Category Archives: submission

Review of the Month – November (let’s get one blogged in time) UPDATED

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UPDATED

I cannot believe it is the end of November already. I have marked it with a great night in Worcester at an ‘Arthur Rackham’ themed 42. Great to see some new faces too.

This month has been abundant with opportunities and I am witnessing the domino effect. There is a lot to review and I am busy with end of month submissions, so this post has recently been updated and completed.

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REVIEW OF NOVEMBER

Week 1

I finally managed to get back over to Permission to Speak, where David Calcutt was headlining with his V. Press Pamphlet ‘The Old Man in the House of Bone’. d-cal-old-man

It was a great night and I performed some new work written from An Atomic Sun Workshop facilitated by Antony Owen that I attended earlier this year. Writing about Hiroshima takes time and finding places where it is comfortable enough to know you can perform it, is the next challenge. They worked. People were reminded.

Antony Owen and myself (along with many other writers) have work in a Shabda Press anthology. Accepted a while ago, contracts signed in Spring, we are happily approaching proof and publication and it should be out February time. There are big issues that we must not shy away from, but it can be a lonely place, it is great to meet like-minded writers. I have to say that Antony writes from the heart and everything he writes matters socially, whereas my political poems come and go.

Writing about such horrific histories can be hard without support of those around you.

I did lots of writing this week and with working, found I was too exhausted after October to manage evening events on top. I missed them. Forgave myself and spent time at the desk.

I had my writing group, which over the past fortnight has taken time preparing. I spent hours researching for topical writing tasks for the Writing West Midlands group and structuring the session and resources, they all seemed to enjoy it and we had some new members too. Even treated them to some time in the book booth windows to write outside of the space. My group discovered an interesting Jukebox on display and created all sorts of ideas about what it was really.

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Mr G. and I went to another big gig.

 

Week 2

I completed an interesting challenge set by Helen Calcutt and was rewarded with two new poems, one that stands out well, was performed at SpeakEasy and will be published.

I attended my first Birmingham Stanza at Waterstones, run by Roz Goddard. Jane Commane was the invited guest talking about publishing. It was an enjoyable evening and I was able to take another recently penned poem for some editing support. In fact I spent most of my week at Waterstones.

I missed HOWL as I was working and already had 48 hours with double events. Let me state – I am too old for double event nights!

I went to SpeakEasy in Worcester to see Ben Parker Feature and buy his new book. bp-seIt was a great night of poetry, thoroughly enjoyed and lovely to see Ben again. I missed the last chance to see him as Mr G and I were away when he organised his poetry event at the Swan Theatre, where he is poet in residence. I first met Ben at the end of his poetry residency at Royal Worcester Porcelain Museum at his Worcester LitFest event two years ago.

I cannot wait to read his new collection ‘The Amazing Lost Man’, which was released November 1st.

In this startling and energetic first collection, Ben Parker explores real and imagined territories and reports back in poems that are both darkly funny and vividly descriptive. Combing concision with a surreal lyricism, the worlds of The Amazing Lost Man are at once strange and familiar, while the central sequence of ‘Insomnia Postcards’ is a joyous clash of the quotidian and the bizarre. These poems have a subtle music, and a confident voice that draws the reader in. (cover)

cover_parker_1024x1024 I know the rule is never judge a book by the cover and I tend not to. Fortunately there is no rule about falling in love with a cover and I have. It is much brighter in reality – buy one and see. https://store.eyewearpublishing.com/products/the-amazing-lost-man

More from Ben here http://www.benparkerpoetry.co.uk/about

My recent poetry book buys have been piling up as I have spent the past few months invested in a crime novel with a bitterly disappointing ending (I still do not know who the murderer was)! Back to poetry for a while.

It is also good to hear when your poetry inspires others;

Big thank you to Suz Winspear, Nina Lewis and Lauren Hill. Those poems of heartbreak inspired me to write my first new prose in five months, while sat in the audience!

Afterwards I rushed out to the sticks to celebrate a friend’s birthday, made it in time for cake and just before the bar closed for drinks.

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The following night I went to the Poetry Business – Poet Laureate Choice Readings at Waterstones Birmingham. The Poetry Business publish under smith/doorstop imprint.

“One of the most vital and vitalising literature organisations in the country”
Andrew Motion
The Laureate’s choice 2016, picked by (of course) Carol Ann Duffy.
The four winning pamphlets are:
Geraldine Clarkson’s ‘Dora Incites the Sea-Scribbler to Lament’
Zeina Hashem Beck’s ‘There Was and How Much There Was’
Mark Pajak’s ‘Spitting Distance’
Tom Sastry’s ‘Complicity’
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I am lucky enough to know Tom through Jo Bell’s 52 project (2014) and have met Geraldine a few times since this new life started in 2013, although this was the first time we had properly met for some time. Nice to be remembered though.
It was wonderful to meet Mark and always good to expand the world of known poets, he was smashing to talk to and I will remember his early morning running and the bear. When in the states (Yosemite), 2015 I had a running mantra ‘Let me see a bear, let me be at a point of safety’… I did see a bear and her cub, I was on one of many transport buses at the time (thank goodness) – as up close and personal as I wanted to get!
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Zeina’s video performance from Dubai kicked off the evening, impressive, soul-driven poetry and from there we enjoyed a live set from the PB poets. It was a pleasant evening and they have since celebrated again in Bristol and I have only heard good things about that event too.
There is currently a special offer – just in time for Christmas – you can buy all 4 pamphlets for just £20.00
‘Geraldine Clarkson’s poems are musical, often playful incantations that delight in the power of words. Formally inventive and vivid with natural imagery.’ – Carol Ann Duffy
pb2© 2016  Robert Harper
Zeina Hashem Beck’s ‘There Was and How Much There Was’
‘Whether drawing on myth or fairytale, or writing directly from women’s experience, these are powerful poems by a new writer with a remarkable gift for storytelling.’  – Carol Ann Duffy 
‘Mark Pajak’s skilful poems keep themselves open, especially to childhood and adolescent experience.  Even so, they are far from frail – their insight and imaginative verve make them robust as well as eloquent.’ – Carol Ann Duffy 
pb4© 2016  Robert Harper
‘Tom Sastry navigates the mysterious everyday in this honest and often funny collection, making friendships and love affairs new and strange.’ – Carol Ann Duffy
pb3© 2016  Robert Harper
Mark also won the Bridport Prize this year with ‘Spitting Distance’.
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After this event I rushed to the other side of Birmingham to perform from Fragile Houses, my own pamphlet at Spoken Word at the Ort. It was a fabulous night, run by Debbie Aldous. It always feels like coming home.

