Category Archives: Events

A Quick Flashback to April and May

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Photo by Toni Ferreira on Pexels.com

APRIL

As anyone who follows the blog will know, April is mainly a space for NaPoWriMo, half of which falls during Easter break, the other 15 days are snatched between work and life. This April we also had lots of family needs and it was necessary to step back from work as much as possible to support and survive.

I realise it is now almost the end of June and I have not posted, so here is a little flashback beyond NaPoWriMo.

I had two wonderful events in April, Peter Sutton’s Book Launch, where I was a Guest Reader and Country Voices in Ironbridge, where I performed alongside Nick Pearson & Cherry Doyle. It was a brilliant afternoon of poetry.

Both of these gigs saw my return to LIVE events (after an attempt last September). There is something very strange about the act of leaving your home to perform nowadays, it all feels so new and different. Both events were well attended, so it shows not everyone was as nervous as me.

I have read Cherry’s and Nick’s work but never met them, that was a pleasure. I saw Nick perform again this month at Welshpool Festival. I have also worked with and been aware of Sara-Jane Arbury for years but had never met face to face, that was lovely after knowing her online for a few years.

In Elmslie House the gallery also had a few pieces on display which were created by another of Sara- Jane’s Ledbury Poetry workshop participants. We had fun finding them. Peter’s book launch was an incredible event, a packed audience and so much rich poetry. Black Pear Press know how to throw a party/launch!

I also took part in the Mindful Poetry gathering run by The Well in partnership with the On Being Project. I have attended since 2020 lockdown year, it is a wonderful group of creative Americans and is always a lovely hour of soulfulness attended by people from all around the world. I have really missed these events and was looking forward to them coming back for National Poetry Month.

The Well is nourished by the non-profit organization A Mindful Moment. Our mission is to improve the mental and emotional well-beingconnectedness, and effectiveness of all citizens through arts integrationmindfulnessmusicmovement, and healing-centered practices.

The Well © 2022

I went to lots of events and watched some stunning sets. I was lucky enough to see Jason Allen-Paisant, who I came across just two years ago during Lockdown. His poetry is amazing and my bookshelves now house him.

Jason Allen-Paisant reads ‘Walking With the Word Tree’

MAY

May was full of medical appointments, work and family. We celebrated some of our American relatives arriving in our part of the UK after time in London and before a trip across to Dublin. I was also busy developing the program for Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe, along with the rest of the team. I missed several events due to complete exhaustion. Later in the month there were some family needs which very much took over everything.

Photo by Travis Rupert on Pexels.com

I did manage some much needed time at the ocean (my first time away from home in 4 years), it was a long trip to Wales for a short amount of time there but worth every hour of the journey.

I received a beautiful copy of a pamphlet a group of Stanza members worked on in 2018 as part of a Forest of Dean project. It is beautiful and a privilege to read all our words from that day. Thank you to Andrew Hoaen for my copy of SILVA – it brings that incredible day with the trees back to me!

I went to the Nine Arches Press Book Launch of Julia Webb and Tom Sastry, a wonderful event and two stunning collections! They were joined by Daniel Sluman, who’s latest collection ‘Single Window’ is also on my shelf!

Another great Book Launch with Bloodaxe poets Jo Clement, Sarah Wimbush & Clare Shaw.

I admire the work of all these poets. It is also lovely knowing (most of) them!

I also had the gift of a Verve Poetry Launch which included Sarah James and her latest collection Blood Sugar, Sex, Magic. I have heard Kathy Pimlott read before, I have read some of Kayleigh Campbell’s work and it was fascinating hearing Georgina Wilding.

Kayleigh Campbell, Sarah James, Kathy Pimlott & Georgina Wilding.

I finally finished work on a project I have been sitting on for the best part of two years. And by the end of the May WLFF Festival was ready and we were all busy with promotion.

I had some poems accepted for publication, which was fabulous as I have been unable to submit much since March and there have been lots of rejections stacking up the inbox! I have had all three of my poems accepted for a project which will entail an anthology both hardcopy and digital. I had some of my manuscript poems accepted by an anthology too and have managed to get some work into the Mindful Poetry Anthology (USA) for the second year running.

Now we are in June and I have been working full time and trying to balance the rest of life on plates with small circumferences. I have to get back to the desk at some point, but I am not quite there yet.

Having said that – I am off to Reading in a fortnight to headline Poet’s Cafe. So I am very much still working and writing but also whirling and spinning through each day!

