Category Archives: SpeakEasy

Review of August

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I have taken most of the summer off from performing poetry to catch up on writing some! I am now struggling to wind myself back up but September is action packed so the full calendar should help me back to the zone.

Mr G. and I went away, I promised him a poetry free holiday, I ended up having to find a public library to send a contract and take a few calls on the beach, other than that – I took a break and actually found it refreshing.

August is also packed full of birthdays (including my own). The summer wasn’t fantastic weather-wise so as soon as there was a sunny day, the garden beckoned… and all of this kept me away from my desk!

 

Opportunities

Back in July I was approached by Roz Goddard through West Midlands Reader Network to apply for a Reader in Residence position which I was successful at obtaining – more on this soon, I have had the preliminary planning meeting and the project is due to start in November. This was my BIG news for the month.

Worcestershire Poet Laureate (WPL)

I had my second radio slot with Tammy Gooding at BBC Hereford & Worcester. This went really well again (no edits). I was able to promote upcoming events and talk about the success of LakeFest.

My first official Poet Laureate Blog Post went live, traditionally these have appeared quarterly, although we are working on a bi-monthly/monthly post as there are lots of events being created.

https://worcslitfest.co.uk/2017/08/18/ninas-wpl-blog-august-2017/

I wrote a Project Proposal for my Twin Cities Transatlantic Poetry, which is under review this month by committee. This will see American and British Poets collaborate.

Jinney Ring Sculpture Trail Poetry Workshop

The Sculpture Trail opened at the Jinney Ring and I went to explore the 90 sculptures in this year’s trail. I prepared and tested workshop content. All places have been booked now, I am excited and cannot believe after all this planning how close this event is!

A second date has been added in the evening 20th September 6-8 PM, so if you would like to book a place, email for details.

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I organised a poetry event for Salt Festival on the 9th September. At short notice, I am delighted to have a handful of poets who can come and share their work. The bonus is that everyone has a 10 minute slot, which means they can share a good selection of their work.

After finding an alternative route for my European Twin Town Poetry Project, I had communication from the original source that I traced. A meeting has been set up and I think this might be a project that I now roll out twice with two towns in the County. It will be the first of its kind.

A spin off from this is I have been invited to read at a special dinner next month too.

August also saw the deadline for Contour – a digital magazine I plan to create three times during my tenure. This first issue invited poets from anywhere to write about Place /Worcestershire. I am currently (now September) working through the submissions and I have been fortunate enough to make contact with a photographer and have permission to use some of his County photography is this issue. More news on this soon.

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Performances

The biggest performance opportunity this month was LakeFest. It was the first year they had the Poetry Tent and it was a great success!

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Laureates at LakeFest

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©2017 Ruth Inglis

 

Bridgnorth Arts Festival

Rick Sanders organised a festival poetry event at the Friars and had Claire Walker, Steve Harrison and Brenda Read-Brown headline, I couldn’t miss this. I had missed Poetry on the Terrace in Birmingham on Saturday as I discovered it too late and we had visitors at the weekend. It had been a week since I performed and I wanted to support Claire, who did a marvellous set.

It was a great evening, enjoyable and good to catch up with a lot of the Shropshire crowd.

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Ben Parker Worcester Festival Poetry at Huntingdon Hall

Ben Parker has organised 3 poetry events this year in Worcester as part of his Residency. I had not been able to make the two events at the Swan Theatre as I was already booked. However, I have been counting down the months for this one. It was an epic list of performers some I knew and others I didn’t (which is always exciting).

Ben has a relaxed manner that I am very envious of when hosting events and the Worcester Festival was no exception. It was a great night of diverse poets performing and what I like about the ethos of these events is Ben wants the opportunity to gather a range of poets, beginners and those more seasoned. It creates a supportive atmosphere from the get go.

I hope he manages to squeeze another event like this in, I won’t be performing as you get the chance to perform once but I would certainly turn up to enjoy an evening of poetry like this one.

 

Voices from the Shadows

Back in 2014 Elaine Christie produced a wonderful anthology called Restless Bones. The proceeds of this book went to the Born Free Foundation.

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

restless the book

Now Elaine is working hard on the next book which will feature Artwork by Neth Brown. We had a Pre-book Launch to raise awareness of this current project and also to share some of the poetry which will appear in the book.

art neth brown ©2017 Elaine Christie

Link COMING SOON.


Future Readings

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I am headlining at PTS (13th September), the welcome return of this excellent night run by Rob Francis.

I am headlining SpeakEasy (14th September) as WPL.

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I am in a Room 204 Showcase and get to do Birmingham Literature Festival for a 2nd time. Unfortunately the opportunity to perform in the Studio in the BLF was not possible as it clashes with Swindon Poetry Festival, where I am booked to perform.

The Literary Allsorts event is taking place twice. I am in the Pre-Festival event at Waterstones. It will be a great night!

Sarah Leavesley (Editor/Publisher) has organised a V. Press reading at Free Verse Poetry Book Fair London this September, myself and Stephen Daniels will be reading from our pamphlets in the afternoon. Last year I promised myself I would go to the Book Fair and now, one better… I get to read there and hopefully sell more books!

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SpeakEasy with Matt Man Windle

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Matt is Birmingham’s current Poet Laureate, and was once upon a time Birmingham’s Young Poet Laureate as well. A professional boxer and much-loved poet, Matt’s Poet-with-a-Punch routine is coming to Worcester this February as our featured artist and he is certainly worth coming along to see.

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I was really looking forward to finishing a busy poetry week in Worcester at Café Bliss with the SpeakEasy crew. Not to mention it has been ages since I caught Matt Windle in action and I am a big fan of his performances. He is Headlining next week at the Artrix for Licensed to Rhyme, which I miss as it is Mr G’s birthday. (We started celebrations this evening with a curry out with friends.)

I had a 3 minute slot on Thursday and as I was on just before Matt, was able to enjoy the whole night of performers without any worry or nerves. It was an exceptional night. One of those rare times when the magic of live performance is pitched just right. The room was carried along with this energy and by the end of the night we were ready for the power of Matt Windle – Poet with Punch.

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Matt’s performance was certainly emotive (I had tears in my eyes at one point), packed with gentle energy, pacey and entertaining. It was great to see him in action again. Loved him sharing his story, realising that the room was split between people who knew him and had seen him in action and those that hadn’t.

For me it as magic as watching him for the first time all over again. Enjoy this recent film, one of the poems Matt performed in his set.

Other performers included: Neil Richards, Charley Barnes, Ruth Stacey, Tim Stavert, Dray Zera, Mogs, Willis the Poet, Steve Soden, Miguel Lourenco, Kieran Davis, Chris Hemmingway, Mike Alma, Leena Batchelor & myself, Nina Lewis.

Review of October

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Review of October

Week 1

Following advice I was trying to not be too busy pre-book launch but after a week off events I took my writing group for Writing West Midlands, watched all the poetry coverage on BBC2, missed another writing deadline and decided that I would drive to Cheltenham to Buzzwords and catch David Clarke and Cliff Yates (another new-to-me poet).

Buzzwords was great, I realised I hadn’t been for over a year. I had a fabulous evening and do not regret it, despite it being the night before my launch. I read my latest poem – a work on tribal philosophy and have some poetry drafts from the workshop to work on when I get a chance (Christmas holidays maybe).