I am too old for consecutive nights of double bookings though.

The next evening I was back in Waterstones (told you I need a bed there) for a wonderful evening with Indigo Dreams poets, also doing a whistle stop reading tour.

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It was a fabulous evening and a pleasure to meet Kate, Mab and Bethany W Pope, all of whom I knew of but hadn’t met and the lovely Bethany Rivers, who I met at a Writers Network event hosted by WWM back in 2013 and know from poeting in Shropshire, where she does a lot of work. I can highly recommend all their pamphlets. I am currently reading ‘Off the Wall’ By Bethany Rivers.

This evening was delightful, a magical experience and a thoroughly enjoyable Q & A after the readings. Powerful poets doing what they do best.

I shared the evening with Claire Walker and Holly Magill and it was special.

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I also received news that I had won 2nd place in the Museum of Royal Worcester Poetry Challenge and I had to keep this a secret, even the judges didn’t know as it truly was judged anonymously by the panel. It was so hard not telling anyone and slightly awkward as I was going to see Claire Walker headline at Poetry Café Refreshed in Cheltenham on the same night as the awards/reading. This wasn’t quite as hard as keeping my publishing opportunity quiet, but I just wanted to celebrate the success openly!

 

Week 3

I made some submissions, finally! And enjoyed Licensed to Rhyme, where Emma Purshouse was headlining.  She has just won a book award too.

I Once Knew a Poem who Wore a Hat Emma Purshouse and Catherine Pascall Moore
Lots of wonderful imaginative and outrageous poems in this collection which is full of the charms and idiosyncrasies of childhood.  It’s easy to see how children could love these breezy poems and become attached to them.  One could easily imagine them being learnt by heart and repeated in playgrounds.  The illustrations by Catherine Pascall Moore are quirky and appropriate.  The hints about, for example, the best way to learn a poem or how to speak a poem aloud, are unusual in a book of this sort and never patronising. 

 

A first was VIP invite to the Verve Poetry Festival Launch – I will be telling you lots more about the festival throughout the coming months. verve12 Luke Kennard

I love watching Luke perform, dynamic doesn’t cover it – you may notice a group of us chatting – we are not talking through his set – here he is preparing to dive in!

The event was everything I hoped my first VIP experience would be and along with brilliant performances from Luke and Amerah Saleh. verve11

I spent the evening eating divine V cakes and mingling with many people, also had the pleasure of meeting some people for the first time.

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The tickets were live within 24 hours and I have already bought my festival pass for February. I also plan on doing as many workshops as I can and all of this has happened just in time –  for Christmas I have asked for Verve to be gifted back to me… so although with transport etc. I will be running up a bill, the tab is already paid for. Result. verve5

Find out all about the festival and buy tickets here http://vervepoetryfestival.com/

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The night after this was the Poetry Challenge event at the Museum – Royal Worcester Porcelain Museum. Which was a lovely event facilitated by Suz Winspear (Poet in Residence) and the Museum.

cup Prize winning treats – unexpected and beautiful.

It was an absolute joy to surprise all the judges who had chosen the winning poems without knowing who wrote them. I was delighted to be placed and loved the fact the winner and my fellow runner up, Shelagh Wain (from Burton-on-Trent), were poets I did not know.

Georgina Byrne (first place – Winner) had never written a poem before. Here is the article Worcester News

You can read Georgina Byrne’s poem here http://www.museumofroyalworcester.org/winner-of-the-poetry-challenge/

paper-1100254_1280 The event was a lovely, relaxing evening of poetry and it was great to have the judges perform alongside the poetry challenge winners. The museum was also open to have a browse around, a treasure trove of porcelain. I love it there, it gives me the same feeling libraries do. (Imagine – chocolate cake…)

The next night was the Poetry Parlour at Waterstones, I had planned to go but after work and the busy month so far – I missed it. Roy McFarlane was the Poetry Parlour this month, once again I have heard positive reviews about this evening from the open mic-ers.

I spent time writing a current piece that cannot yet be disclosed. Looked over a manuscript for someone and finally, on Sunday went to perform at Open Poetry Walsall Arboretum. Which was a great way to finish a ram-packed week! Relaxing to poetry and afterwards having a quick drink in a pub with poets.

 

Week 4

Missed Shrewsbury Literature Festival completely having only found out about it a few weeks ago. I made it back to Poetry Bites which I have not been able to go to for a long time.

