This month I got stuck into two new projects, missed several events due to the snow, submitted poems, sent proof copies/edited Special Edition Contour Magazine in preparation for the next issue launch (April) ATOTC, organised a poetry exhibition at the Jinney Ring & a Hanbury Reading for the Sculpture Trail Poets, facilitated 1 community workshop and 2 school workshops, dressed as Little Miss Splendid for World Book Day, worked on a special celebration of poetry to mark International Women’s Day, finished my Reader in Residence residency at Rugby Library with WMRN, did Poetry on Demand for Mother’s Day, organised my official WPL remit World Poetry Day event, took my WWM Spark Young Writers group through the editing process, attended the final Room 204 17/18 cohort meeting, a Book Launch, celebrated Earth Day and worked pretty much full time as a one week contract turned into 3 weeks!
I now feel and look about 10 years older!
Week 1: The Snow
I missed Images from the Past at The Hive, due to snow and a workshop and oakley’s Book Launch for the same reason.
I was booked for an exciting event as part of the Anchor Gallery in April and asked to do Stablemates – which I would have loved, but the date clashed with my appearance at Cheltenham Poetry Festival.
I facilitated the 1st of 3 workshops booked with The Basement Project, a charity in Bromsgrove. The first community workshop (in WPL role) was Arts & Words where participants created their own canvas. It was a successful morning and gave me a welcome break from the classroom. The snow meant we were thin on the ground, but those involved had a good time.
Read more here.
Week 2: Planning, Poetry on Demand & New Projects
All of the final proofs from ATOTC were sent.
I planned my next workshop, this one at a school in Worcester. Gathering the resources and researching the subject matter. I missed Stirchley Speaks with Cynthia Miller as work is exhausting and I am busy online for most of the evening when I get home, mainly with ATOTC – now in proof reading stages with copy flying out to 46 poets.
I was booked as part of an event for this year’s Worcester LitFest alongside the new Poet Laureate (my time finishes on 10th June).
I attended an exciting meeting in Ledbury with Rick Sanders as he unveiled the 2nd PoArtry project. I have been buddied up with Mollie Bythell – a talented young artist and cannot wait to make a start on this.
I missed the MeToo Anthology Launch in Birmingham because I was asleep before 6:30 after a particularly bad end to an otherwise good but tiring week of work.
On Saturday I had my WWM writing group and ran a workshop (at their request) on editing and we wrote about mum’s too with Mother’s Day being so close.
From Worcester I hot-footed to Rugby for a job as Poetry on Demand for Mother’s Day. I wrote bespoke poems and made lots of people very happy.
It was an exhausting but fun day!
Week 3: Workshops, Interviews & Book Launches
The week started with full days of work (a one week temporary cover turned into 3 weeks full-time, with a day off for good behaviour/ I mean pre-booked workshops)!
On Thursday I filled an entire day with poetry to make up for all the poetry I had missed from being too exhausted after work!
My School Workshops at Blessed Edward Oldcorne Catholic College in October were postponed. I was delighted to offer new bespoke workshops to fit the work they have been doing on Monsters. It was a fantastic, fun morning and they thoroughly enjoyed it.
You can read a review here
From there I hot-footed across to BBC Hereford & Worcester for my radio interview with Tammy Gooding, where I was able to promote WPD.
The evening saw 3 clashing events. I went to Math Jones’ Book Launch of Sabrina Bridge published by Black Pear Press. This was the 2nd collection I was asked to endorse and it is a magical read. It was wonderful to watch Math breathe fire into his work in a stellar performance. Being an actor helps! It was great fun and an opportunity to see Suz Winspear, Jenny Hope, Polly Stretton and Keleigh Wolf perform too.
I missed Stanza but spent the evening prepping for my next school workshop next week, creating film clips and found poetry texts. I also wrote copy to promote World Poetry Day.
I had the final Room 204 Cohort meeting on Saturday at The Custard Factory, crazy to think nearly 12 months has gone already, the new cohort will be announced mid-April, exciting to think they already know who they are.
This was followed by a new project with Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, encompassing two weekend workshops and a performance at BMAG – and involves using their digital archive. None of us really knew what it would entail but I am always up for an afternoon in a Museum/Art Gallery, notebook in hand.
Wikimedia © 2018
It all sounded intriguing and I had a fun afternoon filling myself up with artefact inspiration.
Birmingham Museums Trust © 2018
Sunday – a day of rest? No, Mr G and I are expecting some much needed work on the house and we spent the day clearing spaces!