I had imagined I would spend Monday getting ready for the evening – but in reality I missed writing deadlines, overslept, did everything I could to reduce the nervous anxiety of what if no-one turns up and finally at about 2pm started to get organised.

I am going to write a full post about the launch and some follow up posts about the organisation aspects, as there is a gap of relevant information in this area.

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Waterstones Book Launch for Fragile Houses in Birmingham with Guest Readers – Roy McFarlane, Antony Owen and Claire Walker. It was a cracking night, the next morning I woke up to go to work and it felt like a dream.

The following evening I headlined at Stirchley Speaks. I have been headlining since Autumn 2014 but this is the first time I had a book to sell. I did leave home without them and had to turn back to grab the bag, I knew there was something I had forgotten. Since this night I have started using a large event handbag and always carry a couple of copies.

Stirchley Speaks was a great night and I sold lots of books, I realised at this point I had underestimated how many I should order. Taking advice from Jane Commane back in 2014 who said that audience doesn’t necessarily convert to readership. I was aware not everyone I know will buy the book. I have a list of people who want a copy next time I see them too.

It was good to catch up with everybody in the P Café and it was an incredible night of poetry.

The next day I contacted my publishers and ordered another box.

I hadn’t submitted any poetry for a while and had news of one of my poems being published in the USA. More on that when it happens.

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I treated myself to an evening off and a little rest before National Poetry Day, which is fast becoming one of my favourite dates on the calendar.

I collected my new batch of books and went to Suz Winspear’s NPD event in Worcester. As Worcestershire Poet Laureate, Suz is working hard this year in the city and found a brand new venue for the NPD Event. Berkeley Almshouses was the venue and some of the residents came to enjoy the event. It was a great evening and the old chapel had fabulous acoustics and suited Suz very well.

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This year’s theme was messages and I certainly sent a few texts whilst trying to track down the entrance to the venue. Great sets from everyone and I got to catch up with Math Jones (up from London) and Ruth Stacey. I even sold a book!

I spent the weekend Fri- Sun at Swindon Poetry Festival, it was 2nd year there and much as I loved it last year, this year was EVEN better! It deserves a full post and as I pretty much did everything on the programme, will certainly need one. A great way to finish an exhausting, fantastic week in my poetryskin!

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Other great news was Matt Windle became Birmingham’s new Poet Laureate and by the end of the week I had sold over 50 copies of my book!

 

Week 2

Started with a recovery day. I started to create Poetry Films, something I have got hooked on. Last year Sarah Leavesley kindly tutored a group of us in the art of production and I was inspired by the Poetry Films I had seen at Swindon. There are several poems in my pamphlet that I will rarely perform. These are all now Poetry Films.

On my recovery day I spent some INKSPILL admin time and rehearsed a set for Licensed to Rhyme. Roy McFarlane was headlining. It was a great night and I was allowed to sell my pamphlets, they had a table and everything.

The next evening I went to Ledbury to the Poetry Salon where Deborah Alma was reading and finally got a copy of her book, ‘True Tales of the Countryside’, a beautiful Emma Press pamphlet. deb-alma2

I unexpectedly performed in the open mic section. Fragile Houses reached Ledbury. It has since reached Palestine, Malta, Holland and Australia to my knowledge. It was a wonderful, rich evening and great to see Ledbury folk again.

This week was also Birmingham Literature Festival and due to work commitments and events was the first time since coming back to writing (2013) that I missed it. The night after Ledbury Liz Berry and Benjamin Zephaniah were performing and also Gregory Leadbetter had his book launch for ‘Fetch’ (Nine Arches) at Waterstones, Birmingham with Angela France and Jo Bell reading.

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© 2016 Nine Arches

I was gutted to miss both these events but with working and poeting I had no energy and if I remember rightly was asleep as soon as I had finished tea.

The following night Luke Kennard was performing in Birmingham and I missed it because it clashed with SpeakEasy, where I was already performing. Roy McFarlane was the feature and it was a joy to listen to him twice in one week.

Fragile Houses received a Chez Nous Review which I was delighted to discover came from Gram Joel Davies. He actually chose some of my favourite foods – go and have a read.

http://vpresspoetry.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/chez-nous-recommendations-for-fragile.html

By the end of the week I was run down with illness and missed Holding Baby a play by Jan Watts and the rest of the Book to the Future Festival (again for the first time since 2013). I hope to catch the show another time, I have heard nothing but good things about it.

It was great to finish the week with a Madhatter Review http://www.madhatterreviews.co.uk/books–e-books.html

 

Week 3

Fragile Houses has positive reviews on Amazon and Good Reads.

I was asked to do something that I am really excited about, more on that next year. I spent days preparing for INKSPILL in shifts of 8 – 12 hours.

Mr G and I went to London to see Woven Hand.

I was too tired to manage Hit the Ode and Smokestack Poetry Evening event clash), both in Birmingham, both top nights. I also missed the Dylan Thomas Festival, running for the first year in Cheltenham. Unfortunately it clashed with INKSPILL this year.

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I signed up to an online course ‘Arts for Health’ and performed poetry for ‘She Speaks Her Mind’ Woo Feministas – alongside Suz Winspear, Charley Barnes, Claire Badsey & Holly Magill.

Then of course it was INKSPILL with Gaia Harper, Roy McFarlane and Deanne Gist. This was the 4th year for us and it was a success. I already have Guests and plans lined up for 2017.

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The Magnetic Diaries – which I saw in it’s infancy in Hereford last year was on at the MAC and although I couldn’t make the show I did make Sarah Leavesley’s workshop ‘Pain to Poetry’. I have some poetry notes and one poem so far from this and it was a challenging (emotionally) but not unpleasant experience. I also got time to reconnect with many poetry friends I have not seen in a while.

 

Week 4

I spent the early part of the week writing. I entered a few free poetry competitions. I took some bookings for next year and exchanged pamphlets with J.V Birch through the post. She is a childhood friend, now living in Australia and has also become a poet at the same time as me. It has been exciting to map and mirror each other’s journeys through this new world.

I dressed up for Halloween as a ‘Cereal Killer’ and went off to perform at the Halloween Special 42 in Worcester. Where (due to the wig) people didn’t recognise me. It was a fabulous night and a great excuse to dress up. Fantastic sets from everyone.

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photos by Liam Cortintias

The next day I had to do my best to get all the make up off and go to a workshop run by Angela France, the theme was Fairy Tales and I had a thoroughly enjoyable day and even sold a few books.

I listened to poetry on Radio 4 and missed my Stanza meeting to take part in a Charity Quiz night. All teams of 8 and due to circumstances we ended up with just 4 in our team. We were going for the Booby Prize but decided it was hard to share a bottle of wine and so started to get answers right. We came in 5th not too shoddy, somewhere in the middle. Over £1000 was raised for MacMillan.

I hoped to go to Lania Knight’s workshop, having missed her last one due to a crash on the motorway, but this weekend we celebrated a special family birthday.

 

A Month and a Half of Hindsight. Review of August

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Another late review.