Prepped for The Book Party. Post-book launch open mic event where I showed 4 exclusive poetry films and one that has already been shared publically, from Fragile Houses. It was an intimate affair and a great night. Sadly a lot of people couldn’t make it in the end, but it was a perfect evening of poetry and friends. We all enjoyed each other’s poems and I am (as always) delighted when my poetry circles meet for the first time. Glad I have given some more people Lesley Ingram and John Mills and some more Worcestershire poets are now known to them.

a-fh I was touched by everyone supporting and participating in this evening of poetry, had a gorgeous bouquet (thanks Anne Milton), a poem written about Fragile Houses (thanks Charley Barnes) and good friends who travelled great distances to be there.

Suz Winspear & Mogs performing – photography Charley Barnes

The next night I had to miss Stanza (for the 2nd month running) as I was at  a Book Launch in Birmingham. For ‘Womanly Words’ an anthology of poetry (20 female poets) produced by Shakti Women.

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It was an incredibly absorbing evening – I missed a lot of readings whilst driving around in circles trying to park. A relaxed affair around a huge conference table laden with scrabble, sweets, cakes, champagne and soulful women. It was great that a people came just to listen and that so many of the 20 poets in the anthology were able to make the event. It was lovely reconnecting with everyone.

I was unable to participate throughout the year as much as I would have liked due to working on editing Fragile Houses. There are plans afoot already for 2017 though. It was great meeting some of my fellow anthology poets and just spending time chatting with like-minded activists.

I am a little in love with this book. Well done to Zara Walker for her impressive design work on this gem.

http://www.shaktiwomen.co.uk/

Siobhan and Cheryl even sent us away with goodie bags!

After this event, I was asked to do Radio (for the 2nd time this year), I would have loved to have read my poem on air, but after the excitement of this week’s events and my need to be at home and with Mr.G, added to the fact that it wasn’t local and everybody has started Christmas shopping on Saturdays, I sadly passed up this opportunity. I am kicking myself now a bit.

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I spent the weekend at home with Mr G and fitted in a little poetry writing and film making time.

I also received news of 2 exciting opportunities for 2017, that for now I have to keep quiet. (There is a pattern emerging here!)

And I have finished off the month at 42 with an inspiring evening of writing on the theme of ‘Arthur Rackham’s Brain’. Many of us had completed enjoyable research into the works of this artist. As a child I experienced his Wind in the Willows and my poems were written whilst considering his artwork ‘Mischief’, illustrations for ‘The Old Lady in the Wood’ and ‘Undine’. I was pleased with the resulting poems and had some positive feedback on them. A fabulous event to complete the month – literally – on the 30th!

 

 

 

 

The Olympic Year – The Story so Far

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2016 my first Olympic year milestone. I know generally people have a ‘5 year plan’, but I decided in 2013, when I gave up a full-time career (at a current loss of about £60K – what is money…) and embarked on my creative life instead that I would use the Olympic model. I was inspired by London 2012 and listened to many successful athletes talking about life before the Gold medal. For many this was their 4th (and last) games and winning has an almost entirely invisible to the public trail behind it.

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Part of the ethos of the blog is honesty, to share the rejection as well as success, expose the hidden underbelly creatives face daily. The theory behind the Olympics was my imagining but I have learnt in the past 3 years of networking that many of the poets and artists I admire are about 16+ years in. It is entirely possible. I believed it and now I know it is true.

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2013 – Learning

In the first year I built a steady foundation. I used to write, was published in anthologies as a young writer and performed into my early 20s. I trained in Creative Writing on a modular writing course facilitated by (famous) professionals, in Leicester and lived a creative life (until I couldn’t afford to eat).

It has been over a decade since I last wrote and the writing world had changed, I was out of practise and out of touch. Workshops and writing classes were an important initial investment. It took me 10 months before I wound my way back to poetry, which although one of the smaller writing markets, has always been my natural home. I can write, but I am a poet.

I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo, Spring and Summer and the official NaNoWriMo in November. I spent the words on a Non-Fiction manuscript I have been writing (mainly in my head) on and off for the past 13 years. It was the last thing I worked on in 2002, the year my writing stopped. I blew the dust off and picked it up again this year in Nano. I also worked on some short stories.

My main focus was to establish this blog and I spent hours typing away thinking ‘what if I actually used this time to write?’ I have no regrets though, this is an award winning, well established blog with lots of traffic and steadily increasing statistics.

My first public performance was in Leamington at Julie Boden’s Spoken Word night, where I met Dave Reeves. Within 2 weeks of finding myself back in the heart of poetry I met the local poetry scene and volunteered to work for Writing West Midlands. I performed at Birmingham Book to the Future Festival, in Stratford-Upon-Avon at an Emma Press Book Launch and Worcester.

I submitted some prose work and had a poem published.

I established INKSPILL – an annual virtual writing retreat. It was important to keep it FREE, catering for all those people who want and need it, but cannot afford it. In future years this may change, but now in its 4th year it is still FREE and accessible to anyone, although I do encourage a FOLLOW to the blog as a thank you. The initial idea came from an email I received about Iyanla_Vanzant’s Wonder Woman Weekend, which I couldn’t attend as I couldn’t afford to get to America.

I went to the Birmingham Literature Festival and Book to the Future Festival.

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2014Performing

After returning to performing poetry at the tail-end of 2013, 2014 became my touring year. Whatever I earn from writing will just about cover my 2014 fuel bill!

I became an Assistant Writer for Writing West Midlands and performed in over 107 places, I started taking bookings as a Headline performer. I also worked on commissioned projects, some for established festivals. I realised that as an artist, I enjoy doing unusual things with my writing and sought opportunities to do more than perform and write words.

