Poetry and Artwork on Worcestershire wanted for Contour – The Poet Laureate E-Zine.
Full submission guidelines in link.
Poetry and Artwork on Worcestershire wanted for Contour – The Poet Laureate E-Zine.
Full submission guidelines in link.
Many of us will have missed the great programme this year – but look… the wonderful team behind the festival have launched Podcasts from specific events. There is a wide range to choose from – or listen to them all, treat yourself.
I am finally making it across to the Festival tomorrow and very much looking forward to an action packed day!
I have spent the past 9 days organising my first real-life event as Worcestershire Poet Laureate. SALT KING 200 is a FREE public event organised by Barbara Middlemass as part of the ARTSFEST in Droitwich. Opening the lawns of the Chateau Impney (as John Corbett did) to the townspeople to picnic and celebrate the 200th Anniversary of Corbett, the Salt King.
I have been working with Droitwich Arts Network (DAN) for the past 5 months organising the poetry events for ArtsFest in July (22nd July). I contacted them to enquire about a poetry element for the SALT KING event and then called to action local poets. I was delighted to have a great response for something on short notice.
Originally there were 10 poets, unfortunately some have had to drop out – the irony of which is there are 7 poets (I am the 7th Poet Laureate) and myself. 8 poets is still a fair number and it is sure to be a lovely day – especially if the weather does what it did yesterday. The forecast was 18°C and turned up to 26°C and it remained dry. My new picnic blanket (bought yesterday) is waterproof if not.
The event if FREE and is from 12-5 with plenty of stalls and entertainment as well as an official ceremony marking the Corbett family.
The poster design is by wonderful local artist Rosie Philpott.
Poets are meeting at 1PM for a picnic and then performing for an hour 2-3PM around the site. At 3PM we take to the DAN stage to perform our sets on the mic and promote the rest of the poetry events for the ARTSFEST.
I am grateful to our local poets:
I am busy with BIOS, writing poetry and dreaming up my perfect picnic lunch for the rest of the morning!
If you are local, do come along and join in the celebrations.
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.
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 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.
Neil Richards has recently returned to poetry. He performed this year at the Wychwood Festival.
BIO to follow.
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.
Rangzeb © 2014 – Photo of Elaine Christie from Restless Bones Launch
Photography from 30-40-60 Elaine Christie © 2017
Yes, it is me!
Pictured – Suz Winspear Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2016/17, Nina Lewis & Steve Wilson – County Arts Development Officer.
Kieran Davis © 2017
When I discovered Diverse Verse it had already been produced, so when I saw a call for submissions for Diverse Verse 2, I jumped on it. Charity is a big thing for most people and I love giving art for good causes. I like to try to get involved when I can. So earlier this year, I submitted some work to Richard Archer and was delighted to find myself sharing pages with other great poets from the Midlands.
The proceeds raise money for Cancer Research U.K, a cause close to my heart.
I was delighted when I found out the Book Launch was on 27th May, as I knew I could make it and if the motorways had allowed it – I would have… I was a little late but fortunately after the drag of a 30 m.p.h traffic quilt managed to miss none of the actual reading!
It was great to see old friends there and put faces to names I knew. Scott and Amy hosted the Launch at Southcart Books and it was lovely to see them in their new shop.
Unfortunately, due to my delayed arrival and forgetting to reserve a copy, the anthology had sold out before I arrived. I have since ordered and received my copy and look forward to indulging a read (sometime in July, I think I am free)!
You can buy a copy here
It was a fantastic afternoon of poetry, Scott and Amy had laid on a buffet and the interval was time enough to mingle AND buy books.
I never leave the place empty handed but the treat was on them really. I bought a Rupert Brooke collection and they gifted me a historical hardback that I already have ideas on and a canvas ‘Books are my bag’ bag! What a sweet deal that was.
There were 20 poets reading and a good number of audience too, even some customers lingered.
