Category Archives: Library of Birmingham

NaPoWriMo Day 11 – Unleashing Counter Protest Poetry

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Day 11 – I was super busy and had time to look at the prompts and not write any poetry. So this is the first day of NaPo that I failed to write my poem a day – this happens. It happens to most people embracing the challenge, maybe the poetry that comes today will be stronger having lingered in my head for 24 hours.

Yesterday I spent the morning making an Easter Promotion video for Fragile Houses (better than an egg), reading proof copy, organising festival events and writing blurb for programmes. In the afternoon I went to Swindon with Rick Saunders (Willis the Poet) to watch him Headline at Oooh Beehive, Clive Oseman & Nick Lovell’s Spoken Word Night. Other Headliners were Aaron Samuel (who has been in the game for just 4 short months and is AMAZING) and Bryony Vine – both of whom were spotted by Clive and Nick at Milk Poets. It was a great night!

Totally forgiving myself for not writing poetry.

Let’s step back in time…

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http://www.napowrimo.net/

Our featured participant for the day is Unassorted stories, where the poem for Day 9 is a portrait of a mental makeover.

Today, we’re also featuring a 1962 interview with Sylvia Plath. In popular culture, Plath is known for three things: (1) she wrote angry poems, (2) she killed herself, and (3) teenage girls who feel angry and a little gothy read her to feel angrier and a little gothier. But look a little further, and you’ll find a deeply philosophical poet, a master of unusual similes that set the reader rocking back on their heels, and a refuser of obvious or comfortable ideas, particularly about motherhood, femininity, and the reality of existing in a physical body. There’s a lot to learn from her densely layered, uncompromising verse. Looking for a few examples of her work beyond those poems you might have already seen? Here’s one, and another, and another.

And last but not least, here’s our (optional) prompt for the day: the Bop. The invention of poet Afaa Michael Weaver, the Bop is a kind of combination sonnet + song. Like a Shakespearan sonnet, it introduces, discusses, and then solves (or fails to solve) a problem. Like a song, it relies on refrains and repetition. In the basic Bop poem, a six-line stanza introduces the problem, and is followed by a one-line refrain. The next, eight-line stanza discusses and develops the problem, and is again followed by the one-line refrain. Then, another six-line stanza resolves or concludes the problem, and is again followed by the refrain. Here’s an example of a Bop poem written by Weaver, and here’s another by the poet Ravi Shankar.

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Yesterday I got as far as reading the examples and writing out my frame. Today I sat down to write my first ever Bop. My first attempt worked technically and was something I needed to write out of myself. It stands as a poem, but didn’t say enough. Then I thought back to recent events in Birmingham. The EDL marched on the city and one of my friends was racially abused. I wanted to write about that. Go Back Home

Saffiyah Khan’s photo (smiling at protestors as she stepped in to defend a woman who was surrounded) has gone viral, I watched a video interview with her yesterday and the whole thing needs to be united against. It seems to me the Bop is a perfect form for such a political statement. So I set back to my page again.

Saffiyah Khan Birmingham Mail

I am working on a re-write and depending on whether I bag an open mic slot at HOWL tonight, might share it with the city.

Our multi-cultural city stands united.

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Carrie Etter’s prompt was to describe an image in 2-5 lines and use this as the end of the poem and work back from there.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/birmingham-edl-march-photo-picture-woman-mosque-best-of-british-tea-party-muhammad-afzal-a7674726.html

I wrote about the image of Saffiyah Khan

edl The Independent

The Independent © 2017

Fighting against this dark veil

shrouding Centenary Square.

I think it is important for people to know that there were Unity Rallies, Counter Protestors and demonstrations, like the tea party held at the Mosque. 300 attended that, there were 50 EDL members. The protest was originally planned for the East Midlands, but moved to Birmingham after the Westminster attacks.

Saffiyah was not a counter-protestor, she was just in the city and came to this woman’s aid. Stepped in where others looked on.

I was not there – I was in the city in 2014 when the EDL came, I was performing at an event at the Library for Birmingham Literature Festival, an event that one poet pulled out of because her skin was the wrong colour that day. I was afraid and I was inside the library. Saffiyah states she wasn’t being brave, but it takes a lot to stand up like this. Look how straight her back is!