I sent a pamphlet out and got rejected. Unlike 2013, where my focus was learning, this year was performing. I was writing lots and submitted a lot more work, with a clearer recording system. I had many individual poems placed and published and enjoyed celebrating the successful year in an event called ‘One Year a Poet’. 6 poems appeared in 3 anthologies, 2 poems were published in magazines, 4 poems published online. I had a poem on the Poetry Fence at Acton Scott Farm, another on the Wenlock Poetry Trail, Wenlock Poetry Festival 2014, 21 Haikus were used in an installation at the Midlands Arts Centre (MAC), another was displayed in a local library by an Arts Network. That’s 36 poems out there in the real world. In August I decided, incredibly last minute to submit my pamphlet to V. Press. My hesitation was having to deal with rejection again.

Performance highlights include; performing in Worcester LitFest alongside Adrian Mealing for the first part of Jonny FluffyPunk’s show. My moustache poem had been written with him in mind, so it was great to perform it in front of him.

The moustache poem was part of a set with other work being collaborative between myself and Tim Scarborough. This duo experience was sadly short lived, as he fell in love and focussed on his drumming business. But if we have time in the future, it is not a closed door.

I opened the Arts All Over the Place Festival, in support of Mental Health. A cause close to my heart as it was through suffering depression that I made my life changes and found myself picking up my pen again.

I performed at Worcester Music Festival.

I did some 1 to 1 Mentoring for Writing West Midlands and promoted Daniel Sluman’s second collection ‘the terrible’ (Nine Arches Press). I reviewed this poetry book, loving hand made and  a joy to read,  Sarah Hymas In Good Weather 1 for Sarah Hymas.

INKSPILL included Guest Writers; William Gallagher, Charlie Jordan & Heather Wastie.

I went to Wenlock Poetry Festival, Worcester LitFest, Birmingham Literature Festival, Stratford Literature Festival, Arts All Over the Place, Book to the Future, Ledbury Poetry Festival, Worcester Music Festival.

Who could forget this was the year of 52. A poetry year created by Jo Bell, with weekly prompts and over 500 people taking part. An incredible project to be part of. I am so glad that Jo Bell invited me to take part. I also told several local poets about it and they have since had great success from work produced during this time, as well as forming friendships with many poets across the UK and beyond.

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©Murdock Ramone Media

2015 – Submitting & Performing

My poetry pamphlet was accepted by V. Press, which has to be my biggest achievement so far. 14 months after embarking back on my poetry path, I had the opportunity to publish my first book.

V. Press have worked hard in creating a strong debut pamphlet and I had my first experience of professional editing, lots of changes were made to the content before the editing process could begin. I dreamed that my pamphlet would be published in 2015 alongside, Jacqui Rowe, David O’Hanlon and Claire Walker. This was not to be and although I found this difficult and even harder to see each book since, I know that my own pamphlet needed time to germinate.

11 poems were published online, 4 poems were published in anthologies and 3 poems were published in poetry magazines. I mainly worked on my manuscript poetry. I had one short prose piece published too. 18 pieces of work flying around in the real world and a pamphlet in the pipeline.

I continued to get bookings as a Headline/Guest Poet, including Cheltenham and Shrewsbury, performed in London for the first time at HARK Magazine launch, performed at Charity Fundraisers, entered Worcestershire Poet Laureate and was a runner up, became a Lead Writer for Writing West Midlands, took part in Caldmore Community Garden Poetry workshops with David Calcutt (Poet in Residence), was booked as one of ten poets for the Quiet Compere Tour, Midlands leg (Sarah Dixon),  went back to London to perform at The Poetry Café for the Paper Swans Press launch of Schooldays anthology, commissioned for National Poetry Day Light and Shade event and took part in my first Poetry Brothel event, organised by Caged Arts for Halloween and performed at Waterstones.

INKSPILL had guest writers; Daniel Sluman, David Calcutt and Alison May.

I went to Wenlock Poetry Festival, Worcester LitFest, Birmingham Literature Festival, Stratford Literature Festival, Walsall Festival, Arts All Over the Place, Poetry Festival Swindon, Book to the Future, Ledbury Poetry Festival.

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2016 – The 1st Games – Writing & Editing

This year’s story cannot be written yet, but I am still Headlining and have finally finished the pamphlet. It is to be published by V. Press, date yet to be announced.

I am delighted to mark the Olympic year with something so massive!

I am currently organising INKSPILL, guest writers will be announced in the Autumn and I am incredibly excited.

Festivals have taken a backseat this year, so have performances as I tied myself to the desk to finish writing and editing.

Submissions started well – since April I have not submitted anything as I have been attached to the manuscript and at times attempting to detach myself enough to see what is for the best. I am neglecting the end of July’s submission window as I want to focus on the current project. ‘Operation pamphlet’. Contracts have been signed and it is beginning to become real.

4 poems published online, 5 published in poetry magazines, 3 poems published in 2 e-books, 1 poem in a chapbook and 5 poems in 2 anthologies and the pamphlet soon. 20 – 40 poems flying around in the world. A grand total of 95 poems. I know I can smash 100 before the end of this 4 year marker. I don’t hold a number as a target. I just write and keep my eye out and when something takes my fancy I aim and fire. I have a long list of rejections as well. Learning what publications, journals and editors want and like is an ongoing process and involves reading and subscribing and supporting the poetry market. It is fun and I look forward to more training and success.