Week 4 Workshops, World Poetry Day and Earth Hour
How is it the last week of March already? The week started with my Inter-School Gifted & Talented workshop at Bromsgrove School with the theme of Nature.
Where I had prepared a film element in case our Nature Walk was eradicated by weather – the snow and a mini-beast storm was forecast over the weekend. It certainly rained!
It was an action packed afternoon and great fun. A full review can be found here
I spent the beginning of the week (3 days) preparing for World Poetry Day, this was an evening event and the only official task I had to undertake in my WPL (Worcestershire Poet Laureate) remit.
After months of preparation Wednesday 21st arrived and I spent the day with high alert butterflies and every organiser worst worry – will there be an audience?
It was a fabulous night! People came and enjoyed and all the performers were exceptional. A full review can be read here.
On Saturday I had the 2nd workshop for the BMAG Rebel Uncut Digital Archive project. This was my first ever Hackathon and a long day 8-6pm – on site from 10-5. It was fun working with techies and writers and seeing our initial writing inform a digital archive. Having opportunities to play with VR and AR. We all worked in teams and there was a series of presentations at the end of the afternoon, a constant flow of refreshments and lunch thrown in too.
I love opportunities for writing beyond the page and stage, it was a great experience to be part of and the last mark of this year’s Room 204 cohort.
I followed my hour bus journey home with a power nap which meant I missed the first half of Earth Day. I made it to Worcester just after 8 PM which isn’t bad considering I got in after 6PM, had a power nap, prepared my poems including one written especially for this year’s Earth Hour Event and one I wrote on the bus journey in the morning, filled the car with petrol and made it to Worcester (can take up to 45 minutes).
Earth Hour was a brilliant event, as always. Organised by Martin Driscoll and in Support of WWF and Earth Hour. It was held at Cafe Bliss and the food (which was included in the ticket) was exceptional. Traditional Belize. Amazing, I can taste it now over a week later writing this blogpost!
The Final Week
Was mainly work. I didn’t get the writing done I had scheduled. I missed all of my end of month targets, I could kick myself… but I am choosing to go easy on myself. I have had a full-on month and do not want to submit substandard work for the sake of ticking off a deadline. There will be writing time in the future and until then I am writing bare bones and noting ideas.
I missed the 8th Birthday at 42, as I had been to the ROH Ballet the night before with mum *a Christmas gift from Mr G. We both had a thoroughly enjoyable evening but with a full week of work, I arrived home exhausted on the Wednesday and was asleep by 8:30 pm.
I managed some work on the Art Poetry PoArtry Project for Ledbury, Molly Bythell (my partnered artist) and I have started laying out groundwork for our collaboration after exchanging artworks/poems. Her painting inspired by my poem (published by Silver Birch Press Me In A Hat series)
has been added to her website and I am currently scaffolding a poem based on her work ‘Flower Gel’.
I also had communication with the Festival team in Perth, Australia. My trip is in planning stages and I am excited to find out more about the festival programme. I know I am able to attend as much as I can manage.
Hopefully will be fully over jet lag during the pre-festival. Last time I went over (2005) my jet lag there was almost non-existent – cancelled out by adrenaline. It was coming home I faltered. I was talking to my friend who did the airport run and just fell asleep on my rucksack mid sentence and on the lounge floor. I do have a 20 hour lay over, so hoping that will help the lag if I play on GMT/UK time.
Then I had the Easter weekend off with Mr G. to catch up with family, enjoy the warmth of our house – new boiler fitted this week after 3 months without heat or running hot water! Glad to be back in the 21st Century with that one.
I have an exhibition to organise that I am a week behind on, due to working.
In April aside from NaPoWriMo (now GloPoWriMo) – I have the Special Edition Contour magazine to edit and compile for the ATOTC Transatlantic Poetry Project, I may have a talking paper interested in some work on that and have future plans for performance and publication. It has been my main project as WPL and has been a steep learning curve tinged with fun!
I am also getting a smaller European project off the ground with new poetry partners between Twin Towns next month. Our Suffragette Collection will also go live. The rest of the month is a packed schedule of workshops, festivals and performances.
So I took a very deep breath over the holiday weekend and have plenty of chocolate eggs in reserve.
Oh, and I am going back to work full-time, a temporary measure to cover summer living (as there are 3 months a year I don’t earn any money) and this year had a record 10 days over a 3 month period, so this just plugs the first term being so bad.