Category Archives: Blogs

Quick Splash Update

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Diving into the Fountain for a quick splash, reblog and update!

Coming up soon: Review WLF (Worcester LitFest), which finished on the 18th June.

Review Laureate projects and other exciting events & news: Headlines, Featured Artists, Festivals, publications/published, commissions and a couple of projects I am working on.

There is so much happening over the next fortnight.

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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

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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Cheltenham Poetry Festival

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This year’s programme was fantastic and I wish I had managed more events than I did. I however, managed a full dose of Hegley – which makes up for missing the rest of the long list of performances and events I wanted to attend.

John Hegley is one of the few poets that I discovered in my Young Writer years – back when he was touring with his band, Popticians. In fact one of the few university birthdays I remember was watching them at the Phoenix Arts Centre and meeting him.

There was a Hegley shaped hole for a while – he seemed to have disappeared – possibly into fatherhood – for the past few years he has been back on the radar. Or on my radar at least. Some of you will remember my posts from his performances and workshops back in 2015.

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I was delighted to see New and Selected Potatoes as an error in reading dates on a flyer meant I missed him at the MAC. It was an enjoyable show, thoroughly entertaining as one would expect – but the magic treat was bestowed on Cheltenham that night in the Playhouse. We were privy to a new poem, something he is working on for the Roundhouse. I always feel privileged when my ears get an inside like this.

I finally bought John’s book and had a lovely chat about the show, because he is a very kind man who always spends time with each person queuing for a signature. Someone in the line behind me nearly bought a book that wasn’t one of his – I am sure he would have signed it anyway, he has a big heart like that.

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I made a night of it by going for an Italian meal with friends who had been to see the show too.

The following day, (I know I should have booked a B&B) I was back in Cheltenham to enjoy my second Hegley workshop. It was great fun, a good group and lots of people I did not know, which is always exciting for me. We had taken a poem and some art and most of our activities were based around these.

John had us all write about Potatoes too (of course) and crowd sourced a fantastic poem for Anna Saunders *Director of the festival – I will have to go and see if she has had time to use it anywhere.

It was a fabulous morning and finishing slightly before time I headed down to Waterstones with John and Anna, chatting and narrowly missing lampposts along the way! Once at Waterstones, I mingled with the poets from the Open Mic event which had finished and caught up with friends. Then John started his impromptu take over of the floor. (Photos to follow.)

We all joined in with a choral poem and had a great time before he was whisked away to that place festival poets go and I was left to retrace steps and try to find my car before the ticket ran out!

Next year, I have to plan work better to be released for this poetry festival.

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Review May 2017

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May was a busy month which included a mid-point glitch when we found ourselves offline and for a while lost all our resources from the laptop!

Week 1:

Sent some submissions, organised festival events and promoted Cheltenham Poetry Festival for Anna Saunders. There were several open mic events in Birmingham and Coventry that I didn’t make and a headline gig that was cancelled due to venue closure.

The team met for work on our show, 30-40-60. This was accepted in March for the Worcester LitFest and takes place next month on Sunday June 11th, 7pm at The Hive, Worcester.

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I was looking forward to Cheltenham Poetry Festival but due to work commitments was not able to make as much of the programme as hoped. I did, however, have a run of 9-10 days of events. Unless I am immersed in a festival, I try not to make bookings like this anymore as I appreciate the energy it requires.

My mini-tour started in Malvern with Carol Ann Duffy, I am so glad that I bought a ticket for this, it was a wonderful night of emotive, uplifting and hard hitting poetry. Last time I saw her, I bought books and although I love what the book co-operative are achieving I was fund poor, I had taken a copy off the shelf at home and hoped she’d be happy to sign. Carol Ann was and she didn’t mention nearly taking me out with the stage door at all!

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John Sampson was his wonderful self too. Loved his music this evening. Glad the Queen gave him away!

The following day I went to Stratford-Upon-Avon for a workshop with Angela France. It was lovely to reconnect with poets I have not seen for a while and the writing was fun. There are some nuts and bolts in my notebook ready to work on. I am finding writing hard at the moment. Maybe it is post-NaPoWriMo or just because I am busy that my mind has no time to settle.

