I used the tech app for the 1st time. This was supposed to automatically post on 31st May!
Better late, than never!
Another fantastic month in my writing world!
Biggest lesson – be gentle and forgiving on yourself, keep trying but don’t run yourself ragged, it diminishes creative energy and can affect long-term health!
I was delighted to find my creative writing HOW TO articles have been linked on a High School Website, the blog has experienced an increase of traffic and hopefully the students have picked up some new knowledge.
We now have 742 followers, that’s an extra 28 people who have found the fountain this month, happy splashing!
I am still participating in 52, although recently have not had the time to read a lot of the poems or comment, I have also left most of my own writing offline, I am not sure I can catch up with the posts but I am determined to see it through for the year, no matter how busy I get.
There is an exciting meeting taking place soon and we may get the chance to perform as part of a festival.
Naked Lungs asked Spoken Word artists to take part in a Pop Up Poetry event as part of a Literature Festival in the Autumn, I have applied. Fingers crossed.
I had a mini tour of events at the beginning of the month (which completely wore me out and pushed me to my limits), it was a great experience with some fantastic events and I met new performers. 11 days, 10 gigs (1 day off from all writing and performing), 3 Counties!
The first day was a Stanza Extravaganza as my local stanza group took over PFL *Poetry For Lunch – in the amphitheatre at the Library of Birmingham. Read all about it here PFL
I experienced my first every SLAM – it was the first slam organised by Fergus McGonigal for Kidderminster Creatives, held at the BHG. I was asked to take part, make up the numbers, I knew my material and performance wasn’t necessarily right for SLAM – Maggie Doyle who was the eventual winner proved that you don’t have to recite poetry from memory, although I did learn my set. Which makes me proud of myself and allowed me the freedom to PERFORM the poem rather than read it dramatically.
There was a prize for every participant, so I wasn’t upset being knocked out in the 1st round, all the semi- finalists were slam champions, laureates and published poets (I am only 1 of these 😉 )! It was great fun and I would not hesitate to take part in another – as long as it was small and local. Not yet ready to play with the big boys, nor might I ever be. Maggie told me that she has one slam poem – she won with it – it might be worth me writing just 1! (For next time…)
Read all about it here SLAM
Tim Scarborough and I collaborated for the 2nd time to perform percussion and poetry at Photogiraffe’s final exhibition, Abstract Elements. Our set received a very positive reaction – including possible future bookings, people said it looked/ felt like we had performed together lots – think we may have found some creative synchronicity! We probably should think about a name for the act!
It was great fun and I enjoyed meeting new acts and listening to the diverse range of acts. The Warehouse Café (Vegan) hosted the event in Birmingham and we all paid for a buffet, which was lovely food! Abstract Elements
I returned to Ludlow to experience Deborah Alma/ Jean Atkin’s night, The Poetry Lounge in the Sitting Room. It is a long way to go for a 2 hour event but the writer’s are so talented and I got to listen to Andrew Frusk who I had met at Wenlock Poetry Festival. Read all about it HERE
The next night I went to Malvern and once again was introduced to some new faces as well as enjoying the sets of Adrian Mealing and Dizraeli, who has changed my opinion of beat poetry. Confab Cabaret
Following Confab Cabaret I went to SpeakEasy and enjoyed seeing new acts and Matt Windle. AF Harrold head lined. I was able to perform too. It was a great night. SpeakEasy
Friday saw Poetry and Pollination – Worcs LitFest and Ledbury Poetry Festival- I performed some newly written poems about bees. My set when down well. Poetry & Pollination
This was the last event in my epic 10 days, 11 gigs (and working pretty much full time) run! There are some events I have missed this month as I needed to conserve energy for real world things too – let completing flat sale, securing work, celebrating birthdays etc.
Tim Scarborough and I collaborated on our 3rd set *with the theme of Body Hair – for Mouth and Music. We had a 4 hour rehearsal which resulted in lots of co-written and co-edited poetry being created around the theme – including a moustache tribute for Jonny Fluffypunk, we had great fun with a theme which originally made our hairs stand on end in fear!
We then took a medley of all our sets to Birmingham to perform at Spoken Word at The Ort, our set was thoroughly enjoyed by a room full of appreciative audience members! Spoken Word
Sadly this month a bunch of Birmingham poets are saying goodbye to someone who spends a lot of time on the scene. Someone who threatened to give up poetry and then got accepted to take her one woman show to the Free Fringe Festival at Edinburgh this Summer, someone who can never escape poetry because it will find her. Someone who has decided to continue her travels across Asia and wanted to leave with one last massive party. Carys Jones – known on the circuit as Carysmatic (Jones) organised bands and acts to perform and enjoy each other’s work at a goodbye bash. I accepted the invite and worked on two new poems written about Carys. It was my Dad’s birthday on the same day, it is not a tradition to see him on his actual birthday, typically this year we were contacted over the possibility of a birthday meal.
Southway (an electro duo who Carys knows had travelled up from London to be there) – they were amazing.
