Daily Archives: September 29, 2014

ONE YEAR A POET – OYAP Celebrating Poetry and Life as a Poet


The 14th September marked 12 months since I ventured into the world of poetry – or more accurately, re-entered it after a 15 year break from writing, the performing came later – 2nd October marks that – last year it was Julie Boden’s event in Leamington – this year it will be performing poetry at Roy McFarlane Soulful Poetry night for Arts All Over the Place, ‘Poetry Performance and Everything Else Festival’. Both Roy and Julie are former Birmingham Poet Laureates.

I have been planning my event since the beginning of August and was excited that it was finally here. On the evening of the event the ‘quiet’ Sunday night Pub venue I had booked was rammed. There was a 2nd party booked and it was a loud staff party, I had been told they would be seated around the corner and later there were several groups of young drunk people in and all sorts happening out in the beer garden, which FORTUNATELY I was oblivious to.

I had been promised balloons and apparently the Helium balloon wasn’t working so before it even started I was in a manic spin of panic attacks and anxiety, which is a real shame because looking back on it – it was a cracking night, just in the wrong venue.

My Dad was with me when I performed at Julie Boden’s event in 2013, mum came to the Book Launch of Restless Bones so I thought as we were borrowing his PA system it seemed only fair. Plus I am proud of him, an amazing jazz musician and has worked with such poets as Jo Bell and Julie Boden. Everyone enjoyed dad’s playing Dad kATHY and I think the inspiration may have worked both ways as dad is joining us for the next SpeakEasy – which is the 1st anniversary one and will be a great event.

I invited people who have inspired me or supported me over the year. As I told them on the night I had expected rejection and success in writing and networking but I could never have predicted the friendships that have come from this year of poeting.

That was really what was central to the celebration, it wasn’t about me and my year at all.  My event was an invited open mic type of event, I didn’t force guests to perform but thought rightly, that they would want to perform. I kept introductions short as most people knew each other – although I was bringing my Worcestershire & Birmingham scenes together.

Dad played a couple of numbers on his saxophone after the interval and in the interval – we ate cake – cupcakes cakes Andrea which I had spent some time in the morning making with Claire Walker and her daughters. Claire also made another Stanza cake for us to enjoy – there was no cake to bring home!

I still have photographs to upload, which I will add to the names of performers when I can.

Here is a night of music, poetry, stories and celebration.


OYAP2a I opened the night with 2 short poems, one about the place I have come from (just a few short years away – 2012) how writing has helped me heal and the 2nd poem, where I am now, living a life that makes sense. Andrea

me3 andr Then Andrea Smith kicked the party off with hilarious poetry that my dad loved! *Pic. to follow*

Geoff Cox, who tells me he writes a poem about once a year asked to perform one short piece, I am touched he wanted to do it at my party. Impressed. *

Jan Watts performed a great set, made us laugh and jangle our bangles – how I tried to get a photo of that, needed a sport timer. She even did a request. *

Kevin Brooke performed his poetry for us, which I was delighted by, he is also a talented short story writer and recently had a book launch for his latest book. (Link to follow)*

Claire Walker performed some poems I requested and shared others too as well as showing us all she should be on the next GBBO (Great British Bake Off)*

Heather Wastie closed the first half with a collection of poems. I had planned to have another interval later and divide the night into 3 parts. At this point we were running to schedule, but this was to be the last time in the evening we would manage that.

My dad, Dutch Lewis played after the interval of cake, cup cakes and chatting. dAD2

Tessa Lowe opened the second half of the night and was sporting a crown from the Digbeth Olmpics she had attended earlier. My own floral head piece was bought because Holly Magill suggested I wore a tiara for the night. TESSA

Antony Owen took to the mic after that and shared poetry – he is well known as a war poet, he performed other poems from his collection. antony

Mike Mike Alma performed his great poetry next and then Tim Scarborough and I took to the floor for ‘Rainwatch’ the first poem we collaborated on. It went down well, not everyone had heard us do it before. Kathy rainwatch

Andrew Owens treated us to a short story (I am reading his collection at the moment) and from one host to another praised what I was doing – which was sweet because I was all over the place emotionally.  andrew

Maggie Doyle performed great poetry including a poem she wrote especially for me, she gave me a copy after the party. It was a lovely gesture. Kathy Maggie

Tim Scarborough treated us all to a set of his own. I have missed seeing him perform these last couple of months. Kathy Tim

Suz Winspear entertained us with some of my favourite poetry of hers and got to use my dad’s music stand, giving her faithful stand a rare night off! *

Dave Barber shared his poetry and made sure that other poets could come from Birmingham. *

Kathy Gee was next up to the microphone and treated us to some of her poetry. *

Najma Hush performed just one poem, I am grateful she came and performed. *

Io, Cass Osborn performedKathy IO for us all.