I then went to Birmingham to see Rob Gee at The MAC. Rob and I were friends in Leicester, back when I was at university and discovering the Spoken Word scene for the first time. I have not seen him for nearly 20 years, (how did we get that old?). I met up with him before and after the show and it was as if there had been a gap of days not years.

I thoroughly enjoyed the concept of his show and the delivery. Enjoyed is a strong word as it deals with end of life/people in care. A dramatic framework that works so well and Rob (Pro) shows us how easy it can be to create multi-characters in one space.

ROB GEE

He first  produced this show a long time ago and has toured it internationally – I was so happy to catch it – and the best news for you? He is doing it again for Ledbury Poetry Festival. Go and catch it if you can – book tickets here 3rd July

Read all about it here FORGET ME NOT

As a student nurse, Rob spent three months on a Challenging Behaviour ward for people with late stage Alzheimer’s. Largely based on Rob’s experiences, many of the stories depicted in the show are true. Except the murders, obviously.

The show’s director Tara Gatherer has recently directed three acclaimed short films, Cafe des Fils de Putes, Self Portrait and The Group, the latter of which explored the theme of self-empowerment for older people. Forget Me Not is her first theatre show. © Forget Me Not

I was so wired after the evening. We are not leaving it 20 years until next time!

On Sunday 7th it was the much awaited Book Launch of C.S Barnes, for ‘The Women You Were Warned About’. It was an amazing afternoon of words and cake, stories and poems.

Charley Barnes Book

I was lucky enough to read it a while ago, as Luke Kennard and I were asked to endorse the book. It was still magical to hear Charley read her own words and I didn’t revisit these women on purpose before getting a copy at the launch.

Charley asked Claire Walker, Alan Durham, Polly Stretton and myself to share poetry on women at her launch. I had fun writing a few poems specifically for the event and reworked some NaPoWriMo poems from April that featured women and worked well. I was stupidly nervous about this performance. the pressure not to mess the launch up.

I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon and so did everyone else. You can read about it and buy your copy here.

Black Pear 

The Women You Were Warned About: Answers to Absent Questions,
is Barnes’s first full-length publication and, after having so much
fun with the women contained within these stories, she sincerely
looks forward to the possibility of working with such hideous
women again in the future. © Black Pear Press

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Week 2

I booked tickets for the National Writer’s Conference. I attended in 2014 and decided that I needed to be further into my career to truly benefit. Tickets for this event are not cheap, but with lots of keynote speakers and a choice of seminars to attend it IS worth every penny. One major pull/benefit of being in Room 204 is you are gifted a ticket to the conference, so I knew back in the Spring that I would be going. So excited. Delighted they have released the information too, I am bad enough with menus and always at these things want to go to absolutely everything – the NWC is set up so you only take 3/9 sessions. Maybe I can bribe some of the cohort to swap notes.

I also spent my writing day working on the multimedia element of our show, 30-40-60. I spent the writing time tidying – I told you I have writers block!

In the evening, I finally made it back to Licensed to Rhyme, my most local poetry night which I have not managed since last year. Steve Pottinger was headlining and Brenda Read-Brown came back for a guest spot. The other guest spots and open mics were all top quality and it was lovely to share a night of fine words. Also fabulous to have Fergus McGonigal back on the scene. Plus it is light enough for me to walk there now so I was able to sample the bar. I also shared my NaPowriMo Bop written about the EDL in Birmingham. I was unsure of this poem, but it went down well – next stop, performing it in Birmingham.

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The next day I had hoped to make it to Cheltenham for Compound Poets with Gram Joel Davies  and Hannah Linden, it seems a large amount of poetry friends made it over. Work had left me sadly lacking in time and energy so I headed over to Kidderminster instead for the final bow to Mouth & Music. Sarah Tamar organised a one off event to raise money for the People in Motion Charity (helping refugees) and it was a chance for a reunion with Peter Williams (PTR), Tim and Pam Scarborough, Coz and Sarah herself.

