Category Archives: SpeakEasy

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

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WLF&F logo concepts

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

WLF PL

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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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)!

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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!

Slipping on the Poetry Skin – A Day of Writing

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At last, a writing day, slipping on my poetry skin! piles_of_books-red

Work is always slow to pick up at the beginning of the term and my PPA Music job was cancelled (an hour or so before I was due to start on Tuesday). This could be a blessing in disguise for many reasons, but I found it rather irritating as the garage really needed to keep my car and check the rear brakes and it would have been ready for 1pm. I collected it Monday night instead as I needed it sooner for work!

Basically if my car had started (had to replace battery) on Monday, then I would have worked all day, it would have created about 3 hours writing time, which I actually spent visiting relatives, shopping and delivering a thank you parcel to my neighbour who had helped me with my car.

Tuesday by the time I found work was cancelled I was already into a scheduled day full of tasks and things that had to be done before Midday. I fancied the idea of writing but that is not what happened. I had to tutor and go straight to the Poetry Lounge in Ludlow, so the spare hour or so before this was spent sorting my set as I was one of the Guest poets.

Wednesday rolled around- I was still up in the small hours, pumped with adrenalin after a night in Ludlow, I even watched a film?! So in the morning I woke early, ‘on call’ and knew I needed more sleep… which I managed, waking up to the phone sometime after 10 a.m – finally the office called with work. So the writing I’d decided to do got shelved as I had less than 2 hours from bed to car to work. An hour to get up and an hour to route find and Streetview, really need to get my SATNAV working!

Maybe I would write in the evening. Well, I won’t go into too much detail, the work was fine, lovely in fact… the lanes were unmarked and I needed a helicopter to find the village. It was already a 40mile round trip. I spent an extra hour driving around, up and down the same 5 mile stretch trying to find my turn. In the end after maps, calls and phone apps. I did the terribly old fashioned thing of parking up and popping into the Post Office (I was in a neighbouring village, according to all the gadgetry about 1.8 miles away)! Instructions were clear and simple, 3 right turns and I was there.

Fortunately I arrived in time but flustered after an hour and a half in the car. I got home in 40 minutes but was so tired I just needed the settee and TV. I had a bite to eat and fell asleep. Waking up shortly before 11pm.

When I finally went to bed in the early hours, I prayed I wouldn’t get a work call. Prayers answered, I’ve started on the chores and written a list of writing tasks and things to do before tutoring later and then I am off out to perform at the New Year SpeakEasy.

I had planned to just go and watch, catch up with friends after missing the Christmas event due to ill health, then I got an email asking to perform, which I am more than happy to do, so no night off for me!

Last year I was far more disciplined and organised about the writing time. I feel an analogy coming on; Last year I was like an Olympic swimmer in training, early mornings, hours in training, fitting the pool (writing) into every spare minute.

Whereas 2015 sees me turning up at the Gym by late morning, having a relax in the sauna, steam room and jacuzzi, before walking down steps into the shallow end and gently gliding off with a breast stroke (or maybe a hotel pool with an inflatable and a cocktail). It is meant to be this way, for a few weeks at least.

I am working on submissions this morning, catching up with emails, contacting all the poets in my team for next week’s Mouth and Music Spark Off, finally emailing some much needed poetry to some very important people, submitting workshop poems for publication on websites and taking up a very kind offer from a poet I greatly admire to make one of my poems shine!

I am also writing some new material, seeking out opportunities and checking bits of pre-Christmas admin as well as organising a poem for Stanza (tomorrow) and desperately trying to write my New Year Message post (before mid-January arrives)!

Better get some coffee and get on it!

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Happy Writing

Review of October

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The end of last month was so crazy busy I am only just tying up loose blog ends now, nearly midway through November!

October was a true turning point month, goals I have been working towards for a while came together and opportunities flowed one after another. It was a fab month I thoroughly enjoyed being busy. Half term was filled with writing events and I also managed (or was possibly forced by exhaustion) a couple of days off. Think I have had about a week so far this year because I love what I do – it doesn’t feel like work. blogging

I started reviewing my writing life in weekly chunks as it was becoming too much to blog in real time about my schedule.

OCTOBER highlights include;

National Poetry Day – I loved finding out how other people had marked this special day, some of the things people got up to were incredible.

