Daily Archives: September 25, 2015

Poetry Events – September Spoken Word @ The Ort, Mouth & Music & SpeakEasy


As I am so far behind with the blog, with over 3 weeks worth of activities to post about I have decided to bulk post about poetry events this month.

Spoken Word at The Ort with Debbie Aldous – Birmingham 4th

I was delighted to make it back to this event as the last few have clashed with other things. There was a pop up return of Naked Lungs in the city the same evening over in Digbeth and my original plan was to try to get to both. The days of dual gigs are behind me I think, especially at the end of a busy week. I was still recovering from John Hegley and my night in Shropshire.

It was a great evening packed with fabulous performances and new audience and open mic-ers too! Thoroughly enjoyed sharing poetry.


Mouth & Music – Heart, with Heather Wastie – Kidderminster 8th

Headlining this month were MM sepSarah James & Angela Topping, reading from their pamphlet Hearth and Elena Thomas with Dan Whitehouse.

MM elena dan

It was a lovely evening of words and music, some great open mic-ers, I especially enjoyed Jan performing with her husband, they were the opening act and got the night off to a great start. mm jan

I usually find that writing to theme takes place a few days before the event, this month though because of the KAF special – Slightly Circus M & M event there were only a few weeks between the events. This was fine as with a theme like ‘Heart’ I was able to find an abundant amount of poems I had already written. The tough part was choosing which made the cut for my set.

I am glad that Sarah and Angela were mindful that a small percentage of the audience had seen them in Worcester and they chose different poems to read. It was a smashing performance.

MM Angela and Sarah

Here’s what Heather Wastie had to say about the event;

September’s Mouth and Music was as pleasing to organise is it always is. Towards the end of the evening, Dave Sutherland sang a song he had composed using lyrics I wrote after hearing Elena Thomas (one of our features) sing her own songs at the launch of her art exhibition. Sorry for the slightly convoluted sentence but “Carrying the evening home”, the title of the song, refers to what we take away in our heads, and bodies, after an event. Last night, not only did I take away Elena’s beautiful songs and Dan Whitehouse’s gently intricate guitar accompaniment; I also took away the fact that someone from the pub, who I suspect wouldn’t normally go to an event like ours, came in and listened to Elena because she found it provocative that Elena was singing about “the life of a middle-aged woman”. I love Sarah James and Angela Topping’s pamphlet of poetry duets, Hearth, and their reading stirred my own memories of home and family.

The main thing I took away was a feeling of connectedness. I was delighted to see a harmonium on the stage when Jan, a regular and popular performer, was joined by her husband to enhance her poems with musical backing. I enjoyed being teased by Mike Alma’s poem in response to mine about the gherkin which I wrote after seeing one on Angela Topping’s plate! In complete contrast, Mouth and Music’s own Sarah Tamar made a powerful connection with the plight of refugees and Tim Cranmore covered both ends of the … er … spectrum with 2 poems which were uncomfortable to hear, for different reasons: “Inappropriate physical contact” was very thought-provoking, and his final poem ….. ask someone who was there if you want to know.

So many connections were made last night, thanks to featured artists, open mic performers, audience and the lovely staff at the Boars Head. Elena commented on Facebook today, “It’s a special place, Mouth and Music”. I take that as a huge compliment and look forward to seeing some of you on 13th October for some new connections!

Heather Wastie

MM PeteMM Sarah Tamar

Next month Birmingham Poet Leon Priestnall takes centre stage, this month he headlined Hit The Ode and stormed it!

mmoct The month after Swingerella takes the Headline spot.

Photographs Peter Williams © 2015


Speakeasy, with Maggie Doyle & Fergus McGonigal – Worcester 10th

I have not been able to go to SpeakEasy since the Lit Fest and I was delighted to be back and to be able to take a 6 minute slot too. It was great performing poetry back in the glorious comfort of the Rectifying House. Despite not winning the raffle, I appreciated the new lamp, allowing more light to the page and it was great seeing it busy and catching up with poets I hadn’t seen for ages.

Ruth Stacey was headlining, reading from her latest book, ‘Queen, Jewel, Mistress’. I love the passion she has for this historical collection and that love came across in her set, full of enthusiasm and feeling. A very strong performance indeed. queen book

speakeasy sepIt was a superb evening of poetry and pleasure. FUN!







John Hegley Workshop & Performance


I love John Hegley, most poets do (sweeping generalisation with no statistical back-up!) and I was terribly excited earlier on in 2015 when Jean Atkin announced that he was coming to Ludlow. A few months later Amy Rainbow announced he was coming to Malvern and I managed to catch him first at Confab, back in June.


So it is the Year of Hegley for me, as on September the 1st I went to Ludlow for his fantastically amusing workshop at Appletree Studios.

john hegley appletree

Jean Atkin © 2015

It was great working with a small enthusiastic group – actually it was a fairly large group by workshop standards.

At one point (after I had read a particularly witty ‘Sign’ Poem) John told us not to try to be funny, just write. I hoped he realised that I had just written and that came out – with the one liner, admittedly after writing about 5 failing haikus!

It was great fun and I have a whole collection of poetry swirling around my head on the theme of biscuits!

blue boar

In the evening it was the Poetry Lounge in the Sitting Room and John Hegley was headlining along with Ian McEwen.

It was a great night as always, the venue was packed and I was amongst the list of open mic-ers for the night. Ian McEwen’s poetry was new to me and something I will explore more (by buying his books) he did an experimental audience participation poem which was like nothing I have experienced before.

Jean Atkin © 2015

Jean Atkin © 2015

Mr Hegley, was Mr Hegley. I was delighted that the set was different to Malvern, although of course, we had the Guillemot join us! It has always been a delight to watch John perform. When I was first a poet at the age of 15 -21 I was a big fan of John Hegley and went to see him perform and met him when I was 19 and it had a big impact on me. Hero and Legends and all that stuff. Now as an adult and a writer/poet, I still love his work. It is good to have some heroes carried from teenhood to grownupsville… I will stop before I make John feel too old.

Incredibly talented. Massively entertaining. Balanced between side splitting – & wry smile humour, with a side order of  heart string tugs from serious autobiographical poetry, an endearing and loveable poet and just a jolly, warm chap!

I am glad the railway station gave you two biscuits, you deserved them!

john hegley guillemot

Jean Atkin © 2015