Photo by Alizee Marchand on Pexels.com

Reading for Ukraine

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Reading for Ukraine
Monday, April 11th, 2022 at 4PM CT (9PM GMT)

Join Ukrainian and U.S. writers in person at the Shambaugh House or online for a special reading dedicated to supporting Ukraine.

Co-sponsored by Prairie Lights Bookstore, International Programs, and the UNESCO Cities of Literature of Iowa City, Lviv, and Odessa.

Register for the event in advance here: https://bit.ly/readingforukraine

Poets for Ukraine

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Yesterday I listened to incredible poems from George Szirtes, Moniza Alvi and Elżbieta Wójcik-Leese at LIVE at The Butchery. Their poems will sit with me for a long time.

During the event Jacqueline Saphra dropped a link to the Fundraiser which happened in London on Mother’s Day, 30th March.

Transcript/Video Information:

A fundraising, awareness-raising, spirit-raising day of poetry in solidarity with the people of Ukraine at this time of great peril and suffering.

Poets for Ukraine, in partnership with The Society of Authors, The Poetry Society, The Poetry School and JW3 held a Poem-a-Thon here at JW3 where sponsored poets read in relay for up to five minutes, some in person and some virtually.

Special guests include:

Juliet Stevenson, Jessie Ware, Meera Syal, Sophie Ward and Nick Hytner
Naomi Shihab Nye from the USA
Headliner poets from the UK, including former Scottish Makar Jackie Kay
Former National Poet of Wales Gillian Clarke
Imtiaz Dharker who holds the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry
This year’s Costa Book Prize winner Hannah Lowe
Forward Prize winner Fiona Benson
Former Poet Laureates Carol Ann Duffy and Andrew Motion
Poet in Residence for Radio 4 & 4 Extra Daljit Nagra
Veteran actors Harriet Walter and Bill Paterson
They will share the spotlight with Ukrainian poets appearing on video both from the frontline and the diaspora.

All proceeds to our chosen charities, Goods for Good and Hope and Aid Direct.

The links for giving are available under the video.

Go and watch it on the JW3 London channel.

Guest Poet in Real Life

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I have had a few features online since 2020 and been part of many projects, but it was 2018 the last time I was involved in Live performances. I tried to get back out in 2021 but found Covid anxiety was too intense.

I am still doing my best to isolate from the world due to Covid, (but I have had it so hoping I have a few months of immunity). I have only left home twice to perform live this year – the Resonate Festival DNA: Our Stories & Peter Sutton’s Elgar Country Book Launch.

Next Saturday I will be taking to the road again for a gig in Ironbridge. It seems strange but also exciting to have this possibility of live performance again after a great many years.

For more information on other events check out Offa’s Press.

West Midlands Poets For Ukraine: Fundraiser

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I was invited to be part of this fundraiser but sadly was unavailable. Apologies for not sharing the online version in a timely manner.

But if you are in the West Midlands region head to The Rep this Friday for the LIVE fundraiser event.

In the dark times

Will there also be singing?

Yes, there will also be singing.

About the dark times.” ― Bertolt Brecht

Join us for an evening of poetry to raise funds for the Disasters Emergency Committee Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.

Poets, come along with short poems to read. Poetry lovers, join us to hear poetry that shares our deep concern.

An in-person event on Friday 8th April 2022, from 18:00 – 20:00 BST. BOOKING/INFO here.

Tickets are free but we ask for a minimum £5 donation (in cash on the night or in advance at the DEC link above) from everyone attending.

Organised by Writing West Midlands and Birmingham Repertory Theatre.


https://www.birmingham-rep.co.uk/whats-on/poets-for-ukraine/

Book Launch ~ Elgar Country by Peter Sutton

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Published by Black Pear Press

Since 2016 I have been fortunate enough to have written endorsements for new collections. It is always an honour to be asked and to be trusted with the m/s, to read it before it’s published and to ultimately string words together which will encourage other’s to buy it from the blurb.

When Peter Sutton approached me in 2021 I was delighted to be one of the poets writing an endorsement for his latest collection. I have known Peter for many years and know what an expert he is on Elgar, I knew this collection would be a m/s I would enjoy. I wasn’t wrong! I read it many times.

Fast forward the publishing process and Peter is ready to launch. I am invited as one of his Guest Readers and all LIVE tickets have SOLD OUT! It will be my first live event since January and I am looking forward to seeing real people, (I still only leave home for work/medical/family visits).

Elmslie House, Malvern – 4pm Sunday 3rd April

You can join the fun online – instructions will appear here tomorrow.