It was attended by a writing group Sarah works with and there were a diverse range of performances. It was good to share some work that is harder to hear. I often feel guilty reading social/political poetry at events where people have gone to be entertained. I shared some activist poetry written for events back in 2014/15 and work from my pamphlet, ‘Fragile Houses‘ as it was MHAW (Mental Health Awareness Week).

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I had news about a project I hoped to be part of (Room 204). Last year Croome Court produced Plum Lines an exhibition/project involving many poets I knew. At the time I had a yearning to do something with the National Trust too… you know the universe picks up on this stuff, right? I saw a call out for poets to get involved in the next project ‘Adam Speakes’ which involves writers from 4 key places and an artist, previously accepted.

I am delighted to be part of the Writing West Midlands team working on this. Unfortunately, a pinnacle workshop has landed on a day I should be elsewhere. You know how much I hate not being able to do everything simultaneously. Things will be re-arranged.

I have also booked my day to Croome Court to start the exploration. This project will last until November, there will be a special event on the 25th. I cannot wait to get stuck in and I am sure I will keep you all updated.

I missed HOWL – which was legendary and a great, regrettable shame. Featuring Anthony Anaxagorou (who I missed at Verve), Casey Bailey and Anne Gill. I needed some downtime in amongst all this busy and work really was zapping me of strength and time.

I finally made it to Grizzly Pear – Sean Colleti/ UoB (University of Birmingham) Spoken Word event. this event clashes with SpeakEasy and has yet never fallen on a day I could manage. I wanted to see Inua Ellams, who I had missed at BLF Spring Edition. I was sad to miss Sue Johnson at SpeakEasy, but until I invent that cloning machine, had no choice. I also missed the Indigo Dreams showcase at Cheltenham Festival featuring Jennie Farley, Mab Jones, Bethany Pope and Anna Saunders, which was an event I had hoped to make it across for. Again work had not left enough of a margin to make the road trip viable.

I was glad that I managed to see Inua and his brave acceptance of audience offering key words. His set was then built up from poems linking to that context. Tukaiisloveletter – I had seen at Verve and it was terrifying (in a good way) to see his dynamic, highly emotive, actioned performance. It was good to talk to him about it afterwards too.

I shared my EDL poem, which was responded to well.

The following morning I was not bright eyed or bushy tailed (after the late night gig, I had forgotten how this time frame does not affect the student population) for our 30-40-60 meeting, in fact I was still eating breakfast when we set to work.

It was exciting to see the programme in print for the first time. It was released earlier in the week and since Tuesday had seen lots of teasing photos like this one! WLF © Holly Magill

We worked on our scripting and rehearsed the show. Later on our laptop died after an automated update and took all our files with it. Friday night’s plans changed as we desperately ranted to Microsoft support via the Kindle and attempted to back up everything off our computer. We entered OfflineLife.

The next day I was working for Writing West Midlands, Spark Young Writers group in Worcester with our new Assistant Writer, Rick Saunders. It was a great session on journalism and was embraced well by the group. I got my hands on Worcester LitFest programmes and started distributing.

Following this I went to Cheltenham for John Hegley ‘New and Selected Potatoes‘, which I missed at The MAC last year. It was great to see him live again and another master showing me in this age of ‘you have to do more with your poems’ that actually just being on stage with them should be enough. He had us in stitches and was a joy to watch.

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LINK TO FOLLOW

The following day I was back over in Cheltenham for my 2nd Hegley Workshop, completely brilliant. Followed by walking to Waterstones in conversation and watching a delighted public as he hit the shop floor with poetry and his mandolin, *Steve, as fans will know.

It was a superb day.

I also had poems Anchored and Hallmarks up for MHAW on Sarah James’s website. They are now archived in the 2015/17 ‘With You In Mind’ Anthology. Read more about this project here. https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2017/05/21/mental-health-awareness-week-with-you-in-mind-anthology/

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Week 3: 

I joined a Screenwriting course online, with UEA and Future Learn. It has been brilliant, although somewhat challenging completing most of it on the Kindle. I have discovered that I know more than I thought I did. I have also been playing with a few ideas banked for the future.