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Saffron Toms © 2014

OLYMPIC YEAR

Pamphlet to be published by V. Press

Lead Writer Writing West Midlands

Facilitator/ Creator of INKSPILL (4th Year)

Poet – 95 poems published

BL me Universe poem

Rangzeb ©2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FLASH NANO – NaNoWriMo Reaches the Halfway Point

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WOW – Pitstop… NaNoWriMo reaches the half-way point, which I could hardly believe when I logged on to update my word count… YES I have been writing, well catch up writing (but that’s okay, especially with NaNoWriMo).

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As I am following Nancy’s blog prompts and attempting to spend the month writing flash fiction, I am not planning on reaching 50,000 but what I can tell you is with all the catch up writing I have smashed through 10,000 – which I celebrated. I remember from 2013 that once you smash that barrier the word count tends to follow and for a while (despite only adding 100 words or so) the number increases drastically across the 100 boundaries. Until your brain leaks the thought of 20,000 words – you feel good for a while.

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Last week I thought I might have to cheat further by writing poems not prose, but I am enjoying the Flash challenge and am creating stories that wouldn’t have existed. I am also making these challenges work for me a bit and finding time to research and build up my post NaNo resources – you have to have something to get on with straight afterwards. Keep busy.

nano_15_mug_back_detail Week 2 of NaNoWriMo – Flash Nano

Day 7 – was finally written, an interesting futuristic tale that I think has legs and might become a longer work of fiction some day. It surprised me, even after I had the basic concept of a society that needed more focus on rest and health (and let’s face it our world is mad for busy) – there is a great growing entity behind this story that I would like to explore further. I can feel a Christmas Holiday writing project coming on.

Day 8 – my story was fairly short, but again re-reading it I found some magic moments that I may be able to copy and paste into a story at some point in the future. I wrote this story behind the schedule and it made me glad that I had such an interesting day at work.

Wow, Nancy – you made me happy to be at work!?

Day 9 – This was a great prompt and it could have gone anywhere, in fact at one point I thought it might. I have written all the ideas down for future reference. It also inspired me to create an activity for my writing class and the resulting letter has some dark humour in it. It pleases me when I manage to write something funny, a good change from the serious.

Day 10 – was another prompt that nearly flew to thinking outside the box and again I have a stream of ideas to tackle another time. In the end I based this on a miraculously true story and had fun researching meanings for Italian names. I included bright nobility, which sums up the protagonist well, strength and keeper of time. The ending was left open, but I know what happens.

Day 11 – Again I think this story may need more work, I think it would appeal to the YA market, a market I haven’t considered before. Again, there are touches of humour found in the relationship between the father and his daughter.

Day 12 – has left most of with our jaws on the floor and I have only had time to scaffold my effort. Very 80s and worth being part of Flash Nano for this prompt alone.

Day 13 – was one I enjoyed (although it hasn’t helped the Nano count at just 13 words) but it was fun to edit and re-edit. I changed the story idea twice too, I am happy with the final result.

I also played catch up with the Day 6 challenge – the 100 word story. I wanted to write 150 words so I could submit it and I did just that (well 149). I will keep you posted on this one.

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I look forward to the next week of prompts.

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I collected a few more award buttons and have 13 stories and 11,548 words so far

10000 word_count_earned

Nancy Stohlman FLASH NANO

End of August Review

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August was a magical month with lots of engaging events and writing completed.

I am currently working on two written projects: my first pamphlet and continue to edit and adjust this collection and a collection of Caldmore Gardens Poetry, we are hoping to achieve a grant to publish our poems from David Calcutt’s Poet Residency.

I had the summer off from the day job, which meant no income – but I had the joy of being a full time Poet for two months.

Over the summer there were;

5 workshops

3 performance events

11 Open Mics

1 Headline gig

7 submissions

Approached to perform at a Book Launch

My first trip to The Poetry Café, my second performance in London

My first time exploring the British Library

Application and acceptance for a one off Poetry Event to be held in October

and plenty of missed events due to lack of energy and transport/funds.

Two anthologies published with my poetry in them – Schooldays, Paper Swans Press and Birmingham Bound, Book Club

DSC06766 The British Library

WEEK 1

I booked tickets for Angela France’s workshop in Stratford-Upon-Avon, for Swingerella’s Wrecking Ball Tour, which toured to Edinburgh Festival and is back in Birmingham in September and John Hegley’s workshop in Ludlow that I have been looking forward to since March!

Claire Walker has her first pamphlet coming out with V Press in October and asked me to read at her Book Launch for ‘The Girl who Turned into a Crocodile’,Claire Walker I was delighted to accept.

I went to Stirchley Speaks to perform and support Myfanwy Fox in her headline slot, it was a lovely evening and I was able to enjoy poetry from people I have either never heard or only recently discovered. Holly Daffurn is a wonderful local poet and I cannot believe I have only just discovered her work. It was great to hear Joe Cook again too.

I had several writing days before my trip down to London and the Paper Swans book launch at The Poetry Café. I have been working on my own manuscript for a while now and also have embarked on a collaboration which hopefully (depending on funding) will result in a book. I finished my 2nd notebook of poetry over the summer and have been delighting in filling my next notebook. These notebooks get smaller every time, as once the poems are glued in they soon get heavy and cumbersome to use on stage – the other way around that issue is to recite off by heart and I am delighted to have several sets I can do just that with. I still have a long way to go to have 3 hours worth of material swimming around like Candy Royalle! It is very handy if and when I am put on the spot to perform though.

