Category Archives: Angela Topping

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

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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!

RELATED LINKS:

http://worcesterspeakeasy.weebly.com/thursday-10th-september.html

 

 

 

 

Review of May

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What an amazing month May has been, jam packed full of life and brimming with poetry and forward motion.

WORK & LIFE

I worked a lot towards the end of the term about 10% more than I have in previous months and stopped worrying about money. I feel a lot more chilled out generally, I think I have Hay House to thank for that. This year I managed to complete the first 3 series of the World Summit, missing the last 4 days as I was busy with life and poetry and enjoying my half term and the sun when it appeared. hay house logo

You can read all about the beginning of the Hay experience here;

The Hay House World Summit 2015 – Week 1

Hay House World Summit 2015 – Week 2

It got me over the prickly start I had at the beginning of the month too. Which was left over from April, I think and inspired this post, in an attempt to spin a positive;

The Ups and Downs of Creatives: Motivation & Mindset

As creative people it is important to acknowledge that our moods, feelings towards our work and our bubble worlds are not always going to be perfect, freeing environments, the hard work we do can be felt sometimes, the rejection, frustration and competition.

PROJECTS & ONGOING POETING

May saw the end of my MOOC course ‘How Writers Write Poetry’ with the University of Iowa. I thoroughly enjoyed this 7 week programme, my highlights were the lessons in form and I have 10 poems as a result of my participation. It was scheduled for earlier this year and I would have been more active with the class groups if the original dates had stood, I enjoyed it all the same. A much better experience than my first online course in 2013, however still an isolating experience with over 800 participants active and little feedback from tutors, well actually none at all. Good job the students knew what they were talking about, most of us were fairly experienced poets and the course ran on two levels for those poets who felt they were still emerging. I shall miss the weekly sessions in a way, but also know the calendar CN-1780-logo-uofiowawouldn’t allow for another intense input for June, I can utilise my study time for more writing now.

David Calcutt continued to edit a Caldmore Garden group poem, it is a great piece. Stitching together the best from all of us. The workshop team are going to be performing it on the 13th June at the Carnival in Caldmore. I would love to have been there but have our final Writing West Midlands group booked. Honoured that my work is being used in this way. Love a community project.

I missed the May workshop at Caldmore Gardens because someone drove into my stationary car this month and mangled the door, I had to cancel Confab Cabaret too. I look forward to the next one in a few days time.

Writing West Midlands – we have as I have mentioned, our final session mid-June, the May session was great fun, Ian MacLeod was on holiday so I had lead writer role, with a whole bag full of tricks. Charley Barnes helped me in the role of assistant writer, it was great. Lots of spectacular ideas were born. Always the sign of a great session, I think.

WWM PINK

I enjoyed another wonderful workshop with Angela France in Stratford, where we carefully edited each other poems and worked on several new pieces, as well as enjoying lunch at The Dirty Duck. The day before I had read an article posted on social media. It was a conversation between Jonathan Edwards & Tishani Doshi as part of the Walking Cities project. I was immediately inspired to use it as base stimuli and emailed Jonathan for permission, which I am delighted to say he has honoured. It was an interesting poem to work on. There were some scribbled notes left for pondering over on the final stanza and I am pleased to say that part is now completed too. A shiny new poem as well as the poetry we spent the afternoon, in the sun, in the garden working on.

I had paid for all day parking at the Marina, so didn’t have to rush off as with previous workshop days. A bunch of us went for coffee in an Italian Café where a new ‘found’ poem was born. I have still yet to write it but I have a photo on my phone to remind me and some scribbled notes in my notebook. Stratford-Upon-Avon is such a beautiful town to wander around. I sat by the river writing for a while. Poetry Wrap 4

Angela france

Promotion started for the Quiet Compere Tour at The HIVE, in Worcester on the 10th July. I am one of ten poets who will be performing and am so excited to have this opportunity. Last year the one in Birmingham at the MAC blew me away. The studio space in The Hive is a lovely space to perform in. QC It is great to appear alongside these talented poets. This has been in the pipeline since APRIL 2014 and I am beyond excited!

SUBMISSIONS & PUBLICATION

I have written some new material this month through workshops, university and writing time. I have not submitted a great deal. I feel very much in the starters blocks with this. I need to work out a submission schedule again, after losing the last one, which included a great file with all the guidelines from each magazine saved in a document, when the laptop died.

I did discover the Seamus Heaney Anthology submission had an extended deadline, so I took a punt and I am glad I did because I had my poem ‘Bridgework’ accepted for the up and coming anthology.

I had previously sent work to Paper Swans for a School Days anthology, I have a poem published/accepted by them, exciting Book Launch opportunities in the summer too. I am chuffed.

I haven’t made any new submissions this month, I have been working on new material, my collection and preparation for Worcestershire Poet Laureate Finals.

POET LAUREATE

I applied for Worcestershire Poet Laureate this year, I made the long list, had an interview and made the short list.

Six of us compete for the title in the Guildhall in Worcester on the 12th June.