Elaine Christie and Scott Carter snapped the photos, I have some of Elaine reading but need to get the mobile talking to the internet to upload them. I will add one of Elaine.
All these poets AND MORE are published in Diverse Verse 2, as I listened I noted poems from their sets I was inspired by – buy the book to discover them for yourselves amongst the pages.
Richard Archer kicked off proceedings, seconds after I sat down. I met Richard at Permission to Speak but also know him from David Calcutt’s Arboretum Poetry events. His poetry is sometimes hard-hitting, powerful, social commentary and sometimes full out fun. He is the Chairman of Walsall Poetry Society and a truly supportive advocate of poetry in the Midlands.
Paul Elwell runs a writing workshop group that I recently became involved with, it was good to meet him and put a face to the name. On the back of what he heard from short set and the fact that I had mentioned Worcester, he extended the invite – funny how the universe works like that, isn’t it? I particularly enjoyed his very clever Latin Poem.
I know Carole Howard from David Calcutt’s Arboretum poetry events. I enjoyed hearing her poem about secrets, which she has performed before at the Arboretum.
Rick Saunders delighted us with his brilliant poem, ‘Goldilocks’. I also enjoyed ‘Cannabis Anarchist’, which I had heard before. Rick is everywhere (I have passed on the ubiquitous mantle to him), but I will never tire of hearing his poems, they make me smile. Rick burst onto the scene late 2016 and I met him at Permission to Speak, where he cut his teeth on spoken word (well, it can be sharp), where he created Willis the Poet – and the story behind that is heartwarming!
Ian Henery is a poet I have not seen for a while. I liked his poem ‘Walsall Bus Driver’s Prayer’.
Al Lane, is a new poet to me. I thoroughly enjoyed his set. His nature poem was great and the Disappointment of Parenting was a real treat too.
Samatee read her poem about Mauritius and the Dodo. It was great to see her delight in having poems published. I met Samatee at Stirchley Speaks and have watched her become more confident with her writing and sharing of work. She is a regular at Spoken Trend now too.
Janet Jenkins gave us a wonderful set, I particularly liked her Umbrella poem. I first met Janet properly when I started the Caldmore Garden workshops with David Calcutt. Our paths had passed prior to this and our poetry can be found in the same collections.
Scarlett Ward is a poet I do not know, her work is delicately laced but inside are iron fast ideas. Her poem ‘Wordless’ is incredible. Moving. She reminded me what it was to be young once. The concentrated force of emotions we carry.
Jon Jack Neil was a poet I discovered just 5 days before in Lichfield, at Poetry Alight. I enjoyed hearing more from him. Particularly his poem ‘The World and His Wife’.
Amanda Glover is another poet I know through Open Poetry at the Arboretum, her bus poem was great to listen to.
Jan Hedger had travelled some distance to be at the launch with her sister, both of whom grew up around the area. Jan is a new to me poet and I enjoyed her set. She writes lots about animals (so I knew she would enjoy Elaine’s work). I enjoyed the poem exploring her Birmingham/West Midland roots.
Ian Ward is someone I have known on the poetry circuit since 2014, we are often at the same events. He shared some poems he performed at Poetry Alight, it was good to hear them a second time. Poets should worry less about repeating their work. I particularly enjoyed his poem ‘What is a Map?’
Steve Harrison is a poet I met in 2014 somewhere over Shropshire way, I am delighted that he ventures across to share his poems in Birmingham and it is always a pleasure to watch his performance. An entertaining and well written poem is guaranteed – although he does serious too. I enjoyed his Classified Ad poem, which I had heard but not for a while and I live in hope of a day when we can be found in the classified ads amongst the plumbers.
Ian Davies is a poet I have seen in Walsall before, I enjoyed his poem ‘Gwyn Ap Nudd’. I didn’t get a chance to talk to him in the interval, next time.