Jo Bell shares Late Fragment by Raymond Carver http://www.jobell.org.uk/


58d3e6b0bba6c-bpfullThe Poetry School gave us Day 11: Old English Day

Old English or Anglo-Saxon verse is fascinating and powerful. To write in a typical Anglo-Saxon way, you need:

·         lines with 4 stresses (though it doesn’t matter how many feet, i.e. your line can be as short as ‘Hold. Stay! Hold, hold!’ or as long as you want providing it only has 4 stresses)
·         an optional central caesura or pause between stress 2 and 3
·         alliteration of 3 of the 4 stress words (this doesn’t have to be on the first syllable if the stress is on a later syllable, e.g. although would alliterate on ‘th’).

It’s all very flexible though. If you want to alliterate 2 of the words, or all 4, or you want to skip your caesura, that’s absolutely fine. Sound complicated? It’s not! You’ll soon get the hang of it and it’s a very natural, flowing way to write.

It’ll all be much easier with an example few lines from Simon Armitage’s translation of ‘Gawain’ (which is actually a Middle English revival of the alliterative style). The stresses are indicated in bold.

as he heaped his hair to the crown of his head,
the nape of his neck now naked and ready.
Gawain grips the axe and heaves it heavenwards,

A longer extract can be found here https://www.theguardian.com/books/2006/dec/16/poetry.simonarmitage


 

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Birmingham Literature Festival 2015

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This is the 17th year for Birmingham Literature Festival organised by Jonathan Davidson Director of Writing West Midlands.

It was the first literature festival (apart from Hays) that I attended in 2013 and I practically spent the whole season in the library at events. Last year I was fortunate enough to be chosen as 1 of 4 poets who were commissioned by Naked Lungs to write and perform at the festival. This year, I booked my tickets as soon as they were available, due to other performance commitments I was unable to manage many events this year.

Tickets are still available and the festival runs until 17th October.

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

It was a great event and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the stories. The writers were;

Liam Brown

William Gallagher (who recited his whole story from memory)

Lisa Blower

Pauls Bankovskis guest of BLF 15

Jan Watts

Garrie Fletcher

& Rachel New

It is my pleasure to know some of these writers and I loved discovering stories from voices and pens I haven’t  come across too.

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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

This event was a real treat, it was a delight to listen to Rita Dove and discover her poetry. Jo Bell opened the evening with a great set and rapport with the audience. Serena Arthur provided us with a confident performance of her poems, including one of the poems she won the Young Poet Laureate with and as for Oliver Sullivan, such talent remembering classical poetry.

I was already on a high after NPD events the evening before and my night in Birmingham topped up my poetry fuel nicely.

I am a little sad that I cannot attend as much as the festival as I would have liked this year. I have had to cancel one of the tickets as I have been asked to cover as an Assistant Writer for Writing West Midlands on the same day.

WWM PINK

RELATED LINKS

http://www.birmingham-rep.co.uk/season/birmingham-literature-festival

http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/whats-on/arts-culture-news/birmingham-literature-festival-2015-whats-9663804

http://visitbirmingham.com/what-to-do/festivals-events/art-photography-culture/birmingham-literature-festival/

http://www.writingwestmidlands.org/event/birmingham-literature-festival-2015/

June – Review of the Month

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June – what a busy month,  brimming with challenges, competition, festivals and longer term projects, as well as taking stock half way through the year.

My MOOC course How Writers Write Poetry with the University of Iowa finished and I enjoyed an incredibly busy month of performing, writing and getting published. The sparkly, golden bits most people get to see instead of being aware of all the hard work and ground work that caused the success in the first place! CN-1780-logo-uofiowa