The Facebook event page can be found here. Peter will be joined by guests Sara-Jane Arbury, Nina Lewis and Michael W. Thomas who will also be reading.

Elgar Country is an exploration of the landscapes, lanes, towns and cities that formed the backdrop to Elgar’s life and inspired so much of his music. Sutton’s own love for this part of the country is manifest in these poems as he urges us to ‘come to the Malvern Hills, to the counties of Hereford and Worcester, and hear the marvellous words of poets, the sounds of the earth, and the magical music of Elgar’. © Black Pear Press

Click the link below to find out more and hear recordings of Peter reading some of the poems from his latest collection.

Black Pear Press

BPP

Nina’s NaPoWriMo Challenge

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Photo by Allan Mas on Pexels.com

Don’t worry – it has nothing to do with rock climbing!

Although intense generative writing practice feels like a workout. I have been participating in Maureen Thorson’s NaPoWriMo since I discovered it (2014). The following year I discovered the PAD challenge – A Poem a Day over on Writer’s Digest and did both, generating over 60 poems in April.

Over the years many poets in the UK (and probably around the world) have offered their own course of prompts or groups for April. I have taken part in these too, memorably a series of prompts from Carrie Etter and a Napowrimo group during Lockdown with Caleb Parkin. The most poems I ever wrote from April’s Poetry Month was 99!

All this extra writing has been fun (if not a bit exhausting)…

This year I decided to add my own additional challenge into the mix: Nina’s NaPoWriMo Challenge! Feel free to spread the word.

I’m keeping it simple (and FREE):

Every day I will post a new picture prompt and you go away and create whatever you want.

Get yourselves ready for an extra splash in the fountain this April!

WPD 2022 ~ My World Poetry Day

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Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels.com

World Poetry Day – that sacred day when poetry gets mentioned on Radio Channels beyond Radio 2 and Radio 4, the day when a frame is held around words… it was World Frog Day yesterday, but I saved my leaping around for today!

I always mark WPD by making sure I read some poems and either organise or attend an event. Today I am going on a magical tour and then following up the starter with a main, with Apples & Snakes. I will skip dessert… or eat a real one for dinner, as cooking is out of the question this evening!

Photo by u041 on Pexels.com

I hope you have all managed to plan something sweet… if not and you have some time to spare, go and find your favourite spot to relax in, take a book of poems or your phone and read.

Or take advantage of this list of pieces and poems from the world today.


Some poetry I collected from the web this evening:

From Outlook.com (please note there is a trigger warning/ suitability poem listed part way through the first poem).

outlookindia.comworld-poetry-day-two-poems-on-ukraine-and-one-on-peace-during-wartime-


Caleb Parkin


This article was news from before WPD – but let’s share it now:

Anjum Malik Manchester’s first Multi-cultural City Poets

Anjum Malik performing at University-held mushaira in 2018

© 2022 Manchester Metropolitan University


MMU Marks World Poetry Day

Manchester Metropolitan University is well known for strong creative writing courses. Today they marked WPD in a myriad of ways.

Malika Booker has read An Alternative History of Stones for World Poetry Day

© 2022 Manchester Metropolitan University

Hit Play – it will work.



Khalil Gibran
“Poetry is a deal of joy and pain and wonder, with a dash of the dictionary.”

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/resources/download-words-burn-resources


A review of my magical night of poetry

I love poetry and I love a mystery – put them together and you have the wonder of my first event!

World Poetry Day: Poetry with a View – Mystery Location at Golden Hour!

About this event

I am excited to announce that Monday 21 March 2022 is World Poetry Day. Escape with me to a mystery location to experience a selection of poetry readings with a beautiful view!

© 2022 Eventbrite/ Sarah

I had no idea when I booked weeks ago where we would even be situated in the world… there really were no clues before I joined the livestream…

to my delight – the North West of England, Lancashire. It was hosted on heygo – which was a perfect platform for WPD.

My first experience of heygo was fabulous – you can capture postcards! Sarah was a fabulous guide, we were treated to 6 poems, lots of factual snippets (including some new ones for me), a beautiful sunset, a walk along the Leeds to Liverpool canal and we even saw some ducks! It was fun to guess the poets. There’s also a navigational map in the top corner too.

We heard:

Warning by Jenny Joseph – this poem was voted Britain’s favourite modern poem (2006) and Nation’s favourite (10 years before), this poem inspired a whole society.