Pauline Faulkner had travelled up to support her sister (Jan) and is not a poet I know. She shared a poem about the Mason’s yard which I enjoyed.
Calvin Allen is a poet I do not know, he had great delivery and his poem ‘Black Friday’ and his Newsreader poems were highlights of his set. I shall look out for him again in the future.
Elaine Christie wowed the audience with ‘The Lion King’ a brilliant poem of us concerning animal welfare and it packs punches. I met Elaine at the end of 2013 and her poetry speaks to the heart, she has a lot of love for the animal kingdom and it was simply a pleasure to see her again. I have been a little absent from the Birmingham scene recently.
Well done, Richard for a great Book Launch.
I am delighted to promote Cheltenham Poetry Festival for Anna Saunders this year. My tickets are already booked, don’t miss out on yours!
‘ a poetry party with a healthy dose of anarchy’ – The Guardian. May 4 – 16, 2017
Poets speak out about Brexit, ISIS, Paris terror attacks and more.
Festival aims to reflect ‘ current state of the nation’.
The Regency town of Cheltenham is set to be the stage for an explosive showcase of new writing this summer.
The 12 day festival features drama, comedy, film and contemporary poets – and this year nothing is off limits when poets read new work inspired by Brexit, race relations and the Paris terror attacks.
Among the guests are internationally acclaimed poet Matthew Sweeney who will be reading new poems which address dramatic themes including Isis and the Paris Terror attacks.
Also on the bill – Rory Waterman reads from his edgy new collection Brexit Day on the Balmoral Estate, Roy McFarlane talks about identity and race in emotionally-charged poems and Jamaican-English poet Raymond Antrobus visits; a poet who is renowned for his uncompromising and powerful take on misogyny and cultural divisions.
Paul Stephenson reads from The Days That Followed Paris – poems inspired by his residency in Paris at the time of the Terror attacks, plus Jasmine Gardosi and Lexia Legend – politically conscious poets who aren’t afraid of speaking out – perform new work.
The events are part of Cheltenham Poetry Festival’s commitment to socially- conscious programming.
We wanted this year’s programme to showcase some of the UK’s most frank and fearless writers, to include bold and outspoken artists whose work reflects the current state of the nation. Cheltenham Poetry Festival Director Anna Saunders says.
This year’s festival shows how poetry is empowered when it takes risks –and we hope visitors to the festival will enjoy our fresh, and fearless exploration of the world we live in today.
Anna Saunders email@example.com
As always NaPoWriMo takes over April and makes it challenging to keep other blog posts up to date. I have made an effort to keep the blog NaPo intentionally this month with a few posts breaking the thread. I have had some amazing experiences this month which deserve a dedicated blogging. I plan to pepper them in throughout May.
I was asked to co-ordinate an event for a Festival I am already involved with – this task took the best part of a fortnight. But I am happy that it is all now booked and in place for this summer. I spent further weeks this month planning and organising the events for an Arts Festival in July.
I went to an editing workshop. Taking with me a poem from 2014 that has never fully worked. I can safely say it has the treatment now and just in time because it formed part of the set I performed at The Poetry Ballroom.
I experienced the Poetry Ballroom. Suz Winspear (this year’s Worcestershire Poet Laureate) organised this event in partnership with DanceFest. It was an amazing night. I will be blogging a full write up in May, I was honoured to be an invited performer at the event and had great fun writing some dance poems especially for it. The evening was a sound success and the dancers appreciated the theme of our poetry – not realising that we would focus on dance. As an ex-dancer, it was a pleasure.
I was asked to endorse a book (my 2nd one). The first book I endorsed is due to launch in May, more on that next month too. I am currently reading this manuscript and am delighted that the publishers thought of me.
I was asked to read at a Book Launch next month. I have spent some time this month penning new poems for this occasion. To be honest the poems were also part of NaPoWriMo, but why not make your projects work hard for you. Lots of prompts leant themselves to current project pies I have my thumbs in, so given half a chance…
I went to a reading at The Hive with Sarah Leavesley & Melissa Lee-Houghton. I was really excited by this. Ruth Stacey had arranged it for her students at university and just gave a bit of a quiet shout out.