I worked on the film element of 30-40-60 and missed both events I had pencilled in. A book launch for Nigel Hutchinson at Waterstones and HIT THE ODE. Rather disappointed with myself but I came home from work on Thursday and hour later than I should have with barely time to make it to the city. By arrival time I had gone to bed and slept right through to Midnight! I needed the rest.

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I also spent a day online (now that I mended the internet) at the Hay House World Summit. Back in 2015 I took every seminar and film going. This year, I have been more selective and currently have a notebook filled with 12 of the programmes available. It is free to sign up and a real annual blessing as far as I am concerned.

I spent the weekend organising festival events and reading. It was beneficial to take a break from performing and recover from the busy schedule last week.

I felt re-energised ready for the final busy push of May.

Week 4

I booked a workshop with Helen Ivory and Martin Figura, completed the UEA Screen Writing course,

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and booked tickets for a book launch in July.

On Tuesday I went to Poetry Alight in a new venue in Lichfield to catch poetry from Roy Marshall and Jane Commane. It was a brilliant (if not extremely hot evening). The new venue is lovely. It was great to catch up with Roy and Jane.

Photography by Ben Macnair

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I missed Kathy Gee headlining at Poetry Bites – that was also a wonderful evening so I have heard.

On Thursday evening I missed a Book Launch, Ali Oxbury – we met on the Writing For Children course in 2013 has had her poetry collection published. I would have loved to have been there – I have also spent the past 4 years wishing for bookings. You can’t have it all.

I was booked to perform alongside Kevin Brooke, Holly Daffurn, Kieran Davis and Alan Durham for the Poetry Salon. This was my 2nd year for Worcester LitFest & Fringe, I have lost count of the Poetry Brothel/Salons I have participated in… I think it may be 5 or 6. It was an enjoyable evening, concluded with a wonderful open mic. A precious evening for poetry organised and hosted by Charley Barnes.

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We had our final editing meeting/rehearsal for our 30-40-60 show. It is going to be great. I have since finished cutting the film and Kathy has created a good looking program of the acts. We have all our open mic-ers signed up – a publisher, a Laureate, published poets and a festival poet! It is going to be fun and happens in just 11 days time!

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Over the Bank Holiday weekend I attended the Book Launch for Diverse Verse 2, an anthology compiled by Richard Archer. It was a fantastic turn out at Southcart Books and lovely to see the new shop. A good few hours of immersive poetry & a buffet. Sadly the M5 was crawling at 30 m.p.h and I was delayed. I got there in time for the start but missed coffee (much needed) and a chance to buy the book (I have since ordered it). Wonderful that they sold every copy and a lesson to myself to ask for a reserved copy in future. The proceeds are for Charity and it has already raised lots.

https://skaggythepoet.wordpress.com/2017/05/28/diverse-verse-2-is-launched-and-ready-to-buy/

https://willisthepoet.wordpress.com/2017/05/27/no-not-the-one-in-poland/

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http://www.lulu.com/shop/richard-archer/diverse-verse-2/paperback/product-23201198.html

It was good to catch up with old friends and meet new ones.

The Extra Days

I organised to write a review for a topnotch poetry magazine, received news that I am one of three finalists for the Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2017/18 competition. Which happens next Friday, 9th June – the start of the LitFest. I am delighted by the news, excited and as nervous as can be!

https://worcslitfest.co.uk/2017/05/30/and-the-worcestershire-poet-laureate-finalists-are/

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Last night was one of the most clashing for events- Charley Barnes was headlining at Cafe Grande Slam, Matt Windle at Spoken Trend, 42 in Worcester (my regular Wednesday night feast) was also happening and way back in April, I booked tickets for Stourbridge Library to go and see Jo Bell & Roy McFarlane.

I was an incredible evening & a pleasant way to finish the month.

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Mental Health Awareness Week – With You in Mind Anthology

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Back in 2015 I became aware of ‘The With You in Mind’ anthology that Sarah James compiled from her website, where she shared poems for Mental Health Awareness. That same year she produced The Magnetic Diaries, a poetry-play based on her collection of the same name, for the Write On Festival at The Courtyard Arts Centre, Hereford.

