OCTOBER 2015 Review – Another great and busy month. We held our 3rd annual writing retreat INKSPILL, I worked on new poetry and current projects and performed all over the place. I even had a week off from performing and writing, to plan and prepare INKSPILL. It was also a month of Festivals, Swindon and Birmingham and I headlined in Cheltenham too. I also worked on two commissioned performances, one for National Poetry Day and the other for this evening, a Halloween Poetry Brothel!
The month started in Swindon at Poetry Swindon Festival, tickets for which were only booked last minute a few weeks before.
It was a brilliant weekend, I performed as part of the 52 event, wrote new poetry in Jo Bell’s X-ray Spex workshop, met some great poets and writers and enjoyed performances from many poets including Kei Miller & David Clarke.
I also made it to Stirchley Speak, which, as always was a great night of poetry at the P Café, hosted by Jess Davies.
Then it was NATIONAL POETRY DAY on the 8th October, which is like a massive party day for any poet! This year I celebrated by taking part in Heather Wastie’s Light and Shade event at the carpet museum in Kidderminster.
Suz Winspear and I were the touch of theatre, working on a commission from Heather to write poems about the carpet industry and incorporating Light and Shade into the proposed work. We then met with Heather and created our performance for the night – which took place in a narrow corridor, looking over the museum and the looms. An area that is not usually open to the public.
It was also Birmingham Literature Festival 8th – 17th October, I wasn’t able to get to as much as I wanted to this year, but what I managed was fantastic. I felt blessed to see Rita Dove and it was great to see so many writing world friends too. I had tickets for other events on the last weekend of the festival, but a Writing group for WWM needed my assistance, so I missed those.
Short and Sweet: Short Fiction Salon
This was an event hosted by fiction writer and Heart Breakfast presenter Rachel New, Short & Sweet allows you to dip your toe into the water of live literature, and enjoy readings we select for you – including a story from Rachel herself written especially for this event.
Rachel New is a veteran of short fiction challenges – having survived two unusual residencies at Birmingham Literature Festivals past – Ten Day Sentence in 2013 and One Page Wonders in 2014. Both these experiences saw Rachel writing against the clock, responding to prompts from the wider festival audience and producing huge volumes of creative fiction. Rachel brings this expertise, as well as her ongoing PhD studies in creative writing, to the Short & Sweet arena for performances and discussion.
© 2015 Writing West Midlands
Rita Dove and Guests
We are delighted to welcome Rita Dove, the former U.S. Poet Laureate and a Pulitzer Prize winner, to give a rare poetry reading in the UK. A mesmerising performer, Rita Dove’s work covers a range of subjects, each of them addressed with wit and verve.
Her most recent poetry collections are Sonata Mulattica and American Smooth. She is editor of the Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry and is Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia. Among her honours are the 1996 National Humanities Medal from President Bill Clinton and the 2011 National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama, making her the only poet to ever receive both medals.
As a prelude to Rita Dove’s reading, we present three short poetry performances. Jo Bell, Canal Laureate, will be reading from her eagerly awaited new collection, Kith. She will be joined by Birmingham Young Poet Laureate 2014-15, Serena Arthur and by Oliver Sullivan, a young performer from the region who was runner up in this year’s Poetry by Heart Competition.
Sponsored by the University of Birmingham.
© 2015 Writing West Midlands
On 10th October it was also Claire walker’s book launch for the much awaited poetry pamphlet THE GIRL WHO GREW INTO A CROCODILE. It was a lovely evening celebrating the poetry of my talented friend! I would recommend this pamphlet published by V Press, highly indeed.
Was filled with open mics, headlines, book festivals, talks and workshops.
Leon Priestnall and the The Blue Dive headlined Mouth & Music, on the 13th October. It was a great night and I enjoyed myself immensely. There were some fab open mic-ers and great musicians and it was good to catch up with folk I have not seen in a while.
PHOTO CREDIT © Peter Williams 2015
The next evening I took a trip out to Cheltenham where I was headlining for Sharon Larkin at The Poetry Café Refreshed. It was a lovely event at the interesting American Diner venue of Smokey Joe’s. I was able to promote the Restless Bones Anthology. I enjoyed hearing poetry from other performers including; Roger Turner, David Clarke, Gill Garrett, Miki Byrne, Michael Newman, Michael Skaife d’Ingerthorpe, Angel Whitehorse & Sharon Larkin.