August was filled with lots of celebrations, it was my birthday (for about 3 weeks), in fact my final official celebration is in a few weeks, unfortunately I have since found out I have double booked the last day of Stratford-Upon- Avon poetry festival to visit a unique seafood restaurant where you cook on volcanic rock. Which will be just as fabulous as watching 10 poets perform and possible just as sizzling!

Review of August

Week 1:

I had 5 poetry events lined up back to back and only managed one, mid-week (I think I was still in recovery from all the driving on Welsh roads). It was a poetry canal boat trip, which I even experienced being the tiller and we were fine until one of the pirate captains aboard announced I was steering and then I lost it and freaked out. In my defence I had relinquished control to pirate no.2 by the time we hit the bank and it was a narrow bit! It was great fun and lovely to meet new people. I scribbled a lot in a notebook, but have only managed one poem so far.

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I continued to organise INKSPILL and got stuck into house things – all of which are (for the 3rd year) ongoing. There is so much to do, it can be hard to see the effort making any difference. But I am beyond scratching the surface now, which is good.

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Linda Bromyard © 2016

Week 2:

I used Skype for the first time to have a face to face editorial meeting with my publisher. I cannot believe I haven’t skyped before, but there you have it!

I also organised for some poetry friends to come and perform at my family birthday do, I was thinking they may refuse the idea, but were all delighted and it was wonderful to share part of the party with them and part of that side of my new life with my family.

I sent messages of gratitude to all poets acknowledged in my pamphlet. There are many people who inspire me and have done from the start. People who knew about my book in 2015 and recognised (being more experienced) that the eagerness and drive to get it completed was going to need some nurture and explanation and acceptance on my part.

I went to HOWL, performed a poem from my pamphlet *am I mentioning the book again? Had lots of positive feedback on the power of the piece. Which was great because I am only 100% sure of the power of the ending. Good to know the rest works too. To be fair, if it didn’t, it would never have been selected and accepted as part of the collection.

Charley Barnes was performing her 2nd in as many months featured slot. I remember how exciting this was for me at the tail end of 2014 when bookings started to roll in and I love Charley’s reaction to it all. I remember the feeling and it is lovely to share that time with any poet, especially one you are close to.

I watched Mike Alma and Pip feature at SpeakEasy, they have been enjoying a new-lease-of-life collaboration, even recorded their work. Having the backing of Pip’s guitar and the words of some of Mike’s most powerfully emotive poems, is a treat. I performed a set that went down well, lots of great performers on the night. A thoroughly enjoyable event and a packed one at that.

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Final editing proofs were signed off and I started the next lesson, seeking endorsements.

I was absolutely delighted to hear back from both poets within 24 hours and doubly excited to hear they both accepted the proposition.

I had a meeting at Shakespeare’s Birthplace in Stratford-Upon- Avon, with Roy MacFarlane, who is currently the poet in residence there. I got to look around the house and everything. I was also inspired to write in the gardens and have one poem that I have written from those notes.

Finally, even as I write this, I can’t believe this is all just one week, Kieran Davis launched his debut poetry collection ‘Laguna’, with Black Pear Press. Kieran’s take over of Worcester in promoting this event was phenomenal, that man has feet, will travel and knows a thing or two about marketing. Worcester News Poet’s Dream Year

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Week 3:

Saw Ben Parker arrange a poetry night at The Swan Theatre, where he is the Poet in Residence. Unfortunately I couldn’t attend as Mr G and I were going away again, this time for my birthday, this time to Liverpool to celebrate The Beatles. Life is never going to be the same again after The Cavern sing you Happy Birthday, not sure even volcanic rock will top that one!

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We had a great whistle stop tour, including the Magical Mystery Tour, saw all we wanted to see, did everything we wanted to do and had one recovery day before my family party and the great poetic performances from Kathy Gee and Maggie Doyle, who I am so glad came and celebrated and showed my family how great this not-so-secret-world of mine can be!

 

Week 4:

Saw the endorsements for my pamphlet returned and the final stages of production were put in place.

I attended a workshop facilitated by Angela France, where we used historical documents to generate writing, I could have happily sat there and read them all day. This was a really great source of inspiration and I have a notebook brimming with ideas to tackle when I next manage some writing time.

I sent an unbelievable email out to try and entice another Guest Writer to INKSPILL (currently still in negotiation). My bravery fuelled by my post-Liverpool/ birthday high!

I started researching website development and builders. I was told in 2014 to get a webpage, every writer needs one and my head cannot even come up with any excuses as to why it has taken 2 years to action this, I think I was waiting until I knew I had something to offer.

I met up with fellow poet and friend, Claire Walker for tea and cake to celebrate my birthday. On our birthdays we indulge each other in writery gifts and I have a particularly funky pen, which she suggested I should use at my book signings. I just might!

I took a new poem to our Stanza group, we had a lovely evening, so balmy that we left the front door and garden doors open for air.

I discovered Brian Patten is visiting in October and was tempted to book a ticket, although it is festival season and I haven’t as yet, but I just might have to.

Worcester LitFest took over the book benches in Crowngate over the weekend and I really wanted to join the team to write poetry on demand. But I had a busy week and lacked energy. This was the week I painted the summer house, it took 3 days.

A full on month on every scale. I love August!

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Poetry Events – September Spoken Word @ The Ort, Mouth & Music & SpeakEasy

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As I am so far behind with the blog, with over 3 weeks worth of activities to post about I have decided to bulk post about poetry events this month.

Spoken Word at The Ort with Debbie Aldous – Birmingham 4th

I was delighted to make it back to this event as the last few have clashed with other things. There was a pop up return of Naked Lungs in the city the same evening over in Digbeth and my original plan was to try to get to both. The days of dual gigs are behind me I think, especially at the end of a busy week. I was still recovering from John Hegley and my night in Shropshire.

It was a great evening packed with fabulous performances and new audience and open mic-ers too! Thoroughly enjoyed sharing poetry.

 

Mouth & Music – Heart, with Heather Wastie – Kidderminster 8th

Headlining this month were MM sepSarah James & Angela Topping, reading from their pamphlet Hearth and Elena Thomas with Dan Whitehouse.

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It was a lovely evening of words and music, some great open mic-ers, I especially enjoyed Jan performing with her husband, they were the opening act and got the night off to a great start. mm jan

I usually find that writing to theme takes place a few days before the event, this month though because of the KAF special – Slightly Circus M & M event there were only a few weeks between the events. This was fine as with a theme like ‘Heart’ I was able to find an abundant amount of poems I had already written. The tough part was choosing which made the cut for my set.

I am glad that Sarah and Angela were mindful that a small percentage of the audience had seen them in Worcester and they chose different poems to read. It was a smashing performance.

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Here’s what Heather Wastie had to say about the event;

September’s Mouth and Music was as pleasing to organise is it always is. Towards the end of the evening, Dave Sutherland sang a song he had composed using lyrics I wrote after hearing Elena Thomas (one of our features) sing her own songs at the launch of her art exhibition. Sorry for the slightly convoluted sentence but “Carrying the evening home”, the title of the song, refers to what we take away in our heads, and bodies, after an event. Last night, not only did I take away Elena’s beautiful songs and Dan Whitehouse’s gently intricate guitar accompaniment; I also took away the fact that someone from the pub, who I suspect wouldn’t normally go to an event like ours, came in and listened to Elena because she found it provocative that Elena was singing about “the life of a middle-aged woman”. I love Sarah James and Angela Topping’s pamphlet of poetry duets, Hearth, and their reading stirred my own memories of home and family.