WEEK 1

  • Voting closed for Worcestershire’s Poet Laureate poems. I reached the final along with 5 other talented poets.
  • I did a workshop with David Calcutt and the Caldmore Garden Poets, they were scheduled to perform a group poem at the carnival day on the 13th, which I couldn’t attend as I was working the final Writing Group for Writing West Midlands. Due to the weather this performance has been rescheduled and I can now take part on the 21st July!
  • A recent poem of mine from the workshop where e.e. cummings was our starting point – ‘Late Spring’ has been published on David’s blog you can read other poems there too. http://naturalhistoriesblog.com/others-writing/
  • My term ‘poeting’ coined last year is becoming widely used by many poets! Hoping to get it into OED next year!
  • Jess Davies had her opening night of a new spoken word event in Stirchley at the P Café, it was packed and well attended. Stirchley Speaks – and it certainly did!
  • Scary Canary hosted another Permission to Speak, Rob Francis’s fantastic night – NOW FREE!! This month saw Brenda Read-Brown and PTR Williams headline.
  • I went to Debbie Aldous’s Spoken Word at The Ort and shared a lovely meal and some Tennis with Tessa Lowe beforehand.
  • I spent a very enjoyable Sunday afternoon at Cannon Hill Park, The Mac (Birmingham) with a collective of poets – we took over the storytelling tent whilst they all went for lunch and performed to some greatly enthusiastic children. We are also hoping to get some of our poems hung on trees down by the lake, later this year. We had a special guided tour to this secret location. MAC With Frankie Ryan, Tony Fox, Syrac Citam, Timothy Scotson, Callum Bate and Nina Lewis at Cannon Hill Park.

© Jasmine Gardosi 2015

All of these events can be read in further detail in my Poetry Wrap post. Enjoy!

Poetry Wrap 5 (A Brief Introduction on Exhaustion)

 

WEEK 2

  • The 2nd week of June saw a performance at HOWL and a great packed night of poetry, hosted by Leon Priestnall. Fantastic headliners and I met two poets who I have only seen around and never spoken to before, Luci Hammans and Sipho Eric Dubepart, A.K.A ‘Unhindered Reign’ – one of three headliners, the others being Glyn Phillips and Jess Davies. I met with Sipho a week later at workshop with Candy Royalle.

I spent most of this week on tender hooks and full of nerves and butterflies as it was the WPL final and the Launch of this year’s Worcester Lit Fest. I spent most of the week preparing for it and missed some previous diary entries for open mics due to energy levels, it was a full on week of work, work for me too.

  • Friday 12th June was the Poet Laureate Finals, the winner this year was Heather Wastie.

WLF Heather WPL

Heather receiving her engraved award with Maggie Doyle at Worcester’s SpeakEasy Lit Fest Special.

© WLF Team 2015

Suz Winspear was the runner up and I came in 3rd position.  WPL

© Betti Moretti 2015

Read all about the experience here WLF 2015 The Launch & Poet Laureate Final even typing this has my heart set on edge again!

  • The WLF took over my life for the next 10 days, this week I saw Ben Parker, Todd Swift and Chloe Clarke (Young Poet Laureate) performing at the Royal Porcelain Museum, where Ben has just finished his residency and Todd is taking over.

BP Chloe Chloe

BP Dr Todd Swift Todd

BP Ben Ben

© WLF Team 2015

It was a super night of poetry. I treated myself to Ben’s collection, I love his work. Ben Parker From Porcelein

  • I had my final session at The Hive as Assistant Writer to Ian MacLeod, from September I take over the senior writing group as Lead Writer for Writing West Midlands. We invited the parents to come and take part with the end of the session, it was great fun!

 