Since then the show has developed and toured. The ACE-funded tour included performances at Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe, Ledbury Poetry Festival, Bristol Poetry Festival, Hereford’s Chapel Arts Centre, FEAST festival at Malvern Cube, mac birmingham and London’s The Vaults. It was also a Highly Recommended Show at Edinburgh Fringe 2016, where it had a two-week run at Aviary at ZOO Venues. © 2016 Sarah James

Alongside the touring show, Sarah facilitated Pain to Poetry workshops, one of which I was lucky enough to participate in at the MAC.

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This year Sarah added to the collection during Mental Health Awareness Week (8-14th May) with poems produced as a result of the Pain to Poetry workshops.

My initial idea was to re-blog the posts/poems as they came in throughout the week (but due to technical issues, we were offline).

The week started with Hide and Seek by Louise Stokes. If you would like to read the daily posts then follow this link and click the ‘next post’ button at the bottom of each page.

http://www.sarah-james.co.uk/?p=8080

Alternatively you can use this link to the updated ‘With You in Mind’ anthology and read the poems from 2015 and 2017.

http://www.sarah-james.co.uk/?page_id=5639

My own poems – Anchored and Hallmarks can be found here Nina Lewis

I am grateful for the opportunity to share work on this subject, especially as I know that without suffering depression I may not have found my way back to writing.

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RELATED LINKS:

http://www.sarah-james.co.uk/?p=5670

http://www.sarah-james.co.uk/?page_id=6732

http://www.sarah-james.co.uk/?p=8073

The Magnetic Diaries

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week

NaPoWriMo – Day 27

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napofeature2017-2This morning I was awake early, so I checked out today’s prompts, wrote lists of tastes and imagined some music. I thought I would post this in a timely manner (sometime on the 27th) but Mr G. and I were out and I crashed out as soon as we got in, so even though I had it ready, I am posting a few hours late!

http://www.napowrimo.net/

Our featured participant today is A Thing For Words, where the archaeology poem for Day 26 imagines future scientists stumbling over the remains of a man without apologies.

Today’s interview is with the poet Sharon Olds, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for her collection Stag’s Leap, the definitive sick burn on an ex-husband (Warning to husbands: if you divorce Sharon Olds, she will write a book about it that wins the Pulitzer Prize, and everyone will know). Of course, that’s not all she’s written, but I’ll have to say that book is bracing, to say the least. You can learn more about Olds’ work here, and you can find some of her poems here, here, and many more here.

And last but not least, here’s our (optional) prompt! Many poems explore the sight or sound or feel of things, and Proust famously wrote about the memories evoked by smell, but today I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that explores your sense of taste! This could be a poem about food, or wine, or even the oddly metallic sensation of a snowflake on your tongue.

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I was interested in reading another take on Day 25 poetry and having recently purchased Stag’s Leap (following a conversation with poets about the book), I was happy to see today’s reading.

I wrote a list of tastes.

The poem itself was alright, based on short form structure. My initial editing response is I need to put more taste in it and less story. I enjoyed writing with the food in my mouth, tasting my words.

… saccharine fruit honeyed on my insides…


Carrie Etter suggested writing a poem in response to a song. This is something I do from time to time. It is a useful free-writing experience, often used in schools.

I have read comments from other poets who have already approached this prompt. I am currently thinking track choice, but also like the idea of a random piece.

I discovered a website http://top10songs.com/ where you can chronologically search Top 10s from different years. I knew where I was going for this one. I also want to revisit this idea and write differently. I listened to all sorts of soundbites, music I had completely forgotten. In teenage years music carried me through extremely hard patches and I know the transformative power of music, how you are transported back to that time.

The track was Maroon 5 – She Will Be Loved.

Lyrics stick to the back of my tongue,

break my smile.


Jo Bell http://www.jobell.org.uk/ gave us God’s Justice by Anne Carson to read.

A good poem, like a good painting, will affect you emotionally before you understand how it does so. – Jo Bell


The Poetry School 58d3e6b0bba6c-bpfullAndrew Parkes gives us

Day 27: The Elements

Fire. Water. Earth. Fermium. Platinum.

Your poem today should contain one or more of the elements, classical or scientific. This excellent dynamic periodic table will be very useful. The title of your poem should be your chosen element(s). Try to steer clear of gold and ‘the element of surprise’ because they’ve both been done to death, and go for one of the more interesting ones. Research is your friend.