Our poems are currently posted on the WLF website, you can go and vote for your favourite.

VOTE: Poems in the FINAL – Worcestershire Poet Laureate

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PERFORMANCE POETRY

2015 was the year for less performing more writing, I am doing well on this challenge. I can accept that there are bound to be some busy months within that, this was one of them. I am doing about 20% than I did in 2014, this month I managed to attend some events as well as perform.

Starting with Headlining at Permission to Speak, I was booked at the beginning of the year and enjoyed this night very much. Thanks to Rob Francis for the booking and support. MM3 Rob Francis

Mouth & Music – Roy MacFarlane. Always a great night, good to see Heather Wastie and Sarah Tamar are back, together after both suffering with ill health. Roy was incredible, the theme – Love in times of Revolution lead for some very heartfelt, moving poetry and performances.

HOWL – is an incredible night hosted by Leon Priestnall, I hadn’t managed to get to one before and I am already booked in for a slot next month, it was a great night.

42 – my favourite theme fairies and pixies, a fantastic night of good performances and great writing.

Word Up – featuring Leon Priestnall, Jan Watts and Heather Wastie and one not to be missed. A great night, one that leaves you with a real buzz, partly down to Jasmine Gardosi working us up to her energy level.

Opus Club – as with HOWL, I have wanted to get to one of these nights since they started in at the beginning of this year. It was madness, incredible madness. The vintage theme saw us all swinging back to the time of the speakeasy, there was an amazing magician turning tricks in the bar, Harry – mind-blowingly talented and has put me off gambling for life! The amazing house band, talent after talent weaving across the open mic stage and opportunities to perform with music. Headlined by Hannah Silva. Have a look at the night in pictures here Opus Club – The Dark Horse – definitely a fantastic way to see out the month!

I also went to SpeakEasy to see Sarah James & Angela Topping perform from their new pamphlet, Hearth and discovered the energetic stage presence that is James Cottrill, a Canadian Peformance Poet.

All of these events can be read about in more detail on Poetry Wrap 3

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It has been a splendid start to the Summer! Next month includes; Worcester LitFest and Ledbury Poetry Festival, the Poet Laureate Finals, Droitwich Summer Festival and performances around the Midlands. Poetry to work on, submissions to make and treasure to find!

Happy writing x

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Poetry Wrap 4

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Poetry Wrap 4 – is bursting! It covers 3 weeks instead of just one, settle down, get comfortable and have a read!

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WEEK 2

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In the 2nd week of May I had a gorgeous 3 day run of poetry events, starting with Mouth & Music on the 12th – the theme was Love in times of Revolution and I really struggled to write to this theme. One of the hardest challenges this year. In the end I managed to write 3 poems on the day all about Love and Revolution, I performed the final set of the evening and these poems performed back to back made for a moving set. I am beginning to explore form thanks to the University of Iowa and my current MOOC study; ‘How Writers Write Poetry’. It was a Pantoum for those of you who are interested.

Pantoum Structure

Written in four-line stanzas; and the second and fourth line of each stanza become the first and third of the succeeding stanza. In the last stanza, the second and fourth lines are the third and first of the first stanza; so that the opening and closing lines of the pantoum are identical. Each line is a repeton.

One expert insists that it should be both rhymed abab bcbc … zaza and that the lines be isosyllabic. This was more true of the Pantoum in French. English is a little more loosey-goosey as was the Malay version. The same expert says that there is a variation where the poem is ended with lines 1 and 3 used as repetons in reverse order as a couplet.

Copyright © 2001-2013 by Charles L. Weatherford – Source Poetrybase

The night was headlined by Roy MacFarlane – former Birmingham Poet Laureate, a favourite poet of mine and an incredibly lovely chap! It was great to catch up with him, as I hadn’t seen him since last summer. His set was moving, sexy and exciting! Music was provided by the wonderfully talented David Coughlin, who made me feel like I was away on my holidays being treated to a great gig.

mm roy macfarlane

The following evening I headed to Kings Heath to join in with HOWL, an event that Leon Priestnall has been running for a while now, due to work commitments and energy levels I hadn’t been able to make it over before.

Another superb evening – INCREDIBLE talent from both performers and open mic-ers. WOW! Another lovely venue and great support from the staff too.

Leon has built up an incredible reputation for both himself and this event in a relatively short period of time. Topping the night off was a lady (audience) who actually HOWLED her appreciation all through the night!

HOWL

The following day I received some exciting news. I had been LONGLISTED for Worcestershire’s Poet Laureate Competition 2015-16, which I entered back in March, in secret! My interview went well and I have been shortlisted for the final (12th June) here’s a link to the full story COMING SOON

I went to SpeakEasy, where I didn’t perform but I thoroughly enjoyed the evening.

speakeasy may Sarah James and Angela Topping have recently published a collaborative pamphlet called ‘Hearth’, they launched the book at Cheltenham Poetry Festival and will continue to promote it. If you get a chance go and see them and buy the book! SJ-AT-Hearth-front-cover-scaledRRP is £5, available from the poets directly or from mothersmilkbooks

Lots of talent from all the performers and the evening was finished off by the energetic performance poet Jeff Cottrill, who is from Canada. International Guest Slots going on now.