WEEK 3  

  • The week started well with news that my poem ‘Beyond Gas Street Basin’ is to be published in an upcoming anthology of city poems called ‘Birmingham Bound’. It was a poem I was commissioned to write last year by Naked Lungs for Birmingham Literature Festival. I am delighted to be in a book all about Birmingham as it is a city that has opened it’s poetry doors for me since the tail end of 2013.
  • WLF continued and I had the delight of watching John Hegley at Confab Cabaret, Malvern. A SELL OUT Fringe event.
  • WLF I performed at the 42 WLF Special and met Adam Millard for the first time.
  • WLF I performed at WLF SpeakEasy Special and thoroughly enjoyed Brenda Read-Brown‘s set.
  • WLF I watched the Offa Press Poets, Bert Flitcroft & David Bingham at the Institute before seeing Jonny Fluffypunk return from his Austerity March experience in London to perform for us again. A highlight for me.
  • WLF Bert and Jonny joined us on the Summer Solstice Walk up the River Severn, where we all performed poetry at locations along the walk. A super, magical experience.
  • I was asked to perform at a fundraiser next month for Arts All Over the Place.
  • I attended a workshop with Candy Royalle, the international act at this month’s HTO (Hit the Ode) – which I missed as I was performing at the WLF Special SpeakEasy. It was amazing, she is a forceful spirit, driven and dazzling in her buoyant enthusiasm. Great to meet her, gutted I missed her set. I created 3 poems, in the 3 hours as well as picking up some great performance tips. Mainly driving home some things I already know. It was lovely to work alongside friends too!
  • I was invited to be a featured poet, but was unable to accept as I will be at Ledbury Poetry Festival, I am hoping this booking may happen later this year instead. Something else to look forward to!

Read about these events on fine detail here Poetry Wrap 6 & WLF – Worcester Lit Fest & Fringe 2015 – A Wrap! which includes links to individual WLF posts I created throughout the festival.

 

Week 4

  • I had 2 writing days at the beginning of the week, it has been a while since I have been able to dedicate time to actually writing. I did a lot of market research too and drew up a list of submissions to hit before the end of the month – as I realise I have hardly sent any work out there this year.
  • I took part in an open mic as part of my town’s current Festival.
  • I went to the Two Towers Brewery to perform as part of Debbie Aldous’s new night Spoken Word and More.
  • Droitwich Summer Festival invited 9 performers to entertain with poetry and music at a magical Live Lit event hosted at Park’s Café and organised by Malcolm Wakeman and MC-ed by Fergus McGonigal (everything he touches, turns to gold)! Performers included;

Fergus McGonnigall (previous Worcestershire’s poet laureate) & MC

Heather Wastie (Worcestershire Poet Laureate )

Jenny Hope

Math Jones

Mike Alma

Bridget & Malcolm Wakeman

John & Pauline Franks

Nina Lewis

Polly Robinson

Ruth Stacey

Holly Magill

Sarah James (runs the Poetry Society’s Worcestershire Stanza) & Val.

It was lovely to go for a meal with people afterwards too and chat away the night. I finally got to bed at 2:30 a.m after I had worked off the adrenalin! I have been looking forward to this event since Sarah James launched her new book The Magnetic Diaries, KFS Press. Since then she has had Hearth published, a collaborative book (Mother Milk Books) and is about to have PlentyFish – her new collection published with Nine Arches Press.

  • New opportunities for training presented themselves and I was fortunate to be online at the time. Looking forward to telling you all about this latest venture in September.
  • I also continued work on my own collection.
  • I had a poem published on Visual Verse – ‘Shame in the City’.
  • News of the 52 ANTHOLOGY published by Nine Arches Press – Out soon!
  • I performed at Sunday Xpress just before coming home to pack my suitcase! They have found a new home at The edge Artspace, Foundation Arts, a great venue in Digbeth. The room was as crowded as outside (it was a hot day – the beginning of this heat-wave, just in time for my holiday! Loved performing this afternoon, it is the first time I have felt this great after Sunday Xpress, fabulous venue, great people, new faces, abundant talent – just a marvellous mix. Unfortunately I missed the bands this time as I have to make some submissions and pack a suitcase. I will be back over there over the summer though. Fabulous success, deserved after years in the pubs of Digbeth. (There are some gems of bars in Digbeth, just noisy and full of local life that is great for a pint but not so accommodating for a poem!)

All this and more can be found in Poetry Wrap 7

inkspill holidayAnd now I am going on holiday for a much deserved rest!

 

THE WRITE YEAR WILL BE UPDATED ON MY RETURN

Review of April 2015

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 April

You were a glorious month on one side of the coin and a very difficult one on the other. I am going to write a separate blogpost about the dips because I think it is something all writers experience and it might help people who feel they are alone with the downside of this profession.

My highlights include Wenlock Poetry Festival, having poems published and performing at a Book Launch.