Being part of an audience of students, listening to their woes made me glad this wasn’t my life anymore. It is all to easy to glamorize the undergraduate/post grad life… but really… as much pressure as the real world.
I loved hearing Sarah read from Magnetic Diaries again after all this time and it was a real treat to hear Melissa Lee-Houghton, as she sadly couldn’t make Verve festival in the end. It was a great evening and I am glad I managed the post work rush to get there. Had to drive a hire car too – as my window decided to malfunction and I spent over an hour finding a garage willing to help me so late on in the day. The window was stuck in the down position. My lesson: using air con is cheaper in the long run!
I spent time writing the brief for a 2nd poetry festival event, involving the other two poets. It is amazing how many days it can take 3 poets to come up with less than 3 lines!
Back in February (my month of applications), I applied for Room 204 Writer Development Programme run by WWM. They had over 130 applicants this year for 15 places. I am delighted to announce the embargo has lifted and I can share this news. We had our first cohort meeting – what a great year to be in, so much talent. We had a photo shoot (one I wanted a haircut and weight-loss for) – neither happened in the days beforehand, but Paul Stringer is a talented photographer. It was a fun morning, we were all so excited to be part of the 2017/18 cohort and already good things have happened as a result. There is a whole year of mentoring and career development ahead, over £1000 worth. Priceless if you ask me.
I am extremely excited to be part of Room 204, I discovered it back in 2013 and have been biding my time and developing my writing to the point I thought I was able to qualify for a place on the scheme. I am grateful my application was successful. That my writing stood up to the scrutiny and competition. Here’s the rest of this year’s cohort
I also reconnected with a good friend of mine afterwards and we plan to exchange books and do lunch next time I am back in the area. I used to spend more time in Birmingham than I do at the moment. I am spending less time on the road this year and more time at the desk, the natural pattern of a writer. It was good catching up.
Went to an incredibly exciting meeting at the Custard Factory for this year’s Room 204 programme, which we were embargoed about. The news was finally released on the 11/12th.
Started typing NaPo poems, I decided to write longhand this year, which gave me that workshop feeling as much of my writing is straight to screen nowadays. It meant I successfully completed the challenge with 97 poems by the end of the month, however I have typed about 10 to edit so far.
Made a promotional Easter video for Fragile Houses. I was reading advice on marketing and promotion and find it hard to detail what my pamphlet with give you beyond shared experience, memory and space to work through mirrored realities. Which all seems a high promise or at the worst an abstract manifesto. Then I thought about chocolate, the calories (personally delighted this year to have so many eggs and treats). Had another 3 eggs after this photo was taken!
I spent half a day making the video. Poetry – less calories than chocolate. Maybe I should have offered a free egg with every book sold.
I booked onto a Room 204 event for later in the month.
Started writing a book review and went to see Kate Bush tribute Cloudbusting with Mr G.
I missed License to Rhyme again as the next day I was going to Swindon. Rick Saunders aka Willis the Poet was headlining and he was happy to take me on the road trip. It was a cracking night at Oooh Beehive – a night that Clive Oseman and Nick Lovell started a while ago. Swindon is quite a way on a school night and it was the early hours by the time I was home, but it was the Easter holidays and I am glad I managed it. Lovely to see Sam Loveless and Edward, who I met at the Poetry Festival last year.
I went to HOWL and watched amazing headline sets from Charley Barnes, Tom McCann and Rhythmical Mike. It was a great night and I was happy I made an open mic spot. It was fabulous to see everyone again.
I went to SpeakEasy where Gareth Owens was headlining. That was a good night too – rare these days that I manage 3 nights on the hoof like this. I spent the day beforehand making media for an upcoming festival shoe and dealing with programme copy.
