Monthly Archives: March 2016

A Review of March


March started with a performance at ‘The Works’ Canteen’, a night of poetry, music and storytelling at the Black Country Living Museum, hosted by the museum’s poet in residence, Dave Reeves. An event that has been on my radar for a long time and one of the few events I blogged about in a timely manner. The Guest Poets were Jan Watts & R.M Francis. Rob Francis hosts Permission to Speak (PTS) and took a collective to perform at the museum, including me.

It was a fabulous evening – read more about it here.


I received my long awaited and much anticipated copy of Under the Radar – Nine Arches Press, where my poems Fortiori and The Gift share the pages with a plethora of poetry talent. These poems are from my forthcoming collection and I was delighted to have them accepted. They were accepted in 2015 and it seems like a lifetime ago now.


I completed research to write poetry celebrating Women’s History Month and took great pleasure rewriting a poem about Annie Edison Taylor, the first person over Niagara Falls in a barrel and she survived, her only injuries came from trying to get out of the barrel after the drop. All about the adventure! Her poor cat was the test lunge, the cat was barely harmed either.

My work with Writing West Midlands was secured for another year.

The second week of March involved a lot of writing, more submissions were sent out and admin tasks, which every writer could use a PA for. I was asked to judge a slam for Womanly Words, in the end I performed instead. I missed events I had planned to go to, day job work kept me busy and with the heavy writing schedule I didn’t have the energy. I dream of a poetry chauffeur.

The WWM group met our new Assistant Writer and worked on our book project. I missed a Memorial event for Sammy Joe at The Edge, which was on the same day.

I enjoyed ‘Poetry by the Lake’ in the Arboretum, Walsall with David Calcutt and performed a short set. It was a sunny day and the park was full. It was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Highly recommended.


The third week of March could be the reason why I ended up fading away. I was working full time and also had a timetable to get all my submissions out on time. The writing still needed editing and polishing.

  • I wrote over 12 new poems.
  • Sent 8 submissions.
  • Wrote a set of poems for Woman’s History month.
  • Took bookings for next month and the summer.

I missed events I had hoped to attend. Three of which fell on the same night. I also missed WLF & Fringe Earth Hour which I wanted to support. I had already committed to the Vanguard Readings, with Richard Skinner. An amazing night of poetry from Helen Calcutt, Emma Purshouse, David Calcutt, David Clarke, Jane Commane and Richard Skinner. I have yet to blog about this event and wish I had managed it in real time.


I performed at Worcester Arts Workshop for the first time, for Women’s History Month, it is always lovely to come across new (to me) poets. It was a pleasant evening, vibrant, warm atmosphere and lots of support and love for women, organised by Feminista Leisa Taylor. I am grateful to have been part of it.

her story

By Week 4, I barely knew my name. I had a writing day (they do not exist as much as I would like), worked on my manuscript (approaching what I hope is final editorial stages), I marked WORLD POETRY DAY, missed a photo shoot with fellow Womanly Words poets, wrote a short article on poetry and completely forgot about Stanza! It fell on Good Friday and Mr G and I had had an action packed start to the Easter weekend.

The end of March was slightly strange as I took a break from most of my writing and performance schedule for Easter and never started again. The last few days of the month were mostly offline. I proofread copy of an up and coming anthology. Another lingering process which started last year. It will be a delight to finally read the collection. I have the proof copy but I want to curl up with the real thing.

I finished the month with a workshop in Stratford with Angela France and submitted the blog as a participant for napo2016button2

Preparation NaPoWriMo


It is that time of year again, Spring has sprung and poets all over the world are limbering up to take part in NaPoWriMo. Founded in 2011, I have been a participant since 2014 (when I discovered it) having battled Camp NaNoWriMo and the full event in the Autumn in 2013. From time to time I have discovered other such boot camps but to be honest I have rarely done anything with the writing afterwards. A waste of over 100,000. So now is my strategy planning time.


I love taking part just for the fun and comradery of the event and the scheduled commitment to writing – which after last week, I know I can do alone. I had submission deadlines as well as day job work and performances, so I basically drew up an old school timetable (not done since exam revision time) and was as hard-core. Relentless. I managed all submissions as a result and even had a poem published. This year I need a Post-NaPoWriMo Plan.

As with other years I have signed the blog up as a participating site and will be writing about the event throughout the month. I will also post extracts from the poems I write. Many people will be taking part posting full poems and another aspect of the event is reading work by other poets. I am going to carve NaPo reading time into my April writing time to do just that.

Find out more and sign up your site here

napofeature3This poem featured in the Top 10 listing for ‘Best poems about Spring’ compiled by The Guardian in 2014.

In Perpetual Spring by Amy Gerstler


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amy Gerstler won the 1991 National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry for Bitter Angel (1990). Her early work includes White Marriage/Recovery (1984), and her more recent works include Nerve Storm (1993), Medicine (2000), Ghost Girl (2004), and Dearest Creature (2009), which the New York Times named a Notable Book of the Year. A graduate of Pitzer College and Bennington College, Gerstler has taught at the Art Center College of Design, the University of Southern California, and the Bennington Writing Seminars program. She lives in California with her husband, the artist and author Benjamin Weissman.

Collaborative Set in the Black Country – Performing Poetry


This year I am achieving something I attempted in 2015 (and failed) to perform less and write more. I will still support the regular open mic poetry events I enjoy, just not on a monthly basis. I am always on the look out for new and unusual places to share my words and accept such opportunities readily.