LONDON was AMAZING! https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/09/21/the-poetry-cafe-schooldays-anthology-book-launch-paper-swans-press/

WEEK 2

I enjoyed a writing working facilitated by Claire Walker (who I am delighted to find out plans to do more). https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/09/21/avoncroft-writing-workshop-with-claire-walker/

Headlined alongside Sophie Sparham & Carl Sealeaf at HOWL. https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/09/21/howl-headlining-the-sun-at-the-station/

I made it to a KAF (Kidderminster Arts Festival) event eventually! It was also my brother’s birthday, so I had driven in the opposite direction, wolfed down a meal, celebrated with family and then rushed off to the event. Blair Dunlop and Liz Berry performed in the amazing space of St. George’s Church, it was a splendid event. I enjoyed meeting them both and sadly forgot to take my copy of Black Country to get signed as I rushed out with my brother’s birthday bits instead.

http://www.randomhouse.co.uk/editions/birmingham-roller/9780701188573 You can BUY your copy here.

We had a great Stanza meeting.

I had planned to go and perform at the Oxford book launch with Paper Swans, however WLF created an event that clashed which involved writing poetry for a National Poetry Day competition and after all my busy travelling in London and Buckinghamshire I fancied staying closer to home. Also I wanted to write a poem for the NPD competition and had no idea of the wonders to be found inside Kidderminster Carpet Museum, which was open for us to find our muse and scribble away for a few hours on Saturday the 15th August.

WEEK 3

Started with my birthday (17th) that was much celebrated…. I started the festival of me at the weekend and celebrations ran for a week.

Due to these celebrations and lack of transport funds (from no income), I missed two great events in Coventry that I had planned to attend.

Fire & Dust at the Big Comfy Book Shop – which I have managed to attend just once. Reuben Woolley and Ruth Stacey were performing (19th). The following evening Antony Owen had his book launch for his new collection Margaret Thatcher’s Museum, at the Inspire Café. I was especially sad to miss this, but I know he will come and tour Birmingham at some point to promote. It is likely our paths will cross soon enough.

I was published by Nutshells & Nuggets ‘A Day at the Seaside’ one of my three Seamus Heaney poems.

I went to a special WORD UP event where they had linked with I Am Not A Silent Poet – Reuben’s website, who kindly published some of my poems earlier this year. It was different to perform this sort of material at Word Up. Alongside Reuben were the headliners Marcia Calame and Jess Davies. It was a fantastic night and a rare after party pint or two was had by a small collective. Always good to catch up with a chat, the events never give us enough time to chat and listen to/perform poetry.

I submitted one of the poems I wrote at the Arboretum workshop as part of Walsall Arts Festival.

Sunday saw my last KAF event Mouth & Music Slightly Circus, it was lovely having M&M on a Sunday afternoon, very relaxed – despite the theme, headlined by Amy Rainbow and her incredibly talented son, Merlin, on the Hula Hoops & Dave Reeves – who performed an incredible set with Heather Wastie. It was lots of fun and I am so glad other people dressed as CIRCUS for the event!

This event unfortunately clashed with a special summer OPUS which took place on a barge on the canals of Birmingham and looked immensely fun. Feedback I have heard was all positive and the photographs were wonderful.

WEEK 4

I caught up with more writing and editing. Applied for a poetry based commission – one off show organised by Caged Arts for Halloween and met up with Suz Winspear & Heather Wastie to organise and plan our NPD (National Poetry Day) performance. It was great to indulge in some extra time at the carpet museum, make extra notes and firm up ideas.

On Wednesday 26th I returned to Stratford-Upon-Avon for another workshop with Angela France. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and spent some spare parking time afterwards browsing the shops and leisurely walking down the river.

I found out about National Suicide Prevention Week and saw that Abegail Morley was taking submissions to be shown on the Poetry Shed for a fortnight in September. Unfortunately a few days passed before correspondence became a submission and by then she had been inundated. I love Jo Bell’s 52 Project and all spin off groups, but I have to say when it comes to open submissions it is a marathon of hundreds now hurtling towards that finish line. It was good to spend some time focusing on NSPW and writing some new poems.

I performed at 42, which is becoming ever-popular. It was another great and varied night. I shared old and new poetry.

The end of the month was meant to finish in Cannon Hill Park with a poetry picnic organised by Apple & Snakes & Bohdan Piasecki. The weather wasn’t good over on my side and I decided it would be a wash out – it wasn’t, again great photos and feedback. It had been a very busy month and I am not sure the extra journey would have done me good, although obviously seeing everybody would have been fun.

I have also decided to try and go to Edinburgh Festival (as a spectator) next summer. I have been meaning to go for about the past 20 years and this month have been following so many feeds of poet/ performer friends who were forging their way on the Fringe.

I didn’t go – I couldn’t afford it – but I did borrow a Library book set in the festival (‘a jolly murder mystery’ the cover said) it was a good read and made me feel a little closer to the action.

 LINKS AND PICTURES TO FOLLOW

WORKSHOPS

Claire Walker – Holiday themed Writing Workshop

Angela France – Journey themed Writing Workshop

OPEN MICS

Stirchley Speaks

WORD UP

Mouth & Music Slightly Circus – KAF

42

HEADLINE

Howl – Birmingham

BOOK LAUNCH / EVENTS

Schooldays Anthology Paper Swans – London

KAF Festival Liz Berry & Blair Dunlop

Museum of Carpet Open Day for NPD Poets

Stanza

Review of the Month – July

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ww me If July was a race it would be 100 metre sprint, if it was weather it would be a full on 30 degrees (I am from the UK), July was like the best day ever groundhogged over and over!

