Author Archives: Nina Lewis

SALT KING 200 With Added Poetry

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I have spent the past 9 days organising my first real-life event as Worcestershire Poet Laureate. SALT KING 200 is a FREE public event organised by Barbara Middlemass as part of the ARTSFEST in Droitwich. Opening the lawns of the Chateau Impney (as John Corbett did) to the townspeople to picnic and celebrate the 200th Anniversary of Corbett, the Salt King.

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I have been working with Droitwich Arts Network (DAN) for the past 5 months organising the poetry events for ArtsFest in July (22nd July). I contacted them to enquire about a poetry element for the SALT KING event and then called to action local poets. I was delighted to have a great response for something on short notice.

Originally there were 10 poets, unfortunately some have had to drop out – the irony of which is there are 7 poets (I am the 7th Poet Laureate) and myself. 8 poets is still a fair number and it is sure to be a lovely day – especially if the weather does what it did yesterday. The forecast was 18°C and turned up to 26°C and it remained dry. My new picnic blanket (bought yesterday) is waterproof if not.

The event if FREE and is from 12-5 with plenty of stalls and entertainment as well as an official ceremony marking the Corbett family.

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The poster design is by wonderful local artist Rosie Philpott.

http://www.rosiephilpott.co.uk/

Poets are meeting at 1PM for a picnic and then performing for an hour 2-3PM around the site. At 3PM we take to the DAN stage to perform our sets on the mic and promote the rest of the poetry events for the ARTSFEST.

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I am grateful to our local poets:

Mike Alma

Leena Batchelor

Holly Daffurn

Cass Osborne

Neil Richards

Timothy Stavert

Suz Winspear

I am busy with BIOS, writing poetry and dreaming up my perfect picnic lunch for the rest of the morning!

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If you are local, do come along and join in the celebrations.

  • All are invited to bring their own food & drink;
  • Local history and community groups will be highlighting the life, times and heritage of John Corbett.
  • Members of John Corbett’s family will be in attendance as will people from Tywyn and Amblecote 
  • There will be live music, poetry and some simple entertainment will be provided for children.
  • No commercial activities will be allowed at the event, however, Chateau Impney will offer some light refreshments;
  • The day starts with an (optional) walk from John Corbett’s graveside in Stoke Prior to the Chateau in the morning.

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RELATED LINKS:
http://www.visitdroitwichspa.com/information/event/salt-king-200/?eID=120225

http://www.droitwichartsnetwork.org/salt-king-200/

https://droitwichstandard.co.uk/news/giant-community-picnic-held-grounds-chateau-impney-celebrate-200th-anniversary-salt-king-john-corbett/

30-40-60 Open Mic Poets

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As part of our Worcester LitFest performance of 30-40-60 we invited poets to get in touch and book open mic slots. We dedicated the first half hour to these performances, each poet receiving 5 minutes. We had additional poets on a reserve list and were sad that not everyone had the opportunity to perform in this time frame.

We hope those interested parties might be able to come and perform at another event in the future.

On the night – due to the tight timing of our performance/event/booking, I decided that introducing poets by anything other than name would be stealing time from their set.

As the poets delivered their work I was aware that as an audience member I would want to know more about this talented bunch. So at the end of the Open section I promised the audience that I would blog the BIOS and related links for each of our open mic-ers.

AND here it is!

Thanks once again to everyone who came and shared their words.

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Elaine Christie

Elaine C. Christie is an Activist, Poet, Editor with a diploma in Self Publishing. Her work appears in both the UK and US, online and magazines such as First Time, Dial 174, Dawntreader, Warwick Dodo, Silhouette Press, Poetry Rivals, Forward Poetry, Pixie Chicks’ Writers Group, The Guardian, I am not a silent poet, WWF Book and Born Free Supporters Poetry.  Elaine is now Editor & Publisher of www.restlessbonespublishing.com She has facilitated workshops, hosted poetry events and performs at Spoken Word events.
In 2011 Elaine became a Member, Activator & Fundraiser with Born Free Foundation. Correlating and Publishing an Anthology ‘Restless Bones’ in 2014 to raise funds to
help fight the fur trade. Her poetry creates strong visual images, she is working on a collection ‘Hear my Cry’ soon to be released.


Nigel Hutchinson

Nigel Hutchinson is based in Leamington Spa, his first collection ‘The Humble Family Interviews’ is available from Cinnamon Press. He’ll be launching the book at Waterstones in Leamington at 5.30, 30th June and reading at Poetry Bites in Birmingham on 25th July.

https://www.cinnamonpress.com/index.php/hikashop-menu-for-products-listing/poetry/product/243-the-humble-family-interviews-nigel-hutchinson


 

Neil Richards

Neil Richards has recently returned to poetry. He performed this year at the Wychwood Festival.