I hosted the opening event of Arts All Over the Place – Poetry, Performance and Everything Else as the Poetry Princess, followed by a writing workshop with Jan Watts and Cathy Crossley, next I  performed at Roy McFarlane’s Soulful Poetry Event – all part of the AAOTP Festival. Then I hotfooted to the library in Birmingham to watch the new Poet Laureate being announced. Adrian Blackledge became the new Birmingham Poet Laureate for 2014-2015

This day also marked ONE YEAR since returning to the OPEN MIC circuit!

RELATED LINKS:

National Poetry Day

PP PPEEAAOTP_3Roy Mcfarlenme

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Literature Festivals including Birmingham Literature Festival, Poetry, Performance & Everything Else Festival and Book to the Future Festival.

I went to see the recording of Radio 4 Poetry Please with Roger McGough, followed by With Great Pleasure, also recorded for BBC Radio 4. Rich McMahon was playing guitar and singing in the foyer  before the evening show at the Rep Theatre of Tell Me on a Sunday, which was a storytelling event set up by Writing West Midlands and Cat Weatherill to share real life stories. Marking the end of 3 years on this project she had selected some of the top stories and tellers to perform and treated us a little to her own stories in between.

I then returned to the festival the following weekend to perform my own commissioned poetry about Urban Nature for Naked Lungs.

A spoken-word exploration of the intersection of urban and natural.

Our lives in the city are played out amongst the products of human endeavour, the frantic pace of the metropolis tending to obscure our innate intimacy with the natural environment. Yet nestled within the concrete and mirrors are jungles brimming with other lives. Birmingham has recently been declared a Biophillic city and is praised for its biodiversity. How does the city structure our experiences of the non-human? Is it valuable that we facilitate such experiences? A group of writers will be producing and performing work dealing with these questions.

It felt amazing to be part of the festival just one year after discovering it! My first commissioned performance project, I hope there are more opportunities in the future.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/10/13/birmingham-literature-festival-naked-lungs-urban-nature/

BLF With Great PleasureBLF Rich McMahonBLF Tell me on a sundayNAKED_LUNGS_200x200px

Full Story

I performed a set for Phenomenal Women organised by Jan Watts for the Book to the Future Festival at Birmingham University and Arts All Over the Place celebrated the end of the PPAEE Festival with a huge party, I was delighted to perform an amusing set for the them and have Swingerella share the stage with me.

book-to-the-future-2014Mad hatterme and swing 1

SpeakEasy also celebrated the 1st Anniversary, I was happy when they asked me to perform a set at this special event. More

Speakeasy OCTinkspill-pink2014

I also completed my biggest poetry project to date and organised INKSPILL for the 2nd Year – an online writing retreat hosted right here on this blog. There is a pinned post on the front page of this blog (homepage) with links to the main articles from our INKSPILL weekend, go check it out. This year I was joined by Writer William Gallagher and Poets Charlie Jordan and Heather Wastie who wrote and filmed some wonderful guest posts full of knowledge, advice and experience.

My brother’s Wedding at the beginning of the month was a non-writing highlight. I read a poem by Roy Croft during the service to the tear stained faces of the bride and groom – toughest of audiences. It was a truly magical day!

That is a lot of highlights for just over 4 weeks!

 

Blogs & Projects

I continue with 52, although I am behind in week 40 something. I regret not being able to take full advantage of the community of this group, my own writing schedule has taken off this year and I am busy working when I am not writing and some weeks cannot find the time I promised to carve out for 52. We are all getting reflective as the year draws to a close.

Naked Lungs – My 1st commission – 2 other poets and myself performed at Birmingham Literature Festival in a piece called Urban Nature, it was an amazing experience.

Hanbury Hall Art Exhibition – an opportunity through the Poetry Society Stanza group to write poetry inspired by art in the gallery. I enjoyed the exhibition and still need time to create, write and edit my submission.

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INKSPILL – kept me busy over the last week of October, writing and researching articles, communicating with Guest writers and organising the schedule of events. It was great fun and lots of people have accessed the posts.

 

Submission

I completed a poetry project and missed lots of end of month submissions.

Wrote poetry for my commissioned performance and received rejection from publications I submitted to over the summer.