BLOGS & PROJECTS

David Calcutt is currently working on a group poetry project for a performance in June, from the Caldmore Writing Workshops. Sadly I can’t make the reading as it is the final session in the library with WWM group and the distance between the two venues and timing of the class make it impossible. They are considering re-doing it for a summer festival in August though so I hope to make that one.

The MOOC poetry course (University of Iowa) finally started and has been great so far – I will share some of the poetry that has been created as a result, some of it I hope to work on and publish, but I can leave teasing snippets here on AWF. CN-1780-logo-uofiowa

There are too many students (6000) I think, to make any real bonds with, but we have a good few weeks to go so maybe networks will develop too. I love the international favour and the excitement of discovering new poets and poetry.

WWM PINK I have also planned another writing session for WWM, after our network meeting as I am the LEAD Writer again for May. It is going to be a great session.

The Quiet CompereQC things are hotting up, it was over a year ago when 10 poets were approached to take part in this tour. My t-shirt has been ordered, I have gone for a lovely bright blue one!

quiet compere 2015 T

I am going to be using some of my next headline set as part of my 10 minutes and also hope to interview the Quiet Compere herself, Sarah Dixon, for this blog. She is Arts Council funded (which means we are paid) and tours the North of England/Midlands (and this year the South too) with 10 selected poets performing 10 minute sets at various venues. Ours is THE HIVE in Worcester, the studio space in the library is perfect for performance, especially with the lighting rig!

sarah-dixon-quiet-compere-tour-schedule

http://www.thehiveworcester.org/events.html

sua litfest The Power of Poetry To Heal with Rachel Kelly, Susanna Howard and Jill Fraser, was worth going to. A very moving event and meeting Rachel in person – who has requested another blogpost – well it would be rude not to was smashing too.

28/04/2015

The Power of Poetry to Heal

Poetry as a means to help dementia victims and depression: Rachel Kelly, Susanna Howard and Jill Fraser

Stratford Artshous
I will write a more detailed post soon, both about the event and the work these people do.
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Norman posted an abundance of final prompts for us to get our teeth into and the community of MINT is going strong. Most of us are still full of the pleasure Wenlock brought us and are now booking tickets for Stratford Upon Avon Poetry Festival.

SUBMISSIONS & COMMISSIONS

This month I was looking for time to write on my own projects and completely had my head in the sand about other submission opportunities. I made a bid for a festival this summer and also another one for BeatFreeks Pen Museum – which I didn’t get chosen for but Jess Davies and Sammy Joe did, so congratulations to them. I won’t pretend I am not gutted – I love pens and this would have been the perfect commission (paid as well) to celebrate National Museum Night.

l also entered some poetry for an amazing opportunity which sadly has not come to fruition this time.

Can you see why I started to dip?

I submitted 3 poems to I am not a silent Poet and had all 3 published.

Bomb Damage

Girls on the Ground

Weapons of War Ghanda’sStory

They were written for 16 Days of Activism Event last Autumn at The Library of Birmingham.

I submitted to an anthology project ‘Birmingham Bound’

Satellite

PERFORMING POETRY

Spoken Word at The Ort

SpeakEasy

Book Launch – The Magnetic Diaries by Sarah James

Mouth and Music

WILD WORDS – Restless Bones Fundraiser

Word Up

Wenlock Poetry Festival – Poems & Pints

Wenlock Poetry Festival – 52

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EVENTS AND WORKSHOPS

WWM Network Meeting

WWM Group

Caldmore Community Garden Workshop

Stanza

Wenlock Poetry Festival

I also started to work on a workshop project.

Stratford Literary Festival

All in all a good month that I need to blog about as soon as I can.

Happy Writing x

People Power – Reverse the Cutbacks: Library of Birmingham

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https://www.change.org/p/birmingham-city-council-reverse-the-cuts-to-the-library-of-Birmingham

Please click this link and help us to petition against library cuts, feel free to re-blog and share across social media.

Petitioning Cllr Ian Ward Birmingham City Council

Reverse the cuts to the Library of Birmingham

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Supporters

We seek your help to defend the Library of Birmingham [ LoB ]. Birmingham City Council have proposed in their most recent budget proposals a massive cut to the LoB of at least £1.5 million for the next financial year. More damage is planned. In the succeeding year more than DOUBLE is planned at a huge £3.3 million per year cut.