The main thing I took away was a feeling of connectedness. I was delighted to see a harmonium on the stage when Jan, a regular and popular performer, was joined by her husband to enhance her poems with musical backing. I enjoyed being teased by Mike Alma’s poem in response to mine about the gherkin which I wrote after seeing one on Angela Topping’s plate! In complete contrast, Mouth and Music’s own Sarah Tamar made a powerful connection with the plight of refugees and Tim Cranmore covered both ends of the … er … spectrum with 2 poems which were uncomfortable to hear, for different reasons: “Inappropriate physical contact” was very thought-provoking, and his final poem ….. ask someone who was there if you want to know.

So many connections were made last night, thanks to featured artists, open mic performers, audience and the lovely staff at the Boars Head. Elena commented on Facebook today, “It’s a special place, Mouth and Music”. I take that as a huge compliment and look forward to seeing some of you on 13th October for some new connections!

Heather Wastie

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Next month Birmingham Poet Leon Priestnall takes centre stage, this month he headlined Hit The Ode and stormed it!

mmoct The month after Swingerella takes the Headline spot.

Photographs Peter Williams © 2015

 

Speakeasy, with Maggie Doyle & Fergus McGonigal – Worcester 10th

I have not been able to go to SpeakEasy since the Lit Fest and I was delighted to be back and to be able to take a 6 minute slot too. It was great performing poetry back in the glorious comfort of the Rectifying House. Despite not winning the raffle, I appreciated the new lamp, allowing more light to the page and it was great seeing it busy and catching up with poets I hadn’t seen for ages.

Ruth Stacey was headlining, reading from her latest book, ‘Queen, Jewel, Mistress’. I love the passion she has for this historical collection and that love came across in her set, full of enthusiasm and feeling. A very strong performance indeed. queen book

speakeasy sepIt was a superb evening of poetry and pleasure. FUN!

RELATED LINKS:

http://worcesterspeakeasy.weebly.com/thursday-10th-september.html

 

 

 

 

WLF – Worcester Lit Fest & Fringe 2015 – A Wrap!

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Worcester Lit Fest 2015 has been an awesome 10 day festival! I loved it even more than last year, as last year was my first WLF I was boundless in energy and enthusiasm – so to say I have enjoyed this year even more is a BIG thing!

The programme had a great combination of events, some of which I was lucky enough to attend, others I participated in and a few I missed completely due to work and the fact that I live away from the city and don’t have unlimited funds!

 

DAY 1

As you know, as I was a finalist, the launch night was also a night of awards and celebration, for young writers, students of the university, Flash Fiction Competitors and the six poets brave enough to compete for the Poet Laureate position 2015/16.

This link takes you to my post:

WLF 2015 The Launch & Poet Laureate Final

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The Launch Of The Festival – Poet Laureate Competition
And Young Writers’ Awards
The Guildhall, High Street, Worcester WR1 2EY
Friday 12 June – 18:30 for a 19:00 start
Join us for the launch of the Festival and watch 6 poets go head to head as
they compete for the title of Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2015.
Judges include: current Worcestershire Poet Laureate Fergus McGonigal,
Poet Laureate Emeritus Maggie Doyle, County Arts Officer Steve Wilson,
Young Poet Laureate Chloe Clarke and the Secretary of LitFest.
To open the event, we will present the prizes for the Young Writer
competition and the winners of the Flash Fiction competition will be
announced.

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

Day 2

There was lots of activity on Day 2, most of which I missed as I was working for Writing West Midlands.

A wonderful workshop by Alison May – who has a new book out – details COMING SOON. We weren’t in the same library or I would have attempted to pop in.

Writing Workshop With Alison May
From Idea To Draft–
–Developing Character And Plot To Make Your Novel Work
St John’s Library, Glebe Close, St John’s, Worcester WR2 5AX
Saturday 13 June 13:45-15:45

Award-winning writer, Alison May, is a Worcester-based novelist and short
story writer. She ran a popular series of workshops for LitFest last year and returns this year for a workshop on Using Character and Plot to develop
your novel. The workshop is aimed at anyone who is working on a novel, or
has a strong idea for a novel they would like to write.
Alison’s debut novel, ‘Sweet Nothing’ was published by Choc Lit in
November 2013, followed by her first novella, ‘Holly’s Christmas Kiss’, in
December 2013 and a second novella ‘Cora’s Christmas Kiss’ in 2014. Her
short stories have appeared in Romantic Novelists’ Association, Harlequin,
Choc Lit and Black Pear Press anthologies, and she is former winner of the
RNA’s Elizabeth Goudge Trophy. Her fourth book, ‘Midsummer Dreams’,
was released this spring.  www.alison-may.co.uk

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

I was fortunate enough to attend the evening event at Royal Worcester Porcelain Museum. Here is the link to my blogpost Poetry Wrap 6 scroll to the end of the wrap to find out about my night at the museum.BP Royal Worc

‘A Night At The Museum’
Ben Parker & Todd Swift – Poetry Book Launch
The Museum of Royal Worcester, Severn Street, Worcester WR1 2ND
Saturday 13 June – 19:00 for a 19:30 start
 Ben Parker From Porcelein
This book launch marks the conclusion of Ben Parker’s tenure as poet-in
residence at The Museum of Royal Worcester. Ben Parker will be reading
from a collection of poems produced during his residency, which will be
available for purchase for the first time. This event also marks the beginning
of Todd Swift’s residency at The Museum, and Todd will be reading from
his highly acclaimed poetry.
Ben’s poetry has appeared in a number of magazines, including The White
Review, Under the Radar and Oxford Poetry, as well as Lung Jazz: Young
British Poets for Oxfam. His debut pamphlet, The Escape Artists, was
published by tall-lighthouse in October 2012 and shortlisted for the 2013
Michael Marks Award.

Todd is a British-Canadian poet, publisher, critic and editor. He is the editor
of numerous anthologies; and has published eight full poetry collections. His
poems have appeared widely, including in Poetry Review, and Poetry
(Chicago). In 2004 Todd was the Oxfam Poet-in-residence. He blogs at
Eyewear and runs the indie press Eyewear Publishing. Todd’s PhD in Creative
and Critical Writing is from The University of East Anglia (UEA). He was
born in Montreal, Quebec.

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

 

Day 3

Our Illustrious Crime Panel
St John’s Library, Glebe Close, St John’s, Worcester WR2 5AX
Sunday 14 June 18:00-20:00

Cally Taylor
“I know your name’s not really Jane Hughes…” (‘The Lie’ C.L. Taylor)
Cally Taylor loves a dark, twisted tale. She lives in Bristol with her partner
and young son. Born in Worcester, she studied for a degree in Psychology at
the University of Northumbria then moved to London to work in medical
publishing.