Busy, full and delightful.

Was it all Roses?

There were a few dips, loss of confidence in my writing but I am learning that self-belief isn’t a constant and that all artists feel this way sometimes. So, rather like my illness in the early days – I am choosing acceptance. It is better to admit defeat, say this is the way I feel today, so what can I do that will create more time for writing another day. Anything from the TO DO list, which is huge this summer, as I am attempting to unpack the house (finally), deep cleaning as I go.

Write Daily

I am a firm believer in this action and I DO. Even on a dip day some writing will have been created – that is how a dip day is spawned, it doesn’t come from not writing. Besides I had 10-15years of not-writing. If you want to be a runner, you may have a day when you do a quick power walk and some pilates, but I am sure you wouldn’t stop altogether. Even on the non-training days they are devouring everything they can about their chosen goal.

LET IT GO

I have talked about Elsa moments before on this blog. I missed a few submission opportunities this month because I couldn’t key into what the writing required. I am currently working on a big project and that is taking the focus when I am working – and so it should. I have tried to make submissions with work I have already collecting dust.

eastbourne

JULY

I was still on holiday, basking in heat and oceans at the beginning of July. As soon as I was home the run of poetry events kicked in.

 

WEEK 1

Magnetic Diaries A wonderful Poetry Play at The Courtyard, Hereford.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/07/20/the-magnetic-diaries-poetry-play-including-micro-interview-with-author/

Rhyme with Reason A great open mic night in Birmingham.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/07/21/birminghams-growing-poetry-rhyme-with-reason/

Poetry Lounge A fantastic night in Ludlow.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/07/24/poetry-lounge-in-the-sitting-room-july-7th/

Ledbury Cider with Poets Ruth Stacey Book Launch

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/07/31/ledbury-poetry-festival-the-launch-of-queen-jewels-mistress-by-ruth-stacey/

Quiet Compere Tour Worcester Stop 6 A great event to be involved in, 1 of 10 poets.

sarahnina lewisNeil LaurensonMyfanwy FoxMike AlmaJasmine Gardosiclive deeCarl SealeafClaire WalkerCatherine CrosswellAdrian Mealing Sarah Dixon © 2015

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/08/01/quiet-compere-tour-2015-stop-6-worcester/

Then after this run of events I found myself exhausted. I was working full time too. I spent the whole weekend sleeping and unfortunately missed the 52 Picnic and reading in Stratford-Upon-Avon at the Poetry Festival. A great shame as this was something I was looking forward to for a long time.

The Pangaea Slam a wonderful poetry competition I discovered in 2014, this year I posted a video in WEEK 1, unfortunately since then I have been busy with writing projects and life and have not managed to complete this event. It is now on my hit list for next year.

 

WEEK 2

After a weekend of sleep, I was ready to go again and as it was the last week of term, I had less work to do and more energy to play (all my poetry work is play).

Ten Letters was an amazing experience, Poetry Theatre at its best. A wonderful collective.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/08/01/ten-letters/

10 letters 2

Walsall Caldmore Community Garden Workshop with David Calcutt. This workshop was great, the tools of the job was our starting point, due to the weather we spent most of our time writing in The Bakehouse, a wonderful artisan café in town. There were some interesting pieces that came out of this workshop, not to mention the gorgeous food at The Bakehouse and the help yourself bookcase!

In the evening I went to Mouth & Music where the theme (thanks to Gary Longden) was inventions that never made it – the hardest theme I have ever had to write for. I tried to write a poem in the hour I had between the workshop and M&M, it was still in scratch stage but will be developed. It was a great night.

MM July me Peter Williams © 2015

At the weekend I was heading to Shropshire for Writing Down the Dingle, a writing workshop facilitated by Jean Atkin. I had to pull out of this workshop as we had a college reunion the same day – a group of Drama students that haven’t seen each other for 20 years, which was fabulous and a great start to the summer holidays.

 

WEEK 3

I started to focus on writing, I am still editing a collection and now have a couple of new projects to work on from Walsall. I started working on my 1st poetry sequence for 42 for ‘Island of Lost Souls’, I started with black out poetry based on a page of HG Wells. From there I edited and extended the sequence, keeping the archaic language of the original text. In the end the sequence was 5 poems long and following positive feedback I might make it a flash fiction piece.

It was also the Walsall Festival this week, originally an event that was planned got cancelled but I did get to a workshop at Walsall Arboretum facilitated by Jimmie Rennie and David Calcutt, which was great fun.

Photography Janet Jenkins © 2015

swanslakebandstand

writing cafe

 

Followed by a reading at The Bakehouse. It amazed me how different all of our writing was from the stimulus of the lake.

bakehouse

sammy Sammy jimmieJimmie me Nina

janet Janet david David

1benBen 1andyAndy

1 nethNeth

 

In the evening I performed at The Sun at The Station for Arts All Over the Place at the Madhatter Charity Fundraiser. Rachel Green booked me for this event a month ago, having opened the festival for them last year. I was delighted to be asked, although I wasn’t sure which poems to perform. It was a great event and well attended – a great fundraiser, such a success that they are considering making it a bi-monthly event.

poster

Rachel Green © 2015

rg1rgRachel Green Sammyme rachel

howard atkins adhd

Howard Atkins © 2015

I took some bookings for August Headlines, diary is now booked up to October.
WEEK 4

I had an amazing night at Shakti Women Womanly Words event. Lots of great performances and a touching experience. It was the first of a schedule of events planned for this summer.

ww poetsww8ww9ww7ww2ww3ww5ww6

42 Drummonds was a great event, my sequence of poetry went down well and we all got to say goodbye to Math Jones, who is off to the smog of our Capital City.