The LoB is an award winning architecture designed state-of-the -art modern library. It is fit for the 21st century & the people of Birmingham.

Here in Birmingham we have invested £188 million in this library & the future of this great city.

This is a Library opened just over a year ago in a glorious fanfare of praise & loved by the million visitors who have enjoyed it’s breathtaking facilities & it’s views of Birmingham from the wonderful viewing platforms giving a panoramic take on the cityscape.

This library opened by a Nobel Laureate – Malala Yousafzai who lives in this city & whose memorable book is lodged inside will now be a shadow of its intended glory. This doesn’t have to be the case.

The effects of these proposed cuts will mean –

1. Slashing the hours of the library by 40%
2. Stoppng new books purchases
3. Restrictioning open access to the archives to scholars & researchers of all sorts
4. Reducing to nothing library outreach work & in-house exhibitions & displays.
5.sacking 100 staff posts.
6. Limiting the housebound & community library service of expert help.

Is this what we want? a death by a thousand cuts.

We paid in this city for this library. Come what may will pay for it whether it is reduced or not. This is a nonsense. We can not allow it to decline because of short termism & misguided cuts. This is not the way forward – it is backward looking & wrong. It makes no economic sense.

Support your Library ;

The LoB is an investment in out future, our children’s future & the future of this city’s prosperity.

So for the researchers, the students, the academics & all the public let’s Stand up for The LoB & say this will not happen. We can make the politicians change. We can register our concerns & our desire for protecting this service. Once it is gone it WILL be gone.

In a library you are free to wander, to study & to be strong & independent. Without this service we lose a little bit of what makes us civilised & lose the power of control. Time to take that power back.

We , the undersigned , call upon Birmingham City Council to REVERSE your proposed cuts to the Library of Birmingham & our Community Libraries. Invest in our city & out futures.

Copyright change.org

Library Library of Birmingham PFL dec

Contact us:

friendsoflibraryofbirmingham@gmail.com

Find us:

https://birminghamlibrariescampaigns.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/friendsoftheLoB

@FoLoB_

 

 

 

Knocked Out – A Break in the Circuit

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I have missed the last few weeks on the poetry circuit which is a great shame because I love Christmas Poetry Events and I also won’t see a lot of poets until 2015 now.

I have been on antibiotics for the past few weeks for something that could have become an abscess (I had a really nasty one a few years ago when I was still teaching full time – the antibiotics didn’t work and I ended up in minor surgery and several weeks off work), so I panicked when I woke up to find this.

Mr G and I have also had a house saga, 3 weeks without a working boiler or gas, no central heating or hot water! We have had engineers out several times but each time more faults, problems and parts were needed, eventually yesterday the roofers arrived – without scaffolding towers and basically I had men at work from 11 am until 6pm! The result was worth it HOT WATER and HEATING for the first time this month!

I have managed to get most of my Christmas shopping done, the decs are all up and the cards have been written (should have been posted 2 days ago), work has finished and I am celebrating with one last poetry event (final one before Christmas) tonight, which I am looking forward to. I will be performing at The Ort Spoken Word later on tonight.

xmas tree

I did manage the final Caldmore Workshop with David Calcutt. https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/12/19/caldmore-community-garden-workshop-with-poet-in-residence-david-calcutt/

I managed the last Writing West Midlands Writing Group of 2014, with a little slot of my own on writing poetry as well as my second mentoring session.

Here’s what was in my Writing Diary that I missed this month;

Mouth & Music – The Christmas one, Speakeasy – the Christmas party one and Bare Fiction Launch in Birmingham.

PFL dec

Yesterday I missed the final EVER Poetry For Lunch at the LoB (Library of Birmingham) because I had men here trying to mend our house all day. I am gutted that I missed this event as I was there at the very first one and have made as many as I was able to this year. Here are some pictures of the event.