Cally worked as a graphic designer, web developer and
instructional designer over the course of 13 years and now writes full time.
Her first psychological thriller ‘The Accident’ has sold over 150,000 copies
in the UK alone and was one of the top 10 debut bestsellers of 2014
according to The Bookseller. She credits Roald Dahl’s ‘Tales of the
Unexpected’ for her love of dark tales.
“Claustrophobic, tense and thrilling, a thrill-ride of a novel that keeps
you guessing.”
Elizabeth Haynes
“An enjoyable rollercoaster of a suspense novel with multiple twists.”

Daily  Mail
“This dark and creepy book is a must read.”
The Sun
Sarah Hilary
Sarah Hilary has worked as a bookseller, and with the Royal Navy. Her
debut novel, ‘Someone Else’s Skin’ was the Observer’s Book of the Month
(“superbly disturbing”), a Richard & Judy Book Club bestseller, and has
been published worldwide. ‘No Other Darkness’, the second in the Marnie
Rome series, is out in 2015. The series is being developed for television by
the BBC.
“Impressive”
Times

“Stunning”
Mark Billingham

“An extraordinarily good debut”
Observer

Alex Marwood
Alex Marwood is the pseudonym of Serena Mackesy, a journalist who has
worked extensively across the British press. Her first book, ‘The Wicked
Girls’, was a word-of-mouth sensation, won the prestigious Edgar Award
for Best Paperback Original in 2014, and was nominated for an
International Thriller Writers Award in 2013. Alex lives in south London.

“A modern-day ‘Rebecca’, mixed with a suspense-filled Gothic novel and
served up with generous helping of wit – a real treat.”
Associated Press
“Fresh, sparky, funny and sadly poignant.”
The Big Issue

“Brilliantly observed … a gripping read.”
The Times

Clare Mackintosh
Clare Mackintosh is an author, feature writer and columnist. She has
written for The Guardian, Sainsbury’s Magazine, and many other
national publications, and is a columnist for Cotswold Life and Writing
Magazine.

Clare spent 12 years in the police, including time on CID, in custody and as a public order commander. Her debut novel ‘I Let You Go’ is a tense, emotionally compelling psychological thriller perfect for readers of ‘Gone Girl’ and ‘The Girl on the Train’.
“A terrific, compelling read with an astonishing twist that floored me. I
loved it and did not want it to end” ‘
Peter James
“A hugely assured and gripping debut and a twist that made me green
with envy”
Mark Billingham
“Absorbing, authentic and deeply unsettling: a stellar achievement, and
so deliciously clever”
Elizabeth Haynes
Following the Romantic Novelists’ Panel last year, this year we go into a
world of darkness and psychological chills and thrills from four crime
writers who look like butter wouldn’t melt…

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

This event was well attended and received lots of rave reviews. It is one I would have liked to attend and a real bargain for a whole panel of experts. Shame I am human and had to pace myself!

Day 4

‘Sport and Spice’
Chris & Teresa Green    Anita Sharma-James
Bindles upper room, 55 Sidbury, Worcester WR1 2HU
Monday 15 June – 19:00 for a 19:30 start
Get sporty and spice up your life! Award-winning author and broadcaster
Chris Green accompanies his wife and business partner Teresa – one of the
first women sports editors in the UK. Teresa’s roles have included sports
editor at the Bromsgrove Advertiser, assistant editor at the Kidderminster
Shuttle and sports reporter/sub editor at the Sunday Mercury. Chris is the
author of five highly acclaimed sports books, including ‘Every Boy’s Dream
– England’s Football Future on the Line’, which was nominated for the
2010 British Sports Book of the Year.
Anita will give a live Indian cookery demonstration. Our fabulous local
expert will invite you to enjoy a mouth-watering Indian finger buffet made
to her authentic recipes from her wonderful cookery book ‘A Life of Spice:
Raksha’s Story’.

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

I saw Anita Sharma-James at an event in my hometown a few years ago and only have interest in tennis and world cup football! This was a SELL OUT event though, they had to turn people away.

Meanwhile I was over the hills at another SELL OUT event with John Hegley and the Confab Cabaret team, who provided the FRINGE part of the Festival (Geographically) – definitely not with the billing or event – it was one of my festival highlights. CONFAB j2 Myfanwy Fox © 2015

John Hegley at Confab Cabaret – WLF & Fringe

Festival Fringe Events with ‘ConFab Cabaret’
John Hegley
John Hegley – ConFab Cabaret Special
Monday 15th June 20.00-22.30 (Doors Open 19.30)
Tickets £10 online (address below) or £12 on the door
A fun packed variety night with lashings of Spoken Word.
John Hegley will be headlining an extra-special ConFab
Cabaret. John performed on the streets of London in the early eighties,
fronting the Popticians, with whom he also recorded two sessions for John
Peel, and has since been a frequent performer of his words, sung and
spoken, on both local and national radio and television.
Tip top support will be provided by luscious lovely local Malvern muses –
Adrian Mealing, Amy Rainbow, Catherine Crosswell, Clive Dee, Myfanwy
Fox and Sue Thompson. With a fabulous audience poem and
added merriment from international circus performer Steve Kaos!

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

 

Day 5

John Hegley did a workshop – which I missed because I was working and also because I am seeing him again in Ludlow and have booked the workshop there as it is on the same day as the event.

It would have been great fun – what I heard was all fabulous but I had asked people NOT TO TELL ME ANYTHING about it as he may repeat the same ideas in Ludlow.

I had Tuesday off from the festival, I was working and trying to write some new material and work on my editing too.

CONFAB J Myfanwy Fox © 2015

John Hegley – Workshop
Tuesday 16th June 10:00-12:00 (Doors Open 09:45)
Tickets £12.50 in advance online (address below)
After a night of ConFab Cabaret jollity, John will be up bright and early
delivering a 2 hour workshop.
This will be an opportunity to work closely with Mr Hegley using drawing,
poetry and gesture. John has produced ten books of verse and prose pieces,
two CD’s and one mug. An Edinburgh Festival regular, he is noted for his
exploration of such diverse topics as dog hair, potatoes, handkerchiefs and
the misery of human existence.
Places are limited. Please book now to avoid disappointment.
Both John Hegley events to be held at: The Harcourt Room, The Mount
Pleasant Hotel, Belle Vue Terrace, Great Malvern WR14 4PZ

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

 

In the evening – Worcester Writers’ Circle took over with a Rubber Swordplay Event – where Mogs was awarded the Rubber Sword for his performance.

Worcester Writers’ Circle And Friends Present: ‘Rubber Swordplay’
St Swithun’s Institute, The Trinity, Worcester WR1 2PN
Tuesday 16 June – 19:00 for a 19:30 start
The gifted and humble members of Worcester Writers’ Circle and Friends
present a selection of their humorous stories and poems in an evening that
is sure to leave your sides aching. Mein host, Tony Judge, has once more
successfully brought together performers who are out to give you a laugh.

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

Another event happening Tuesday evening was at The Commandery.

