perform from heart
3) DON’T tell taxi drivers you have had a drink they will charge more!!
4) I am overweight but when a wonderful poet performs a set about Nutella – I will inevitably end up eating it on toast
5) Nutella is a bit messy for typing!
6) Read …the small print on bus timetables that state in a tiny faded 1 – only on Fridays!
7) Buy single tickets – the likelihood is you will not return (at least not the same way)
8) I need help!
9) The journey is part of the adventure…
10) That none of the above matters when you have had a fantastic day out with great people! inkspill gal at desk