Ledbury Poetry Festival and Worcester Lit Fest
have collaborated on a series of 3 poetry events leading up to the Ledbury Poetry Festival. Ruth Stacey has worked with Ledbury Poetry Festival organisers to bring these events into the heart of Worcester, the new library, The Hive.
I really enjoyed the first event in the Studio, Poetry and Place, an evening of listening to 3 amazing poets. Click the link in related articles to read about it.
I have already reblogged Claire Walker’s detailed review of Poetry and Pollination (related links) if you want more information on the acts and performances it is a great read!
Poetry and Pollination was booked in advance and I had been counting down to the next Ledbury/Litfest/Hive event with excitement, as the run up was during my insane 10 gigs in 11 days (never again!) period, – in fact Poetry & Pollination was gig 10. I hadn’t managed to write to the theme, Bees – well we were at The Hive! I have written 1000’s 0f poems and not one about bees. New material was needed.
For a few weeks beforehand I had the time to write but not the inspiration, muse was looking at the flowers, rather than the bees. Then, whilst fleeting around social network sites I found 2 posts about bees. One about the pollination process, the other a Guiness Book of Record type tale of an elderly lady who covered herself in bees. Notes were scribbled in my carry-it-everywhere-you’re-a-writer notebook.
Weeks later I had still not managed to get the scribbles into a poem.
The night before The Hive I was at SpeakEasy, thinking I would still have time to write a bee poem or two when I got home – even if the title was ‘It was not to Bee!’ It was a fairly late night and I was exhausted when I got I, went straight to bed, with my carry-it-everywhere notebook, picked up the nearest pen (which was unfortunately a felt tip) don’t write in felt tip if you can help it, the ink blurs and the next day it is hard to see what has been written, even harder to perform from a felt-tipped script! As I found out.
The Pollination poem has still, as yet, not materialised, nor has the poem about the bee lady – I am hoping to write both before the summer! Instead I fell back on the wise words of every writing tutor – write from what you know – the result of which was two poems about my experiences with bees, both humorous (I don’t usually do funny, unless I am writing with Tim Scarborough – more on that in another post) I wrote about a teenage experience of getting a bee stuck in dreadlocked hair and another about evicting a huge bumble bee from a class of screaming 7 year olds!
I received lots of positive feedback on my performance – it was helped by stage lights and no PA system, I lost my inhibitions and started jumping around the space, acting out my poem, making full use of that dusty, old, drama degree. ‘Another level/ the next level’ in my performance poetry – a great compliment to hear – performance morphs and changes, just as poetry. We grow, change, develop. I am glad after 6 months of spoken word, my work is rising to the next level.
The audience enjoyed these poems, I wrote another one about endangered bees and read that along with a few of my favourite nature poems (another genre I don’t tend to write).
It was a great night with talent after talent, it was especially satisfying to hear Ian Glass and Ruth Stacey as they don’t tend to read their work often and both are wordsmiths with golden nibs, their poetry is amazing. Ruth has a collection coming out soon – Fox Boy – Dancing Girl Press, she will be performing at Ledbury Poetry Festival – can’t wait! More information soon.
It was also a treat to have a few new-to-me faces and a little audience too. Charlie Hammond, a great performance and very funny poem about a parker pen. Lesley Ingram, who mainly performs around Cheltenham area also treated us to her set of delightful poems. Duncan Forbes who read about the seasons.
Maggie Doyle (Worcester Poet Laureate Emeritus and recent KIDDERMINSTER CREATIVES SLAM WINNER!) opened the night.
Jenny Hope read some beautiful poetry, I love hearing her read, such a gentle soulful poet.
Timothy Stavert read about his daughter observing bees.
Suz Winspear treated us to a deliciously darker set, I especially liked her poem about the Yellow House and hope to hear it again soon.
Claire Walker shared one of my favourite poems of hers ‘A Little Outing’, alongside her bee poems, one describing the fear her daughter has of the humming bees, which transported me back to my own fear, filled childhood.
The headline slots were filled by Ruth Stacey and Sarah James.
Sarah read from her second Be[yond] published last year by Knives, Forks and Spoons Press and her first Into the Yell – Circaidy Gregory Press
It was a superb night, a great night was had by all – organisers, performers and audience. To top it, a few of us rounded the night by going out for a few celebratory drinks!
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