Cynthia Miller © 2018
Another incredible evening in Waterstones. I am as excited as ever seeing National poetry friends making their way to the city. It is going to be a great weekend! Although the flip-side of that is being invited to go and socialise when you were intending on staying for the whole night of Verve. I needed to be able to split myself into 4 versions of me this evening.
There will be time for food come Monday, for the next few days poetry is my breakfast, dinner and tea!
I will share the link to the official blog once it is live, in the meantime here are some soundbites from me and harvested material from those in possession of better phones!
Verve Team © 2018
Tonight started with Karen McCarthy Woolf, Sasha Dugdale and Mir Mahfuz Ali talking to Jo Bell and sharing poetry from their collections. A moving experience.
Cynthia Miller © 2018
Louise Palfreyman © 2018
Louise Palfreyman © 2018
Hannah Swings © 2018
Louise Palfreyman © 2018
Verve Team © 2018
Tonight’s addition was a sweet shop! This is Nellie setting up.
Then after a short break/book signing came the Dead or Alive Slam produced by Bohdan Piasecki and hosted by Amerah Saleh.
Two poetic worlds will collide at Dead or Alive Slam at Verve, only the second time this format has ever been done. Witness a battle of words and wit as three of the UK’s leading contemporary slam poets challenge three dead poets in three epic slam rounds, judged by a panel of audience members. Who will be the victor?
A preposterous, reason defying spoken word competition, pitting living poets against their dead predecessors, re-animated for this one night just for your entertainment. Watch Team Life, comprised of Genevieve Carver, Isiah Hull and Caroline Teague, take on Team Death, featuring Christina Rossetti, Forough Farrokhzad, and Djuna Barnes (brought to life by Tembi Xena, Lorna Nickson Brown, and Zeddie Lawal). Judges from the audience will determine who wins, assigning numerical values to poems in an entirely meaningless attempt to instill reason into an event challenging the order of things.
In other words, this is your chance to hear poetry from six incredible poets, interpreted by brilliant performers, all in an exciting and accessible format, as part of the altogether brilliant Verve poetry festival. Do yourself a favour and do not miss this.
The night will be hosted by the all-powerful Amerah Saleh.
– Events Page
Cynthia Miller © 2018
Cynthia Miller © 2018
It was a fabulous concept and a great night… I cannot reveal who won yet, but I can tell you there was dancing.
OXJAM is tonight and tomorrow in Birmingham, a slam to raise money for charity – I had thought I would be away so didn’t sign up, maybe next year. But if you can make it – the line up is amazing and you will definitely get your monies worth in entertainment!
I know all the judges, apart from one and I know you will not be disappointed. If you live anywhere near Birmingham get yourself down there.
The other event is tomorrow night (it clashes with the slam ^ at the Electric Cinema) is a night celebrating the life of Maya Angelou. It costs £15 and takes place at the wonderful Warehouse Café in Digbeth, Birmingham. It has been organised by the Shakti Women and will be another fabulous evening.
A tribute to an iconic woman who has enriched women from all walks of life, through her writing, poetry, public speaking and activism. We invite you to celebrate A Night with Maya. There will be live performances, readings and music. Light refreshments provided (a glass of wine on arrival and canapés).
After the event there will be music and dancing.
Tickets are limited, MUST BOOK.
There is HAPPYHOUR at 2pm today – which means you can book one ticket and take a friend – £7.50 for a night of entertainment and dancing, free wine and canapés (covered in ticket price) sounds like a bargain to me!
Grab a friend and GO!
The Week Off
Mr G took last week off work so we could do some work on the house and garden together and spend some time enjoying ourselves, I don’t think we will be going away on a proper summer holiday, fortunately the weather has been amazing and I won’t moan when it turns overcast as I have a ton of things INSIDE to be getting on with over the summer break.