Your example poem is ‘The Manhattan Project’ by Spencer Reece on the element ‘Uranium’.

NaPoWriMo – Day 26 – On Target

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Look at this miracle, Day 26 ON Day 26 – cue flying pig!

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http://www.napowrimo.net/

Today’s featured participant is fresh poetry, where the “poetics of space” prompt for Day 25 takes back in time to a very particular classroom, while also launching us out onto the sea.

Our interview for the day is another two-fer – the poet Melissa Range interviewed by the poet Stephen Burt about her book, Scriptorium, sonnets, and incorporating colloquialisms and slang into poetry. You can learn more about interview-er and interview-ee here and here. And you can read three of Range’s poems here, and at this link, you’ll find a lyrical essay by Burt.

And now for our (optional) prompt! Have you ever heard someone wonder what future archaeologists, whether human or from alien civilization, will make of us? Today, I’d like to challenge you to answer that question in poetic form, exploring a particular object or place from the point of view of some far-off, future scientist? The object or site of study could be anything from a “World’s Best Grandpa” coffee mug to a Pizza Hut, from a Pokemon poster to a cellphone.

napo2017button1I had great fun with this prompt and went with my initial object that was on my desk as I read the prompt. It got a bit sticky when thinking about futurisms and how much of our language would have been used and when I have more time I would like to invent a half language and translate.

Writing this poem sparked a few new ideas and I have made some science based notes on the sun and the moon too. More to play with later… looks like I may need to take next year off.

The Sea of Showers looks brown,

this leads some of the Scientists to predict

our archaeological response wrong.


Carrie Etter offers – in a place where you have lived before (or where you live now), list some specific names of the flora and fauna of that environment:

the names of one or two birds;

other animals;

one or two kinds of trees, plants and wildflowers.

Next she asked us to imagine ourselves as a character in this environment, one with a specific worry. Give a strong impression of place through intermingling the concerns with details of the environment.

Poetry that uses senses and a sense of place.

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I have lived in so many places, but for the ease/speed of writing several poems in a day, I chose my current abode. My Great Aunty has always wowed me with her ability to name every tree, plant and bird, this gift/talent/knowledge is not something I possess, so I knew there would be some research before I could launch into poetry.

The list was fairly easy to compile – but at the start of the poem, I very much felt it like a writing exercise, a slightly forced one at that. I relaxed into it and halfway through the tone became more natural and the words started to flow. I have a poem I can work with now and a future idea for more.

you can never be sure when rain will come.


Jo Bell offered tonight by Charles Bukowski

http://www.jobell.org.uk/

A great discussion on Bukowski, King, expressing the truth and down to earth wit.


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Day 26: Acrostics

We’d like to see your acrostic poems, ones where the first (or last – or first and last) letters of each line spell out a word.

A lot of people think acrostics are childish, but they needn’t be. Kathleen Ossip’s sequence of acrostic elegies elevates the form to art.

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/detail/56631

NaPoWriMo – Back On Track – Day 25

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Day 25

http://www.napowrimo.net/

This prompt enabled me to write a corker and I am delighted. I know that writing several poems a day for a month means that they won’t all make target, I can safely say they are all poems – but whether they are good poems or not (well I wouldn’t want to tell them – but even after editing next month some will be notebook bound forever), others like today’s may grow wings and fly.

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Our featured participant today is Tea Parties on Neptune, where the medieval marginalia poem for Day 24 involves some peculiar rabbits!

Our interview today is with Douglas Kearney, whose poetry often involves very visual, altered typography as well as onomatopoeia – poems meant to be seen and heard out loud. You can learn more about Kearney here, and read some of his work here and here.

And now for our daily prompt (optional, as always). In 1958, the philosopher/critic Gaston Bachelard wrote a book called The Poetics of Space, about the emotional relationship that people have with particular kinds of spaces – the insides of sea shells, drawers, nooks, and all the various parts of houses. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that explores a small, defined space – it could be your childhood bedroom, or the box where you keep old photos. It could be the inside of a coin purse or the recesses of an umbrella stand. Any space will do – so long as it is small, definite, and meaningful to you.

