August was a magical month with lots of engaging events and writing completed.
I am currently working on two written projects: my first pamphlet and continue to edit and adjust this collection and a collection of Caldmore Gardens Poetry, we are hoping to achieve a grant to publish our poems from David Calcutt’s Poet Residency.
I had the summer off from the day job, which meant no income – but I had the joy of being a full time Poet for two months.
Over the summer there were;
3 performance events
11 Open Mics
1 Headline gig
Approached to perform at a Book Launch
My first trip to The Poetry Café, my second performance in London
My first time exploring the British Library
Application and acceptance for a one off Poetry Event to be held in October
and plenty of missed events due to lack of energy and transport/funds.
Two anthologies published with my poetry in them – Schooldays, Paper Swans Press and Birmingham Bound, Book Club
The British Library
I booked tickets for Angela France’s workshop in Stratford-Upon-Avon, for Swingerella’s Wrecking Ball Tour, which toured to Edinburgh Festival and is back in Birmingham in September and John Hegley’s workshop in Ludlow that I have been looking forward to since March!
Claire Walker has her first pamphlet coming out with V Press in October and asked me to read at her Book Launch for ‘The Girl who Turned into a Crocodile’, I was delighted to accept.
I went to Stirchley Speaks to perform and support Myfanwy Fox in her headline slot, it was a lovely evening and I was able to enjoy poetry from people I have either never heard or only recently discovered. Holly Daffurn is a wonderful local poet and I cannot believe I have only just discovered her work. It was great to hear Joe Cook again too.
I had several writing days before my trip down to London and the Paper Swans book launch at The Poetry Café. I have been working on my own manuscript for a while now and also have embarked on a collaboration which hopefully (depending on funding) will result in a book. I finished my 2nd notebook of poetry over the summer and have been delighting in filling my next notebook. These notebooks get smaller every time, as once the poems are glued in they soon get heavy and cumbersome to use on stage – the other way around that issue is to recite off by heart and I am delighted to have several sets I can do just that with. I still have a long way to go to have 3 hours worth of material swimming around like Candy Royalle! It is very handy if and when I am put on the spot to perform though.
I enjoyed a writing working facilitated by Claire Walker (who I am delighted to find out plans to do more). https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/09/21/avoncroft-writing-workshop-with-claire-walker/
Headlined alongside Sophie Sparham & Carl Sealeaf at HOWL. https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/09/21/howl-headlining-the-sun-at-the-station/
I made it to a KAF (Kidderminster Arts Festival) event eventually! It was also my brother’s birthday, so I had driven in the opposite direction, wolfed down a meal, celebrated with family and then rushed off to the event. Blair Dunlop and Liz Berry performed in the amazing space of St. George’s Church, it was a splendid event. I enjoyed meeting them both and sadly forgot to take my copy of Black Country to get signed as I rushed out with my brother’s birthday bits instead.
http://www.randomhouse.co.uk/editions/birmingham-roller/9780701188573 You can BUY your copy here.
We had a great Stanza meeting.
I had planned to go and perform at the Oxford book launch with Paper Swans, however WLF created an event that clashed which involved writing poetry for a National Poetry Day competition and after all my busy travelling in London and Buckinghamshire I fancied staying closer to home. Also I wanted to write a poem for the NPD competition and had no idea of the wonders to be found inside Kidderminster Carpet Museum, which was open for us to find our muse and scribble away for a few hours on Saturday the 15th August.
Started with my birthday (17th) that was much celebrated…. I started the festival of me at the weekend and celebrations ran for a week.
Due to these celebrations and lack of transport funds (from no income), I missed two great events in Coventry that I had planned to attend.
Fire & Dust at the Big Comfy Book Shop – which I have managed to attend just once. Reuben Woolley and Ruth Stacey were performing (19th). The following evening Antony Owen had his book launch for his new collection Margaret Thatcher’s Museum, at the Inspire Café. I was especially sad to miss this, but I know he will come and tour Birmingham at some point to promote. It is likely our paths will cross soon enough.
I was published by Nutshells & Nuggets ‘A Day at the Seaside’ one of my three Seamus Heaney poems.
I went to a special WORD UP event where they had linked with I Am Not A Silent Poet – Reuben’s website, who kindly published some of my poems earlier this year. It was different to perform this sort of material at Word Up. Alongside Reuben were the headliners Marcia Calame and Jess Davies. It was a fantastic night and a rare after party pint or two was had by a small collective. Always good to catch up with a chat, the events never give us enough time to chat and listen to/perform poetry.
I submitted one of the poems I wrote at the Arboretum workshop as part of Walsall Arts Festival.
Sunday saw my last KAF event Mouth & Music Slightly Circus, it was lovely having M&M on a Sunday afternoon, very relaxed – despite the theme, headlined by Amy Rainbow and her incredibly talented son, Merlin, on the Hula Hoops & Dave Reeves – who performed an incredible set with Heather Wastie. It was lots of fun and I am so glad other people dressed as CIRCUS for the event!
This event unfortunately clashed with a special summer OPUS which took place on a barge on the canals of Birmingham and looked immensely fun. Feedback I have heard was all positive and the photographs were wonderful.
I caught up with more writing and editing. Applied for a poetry based commission – one off show organised by Caged Arts for Halloween and met up with Suz Winspear & Heather Wastie to organise and plan our NPD (National Poetry Day) performance. It was great to indulge in some extra time at the carpet museum, make extra notes and firm up ideas.
On Wednesday 26th I returned to Stratford-Upon-Avon for another workshop with Angela France. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and spent some spare parking time afterwards browsing the shops and leisurely walking down the river.
I found out about National Suicide Prevention Week and saw that Abegail Morley was taking submissions to be shown on the Poetry Shed for a fortnight in September. Unfortunately a few days passed before correspondence became a submission and by then she had been inundated. I love Jo Bell’s 52 Project and all spin off groups, but I have to say when it comes to open submissions it is a marathon of hundreds now hurtling towards that finish line. It was good to spend some time focusing on NSPW and writing some new poems.
I performed at 42, which is becoming ever-popular. It was another great and varied night. I shared old and new poetry.
The end of the month was meant to finish in Cannon Hill Park with a poetry picnic organised by Apple & Snakes & Bohdan Piasecki. The weather wasn’t good over on my side and I decided it would be a wash out – it wasn’t, again great photos and feedback. It had been a very busy month and I am not sure the extra journey would have done me good, although obviously seeing everybody would have been fun.
I have also decided to try and go to Edinburgh Festival (as a spectator) next summer. I have been meaning to go for about the past 20 years and this month have been following so many feeds of poet/ performer friends who were forging their way on the Fringe.
I didn’t go – I couldn’t afford it – but I did borrow a Library book set in the festival (‘a jolly murder mystery’ the cover said) it was a good read and made me feel a little closer to the action.
LINKS AND PICTURES TO FOLLOW
Claire Walker – Holiday themed Writing Workshop
Angela France – Journey themed Writing Workshop
Mouth & Music Slightly Circus – KAF
Howl – Birmingham
BOOK LAUNCH / EVENTS
Schooldays Anthology Paper Swans – London
KAF Festival Liz Berry & Blair Dunlop
Museum of Carpet Open Day for NPD Poets