An Event Organised By The Battle Of Worcester Society
As Part Of THE CIVIL WAR NIGHTS At The Commandery
Anita Seymour – Civil War Novelist
Anita Seymour
Tuesday 16 June
19:00 at The Commandery, Sidbury, Worcester WR1 2HU
Tickets: £7 (From The Commandery Shop)
Anita’s first novels are ‘The Woulfes of Loxsbeare’, a 17th Century historical
family saga, the first two titles of which are, ‘The Rebel’s Daughter’ and ‘The
Goldsmith’s Wife’. Followed by ‘Royalist Rebel’, a biographical novel based
on the early life of Elizabeth Murray, Countess Dysart. Her latest release due in June 2015 is Murder On The Minneapolis, a Cozy Mystery set on an
Atlantic Steamship in 1900.

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

Day 6

I was back in it, to see Adam Millard at 42 WLF Special – read all about it here

WLF 42 Special with Adam Millard

WLF 42 me1WLF 42 Adam

WLF © 2015

42 Worcester Festival Special
Drummonds Bar, The Swan With Two Nicks,
28 New Street, Worcester WR1 2DP
Wednesday 17 June – 19:00 for a 19:30 start
42 Worcester’s Festival Special this year sees the welcome return of Adam
Millard. A writer, mainly fantasy and horror, Adam’s whole life consists of
movies, books, and writing. He’s 31 and lives with his beautiful wife Zoe,
and son, Phoenix Justice. Adam has over fifty tattoos and smells of rich
Mahogany.
Who can resist?

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

Wednesday night also saw another event at The Commandery.

‘The Crimson Ribbon’
19:00 at The Commandery, Sidbury, Worcester WR1 2HU
Tickets: £7 (From The Commandery Shop)
‘The Crimson Ribbon’ is a tale set during the English Civil War, exploring
the developing roles of women in an era of turmoil and change. The novel
deals with superstitious fear, injustice and persecution. Her central character,
Ruth Flowers, is torn between her desire for liberty and the need for utter
secrecy, for if people find out about the events of her past she is in mortal
danger.

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

Day 7 – One week in!

What better way to mark it than a performance at SpeakEasy.

Read all about it here WLF – SpeakEasy with SPOZ & Brenda-Read Brown

SpeakEasy Festival Special
Thursday 18 June – 19:00 for a 19:30 start at The Old Rectifying House,
North Parade, Worcester WR1 3NN
Here’s your chance to read your short stories, poems, prose, try out your
performance poetry or music that tells a story. This evening is for you!

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

WLF Brenda2 WLF © 2015

There were other events again at The Commandery

An Event Organised By The Battle Of Worcester Society
As Part Of THE CIVIL WAR NIGHTS At The Commandery
Chris Bryant MP – The Biography of Parliament

Following his election as Rhondda’s MP in June 2001 Chris Bryant has
served on the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee of the House of
Commons, as well as the Joint Committee of the Lords and Commons on
Reform of the House of Lords. From November 2002 to May 2007 he was
Chair of the Labour Movement for Europe. He is an Associate of the
National Youth Theatre of Great Britain and a member of the Coop Party,
Amnesty International, Amicus and the Fabians. Chris speaks fluent Spanish
and good French, lives in Porth in the Rhondda Fach, and famously
corresponded with James Blunt. His book ‘Parliament: The Biography
(Volume 1 – Ancestral Voices)’ was published in December 2014.
Thursday 18 June
19:00 at The Commandery, Sidbury, Worcester WR1 2HU
Tickets: £7 (From The Commandery Shop)

WLF Programme © 2015

Day 8

On Friday I took a day off from work and WLF to go to a workshop with Candy Royalle in Birmingham, which was magic! Meanwhile back in WLF the events continued.
ThreezAcrowd
Bindles, 55 Sidbury, Worcester WR1 2HU
Friday 19 June 14:00-16:00
Jan and Campbell Perry and Mike Thomas’s band will entertain in the upper
room at Bindles…don’t miss it, or you won’t be there!!

WLF Programme © 2015

Another exciting event on offer, that received lots of positive feedback was this talk and Q& A

Covert Operations! Cameron Addicott
Friday 19 June 19:30 at St John’s Library, Glebe Close, St John’s,
Worcester WR2 5AX

An undercover story…covert operator, Cameron Addicott, talks about his
contact with customs and the serious organised crime agency.
Cameron Addicott
An undercover story…covert operator, Cameron Addicott, talks about his
contact with customs and the serious organised crime agency.
Cameron Addicott is a former undercover officer with H.M. Customs and
the Serious Organised Crime Agency. In 2008 he left SOCA to travel the
world and write the first part of his memoirs. The Interceptor was published
by Penguin in July 2010 and went straight to number 1 in the Amazon True
Crime Bestseller list. The BBC purchased the rights to the book and has
been turned into a BBC1 crime drama series. Directed by BAFTA award
winning director Farren Blackburn. Starring OT Fagbenle, Robert Lonsdale,
Charlie de Melo and Anna Skellern star, with Trevor Eve playing the leading
‘Villain’. It is due to be broadcast on BBC1 in April 2015.
Cameron’s media work includes appearing as technical expert on Chris
Atkins’ C4 Dispatches documentary about the sale of personal data and
playing the ‘Spymaster’ who taught Jared Murillo on Strictly Come Dancing’s
‘It Takes Two’. His radio work includes Radio 4’s Midweek with Libby
Purves and Five Live with Richard Bacon. In addition Cameron has advised
on numerous other TV docs and has been interviewed on many local and
European Radio shows.
Fighting on the frontline of the war against crime, ‘Cammo’  was one of the
very few hard-boiled and highly-experienced surveillance operatives to get
called up to the secretive and elite Alpha Projects unit – a group of
dedicated undercover Customs officers who hunted the UK’s most
dangerous criminals by extraordinary means – starting with the interception
and decoding of their phone calls.
This talk will give an entertaining and informative insight into working
against organised crime. Topics covered include criminal motivation,
methods of intelligence gathering, cocaine production, plus smuggling and
money-laundering.
The talk will be followed by a lively Q&A session and a book signing.

WLF Programme © 2015

Day 9

Was my final day in the WLF and one I had been looking forward to – nothing to do with Jonny Fluffypunk! Oh, no! WLF – Jonny Fluffypunk & Offa Press Poets

Offa’s Poets And Jonny Fluffypunk
St Swithun’s Institute, The Trinity, Worcester WR1 2PN
Saturday 20 June – 19:00 for a 19:30 start

‘Thought-Apples’ is a collection of 25 poems by Staffordshire poet Bert
Flitcroft. They are philosophical, occasionally piquant, always accessible and
pleasing to the ear. Bert was born in 1946 and grew up in Lancashire.
Nowadays he lives near Lichfield, a retired English teacher.
David Bingham’s debut collection from Offa’s Press, ‘The Chatter of
Crows’, includes impressive Japanese-influenced haibun and haiku, which
amuse and intrigue in equal measure. David lives in Ironbridge, Telford, is a
retired Humanities teacher and has a Diploma in Creative Writing from
Birmingham University. He’s currently editor of Blithe Spirit magazine.
‘Good on the page and good on stage’ are Offa’s Poets’ watchwords.
Jonny Fluffypunk
And…the unforgettable ‘economic refugee’ from the Home Counties
returns to LitFest. Stand-up poet, sit-up storyteller and give-up musician

Jonny Fluffypunk has been dragging his art around the poetry, comedy and
alternative cabaret circuits for over 10 years. A multiple slam champion who
hates competition in the arts and an outspoken voice for anarchy, peace and
bicycles, Jonny’s a favourite with LitFest audiences. His ‘Sustainable
Nihilists’ Handbook’ is published by Burning Eye, and he is currently
touring his no-fi stand-up spoken word show ‘Man Up, Jonny Fluffypunk –
One Man’s Struggle with Late-Onset Responsibility’ to rousing acclaim.
An evening not to be missed!