This week also saw another festival. The Book to the Future Festival, UoB, University of Birmingham has always been scheduled for after the Birmingham Literature Festival, this year they over lapped. The following evening I performed at Phenomenal Women, in the Costa Café on site at Birmingham University. This event was organised by Jan Watts and was my 3rd year taking part and I think it was the best one yet. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The region’s top female poets, including University of Birmingham alumna Jan Watts (Birmingham Poet Laureate 2011/12), Nina Lewis, Jackie Smallridge (Scrubber Jack) & Andrea Smith.
I went back to University and the Book to the Future Festival the next day (Friday 16th October) for a talk and a workshop.
Narinder Dhami is best known for her books Bollywood Babes, Bend it Like Beckham and young adult reads such as Bang Bang You’re Dead.
It was a good talk that confirmed lots I knew already, I made copious notes and it sounds like I am on the right track. Always good to find this out.
Then I went to Jacqui Rowe’s workshop at the Barber Institute. I have wanted to take one of Jacqui’s workshops for over a year now, I was never available, until now. It was great and inspiring and has given me lots of poetry to work on.
- Inspired by the Barber Institute’s Terms of Engagement exhibition, showcasing portraits from the University of Birmingham collection, join Jacqui Rowe to explore how we write about character.
After this I went to a Stanza meeting, taking with me a poem I only had 30 minutes to write. It was a hectic week because I was also working my day job pretty much full time this week too.
On Saturday I had tickets for Birmingham Literature Festival, it was also the 2nd Session for WWM Young Writers. I had planned to manage the 30 mile trip after and it would have been a rush. I was asked to help assist the Junior group in the morning, so I had a whole day at The Hive Library.
Our group has grown by a few as well, nearly in double figures which is great. I don’t think it was any wonder I needed a week off after this.
I didn’t quite have a week off – I took a week off performing and writing poetry. I was working the day job and preparing for INKSPILL.
It was our 3rd Annual Online Writing Retreat and it was a great success and worth every minute of hard work. Thanks to our Guests Writers; Playwright – David Calcutt, Author/ Romance Novelist – Alison May and Poet -Daniel Sluman.
The links are still active to the weekend workshop that happened on 24th/25th October and you can take part at any point, let us know you are doing so with a like or a comment.
Wednesday saw the first Halloween Spoken Word night at Drummonds 42 – where I was able to perform a freshly penned poem and another I had written a few hours before the event. Claire Walker also had a headline slot and it was great to hear her again. I love the pamphlet (I may have already mentioned this) but it is always superbly satisfying to hear a poet share their words in their own voice.
It was optional fancy dress, I used a spider theme.
Thursday I wrote some new poetry in a workshop and missed a launch of the Poetry Review Magazine as I was too tired to drive again after spending a couple of hours on the road already. This was a shame as one of the poets was Helen Mort, another Poet I am yet to meet and hear.
Last night I had a non-poetry belated birthday night out
with Mr G seeing a Pink Floyd tribute band.
TONIGHT I am taking part in the Poetry Brothel at the P Café, it is a SELL OUT.
There are 6 poets taking part – we applied earlier in the year, Poetry Brothels are big in Europe and despite my nerves I am looking forward to it. I will post in early November about tonight.
Narinder Dhami – Talk
Swindon Poetry Festival Performed at 52 Event
The Poetry Café Refreshed Headlined Cheltenham
Phenomenal Women – with Jan watts Book to the Future Festival
Poetry Brothel – Caged Arts P Café
NPD Light & Shade Commission – Performed with Suz Winspear
Mouth & Music
BOOK LAUNCH / EVENTS/ FESTIVALS
POETRY SWINDON FESTIVAL
Book Launch The Girl Who Grew Into A Crocodile Claire Walker – V Press Pamphlet, performed.
Birmingham Literature Festival
Book to the Future Festival
WWM assistant writer cover & Lead Writer for Senior Group, Worcester.
INKSPILL – the 3rd FREE Online writing Retreat