The good news this week is I have already secured 1 job for the new term, it doesn’t offer many hours but will cover my part of the mortgage payment at least, as far as bills, food shopping, car expenses and spending money go, I will have to pick up a few more days work every week. But having that 1st contract means I won’t end up with a month of no work. September is not a particularly busy month for us.
4 Day Run of Events – Picnics (Poetry ones)
At the tail end of the week before I went to Coventry for Antony Owen’s book launch, then Birmingham to promote Restless Bones Poetry Anthology (published and launching in 3 weeks!), then took a drive up to Shropshire to go to Poetry on The Farm – an event organised by Jean Atkin to celebrate the end of her 3 month residency at Acton Scott Farm. Then on the Sunday I had an EPIC day – I have not had time to blog post it yet and I cannot wait to do so. Jo Bell was poet in residence at Hall’s Croft for Stratford-Upon-Avon’s Literature Festival, she also started ’52’, you will remember me posting about it in the New Year, we all met up for a picnic – over 52 of us, she has over 500 members in 52 now. It was an amazing day that involved picnics, raffle prizes, poets, reading 52 poems at The Shakespeare Centre to a festival audience, flash mobbing outside Shakespeare’s Birthplace (a sonnet of course!) and then not getting drunk in The Dirty Duck pub, by the river.
Watch Out for the 52 Post
I WILL write about it in a separate post, the Acton Scott post has just taken a couple of hours to write and put together, it is now getting late (past midnight) and I have some ACTUAL writing to do. Look out for the 52 post.
During the next week mainly because I was exhausted from the adrenalin of a 4 day run and also because Mr G had booked time off to be together, I didn’t go to any poetry events.
On Monday I missed Shindig in Leicester, I was invited and originally began performance poetry in Leicester in the 90s. I will go another time when I haven’t already covered 100s of miles the previous few days.
Tuesday (and I am still gutted about this) I was very tired and had actually fallen asleep when I should have been hitting the road. I missed Poetry Bites in Birmingham, always a great night, organised and hosted by Jacqui Rowe. Anthony and Joseph were there headlining and promoting ‘The Year I Loved England’, (I had already seen them in Coventry), Matt Windle was the other headliner, always a pleasure (I am seeing him in Kidderminster in a few weeks) and Sammy Joe, who I have seen before, but it would have been good to see her again, plus all the floor spots, it was a cracking night by all accounts and I missed it.
Friday there was a night write event hosted by Jo Bell as part of the Stratford festival that I would have loved to have parted money for, my concern was staying awake 10pm to 6 am – I have spent months attempting to regulate my sleep, to make sure I am awake during the day and the knock on situation after breaking this pattern would be equivalent to jet lag. The decision was made for me when we went up to the garden in the afternoon and enjoyed some cold, crisp wine. Another year maybe.
Saturday there was a performance in the Stratford that I wanted to see.
Sunday there was Sunday Xpress in Birmingham and Al Barz facilitated a one off Poetry in the Park in Walsall. There was also a showing of ‘Tales of the Tat Man’ David Calcutt’s latest venture in Birmingham at tea time.
Phew! A week of activities and I didn’t manage any of them.
A week of Work- Gardens – Sun – Gas Men, Shopping, Theatre, Reading & Writing
I was still working at the beginning of the week, we spent some time running errands and whilst I was at work Mr G bravely tackled the back garden, completely transformed by the time I came home. We had a fire that evening and the neighbour sat out with us in the garden, although he went in about 3 hours before we did.
On Tuesday after I had tutored we spent time sunbathing on our new sun loungers in the garden and then watched a box set that we haven’t seen for ages, we managed to get onto the next season.
Midweek, we had the excitement of a house full of Gas Men changing meters and discovering holes we shouldn’t have had! The oven works better and poor Mr G spent the whole time out in the baking sun tidying up the front garden – which now looks amazing! A warm welcome. Again once the house was empty we went to sit outside.