WEEK 3

Then I took a week off from performing, concentrated on working, Hay House Summit and my MOOC course with the University of Iowa. I also received some great news, another poem published in a print anthology, another book launch. LINK COMING SOON

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Stanza was the last thing I did before half term.

WEEK 4

I missed Poetry Bites (sadly) as I had a 4 day run and I decided that with MOTs for the car, optician appointments and visiting relatives, I wouldn’t have an abundant amount of energy left. Maybe the meditation from last week has helped, I seemed to have sailed through.

My first performance was at Drummonds 42 where the theme was Fairies, Pixies, Witches & Warlocks. Most of wrote about the Fae folk – who have plenty of shadowy, darker elements.

I took great pleasure in working on a poem about two ceramic pixies my Great Aunty used to let me play with as a child, another poem about an online ‘Which Fairy are You?’ quiz, one about Scottish fairies and finally with so much research left over I wrote a short piece of Flash Fiction, which seemed to go down well.

All of these pieces were written at 5 AM! I woke up really early on Wednesday and couldn’t sleep, I had originally factored in plans to do three things before the evening’s 42. I decided I may as well get my set ready and spent the best part of 3 hours creating it. I had planned on going back to bed, but this never happened.

The evening was brilliant and there were some top notch performances as well as some new faces. 42

The following morning, I was up early (I haven’t actually managed a late morning or lie in all week), to go to Stratford-Upon-Avon for a Poetry workshop with Angela France.

We were editing today and I was reminded to take a poem. The day before I had read an article/ conversation posted on social media. It was a conversation between Jonathan Edwards & Tishani Doshi as part of the Walking Cities project. I was immediately inspired to use it as base stimuli and emailed Jonathan for permission, which I am delighted to say he has honoured. So I made use of the early morning and penned a new poem to take to Stratford – and I am glad I did because it is now even stronger than the first few drafts. It has changed quite considerably. I will share it with Jonathan Edwards and then submit it for publication, I would love it to feature in my first collection too.

The workshop was great (as always) and it was lovely to see everyone again. The sun even came out in the afternoon for us to write in the garden. My notebook is full of references & poets to look up as well as two newly penned poems.

The next day Friday, I went to Word Up. I took the train in, which was great for my writing notebook which now has snippets of conversation. The evening was thoroughly enjoyable. Headlined by Jan Watts, Leon Priestnall & Heather Wastie. It was a great night of performance and poetry. It was nice to see Carys Jones, who is now back in the UK too, even better to hear her perform new material. She is currently working on a show to take to Edinburgh Fringe this year too.

Last night saw the last event of the month – Opus Club at The Dark Horse in Moseley. Both this night and Word Up are hosted by Jasmine Gardosi and are definitely worth going to. I decided to perform with the House Band and it was AWESOME. Initially I was worried because it was a whole band and I had expected just one or two musicians. I needn’t have worried, family genes are full of musicality (thanks Dad) and it was so good people thought it had been rehearsed that way. I managed to learn two poems off by heart – which was a minor miracle because I changed the set 3 or 4 times and spent most of Saturday with Mr G in a local Garden Centre!

Here’s some flavour of the night, it was certainly eclectic, Headlined by Hannah Silva.

opus3 opus 14

Photographs used with permission from the wonderful Rang-Zeb Rango Hussain. A second post about OPUS will be posted where you can see more photos.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/05/31/opus-club-the-dark-horse/

It was lovely to see people I hadn’t seen for ages and meet new ones. And that – as I used to say back in the days of showbiz, is a wrap!

The Things to Come…. Marvellous May

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The Hay House Summit has finished, missed most of the final sessions as I was busy with workshops and performances. My MOOC course ‘How Writers Write Poetry’ – University of Iowa is in its final few days, I am mainly saving resources and completing some of the internal projects which I encountered during the 7 weeks. I take a lot away from this course including 10 decently edited and possibly ready (although currently resting in that metaphoric drawer) poems.

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Both elements of April/May have been great fun and have served me well. I have a whole notebook from Hay House and several print outs and saved websites and resources to refer back to and explore more when I have the time.

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I have also 48hours off from performing – in which time I will be catching up, blogging and possibly working on more writing.

It is an exciting time and you have these posts to look forward to (some may appear in Poetry Wraps);

  • The WLF Programme – Worcester LitFest 2015
  • Ledbury Poetry Festival 2015
  • Longlisted for WPL – Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2015-16
  • SpeakEasy with Angela Topping and Sarah James
  • Published by Paper Swans
  • Stanza
  • Tickets for John Hegley
  • 42, Fairies & Pixies
  • Writing a poem inspired by Jonathan Edwards (Costa Award winning poet)
  • Workshop with Angela France
  • Word Up
  • Opus Club with Hannah Silva

and of course the monthly review.

So I had best get writing, keep reading!

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