BIO to follow.


Belinda Rimmer

Belinda has poems in magazines, including, Brittle Star, Dream Catcher, ARTEMISpoetry; Obsessed with Pipework; Sarasvati. On-line successes include, Cloud Poetry, Picaroon Poetry, Ground, Writers Against Prejudice, Amaryllis. A few poems are in anthologies. Recently she came second in her first Poetry Slam. She won The Poetry in Motion Competition as part of 2017 Cheltenham Poetry Festival and enjoyed seeing her poem turned into a film. She regularly reads at open mics events. She is a keen crafts person and likes to sew or make things from discarded books. 
Rick Sanders
Rick Sanders, aka Willis the Poet, is an established comedy stand-up poet based out of the mighty West Midlands. As well as being a regular on the Birmingham poetry circuit, Willis also actively supports the flourishing spoken word event scene in the region and beyond.
BIO to follow


Kate Weatherby
BIO to follow


Suz Winspear 
Suz Winspear is a poet, writer and performer, Worcestershire Poet Laureate for 2016-7, and Poet in Residence at the Museum of Royal Worcester. She published ‘I do not need a new Obsession’ in 2013, and her latest pamphlet, ‘The Aniseed Elite’ was published in June 2017
 Paul Wooldridge

Initially inspired following the loss of his father, Paul writes, in formal styles, on ageing, death, fatherhood and other mundane ponderings common for a married father of young girls. In a restrained tone, with dry humour woven throughout, Paul uses personal experience and the description of life’s intimacies to reflect on universal themes.

Paul’s work has so far been included in The New Humanist Magazine, The Cannon’s Mouth, About Larkin (The Philip Larkin Society’s magazine), A Swift Exit, Poems to Survive in, Graffiti Literary Magazine, Indigo Dream’s The Dawn Treader, Artficium’s Imprimo Anthology, The Blue Lady Literary Journal, The Good Dadhood Project, The Good Funeral Guide and Lighten Up.

Paul reads at Permission to Speak in Stourbridge and The Grande Slam in Dudley. He’s also reading at Mierce’s Marks, at Wolverhampton’s Art Gallery on June 15th, and at the Double Whammy Slammy on Sunday 18th June at Drummonds Bar in Worcester.


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Rangzeb © 2014 – Photo of Elaine Christie from Restless Bones Launch

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/08/26/book-launch-restless-bones-poetry-anthology-for-born-free-foundation/

Photography from 30-40-60 Elaine Christie © 2017

30-40-60

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Back in 2015 I dreamed of my pamphlet being published at the same time as Claire Walker’s, we have talked of many collaborative readings and ideas. By the time 2016 rolled around, my head was filled with firm ideas of collaborating, by 2017 there was somewhat of a larger idea forming.

I had a concrete plan and all I needed was acceptance. I approached Kathy Gee and Claire Walker, two poets who are also published by V. Press. I was delighted when they both agreed to my idea and I swiftly put in an application for Worcester LitFest (WLF).

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We waited until our place in the programme was confirmed before we set to work on this project. I am from a performance background and know only too well the unseen hours of work and rehearsal. What I loved about our meetings was the fluidity in which we found ourselves working. There is nothing better than a positive environment with like-minded people to stoke the fires and like an Olympic torch ours kept burning!

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We all know each other’s poetry and have each other’s books on our shelves, so placing our work together was not too difficult, cutting it down to a running order size was a fair challenge – thank goodness we all know how to kill our darlings.

Once we had organised the poetry we then played (and I mean that verb) with the sequence until we were all satisfied with the show. Then the real fun began with read through, deciding where the combined voices worked best.

I had started work on the multimedia element before we were accepted for WLF as I was convinced this performance would happen at some point, somewhere. I know from making poetry films last year (Fragile Houses) that media and editing is painstakingly time consuming. I also know that when you LOVE what you do, work never feels like work.

Eventually we brought voice and film together and rehearsed and altered the show.

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And what a show it was.

A    M    A    Z    I    N    G!

We are very proud our show was one of the best-selling festival events, we did some point specific marketing and believe that the tireless work of the WLF team and The Hive (Worcester Library/Venue) advertising in the What’s On at The Hive programme helped in this success!

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There were plenty of people we did not know as well as good friends and supporters. It was a fabulous night! We hope to tour it next year. Catch us if you can.

Photography Elaine Christie© 2017

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Nina Lewis  – Introducing the Poets:

Elaine Christie

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Rangzeb © 2015

Nigel Hutchinson

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Neil Richards

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Belinda Rimmer

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Rick Sanders

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Suz Winspear

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Paul Wooldridge

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Kate Weatherby

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Followed by our 40 minute show exploring the various stages of life through womanhood.