Daffodils – By William Wordsworth. One of England’s most famous nature poets – William Wordsworth – Nation’s Poet Laureate from 1843 until his death in 1850.

A Subaltern’s Love Song by Sir John Betjeman. Classic English Poet – one of the all time well known poets… saved St Pancras Station from demolition!

The Quangle Wangle’s Hat by Edward Lear – born into a middle class family – middle child of 21 children – known for literary nonsense…. died aged 29.

If by Rudyard Kipling – one of the most well known writers of his time, won a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1907. I listed ‘If’ as my favourite poem at the start of the tour!

And we finished with the sun going down to Yes, I’ll Marry You by Pam Ayres!


Later I joined Apples + Snakes for the World Poetry Day Mini Break with Lorna Zita.

About this event

For World Poetry Day this year, Apples and Snakes want to bring a little bit of sunshine and fun with Mozambican poet, cultural projects manager and international Slam Champion Lorna Zita.

More about Lorna:

Lorna Zita is black, spoken word poet, cultural projects manager and international Slam Champion. She represented Mozambique on Digipoem ‘’Zimbabwe’’ and BBC Contains Strong Language in the UK.

She was the second-place winner of the Maputo-Katembe literary contest “The bridge that connects lives” organized by the CCMA and the German Embassy.

In 2020 she was considered the most influential voice of Voices of African Women by I, Africa and currently has two Digipoems Published in partnership with Page Poetry Alive and the British Council.

In 2018 she won the literary contest, organized by Revista Literária Inversos in honor of the International Children’s Day at Feira de Santana in Brazil.

© 2022 Eventbrite/ A+S

This workshop had limited places and I lucky to get one!

It was great to meet Lorna and to see some familiar faces in the group. I admire anyone who can produce a workshop in their 2nd language and I am so glad that we were treated to a poem in Portuguese at the end to hear first hand why Lorna is the SLAM champion that she is!

It was a great way to spend World Poetry Day and I now have a little stash of ideas to write from, some prompts, one incredibly concise poem and have had a good refresher on the use of voice in performance.

WPD 2022

Published: Thumbnail Nature ~ London Wildlife Trust

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Nature, Framed – an anthology of nature writing

This is a collection of ultra-short Thumbnail Nature pieces from a February workshop ‘Nature Writing Through the Window’ which Amanda Tuke co led with Helen Jones, an inspirational disabled nature writer.

It was a great workshop and the last from this particular Arts Council funded project. It has been a pleasure to get to know Amanda and delve into thumbnail nature. I am delighted to have pieces in all the anthologies of workshops I was able to attend.

Angi Holden also attended the workshops and been published in the anthologies. It is always a great delight when you see friends sign up for the same events. An extra delight in February was spotting Elizabeth Uter in attendance. Liz and I met at the Poetry in Motion classes 2020/21 with CelenaDiana Bumpus, Liz still attends classes with Inlandia. Her poem is above mine, it’s so lovely to share the virtual page with her again.

Thanks again to Amanda Tuke for these incredible workshops and for giving my first thumbnails a home.

Amanda Tuke – workshop co-leader and Great North Wood nature-writer-in-residence in partnership with London Wildlife Trust.  Once covering a large area of south London, today the Great North Wood consists of a series of small green spaces – all of which provide a home for nature within a modern urban landscape. The workshop was made possible thanks to public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

https://suburbanwild.wordpress.com/

https://freelancenaturewriter.com/author/rockinmumma/

The Return of the Quiet Compere

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Sarah L. Dixon was successful with her Arts Council bid and has brought the Quiet Compere back. This time the QC tour covers many parts of the UK with live events and is some dates available to the world online.

Starting tomorrow with an online event featuring poets from across the UK.

A showcase of 10 emerging and established poets with a short open mic section
hosted by Sarah L Dixon and Tony Curry

Saturday 19th March 1-4 PM

Quiet Compere Online

TICKETS are free to register on Eventbrite. The event is PAYF (pay as you feel).



Future QC Tour Dates:

19th March       Quiet Compere Tour online  

23rd April          QC Tour Chatham Library Hub   

14th May           QC Tour Morecambe West End Playhouse (& workshop Nib Crib)               

11th June           QC Tour Bradford Library            

1st July               QC Tour Wolverhampton Arena  

17th August      QC Tour Zoom online     

16th September QC Tour Marsden Mechanics (& Workshop at Mario’s Diner)

15th October      QC Tour Bristol  HOURS space

12th November  QC Tour Zoom online                          

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