Category Archives: SpeakEasy

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

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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

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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

42 Halloween Special

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).

happy bdayKathy rainwatch

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.

My Birthday Week, Poetry Events and Special Times

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The Birthday week started – the birthday week is when normal social occasions get preceded by ‘birthday’ regardless of whether they have anything to do with my birthday at all.

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I LOVE birthdays – but this year I have decided I don’t want to grow any older. That’s the downside.

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The week started with a day of writing, research and relaxation, long overdue and most necessary as there is barely a blank diary day now until October. We went for a meal on Monday – which was nothing to do with my birthday – but happened close enough to the celebration week to be included.

I caught up with friends on Tuesday afternoon and also went to Mouth and Music, which was an amazing night (own post to come later), yesterday I had a busy day and just enough hours to finish a special poem for my brother on his birthday – we celebrated with a family meal last night – his birthday, not mine. A great night out! We started early and were all home before 9pm as my nephews have gone off on holiday today, but I was exhausted. Happy and exhausted. Had an earlyish night and slept through. This is brilliant – Tuesday night I only managed 3 hours and Wednesday was a tough one to get through on that little sleep.

Today I would have loved a lie in but needed to get to the doctor’s. Mr G and I have less than a fortnight to sort out the allotment and we went up last week to hack back (the bit we managed will probably already be all overgrown already again)! I noticed on Friday marks on my calf and shin, they were bright red and fairly painful, I just presumed it was nettles or caught on a thorn. Not wanting to waste Doctor’s time – I let my body self heal – which it is doing – but I don’t need scars on my legs or further infection and after seeing family last night I was persuaded to take the matter more seriously. I have some cream.

Today I went to Birmingham where I performed at PFL – I cant remember the last Poetry for Lunch I managed to get to, it was the Stanza group one in June I think.

Andrea booked me a few weeks ago for a special comedy themed one. It was funny.

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I was able to meet fellow 52er Rueben Woolley too.

Tonight I went to SpeakEasy, I enjoyed the entertainment and definitely count it as my 2nd Birthday outing – the 1st being Birmingham earlier and PFL, well we did all go for a drink afterwards. inkspill coffee Ben Parker headlined SpeakEasy, an Oxfordshire poet originally from Worcester, a passionate page poet, we all enjoyed his refreshing set.

I spent the afternoon in between gigs attempting to write some poetry for submission. Nothing hit me earlier, but I did manage to grab a title and write a poem about another subject entirely – all was not lost.

I am going to attempt to get some poetry down before bed after my long and pleasant day poeting!

Tomorrow I am meeting up with friends who can’t make my weekend celebrations and also need to buy (or bake) a cake for Stanza tomorrow night. 1 bday