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Huge thanks to Kathy Gee for providing some of the media clips, projectors, scripts, folders and the programmes! For Claire Walker who had the wonderful idea of incorporating the open mic element. To the audience for having faith and to our open mic performers for beginning such a cracking night!

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Really enjoyable evening, the interweaving of voices – both actual and literary – worked extremely well. Video backdrop a unifying element. -Nigel

Fantastic evening, the show should go on the road, really enjoyable, and the three poets really worked as a performance. -Neil

A gorgeous night tonight! Brilliant poetry presented in a way I’ve never seen before! -Suz

Such a pleasure. Spellbinding poetry and a beautiful backdrop of images. Thanks for lovely evening. -Kathy A

30-40-60 is a triumph. A splendid performance from spectacular poets. Kathy Gee, Claire Walker and Nina Lewis were exquisite. Wonderful! –Kieran

A lovely evening at the Hive with Worcester LitFest and the wonder 30-40-60. When it comes back it’s a Do Not Miss. -Anne

Poetry perfection, wonderful. – Maggie

The poetry found so many points of connection. Beautiful. -Belinda

Rick Sanders reviewed the show (Related Links) – here are some soundbites. Thanks to Rick for the review and feedback.

Last night I had the pleasure of seeing 30 – 40 – 60 at the Hive in Worcester, one of a myriad of events taking place as part of the Worcestershire Litfest. The show is the brainchild of poets Claire Walker, Nina Lewis and Kathy Gee and it explores the works of all three poets through a connected narrative and visual accompaniment.

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Some pieces are solo readings, while others combine the voices of all three poets in acoustic harmony, which is different and rarely seen in poetry performance. 

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an engaging and highly entertaining piece of performance art.

A must see if 30 – 40 – 60 pops up again in a town near you…

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RELATED LINKS:

https://willisthepoet.wordpress.com/2017/06/12/30-40-60/

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… distinctive voicing to a beautiful narrative, which is complimented in turn by the visuals being displayed behind the readers. As an audience you get to see and hear two things at once, adding to the imagery of the spoken word and layering another context to the poems. It’s a clever use of multimedia and works well in the overall effect. -Rick

PERFORMANCE BIOS 

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2017/06/25/30-40-60-open-mic-poets/

National Writing Day 2017

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Join in across social media and #TellYourStory.

This year’s theme is VIEW FROM THE WINDOW

There are plenty of resources from this initiative to use with young writers.  https://www.nationalwritingday.org.uk

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https://www.instagram.com/nationalwritingday/

National Writing Day is a celebration of writing creatively.

Poems, stories, letters, raps, songs, scripts and more – we want schools, libraries, writing groups and communities across the country to share in this celebration through a series of events and activities.

We want people from across the UK to put pen to paper, unleash their imagination and make their voices heard. You’re invited to join us at events across the UK; from Hull to Bristol, London to Edinburgh, Cardiff to Belfast, leading arts and culture venues will open their doors to the public with inspiring events and activities. – © NWD 2017

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Join in!

National Writing Day is a collaborative initiative between First Story and partner arts and literacy organisations across the UK. It is supported by Old Possum’s Practical Trust and Arts Council England.

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RELATED LINKS: 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-40339860

https://www.firststory.org.uk/2017/06/09/irresistible-memories-by-samirah-moumin/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/books/news/20-inspirational-pieces-advice-writers-national-writing-day/

https://www.nationalwritingday.org.uk/2017/05/26/getting-child-enjoy-writing/

 

World Refugee Day in Poetry

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Just in time for World Refugee Day – in Refugee Awareness Week – this went LIVE. A collection of poetry about refugees from emerging and established writers. Regional. National and International poets were involved.

Thank you everyone for your amazing submissions and to those kind enough to grant permission to use photos.

Please read – share – and read again.

Poet Laureate

world refugee UN“I’ve met so many who have lost so much. But they never lose their dreams for their children or their desire to better our world. They ask for little in return – only our support in their time of greatest need” — UN Secretary-General, António Guterres


rescued A group of rescued people on the deck of an Italian naval vessel as the sun sets in the Mediterranean. ©UNHCR/A. D’Amato

Reproduced under Fair Use Act all credit to http://www.un.org/en/events/refugeeday/


Back in May, I was fortunate enough to meet some people from the charity People in Motion at a Spoken Word event ‘Gobs & Guitars’ organised by Sarah Tamar to raise money for the cause and to say goodbye to The Boars Head, the much loved venue of Mouth & Music (Heather Wastie/ Sarah Tamar). Read more about it here.

