Last night I had the pleasure of a reading in Birmingham at the Birmingham & Midland Institute, a booking which was taken last year.
We were competing with an event at Waterstones (Cinnamon Press Showcase which was postponed from earlier in the year and an event I would have attended myself), final assignment deadlines for Birmingham Universities and the sunshine which made an appearance around 4 PM and again at 8 and probably had most people running for their gardens!
Still we had a good time and it was great meeting new poetry lovers. I was surprised and delighted by the support of Roy McFarlane who is the current Poet in Residence at BMI and fast approaching the launch of his next collection (Nine Arches Press).
I was a little nervous, I have 3 Guest Speaker events under my belt and a string of radio interviews but had never had a live Q&A in front of a theatre audience and I am always mindful of what people probably want to hear and the art of gentle disclosure.
Photo credits Paul Stringer (Room 204) and PhotoGiraffe
Talking to people during the interval, the insights that came up were from points where I relaxed and answered honestly hiding behind the 4th wall (forgetting we were being watched). It was fun talking about writing and all things poetry.
The event was held in the John Lee theatre, acoustics were great. I had woken up without a voice and used it all day at work.
I enjoyed the reading – the first half was Fragile Houses and the second part a mixture of poems from the book and some newer material. Again, lots of positive feedback and although the audience was not as large as hoped my work has found new ears.
The evening finished with an Open Mic and this was a chance for new performers. The poetry was good, some of it deeply moving and we even managed to convince Roy to treat us to a poem.
The sun was just setting as we made our way back to New Street (now Grand Central).
Fragile Houses is now housed in the Library at BMI.
Huge thanks to Jo, who stepped into Serena Trowbridge’s shoes, I wish Serena a speedy recovery and look forward to more events the BMI has to offer.
Images © 2017 Birmingham & Midland Institute https://bmi.org.uk/