It was nice to escape for a few hours and immerse myself in poetry.
The Beltane Anthology for 2017 was published by Three Drops from a Cauldron, which has my Rag Tree poem in it. I know you should never judge a book by the cover – but with this stunning design, who wouldn’t want to see their poetry inside!
Featuring poetry and flash fiction by Jane Burn, Rhiannon Hooson, Alison Stone, Denise Blake, Abigail Elizabeth Ottley Wyatt, Eleanor Penny, Tom Moody, Bee Smith, Rebecca Buchanan, Rebecca Gethin, Nina Lewis, Wendy Mannis Scher, Ceinwen E. Cariad Haydon, Sarah Hart, Raquel Vasquez Gilliland, Kitty Coles, Donald Illich, Dennis Trujillo, Lesley Burt, Cynthia June Long, Vivien Jones, Moyra Donaldson, Maggie Mackay, Bethany Rivers, Lewis Buxton, Carmina Masoliver, Nico Solheim-Davidson, R.M. Francis, Linda Goulden, Ilse Pedler, and Joanna Swan.
Edited by Kate Garrett, with the Three Drops from a Cauldron editorial team: Becca Goodin, Loma Jones, Amy Kinsman, Holly Magill, Penny Sharman, Grant Tarbard, and Claire Walker.
It is now also available in digital copy.
I had a free writing webinar with The Writers Academy & Penguin Random House, it was an interesting few hours, although I wrote copious notes not realising they were sending follow up information via email.
I had my first Room 204 1 to 1 session, we get 3 over the course of the year. It was useful and I have already started working on decisions.
I spent an entire day co-ordinating and planning for festival events.
Holly Daffurn has started a new venture – at Bottles Wine Bar, ‘Uncorked’ an evening of Spoken Word, there were over 50 tickets sold and the night was divided into 3 parts with 5 headliners and open mic. Ambitious scheduling, beautiful venue and a stellar line up made for a perfect evening.
I performed on the open mic. Brilliant Headliners: Jasmine Gardosi, Casey Bailey, Holly Daffurn, Leon Priestnall & Joe Cooke
The Spring edition of Birmingham Literature Festival happened and despite a fantastic programme (all well received), I was unable to make it across to the city for any events. I even missed Cynthia Miller’s Primers Launch.
I had my WWM group which meant I couldn’t attend some of the events/workshops on Saturday. The group went really well, we made our own magazines. I have since planned the final two session, so feel ahead of the game.
I booked tickets to go and see Carol Ann Duffy in May, continued to organise festival events. The Stourbridge Literature Festival started. I went to see Emma Purshouse headline at Spoken Trend, saw Carla Rickets headline too. It was a great night, I even went home with 3 daffodils, now that is a good night.
I took a Napowrimo poem to Stanza and it was approved. I have written 97 in total this month as I have followed 2 main prompts, the main site napwrimo.net and joined Carrie Etter’s group where she provided us with 30 optional prompts. Beyond the poems, I have researched and stumbled into new project territory which is most exciting. Carrie’s group was amazing for comradery and support. Jo Bell spent the entire month posting poems for us to read as it is as important as writing and a sure way to learn/ learn about poetry. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the poems and discussions on her blog and will miss this daily ritual and ponder more than I will miss the onslaught of daily poetry writing.
I went to the first talk organised by Room 204 and now have a notebook full of information and ideas.
And the month finished with a flurry of PR for VOICES FROM THE MIDDLE at Stourbridge Literature Festival.
The first of 3 events I have been organising. A combined reading with: I will blog about the festival/event over the coming days. Within 24 hours I will be promoting Cheltenham Poetry Festival and over the next 5 days working towards 30-40-60 the collaborative performance booked into this year’s Worcester Literature Festival.
I will not have time to be sad about the end of NaPoWriMo, but I hope to have time to type edit some of the work produced during April.
This was a GREAT month!