 

Performing Poetry (which I attempted to cut back on to maximise writing time)

Events I performed at include;

Mouth & Music, Kidderminster, hosted by Heather Wastie, headlined by Jasmine Gardosi. Where I first performed my Halloween Set – to the theme of Ghosts and Ancestors, including two new poems written especially for the event.

Oct me saffron tomsmemouth-music-poster-oct14

 

worcs speakSpeakEasy, Worcester Hosted by Fergus McGonigal – Worcester Poet Laureate, headlined by Antony Owen and Spoz, I was lucky enough to be asked to perform and was delighted as this was the 1st Anniversary Special! There was CAKE!

 

Poetry For Lunch, The Library of Birmingham, hosted by Jan Watts.pfl me choosing poemspfl oct

Restless Bones Birmingham Promo with Born Free Film at The Ort. restless the bookborn free

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Mostly Halloween at the Ort – a 10 minute set.

 

Word Up, in Halloween Fancy Dress Birmingham, hosted by Ddotti Bluebell – a night of amazing poetry. Headlined by Daisy Edwards & Swingerella.

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Workshops & Events

Writing Workshop David Calcutt Community  Garden Walsall, WILD FIRE

Poetry Workshop Angela France in Stratford-Upon-Avon

AAOTP Award Evening – where I received a HERO AWARD for stepping in last minute to open the festival.

Alan Durham’s Hen Race Book Launch

 

Meetings and Projects

We had the annual meeting of writers with Writing West Midlands.

My 1 to 1 Mentoring Role for WWM was made official and planning started for these sessions.

I also managed to get to Stanza this month again, hosted by Sarah Kemp. stanza scrabble

 

Week 3 September 15th – 21st

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The week before saw several poetry events & meetings. Mouth & Music, SpeakEasy, Stanza, the return of the Writing Group after the summer for Writing West Midlands at The Hive in Worcester and my One Year a Poet Party, peppered in between all this was a submission (of 3 poems) – fingers crossed.

Needless to say at the beginning of this, the 3rd week in September I was cream crackered – (TIRED)! The 15th was actually scheduled to be a heavy deadline day, a lot of the work was prose and I hadn’t had enough time to invest in it – it is shelved until a day it will be useful. I cut the stress by cutting out the deadline. T4

It has been a hard lesson to learn – THERE WILL NEVER BE ENOUGH TIME TO DO EVERYTHING – I have to look at each week and decide on the focus – is it writing or performing, new work or a different genre, some days it is just reading – all of it important.

I had some notes by the end of 2013 – look out for X in 2014 – now at the back of the diary I have that same note for 2015 – sometimes you got to practise an aim before you can shoot. I need some more learning time before I am ready. It really is a waste of time to send anything less than your BEST work and if you need more time, use it for something else or save it for the following year – trends may have changed by then, but we are constantly told to write from where it takes us – not study and write to theme, that produces empty, authorless writing which will go out of fashion quickly. Why use crayons when you can learn to blend and paint with oils?

So basically I spent the 15th – bleary eyed, trawling through writing schedules, considering the remaining writing, likely outcome and how much my heart pulled and basically slashed an ink line through every item on the list. It freed a day to read and think and after the OYAP celebration, I needed that. Tuesday was also a full on writing day but I also had work, I looked again and chose what to pursue and what to strike off the list at this time. Writing diary

All the while conserving energy and getting over the week before. On Wednesday 17th some of the Worcs Lit Fest crowd  – Maggie Doyle, Fergus McGonigal and Polly Robinson were performing in a tea room in Wolverley for an afternoon of Pop Up Poetry. The sun was shining, all the household chores had been done, I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to write – but listening to Poetry was something I could manage.

It had started by the time I reached my destination and I was having an off day with regards to confidence and feeling perhaps some people were getting fed up of me being absolutely everywhere – which I think was just in my own head, people seemed genuinely pleased to see me. I declined performing in the 2nd part and instantly regretted my decision especially when the question changed from ‘are you performing?’ To ‘why aren’t you performing?’

It was lovely meeting Sue, Susan Wood who organised it all and Sue Johnson (incredible workshops) and I met for the first time. It was great to hear a poet who had stood up for the 1st time and everyone seemed to feel inspired.