I met Dave Reeves in 2013 on my first return to the poetry mic with Julie Boden in Leamington. He MCed the event as well as performing with his squeeze box and harmonica.

Among many other things Dave does, he is Poet in Residence at the Black Country Living Museum (which is well worth a visit/ family day out).

The Works’ Canteen is a monthly spoken word night hosted by Dave Reeves and is an event I have scribbled in my diary before now.

There are headliners and open floor spots available and with the £3 admission comes free tea/coffee from the Rolfe Street Café. Which was much appreciated, as was the irony of having a Breakfast Tea at 7:30 pm.


Tuesday 1 March 2016

 Guest poets: Jan Watts plus R.M.Francis presenting  Permission to Speak b2tf jan MM3 Rob Francis

Jan Watts, poet and playwright returns in words to Wales for St David’s day. Join the former Birmingham Poet Laureate and find out about Flat Head, Di Bungalow and the food you have to eat  in one day on a Pembrokeshire Farm. If you want to know what Jan’s surname almost became – this is a one time offer to find out.

Rob Francis runs the ‘Permission to Speak’ nights in Stourbridge. Tonight he’s been given a permit to The Works’ Canteen where he’ll be introducing some of the regulars from the spoken word and music venue.

MC for the evening is the Black Country Living Museum’s poet-in-residence, Dave Reeves and, as usual, there will be floor spots available.

I was one of Robert’s poets representing a cross-section from PTS. It was great being part of a collective and I enjoyed listening to all the sets.

Jan Watts was fabulous, as always. She opened her set miming putting daffodils in a vase, it was St. David’s Day and she had left the bunch of real flowers on her passenger seat!

The open mic spots were good and it was a pleasure to hear some poets I had not met before. It was a lively and enjoyable night in the café behind the gift shop. I hope to make it back in a few months time.

MM dave pw

© Peter Williams 2015 KAF ‘Mostly Circus’ Mouth & Music


Dave’s website

Happy World Poetry Day



It doesn’t seem like a year has gone since the last one. I usually like to mark special days like this, but this year I have been at work all day and I have had one of those days. You know the sort, sending random S.O.S messages from your mobile in the only 10 minute break you will have all day. Still it is over now and for a little time I can immerse myself in the waters of the fountain and write about poetry.

heart As you all know, I love poetry. I have had a wonderful weekend of poetry and have survived a manic week of writing. My schedule was hard going after work every night. It was worth it though. I have more poems out there flying around editors desks than EVER before.

On Friday I celebrated Woman’s History Month with new poetry written about Annie Edson Taylor, the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel. This poem started life a few months ago as a poem about adventurous daredevils, I researched heavily but after the poem was finished found out subsequent information which I felt the reader/listener needed and so the poem had a rewrite. This was a great night of poetry which I will blog about soon.

On Saturday I went to the Vanguard Readings – another night of exceptional poetry. I felt recharged from listening to all the poetry that night. Special feelings, like Christmas Eve. Magical.

On Sunday (I am beginning to feel like the Hungry Caterpillar) I received great news, my poem ‘Journey’ was chosen to be published, my manuscript finally reached the end run of editorial work and I have been asked to perform at Spring/ Summer events.

So today, apart from ‘work’ work – I am having a rest and am celebrating WPD from behind my screen with Goggle and Social Media.

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I asked my friends in honour of WORLD POETRY DAY to talk to me about their experience of poetry, what it means to them, favourite poems. This post will be updated to include more opinions. Perhaps you would like to add yours in a comment below. It is a great way of discovering poets and sharing some love.

I started writing poetry about six years ago and since I met my poetic friends from Worcestershire, I haven’t looked back with any regret as you have all been a great inspiration to me. This is a special day.

Timothy Stavert

Two life-changing poems for me: HD’s “Eurydice” and Margaret Atwood’s “Circe/Mud Poems.” The ideas that the myths I grew up with could center around the women in them, and not as victims, blew open my mind. In later life, two I return to again and again are Joy Harjo’s “New Orleans” and “What Music.”

Jennifer McGowan

Poetry is breathing, right?

Angi Holden

It’s my hidden language, my religion, my imagination, my comfort blanket, my pulse, my lifeblood, it’s my world!

Elaine Christie.

Poetry for me is exploration and communication, of and with the self, of and with the world. When I was a teenager I ran a poetry magazine from my bedroom which people could buy via mail order. One of the contributors sent me a copy of Sharon Olds’ ‘The Sign of Saturn’ as a thank you for publishing their work and ‘being supportive’. They, and no-one who bought or read the mag, knew I was a 16 year old schoolgirl! Anyway, the book had a profound effect on me and I’m a fan of Olds to this day. So, something from that book, or from ‘The Gold Cell’, which I bought soon after, would be great. Maybe ‘I Go Back to May 1937’?

Mab Jones

I feel like it’s a bit of a secret self for me. Perhaps my true self – or that might be the boring office one – but somewhere I can escape to.

Emma Simon

Sometimes it feels as if it’s all of me. It’s my way of becoming visible – of saying, ‘this is me!’ It’s not recognition, it’s validation. I exist through my poems and poetry. Sad but true.

Favourite poem:
‘The suburbs dream of violence. Asleep in their drowsy villas,
sheltered by benevolent shopping malls, they wait patiently
for the nightmares that will wake them into a more passionate world’

Stella Wulf

It’s very absorbing.

Cathy Dreyer

WPD mine RELATED LINKS: Eurydice Margaret Atwood