Kathy IO 2


Tim and I closed the show with our moustache poem. me3 andr

me adjectives kathyDad Andrea

Me and Dad andrea A great celebration – thanks everyone!


Thank you to everybody who came and shared their words and to those who came and celebrated, Elaine Christie, Michelle Crosbie & James Walpole, it was a great night!

Andrea andrew antony CAKeMAN cakes Andrea Dad Andrea Dad kATHY dAD2 Dutch andrea Kathy IO 2 Kathy IO Kathy Maggie Kathy rainwatch Kathy Tim me adjectives kathy Me and Dad andrea me andrea me2 andrea me3 andr Mike TESSA


Meetings – The Good Sort!


I am way behind on my blogging and need to catch up with myself before October.

Meeting 1

On the 12th of September I met the other 3 poets involved in the Naked Lunch commission for Birmingham Literature Festival. Meeting


I had met Aysha Begum, a talented poet and winner of the OXJAM Slam earlier this summer in Birmingham, she also facilitated Bridge the Gap – the event on the canal boat so her name may be familiar to you too. Hannah J Graham (thank you for the photos) and Amanda Hemmings are the other poets contributing to this project.

Now we have started writing for the commission and have just a fortnight before we perform. Christopher Baker and Joe Whitehouse are the brains behind Naked Lunch, organising and promoting events for Spoken Word Artists. They claim not to be poets themselves, I am not convinced!

Our performance is on 11th OCTOBER in the Foyer at the Library of Birmingham as part of the final weekend of events for the Birmingham Literature Festival, which starts on this Thursday on the 2nd of October. blf ikon 4

They announce the new Poet Laureate in the evening, I know two of the finalists this year, Matt Man Windle and Jasmine Gardosi …. I wish them both all the luck in the world. One poet is a champion boxer, the other a Karate expert…. it could be the first fight between poets, who knows!

Poet Laureate (you can read the candidates poems here)

I should be in the library to hear them and the other shortlisted poems perform their city poems. Shortlisted candidates;

Adrian Blackledge, Andy Connor, Jasmine Gardosi, Pauline Morgan and Matt Man Windle

Digbeth Garden Hannah J Graham © HJ Graham 2014

Anyway back to the meeting, we explored the community garden in Digbeth and spent some time talking to each other, discussing the project and theme.

SATURDAY 11th OCT. 4 -4:30pm


Urban Nature – find out more about this project/ performance here

Birmingham Literature Festival


Before hot footing it back on a train to get to my Stanza Meeting. I had spent most of the day trying to write a new poem to take, but as time ran out I had a look through recent writing and picked a poem I was not altogether happy with.

Meeting 2

It was a packed and busy night at Stanza, hosted this month by Ian Glass, who had been at work at all day and like the rest of us couldn’t believe how many poets had turned up. Enough to give the ‘youth’, whose parents had gone out and left a crowd of noisy teens rampaging in their garden a run for their money! Despite this distraction the atmosphere inside was as special and electrifying as I always find stanza meetings to be.

stanza scrabble I also had lots of helpful advice from other people on editing and strengthening my poem. Which I have left brewing in a drawer for a few weeks, before culling and reworking starts.

I find these meetings helpful and sociable, we never stop learning and I love hearing people performing their material post edit somewhere public and feeling privileged that I heard it before it had its best clothes on.

And this month Claire Walker had baked an amazing cake for our meeting – with butter icing and foraged forest fruits – which gave me a great idea for One Year A Poet – my anniversary/ Birthday celebration of poetry.

Meeting 3

Was the very next day, where Ian MacLeod and I saw our WWM Writing West Midlands group come back together at the start of a new year/term. It was a fun session.


My one to one mentoring role starts next month, which I am looking forward to.

After the meeting I had to rush off into Birmingham to watch a live radio interview recording with Lenny Henry, followed by watching him in Ruddy’s Rare Records at The Rep. Big, BIG thanks to Andrea Smith for the tickets and beautiful company! Andrea bernard Davis