PFL Bernard Davies Bernard Davies PFL Dave Barber Dave Barber

PFL Tessa Lowe Tessa Lowe

Birmingham City Council are facing some massive cut backs and aren’t able to continue this free poetry event that Jan Watts with the help of Charlie Jordan, Tessa Lowe and Andrea Smith has hosted this event weekly for a whole year. I have signed a petition against these cuts and will post a link here for you to do the same. The UK has suffered with many library closures and those that survive have faced massive cut backs.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/12/19/people-power-reverse-the-cutbacks-library-of-birmingham/

PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION

journey Mr G has been away this week – this is the first time ever he has been the one to leave and not be around, it has been strange and a little hard, but it is a transition into a new period of our lives. He is today, coming home for Christmas – I am excited!

November – End of Month Review

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I cannot believe we are only one month from the end of the 2014! This month has been busy and lots has been going on both in terms of writing and life (not that I usually separate the two).

inkspill keyboard

Blog & Projects

With only two months of 52 remaining I am making effort to actually post my poems in the group and receive feedback and editing support. I wish I had more time for this amazing project but I have been ‘on the road’ a lot this year and with one thing and another have not always found time to work on the poems as much as I would have liked. Those half baked 52 poems have never seen the light of day on the site as the intention is not workshop standard poetry.

I do plan to plug the gaps in 2015 – especially as I presume there won’t be 52 as a weekly event anymore, so I should have time to work on them.

I continue to work on a big project of my own, which I hope will reach daylight by 2015/16!

Paragram have sent proof copies and orders are already stacking up for the ‘Remember’ Anthology – featuring my poem ‘Picasso of Dance’.

Submissions

I only made two submissions this month, I also finished my Hanbury Hall Poems for our Poetry Society/Stanza group. We are still not sure how these poems will be used, but I will keep you posted.

Performing Poetry

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After a year of open mics and events I have decided to spend the next 12 months on writing focus. This does not mean that I will not perform, it only means I will perform less, saving a fortune in transport costs and allowing more time to write. This year I have especially enjoyed seeking out special events to be part of, finding these opportunities is a priority in 2015. I have enjoyed managing 6 performances, a workshop and a book launch instead of 9- 12 open mics and my writing has been far more productive with the extra time I have gifted myself.

Coventry Nightblue Fruit with Cork Poets at the Big Comfy Bookshop – Adam Wyeth, Cal Doyle & Kathy D’Arcy.

Nightblue fruit

Mouth & Music at the BHG – Boars Head with Fergus McGonigal & Humdrum Express

M & M

Medical Themed Quiet Compere at the Strand, Cheltenham with Sarah L Dixon

Medical Themed

Poetry Bites – Kitchen Garden Café Birmingham

A group of contributors to the Restless Bones Poetry Anthology formed the Headline act at this event.

16 Days of Activism -Library of Birmingham

Restless & 16 Days

Craft-and-Conflict-web-210x200 wolverhampton art orguk

Events & Workshops

Workshop with Emma Purshouse, Bilston Art Gallery, Craft & Conflict

Craft & Conflict

Book Launch – The Failed Idealist’s Guide to the Tatty Truth By Fergus McGonigal

Book Launch

Stanza

WWM – Writing West Midlands – Young Writing Group & Mentoring

WWM

Writing, Headlining Restless Bones, 16 Days of Activism and a Proof

Standard

This week I have mainly focused on my writing again, missing some open mic events and other performances. Mr G and I have also started sorting the house *for Christmas, we still have a lot of things boxed up from the move and have rooms that are practically inaccessible because of this.

This week also saw ‘Black Friday’ SALES coming to the UK – and although I didn’t really take part, I did happen to be in town buying a few birthday gifts. I spent an hour in a clothes shop trying on various items and finally picked 2 things, calculated my 30% discount, got a bit excited by the bargain of a winter micro-fleece and a pair of jeans, got to the till – none of the items I bought were in the BF SALE! Typical!

I am working on current submissions with several deadlines early December as well as compiling a 15 minute set for next weekend’s gig.