In the evening my mum and I went to the Arts Centre to see the National Theatre production of Skylight. I have never watched a theatrical performance on a screen before (wonders of the digital world) but with the cuts to Arts funding this allows people who don’t live in London to see the shows. It was more like watching it live on stage than a cinematic experience would be. I loved it. (And the Arts Centre has Air con.- most places, including our home, don’t – because it is rarely this hot or dry for this length of time in the UK. So that was a real treat!)
I also took a couple of shopping trips for summer clothes and caught up reading my writing magazine, I have been an issue behind pretty much the whole of 2014, one day I read the July issue and then over the weekend read the August issue, freeing my time up to write now for a couple of weeks before the next issue arrives!
I also had submissions to make – one for a project very close to me, I wrote three pieces for that in the end and the other was 3 poems, 1 written especially and the other 2 heavily rewritten to a publication I have previously been rejected from, fingers crossed – we will see.
We discovered a new garden centre and spent an afternoon choosing plants for the garden display. We will be going back there soon.
We have frogs in our pond and the plants are establishing themselves well around it.
We have eaten lovely home-grown salad potatoes and beans, we are waiting on the tomatoes – they won’t be long. We have had strawberries & pak choi already, the cucumbers are growing and we have decided we need to give the allotment up. We have done it for 5 years and it was good when we had no garden of our own, but now we have the house project and a garden that needs constant TLC and I am gallivanting off into the world of words all the time, we just cannot find regular time to go and tend the plot. We never had the right tools, as we were very ‘natural’ harvesters, this meant jobs done in no time with machinery were taking forever with tools not fit for purpose. It has been a big decision, but there is room to grow some stuff in the garden and at least this way there will be less waste.
I had a brilliant time with Mr G, lovely to have the company, much missed today when he went back to work… (although my mum popped in for a catch up), Mr G is off again soon, although the poetry schedule won’t be abandoned next time, we are hoping to make a start on the house.
I am currently working on submissions that have a tight deadline (of a few days) – a one act play/ monologue and a short story. Fingers crossed I planned and mapped out plot/action and characters today. I am hoping to write them tomorrow, edit and redraft/ proof and submit on Wednesday! Not ideal, but having been so far behind on magazine issues, have only just discovered the opportunities.
This week I have a Poetry Party tomorrow, Drummonds 42 event on Wednesday (performing), a possible road-trip to Wales, hoping to finish the week off with a workshop.
If the road-trip works out – I will miss OXJAM Slam which is a charity fundraiser (OXFAM) and a night celebrating the life and words of Maya Angelou.
Hope you will understand now why my posts have been infrequent this month – will try harder to regularly post in August as my writing life will be getting very exciting!
Happy writing x
Sunday night saw the May Bank Holiday Inaugural Poetry Slam hosted by Kidderminster Creatives at the Boars Head Gallery (BHG) – I was so pumped when I got home, this is why I want to be up to date with blog posts and write in real time! To be fair I was still excited when I woke up on Monday!
It was my 1st ever slam, Fergus asked me to take part. I am not real a slam poet, my material is not that click, beat variety…. After this experience I am tempted to follow the winners lead and write just 1 slam poem! The lovely thing about this slam was that everybody got a prize. 13 poets took part.
Those bowing out (like me) in the 1st round took a 2nd hand poetry book, the 2nd round, shiny new books & the winner a gold jelly man trophy, a book & £50! 3 poets in a round – apart from mine that had 4… There were 3 poet laureates and several slam champions for us Slam virgins to pitch against.
It was great fun & entertaining. I was happy with my 2nd hand copy of Ted Hughes, Birthday Letters and having the freedom to drink and be entertained as 5 (highest scoring runner up + winning poet from each group) became 2, Math Jones and Maggie Doyle went through… to entertain us with a brilliant final.
It was a superb, hyper night!
Maggie Doyle WON!
Congratulations Maggie, who can now be seeing taking Oscar to many events to be photographed! She was up against tough contestants and many who had won slams before. And has written a tongue in cheek beat poem since last weekend, influenced by some of the more ‘beat’ participants!