WLF Programme © 2015

WLF jonny WLF © 2015

My final event was to celebrate Summer Solstice/ Midsummer’s Eve – with poets, bugs and torchlight! WLF – Summer Solstice Walk

LitFest Solstice Walk – a fabulous freebie
Starting around 10:30pm Saturday 20 June
Join us for a spookily fun walk around Worcester’s famous waterside for the
Summer Solstice – this year we’re keeping it local – the walk will be along
the banks of the River Severn. Starting outside Cripplegate Park gates on the
St John’s side of Worcester Bridge at 10:30(ish) Saturday 20 June, following
the Jonny Fluffypunk / Offa’s Poet gig. We’ll bear health and safety in mind
and ask everyone to bring a torch and wear stout shoes / boots and warm
clothing.
The route will be along the riverside to Diglis Lock and encompass the
Diglis basin marina area. There will be poetry and prose performances along
the route to entertain you.
Start time 10.30pm – finish anticipated just after midnight.

WLF Programme © 2015

This was a fabulous, magical event, unique.

Day 10

The end of the Festival – marked with the traditional (now in it’s 5th year) Double Whammy Slammy

LitFest ‘Double Whammy Slammy’! and end of fest party
PLUS The BIG FAT RAFFLE Draw!
Sunday 21 June
Drummonds Bar, The Swan With Two Nicks,
28 New Street, Worcester WR1 2DP
Flash Fiction Slam: 18:00-18:30
Poetry Slam: 19:00-21:30     
Come, watch and vote for flash fiction aficionados who will perform their
short, short stories. Last year’s winner Rod Griffiths may be competing
again! You could be the second Worcestershire Flash Fiction Slam
Champion. To take part in the flash fiction slam write your flash fiction (a
short, short story, up to 300 words) and turn up on the night to read it!
And…the grand finale! Come, watch and vote for competing poets in the
final event of the 2015 Worcestershire Literary Festival in the legendary
poetry slam championship.  Participants will vie for the chance to become
the fifth Worcestershire Poetry Slam Champion. Previous champions:
Fergus McGonigal, James Dolton, Alison Absolute and, last year Brenda
Read-Brown.

WLF Programme © 2015

The Poetry Slam winner this year is Peter Wyton, who will perform at next year’s Worcester Lit Fest SpeakEasy as a headliner, Math Jones came 2nd (for the 3rd year) and congratulations to Suz Winspear (runner up Poet Laureate) and 3rd in the Poetry Slam and Leena Bachelor who was trying out slamming for the first time!

Andrew Owens won the Flash Fiction Slam. Well done to everyone who was brave enough to take part and for those strong performers who did BOTH slams.

WLF Heather WPL WLF © 2015

Last but not least congratulations to the small and mighty WLF team! Superb festival WLF 2015 – thank you!

Review of May

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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. hay house logo

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

The Hay House World Summit 2015 – Week 1

Hay House World Summit 2015 – Week 2

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;

The Ups and Downs of Creatives: Motivation & Mindset

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 CN-1780-logo-uofiowawouldn’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.

WWM PINK

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

Angela france

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. QC 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.

POET LAUREATE

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.

VOTE: Poems in the FINAL – Worcestershire Poet Laureate

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PERFORMANCE POETRY

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. MM3 Rob Francis

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

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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

thank-you-typewriter

A Return to Worcester – SpeakEasy

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It is incredible how time works in the poetry world;

there is never enough time to work on drafts, edits and important major focus projects,

there is always time to talk to other poets (just not at events)

months speed up and pass by in a matter of what feels like weeks

short time elapsing between monthly events (usually 4 weeks 😉 ) and yet it feels like a homecoming from a long trip when you manage to get to the next event.

 

That’s how I felt last Thursday (9th). I missed March’s SpeakEasy due to overwork in the real world and a need for sleep, also my car wasn’t well and I was trying to use it as little as possible. I was there at the February event and performed back in January, but it felt like 12 months had passed since the last time.

I was booked in for a 6 minute slot, but more than that I enjoyed the reunion, seeing old friends return and poets I had not seen in a year.

Amy Rainbow headlined and treated us to a whole new set a mixture of the familiar and personal.

The whole night was in remembrance of Tana Durham, one of the WLF team. I didn’t know her that well but she was a lovely lady with a lot of friends, including all the WLF team. Poems in her honour was very moving.

I left feeling I was walking on air.

Photos to follow

 

3 in a Row: Mouth & Music, Howl & SpeakEasy – A Week of Events

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This week was a fairly busy one, due to full time work I was not able to make one of the events listed in the title, but as it is a NEW Word Event – I thought I would take this opportunity to promote it, I am hoping to make next month’s and then give you a real flavour. I heard it was a great evening – but more on that later!

planner

Tuesday Night saw Mouth & Music – this month upstairs in the Gallery (a space I love) with headliners Lorna Meehan and Katie Wragg. I was lucky enough to catch Katie last month headlining SpeakEasy, I wanted to hear more from her, a talented guitarist/songwriter who has collaborated on performance work with Heather Wastie and I hope one day will write Kidderminster, the Musical. (Although she may hate me mentioning such an idea as I have made it sound like a feasible project! Sorry Kate.) And Lorna – who I would follow around the planet listening to, a fantastically talented performance poet, who herself has been booked to headline these 3 events this month – so you read more about her in a minute.

It was an incredible evening, some real talent and great pieces shared. Even had an open mic-er who has spent a year listening to us all and joined in at the mic. Magical when that happens. Splendidly dramatic performance as well!

Stonking night at Mouth & Music – Lorna Meehan, Jasmine Gardosi, Katie Wragg, Heather Wastie, Peter Williams, Paul Francis and a ton of talented open mic-ers…. and in the warmth of the gallery! Loved it – I had the inspiration for 5 new poems and scribbled notes all over next month’s flyer!

I am beyond excited that Tom Crossland and Joe Whitehouse grace the stage in April and before that, next month we have the talents of Paul Francis and Rich Stokes, as if last month’s Spark Off wasn’t fabulous enough!

Next month’s theme is Politicians and as I am attempting to write some similar themed poetry for submission this week I should have it covered. My research this week was to watch and transcribe a programme which in turn pushed me towards focussing on a few specific areas. Should be a fun challenge – I use Media/ politics in poetry but have never written one purely from a political point of view. It is good to stretch yourselves as writers.

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I wanted to get to Kings Heath for Howl the next evening – but had also been working full time with some older children and was still tired from the previous week I think – my medication doesn’t help with the tiredness (in case you were wondering why tiredness and sleep feature so heavily on the blog).

Long story short, I did not make it. I fell asleep before 6pm right after my fast-cook-pre-gig tea and didn’t wake up until they had already kicked off. It is some drive too and I really wouldn’t have been safe behind a wheel – I could barely keep my eyes open! So I traded myself an early night and was actually reading in bed by 9:30pm and asleep before 10pm. All sure signs I wasn’t able to make it to the gig.