© 2014 KGC

© 2014 KGC

On Tuesday 25th a group of featured poets from the Restless Bones Poetry Anthology Headlined at Jacqui Rowe’s event. I had a fantastic night and met several poets who then came and performed for Sound Bites this weekend. The anthology continues to sell well and will now be on Sale by Silhouette Press at the next Inzine event in Coventry. Performers included; Elaine Christie (creator of the collection), Tessa Lowe, Claire Walker, David Barber, myself- Nina Lewis, Jude Ashworth,

Poetry Bites: Restless Bones restless the book

“One of the top 10 venues for poetry in the UK” (Susan Richardson, Radio 4).

Tonight’s Poetry Bites will be devoted to contributors to ‘Restless Bones’, an anthology raising funds for the Born Free Foundation.

BUY YOUR COPY HERE;

InZine Fest II

SATURDAY
12-5pm
6/12/2014
@ The Pod
1A Lamb Street, Coventry, CV1 4AE

zines-604x270

Jacqui was at an awards evening, Poetry Bites was hosted by Chris Fewings and a grand job he did too!

RELATED LINKS:

http://silhouettepress.co.uk/events/inzine-fest

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/08/26/book-launch-restless-bones-poetry-anthology-for-born-free-foundation/

1 6 days

My next event was yesterday at The Library of Birmingham, ‘Sound Bites’ as part of the 16 Days of Activism. The subject matter of this event was not pretty or entertaining but I was proud to be part of this event, organised for 16 poets by Najma Hush.

There were only about 10 performers who made it to the Bookbox yesterday, the quality of writing and performing was incredible. Moving first hand experiences and poetry to fit the Activism themes. I wrote 3 poems especially for the event – one of my poems focused on Slavery – last night they featured this issue on the evening news. Slavery was abolished in this Country in 1833 – but unbelievably it is still a huge (largely unseen) problem.

1 6 d ays

The rest of the women present were absolutely amazing, individuals who shared a piece of themselves, their experiences and private thoughts about life as a female upon earth. Thanks to Marcia Calame, Ddotti Bluebell, Jackie Smallridge, Leah Atherton, Nina Lewis, Sammy Joe, Abie Budgen, Carole Griffiths and Susan Philips – Nikki Bi and Shahida Choudhry who all helped to create Saturday Soundbites : Women Unplugged, spent at 16 Days of Activism Birmingham, UK .

– Najma Hush

http://www.libraryofbirmingham.com/womenspeakout

http://www.libraryofbirmingham.com/event/Events/16days-womenunplugged

Showcasing an eclectic mix of women performers from across the West Midlands. This event will be a unique gathering of our region’s most talented women, coming together to artistically express their passionate views for Human Rights, live through performance.
 
Whether you want to spin us a yarn, spit your bars, hit us with your punch line, or wax us lyrical with your prowess, join us at The Library of Birmingham.
 
Hosted by Najma Hush, poets reading include: Marcia Calame, Abie Budgen, Ddotti Bluebell, Jackie Smallridge, Nina Lewis, Leah Atherton & Sammy Joe. And the two poets who came from my plug at Poetry Bites, who due to dropping acts were able to perform Carole Griffiths and Susan Philips.
It was also good to see 4 men who had come to support the women in their lives at the event too.
  16 daysPhotos to follow.
Women Unplugged is just one of the event for Amnesty International’s, The Official 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign (29 Nov – 7 Dec 2014). With a fantastical array of creative events filled with vivacious activities, interactive shows and live performances for the people of Birmingham at the People’s Palace (organised by the Women’s Networking Hub).
It has been a brilliant week and the Caldmore writing Workshop, led by David Calcutt  which was due to happen this Tuesday has been rescheduled for early December, which means I can enjoy it without having to save energy for an evening performance too.
I have received my proof from Paragram, for the upcoming anthology ‘Remember’ AND in addition to all this excitement Christmas has arrived! The local towns have all had SWITCH on and the pretty lights are twinkling, the markets have arrived Victorian Christmas Market in Worcester and Frankfurt Market in Birmingham, although I wouldn’t recommend Saturday day time crush as experienced yesterday! I saw Christmas trees being delivered at school when I left on Thursday and we have our Advent Calendars ready to fill and I am getting excited about our 2nd Christmas together in our house. Before that we have 3 family birthdays to celebrate too! (And lots of Christmas Shopping!) deb alma xmas