Read all about it and Andrew Owen’s Book Launch – Portraits of Prose here
On Thursday Andrew Owens launched his short story collection, published by Black Pear Press, he invited performers to take part in this event. It was great celebrating with him and he even had a cake! I as flattered to open the event with my set.
After the book launch I took the Bank Holiday weekend off and went down to Dorset with friends, the main reason was to go to River Cottage and a food festival there – Mr G and I met Hugh and got our book signed, you can read about this adventure in the same post as the goodbyes and book launch (link above).
I was inspired by River Cottage and plan to use a programme to scrap journal a weekend collection – something has to be said about the cricket pate & caterpillar pate that was bought!
It was a great weekend and so good to get away – because we bought the house last year, we had no holiday.
The rest of my week off was supposed to be spent in my poetry skin but there was so much to do getting the house straight, sorting car insurance, MOTs, Dr appointments etc. not to mention a squeeze of poetry performances, workshops and events.
It is definitely not downhill for the rest of the month!
I originally planned to go to four gigs in the last week of May, I thought I could manage as I wasn’t working, but sometimes you have to listen to your body and soul and I was too exhausted to manage. Poetry For Lunch was taken over by the cast of Summer and it is a long way to go on the off chance you can perform. The photos look amazing, but my car wasn’t back from MOT in time to get across to the city, instead I caught up with old friends and had a few hours off relaxing! My car passed the MOT! The mirror that someone kindly knocked off as they drove up my street has been replaced. (At my expense!) York’s Bakery hosted Ddotti Bluebell’s Spoken Word night at the end of the month (30th) and I had originally hoped to perform my Bee poems there. Unfortunately, I thought I had booked a spot and I hadn’t – in the end I decided I was too tired for the city journey and spent the time writing new material – something I REALLY need to do.
I managed to make Poetry Bites at the beginning of the week and had a fabulous night, a lot of the open floor spots were filled with brilliant poems and a few stories, it was great to hear James Sheard read at length and I loved meeting Roy Marshall and talking to him about my old haunt of Leicester, where all this spoken word began. Jacqui Rowe hosted a great evening and I shared a couple of poems which had positive and encouraging reactions.
Read all about it Poetry Bites
I also managed to get to 42 in Worcester on Wednesday evening, it was another amazing night of talented wordsmiths taking to the stage, many of the poets branched out to prose and the standard was extremely high.
Drummonds 42 read all about the night for yourselves!
Poetry For Lunch – Stanza Group – Library of Birmingham Amphitheatre
Poetry Slam Kidderminster Creatives – BHG
Abstract Elements – Photogiraffe Exhibition Launch – The Warehouse Café
Poetry in the Lounge – Met Andrew Fusek Peters
Confab Cabaret – Olivers: Disraeli
SpeakEasy – Old Recifying House: A. F Harrold
Poetry & Pollination – The Hive – Ledbury Poetry Festival & Worcester LitFest: Sarah James
Writing West Midlands/ Assistant Writer – Creative Writing Group: Ian MacLeod
Mouth & Music – BHG: Jonny Fluffypunk & Four Tart Harmony
Spoken Word at The Ort
Writing West Midlands/ Assistant Writer – Creative Writing Group: Jean Atkin (cover)
Carysmatic Farewell Bash – Vertu Bar
Andrew Owens Book Launch – Black Pear Press
Poetry Bites – Kitchen Garden Café: Roy Marshall, James Sheard.
I have spent most of May filling in my writing diary for June – with the Worcester LITFEST there is plenty going on, I am also scheduled to work full time during the LITFEST and am missing out on some great events during the day. It looks to be a busy month, I may take a bit of a backseat with performing, go and enjoy others perform. There are several clashes which I am gutted about between the cities (a foot in each camp) and some big decisions need to be made. SLAM or Poetry Garden Party – Worcester Laureate at the Guildhall (of which 3 poetry friends are finalists) or performing with Tim Scarborough in Birmingham, this decision has been made already, I am off to the announcement of the new poet laureate!
Raving Beauties – Bloodaxe books celebrating women’s bodies in a compassionate way.
WLF – Flash Fiction Competition for the Festival (made the deadline with 4 minutes to go)!
I managed to obtain a review copy of Sarah Hymas’s latest pamphlet – LOOK OUT FOR THE REVIEW ON A WRITERS FOUNTAIN NEXT MONTH!
Grayson Perry Exhibition
Rehearsals with Tim Scarborough for Abstract Elements – Photogiraffe exhibition
I continued working for WWM – Writing West Midlands – as Assistant Writer (which I am doing next academic year also) in Worcester with Ian MacLeod, I also had the opportunity to work with Jean Atkin and her group this month, I have another date for June. It is a good experience to spend some time in other writing groups.
In other news …. My Flat finally SOLD, we visited Dorset and Devon with friends, went to a Food Festival at River Cottage, met and chatted to Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, my car passed its MOT, I recovered from a chest infection and found myself a new hairdresser.