I wrote about a print Mr G. bought me as a Valentine’s gift, my small specific place the poster tube that still houses it two months later. I am searching for the perfect frame!


Carrie Etter’s prompt was to write about a pet and show how the behaviour influences you, without naming the pet, leaving it to description to identify the subject. I have had pets – but we are currently pet-less, I wrote about a neighbouring creature instead.

Soaking up puddles of sun,

one stroke and your skin is raked.


Jo Bell encouraged us to read Why We Need Libraries by Ian McMillan. http://www.jobell.org.uk/ books-1204029_1280 

I moved around a lot and have always found my home in Libraries.


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Day 25: It All Ends The Same Anyway

A fun task for today. I’d like you to write a poem in which every line ends with the same word. That’s it. It lends itself to comedy, but if you can make a tragic poem out of the prompt, I’d be dead impressed.

Paul Stephenson’s ‘The Apprentice’ is your example poem.

Paul’s pamphlet ‘The Days That Followed Paris’ was one of the Poetry School’s ‘Books of the Year’, published on our blog. You do read our blog, don’t you?

NaPoWriMo – The BIG Catch Up – Day 24

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Day 24 http://www.napowrimo.net/

Welcome back, everyone, for the twenty-fourth day of NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo!

Our featured participant for the day is The Mother of Adam, where you will find not one, not two, but eleven double elevenie poems for Day 23!

Today’s interview is another two-fer, with the poet Rachel McKibbens being interviewed by the poet Jennifer L. Knox. Both McKibbens and Knox have ties to the “slam” poetry movement, which focuses on performance. McKibbens is known for her work’s direct, fierce, emotional address, while Knox’s poems often exhibit a gonzo humor that can suddenly give way to deep pathos. You can read several of McKibbens’ poems here, and examples of Knox’s work here.

Last but not least, our (optional) daily prompt. Today, I challenge you to write a poem of ekphrasis — that is, a poem inspired by a work of art. But I’d also like to challenge you to base your poem on a very particular kind of art – the marginalia of medieval manuscripts. Here you’ll find some characteristic images of rabbits hunting wolves, people sitting on nests of eggs, dogs studiously reading books, and birds wearing snail shells. What can I say? It must have gotten quite boring copying out manuscripts all day, so the monks made their own fun. Hopefully, the detritus of their daydreams will inspire you as well!

I love Ekphrastic poetry and I fell in love with the Monk’s Marginalia. I saved several images to my phone as I want to delve deeper into this prompt at a later stage. I thoroughly enjoyed my writing experience on Day 24. I love the idea that Monks could imagine such images and like early Banksy, left them on copied manuscripts. Part of me thinks all the search engine images must be faked.

I choose the image which had the most impact. A creature morphed from at least 8 animals that I could see. My way in was just to write lines of narrative describing what I could see, this enabled me to get inside the mind of the beast and write my poem as he.

The marginalia dream of escape, trapped by words.

Nutmeg eye, laboured with anguish, magnifies sin.


Carrie Etter’s prompt suggested we look at a poem that does not work, choose a favourite line as a starting point and write a new poem.

Well I have plenty of Napo poems that haven’t quite worked, so didn’t have far to look.

I took ‘Word wise and letter loving…’ and penned a new poem around it.

Bake until our ideas glaze.


Jo Bell http://www.jobell.org.uk/ posted Warning by Malika Booker.


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  • Day 24: The Single-Use Poem

    Morning poets. Welcome to the home stretch! Just one more week to go…

    What is a single-use poem? Well, it’s one that breaks after the first time you read it. What falls into that category? Twist Endings. Riddles. Jokes. Sudden revelations. Anything that relies on surprise for its effect. I want you to write a poem that will make people say, ‘You have to read this. I won’t spoil it for you. Just trust me!’.

    For inspiration, have a look at Matthew Francis’ ‘The Ornamental Hermit’. I won’t spoil it for you. Just trust me!

    It’s hard to find a decent copy online, but Michael Donaghy’s ‘Riddle’ is also a good example.