The day after was also my 5th writing day and I thought if I went to HOWL I would definitely spend most of it asleep- unfortunately that was the reality even without the gig – I think my day started at lunchtime.

Howl Feat is a new evening in a great little pub ‘The Sun at The Station’ in Kings Heath, Birmingham. Hosted by Leon Priestnall, this month’s featured artists were Casey Bailey, Lily Blacksell (who featured alongside Antony Owen and myself at Word Up last month), Lorna Meehan and Joe Cook.
Howl provides a space for the best spoken word artists in Birmingham to speak freely, no restraint, express themselves, provide food for thought, rock the house and entertain.

Casey Bailey
A spoken word poet and rapper from Birmingham. Poetry style is literal and lyrical, touching on a number of different subjects, from growing up in inner city Birmingham to world events. These subjects are tackled with a combination of straight talk and humour.

Lily Blacksell
Lily studies at the University of Birmingham, where she is president of Writers’ Bloc. She has performed her poetry in pubs, theatres, pub-theatres, poetry slams and literary festivals. In 2013, she was part of Apples and Snakes’ Lit Fuse programme, and she also had a poem filmed in the centre of Brum as part of their Power Plant series last summer: http://vimeo.com/109935773

Lorna Meehan
Lorna has been on the circuit for over ten years, performing at festivals like Glastonbury and touring with Apples and Snakes with her mixture of candid hilarity and mellow introspection. You can listen to her work here: https://soundcloud.com/lornameehan

Joe Cook
A.K.A Cookie, is a poet, musician, workshop facilitator and political activist from Birmingham. Heavily influenced by Hip-Hop and Reggae his musical background shows in his lyrical poetry. Described as “The Streets meets Joe Strummer” , his voice is raw, full of passion and heavy beats. He’s performed all around Birmingham at prolific venues such as The Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Mac Birmingham, Recently opening for Hollie McNish at the Rainbow Warehouse as well as performing in London with the Burn After Reading Poetry Collective

HOWL

Then Thursday rolled into view and I had finished the early mornings with work. I struggled to wake up though and after a brief early morning coffee and scan of some writing articles, I fell back to sleep. I had supposed to work on some submissions due mid-month which I knew with Valentine’s and Mr G’s birthday would be impossible over the weekend, as it is I missed these deadlines yesterday.

I completed my politician research and shopping online for Mr G and to book Valentine’s tickets, ran out of time for any actual writing, not that MUSE was shouting loud enough to get through.

I tore to the shops to pick up some birthday/valentine’s bits & made it home with half an hour to spare before SpeakEasy (or at least before Claire’s kind lift), I wasn’t sure if I was able to go this month, had I made Howl – I doubt I would have had the energy.

Speakeasy was great – we were late getting there and missed the first half almost, just caught Kathy Gee! The Headline Act was Gary Longden (Staffordshire’s Poet Laureate), was great to catch a whole set of his.

Lichfield poet, Gary Longden returns to Worcester after a long break. He is our headliner for SpeakEasy on Thursday, February 12th. We are also delighted to welcome one of the Decadent Poetry Divas – Lorna Meehan (Headlined at Mouth & Music at the Boars Head Gallery on Tuesday, February 10th). Kathy Gee, John Lawrence, Neil Laurenson, Math Jones and Charley Barnes, together with open mic slots, complete tonight’s event. We hope you can join us for an evening of varied poetry, unique styles, plenty of entertainment and, of course, the fantastic raffle.

It was a good night and enjoyable to watch for once – although Claire Walker and I have both been told to perform at the next one! There was a clashing event I may have been involved with but so far next month’s still free.

speakeasy

 

 

Two Events, One Meeting and The Shuttle – Review of a Week in Poetryland

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The past week has certainly been a busy one, I need to find more time for writing (tomorrow I have ONE glorious day off) AND if the weather (snow) is anything to go by, I will need it! I am hoping to catch up on writing as well as sleep.

Last Thursday was the first SpeakEasy of 2015, I was asked to perform and delighted to go (missed a few months at end of 2014) and love this event. Always warm, always wonderful, organised by Worcester Litfest, hosted by Fergus McGonigal and featuring Maggie Doyle. Both Poet Laureates work hard for WLF in organising this monthly night of spoken word, poetry and fun.WLF&F logo concepts

“Worcester SpeakEasy” is a monthly event of poetry and prose from the page and the stage (and a little music now and then), which takes place on the second Thursday of each month. The event promotes, showcases and encourages writers from the whole of Worcestershire and further afield; there is an invited headline poet each month.

The event is brought to you by your very own Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe, via Poet Laureate Emeritus Maggie Doyle and the Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2014-15 Fergus McGonigal, SpeakEasy’s host and MC. –

© 2015 Events Page

This month we had a change of venue and it was a small and intimate event, packed full and over-brimming with talent and entertaining and thought provoking performances. Open mic-ers joined in with booked acts and we had not one but TWO headline acts.

Peter Sutton – Poet – who I first came across during Worcester LitFest last summer, stunned us with his word weaving and incredibly intricate poetry and later on at the end of the night Kate Wragg treated us to a magic set, just her, her guitar and some handmade teddy bears! We all wait with baited breath for Kidderminster – The Musical.

speakeasy

Do you remember (perhaps as a child) feeling really excited the day/night before you went away on holiday? That’s how I feel when there are back to back poetry events (which will not happen as often in 2015 as I have no plans to dominate the circuit with another 100+ gigs), I left SpeakEasy, knowing that the very next evening I would see many poets again for our monthly Stanza meetings.

stanza scrabble I have promised myself that the next Stanza meeting I will take a poem that is more than a few hours old! I always take something in need of tweaking or helping, as that is the whole point. The more you hone in on editing, the less stringy pieces become and so sometimes writing something completely new seems the only option. This feels like turning up to a party with a brewing kit instead of an armful of drinks…

I (as always) enjoyed our meeting and it was lovely to see everyone after the New Year break. There are lots of exciting things happening at the moment for all of us in our poetry bubble, one opportunity is resulting in a poet’s day out later this month, unfortunately I shall not be with them to share the luncheon and laughter, only in spirit. (My own fault for taking a fortnight offline over Christmas!)

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The next event to take place happened just this evening – a 3rd Birthday party/Anniversary for Mouth and Music and Heather Wastie and Sarah Tamar kicked off in true hardworking, inspirational style with an event called ‘Spark Off’!

I have written an entire post about this evening – find it HERE https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/01/18/mouth-music-3rd-birthday-spark-off-special/

Heather sends press releases to the local paper to promote what’s on in the local area I was flattered by the coverage (it seemed only fair after this to let Peter’s team win)!

kiddi shuttle

Photo credit © 2014 PhotoGiraffe

 It has been an incredible second week back on the circuit and I still have lots more to look forward to this month! To make tonight even more magical (despite not winning), we walked out to falling snow. It made the journey home for everyone slightly hazardous but SPARKED my childlike glee ignition and I happily danced out of BHG venue and twirled in the snow as I ran for the car and tried to zip my poetry collection up dry!