There is some film of this event, when I track it down I will add some to this post.

wolverley tea shopFacebook The Village Store/ Tea Shop

On Thursday I performed at Poetry For Lunch at the Mezzanine at the Library of Birmingham with Jan watts. It was fun and I am only sorry that I can’t get to more of these. I missed the special on Tuesday of this week, to celebrate 1 year since the opening of the new library and since then I have been working.

I couldn’t manage HIT THE ODE in the evening – Fergus McGonigal was performing, it would have been great to support him but I was just too tired.

On the 19th I hit the stage at The Ort to perform a varied set, last month it was really hot in the café and it was hot this month too – mainly because it was packed with people – which is great for Debbie Aldous as this night seems to go from strength to strength.

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I had planned a weekend off poetry and a break from writing. I did celebrate a big birthday – it was Tim Scarborough’s 50th Birthday (the percussion poet I collaborate with).

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Spoken Word Events

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Last week I took part in two regular Spoken Word events I attend as often as I can, Mouth & Music and Worcester’s SpeakEasy.

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Tuesday 9th saw Ben Norris headlined Mouth & Music also headlining this month were Heather Wastie and Sarah Tamar.

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It was funny seeing Ben again – last Thursday I saw him perform at Cherry Reds as part of the Naked Lungs event, then again on Saturday in his one man show The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Family at the MAC and then just a few days after at the BHG. This happens often with artists who will be booked for events within the same month, however, Ben Norris may have had other reasons for this last blow out in and around Birmingham… he has since moved to Cardiff (tissues passed around the Midlands), he is gained by Wales. Off on his next exciting adventure.

I finally managed to buy Ben’s pamphlet book, I hope he gets more published in the future, it is a great little press which publishes 6 poems and has several BIG name performance poets on there list, such as: Elvis McGonagall (who I see next Wednesday at The Hive, organised by Worcester Lit Fest) and Martin Newall, who I performed with in Essex about 15 years ago!

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I usually write to theme, this month has been busy & I didn’t have time. Instead I found suitable age poems to perform. It was a great night with fantastic and touching performances some poetry about war, others about Dementia. Heather Wastie also bravely attempted group poems, three of them! They can be seen on the Mouth & Music Blog here.

It was a great night. We also had 2 poet laureates, Tom Wyre – Staffordshire’s Poet Laureate and Fergus McGonigal Worcester’s Poet Laureate. They both performed War Poetry.

Photographs © Peter Williams 2014

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On Thursday 11th I went to SpeakEasy in Worcester. Headlined this month by Peter Wyton.

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Peter Wyton is a ‘poet of page and performance’ who has published a number of books and who has appeared on BBC Radio. He is a widely published and prize-winning poet who has appeared at venues as diverse as Cheltenham Literature Festival, Glastonbury Festival and Ledbury Poetry Festival.

It was a good night and I was delighted to be performing just before the headline act.

Brenda Read-Brown also treated us to a set, she won the WLF (Worcester LitFest) POETRY SLAM and collected her poetry trophy.

Performers included Kevin Brooke, who’s new book is being launched on the 26th September at The Hive, Charley Hammond, Maggie Doyle, John Lawrence and Mike Alma as well as open mic spots.

I always enjoy a night at SpeakEasy and this week was no exception – and next month they are celebrating the first year of the event, what a success it has been, delightful to have started when the re-launch of Worcester Lit Festival spoken word event, I even remember voting on what it should be called on the website.

 

SpeakEasy – 14th August – Homegrown Talent

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SpeakEasy this month was packed, much to the relief of Maggie Doyle who was hosting whilst Fergus McGonigal (current Worcester Poet Laureate) is away over the summer. It had never crossed my mind that Maggie would panic about attendance.

There were no open mic spots left, so I settled back to enjoy an evening of poetry. I went with Claire Walker who was performing, I love her work. There were many other talented poets as well as some first timers.

It is unusual for me not to take part, sometimes it is refreshing to just breathe and listen. The flipside is the adrenalin doesn’t kick in and you go straight to bed, when you get home.

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The headline act was Ben Parker, an Oxfordshire poet who comes from Worcester. Fantastic poetry and a refreshing set that was enjoyed by everybody.