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