Inspired by a week of events happening in Malvern, organised by People in…

View original post 3,115 more words

Sudden Emptiness by Nina Lewis

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I have not had much of a chance to submit any work since March, I spent April writing new NaPoWriMo poems and reading a LOT and May preparing for Lit Fest shows and laureate finals.

Then the world changed, less than 2 weeks after the terror attacks on London Bridge, came the Grenfell Tower fire. The true toll, as far as loss of life, is something we are not being provided, people are being warned not to talk about it and there is so much political/social/class warping involved that if it was fiction, you would be asked to make it more believable!

I spent the morning horrified at the news and came home with a few hours spare before performing at WLF. I penned this poem, that night I read this poem and from people’s reaction & feedback, knew it had to be shared.

Published on I Am Not A Silent Poet not-a-silent-poet-grant-tarbard1

Huge thanks to Reuben.

I am not a silent poet

I go to work,

think of all the people

trapped in that tower.

I watch the four year olds,

how little they know of this.

Children in West End schools

will have focused awareness,

Kensington assemblies, prayers.

I think of the man at the window,

the memory of twin towers,

the split screen bulletin

staples that connection.

I discover at lunch time

how much the redevelopment cost.

Six have died.

I think of the Fire-fighters

running to rescue –

engulfed in black smoke floors.

The baby thrown ten storeys to safety

into the arms of a stranger.

The blazing heat of this summer’s day.

Streets empty of cars as parents

walk their children from school,

thanking their blessings

beneath the thrum of a police helicopter.

The evacuated,

clutching what they could grab.

Screaming flames and sudden emptiness.

They were told to stay put,

every flat a fire resisting box.

Amongst…

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Worcestershire LitFest and Fringe: Our final few hurrahs!

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The end of Worcester LitFest (almost) there is still a magical event on Wednesday 21st June Midsummer Poetry and Prose Walk 7 p.m. starting at the Worcester Bridge entrance of Cripplegate Park – a FREE event, do come and join us.

Massive congratulations to the LitFest team for the 7th amazing festival. So good to see so many people travel in for events from other parts of the U.K and also see lots of audience that are new this year!

Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe

The LitFest and Fringe team are nursing aches, pains, and smiling faces after a busy but wonderful festival week. Last Friday night saw us split between the Greek classicism of Natalie Haynes at The Hive and the Big Fat Quiz taking place at Titania, while Saturday morning calmed things down slightly with our children’s workshop at the wonderful St John’s library.

Things wouldn’t stay quiet for long, though! Saturday night, at Worcester Arts Workshop, LitFest and friends opened their arms to some top class London talent. We had an intimate evening of poetry and performance from Robert Cole, Math Jones, and Keleigh Wolf. A fabulous evening was had by all in attendance and we left on a grand high ready for the TWO slams that we had pencilled in for the following day.

Sunday evening saw us head back to Drummonds where we kicked the evening’s events off with a…

View original post 256 more words

World Refugee Day June 20th – Submit Poems

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June 20th is World Refugee Day an international observance dedicated to raising awareness of the situation of refugees throughout the world.

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Stock Photo  © David Snyder

As Worcestershire Poet Laureate I invite you to write poems about the refugee crisis or indeed experience. Selected poems will be published here  https://worcestershirepoetlaureateninalewis.wordpress.com/

Send your submissions to worcspl[at]gmail[dot]com by 9pm (GMT) on Tuesday 20th June.

Include a short bio (50 words), in addition, let us know where you live.

Please send poems in body of email or as attached Word doc.

Max. of 3 poems

Previously published work will be considered, you must retain the rights and include full acknowledgement of the publication.

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If you are unlikely to submit work please sign a petition http://www.unhcr.org/refugeeday/us/


To help (if you need it) I have gathered these websites and images on the webpages could be used as initial stimuli.

http://www.un.org/en/events/refugeeday/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/20/world-refugee-day-which-images-make-you-stop-and-think/

http://www.unhcr.org/refugeeday/

https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/un/world-refugee-day

 

Worcester LitFest Reaches the Final Weekend

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The 7th Worcester LitFest has reached the final weekend. If you haven’t managed to get to Worcester yet, you have 48 hours left! On your marks…

I have spent the past 3 days working on a new website/blog for all things Shire/Laureate based so from time to time I will be sharing links across social media, including this blog.

It would be lovely if you follow both even if you are an international reader/blogger.

The competitions run by the LitFest team (with the exception of the Poet Laureate) allow National/International entries, worth a follow just for that!

It has been an exceptionally busy week at the Festival and I look forward to updating you all on the week’s events soon.

For now – visit my new blog and discover what the team have in store for this final weekend.

https://worcestershirepoetlaureateninalewis.wordpress.com/2017/06/14/blog-post-title/

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