And since then I have chained myself back to my virtual desk to continue writing.

©Murdock Ramone Media

©Murdock Ramone Media

SUBMISSIONS

I have sent 4 submissions this month, I am waiting to hear the results and keeping my fingers crossed as always!

 

It has been an amazing month. Made more spectacular by the fact that my (unpaid) summer holidays started 2 weeks ago and since then I have been in my poetry skin and I still have 6 weeks to go. This is my holiday, being my poet self!

June – Review of the Month

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June – what a busy month,  brimming with challenges, competition, festivals and longer term projects, as well as taking stock half way through the year.

My MOOC course How Writers Write Poetry with the University of Iowa finished and I enjoyed an incredibly busy month of performing, writing and getting published. The sparkly, golden bits most people get to see instead of being aware of all the hard work and ground work that caused the success in the first place! CN-1780-logo-uofiowa

WEEK 1

  • Voting closed for Worcestershire’s Poet Laureate poems. I reached the final along with 5 other talented poets.
  • I did a workshop with David Calcutt and the Caldmore Garden Poets, they were scheduled to perform a group poem at the carnival day on the 13th, which I couldn’t attend as I was working the final Writing Group for Writing West Midlands. Due to the weather this performance has been rescheduled and I can now take part on the 21st July!
  • A recent poem of mine from the workshop where e.e. cummings was our starting point – ‘Late Spring’ has been published on David’s blog you can read other poems there too. http://naturalhistoriesblog.com/others-writing/
  • My term ‘poeting’ coined last year is becoming widely used by many poets! Hoping to get it into OED next year!
  • Jess Davies had her opening night of a new spoken word event in Stirchley at the P Café, it was packed and well attended. Stirchley Speaks – and it certainly did!
  • Scary Canary hosted another Permission to Speak, Rob Francis’s fantastic night – NOW FREE!! This month saw Brenda Read-Brown and PTR Williams headline.
  • I went to Debbie Aldous’s Spoken Word at The Ort and shared a lovely meal and some Tennis with Tessa Lowe beforehand.
  • I spent a very enjoyable Sunday afternoon at Cannon Hill Park, The Mac (Birmingham) with a collective of poets – we took over the storytelling tent whilst they all went for lunch and performed to some greatly enthusiastic children. We are also hoping to get some of our poems hung on trees down by the lake, later this year. We had a special guided tour to this secret location. MAC With Frankie Ryan, Tony Fox, Syrac Citam, Timothy Scotson, Callum Bate and Nina Lewis at Cannon Hill Park.

© Jasmine Gardosi 2015

All of these events can be read in further detail in my Poetry Wrap post. Enjoy!

Poetry Wrap 5 (A Brief Introduction on Exhaustion)

 

WEEK 2

  • The 2nd week of June saw a performance at HOWL and a great packed night of poetry, hosted by Leon Priestnall. Fantastic headliners and I met two poets who I have only seen around and never spoken to before, Luci Hammans and Sipho Eric Dubepart, A.K.A ‘Unhindered Reign’ – one of three headliners, the others being Glyn Phillips and Jess Davies. I met with Sipho a week later at workshop with Candy Royalle.

I spent most of this week on tender hooks and full of nerves and butterflies as it was the WPL final and the Launch of this year’s Worcester Lit Fest. I spent most of the week preparing for it and missed some previous diary entries for open mics due to energy levels, it was a full on week of work, work for me too.

  • Friday 12th June was the Poet Laureate Finals, the winner this year was Heather Wastie.

WLF Heather WPL

Heather receiving her engraved award with Maggie Doyle at Worcester’s SpeakEasy Lit Fest Special.

© WLF Team 2015

Suz Winspear was the runner up and I came in 3rd position.  WPL

© Betti Moretti 2015

Read all about the experience here WLF 2015 The Launch & Poet Laureate Final even typing this has my heart set on edge again!

  • The WLF took over my life for the next 10 days, this week I saw Ben Parker, Todd Swift and Chloe Clarke (Young Poet Laureate) performing at the Royal Porcelain Museum, where Ben has just finished his residency and Todd is taking over.

BP Chloe Chloe

BP Dr Todd Swift Todd

BP Ben Ben

© WLF Team 2015

It was a super night of poetry. I treated myself to Ben’s collection, I love his work. Ben Parker From Porcelein

  • I had my final session at The Hive as Assistant Writer to Ian MacLeod, from September I take over the senior writing group as Lead Writer for Writing West Midlands. We invited the parents to come and take part with the end of the session, it was great fun!

 

WEEK 3  

  • The week started well with news that my poem ‘Beyond Gas Street Basin’ is to be published in an upcoming anthology of city poems called ‘Birmingham Bound’. It was a poem I was commissioned to write last year by Naked Lungs for Birmingham Literature Festival. I am delighted to be in a book all about Birmingham as it is a city that has opened it’s poetry doors for me since the tail end of 2013.
  • WLF continued and I had the delight of watching John Hegley at Confab Cabaret, Malvern. A SELL OUT Fringe event.
  • WLF I performed at the 42 WLF Special and met Adam Millard for the first time.
  • WLF I performed at WLF SpeakEasy Special and thoroughly enjoyed Brenda Read-Brown‘s set.
  • WLF I watched the Offa Press Poets, Bert Flitcroft & David Bingham at the Institute before seeing Jonny Fluffypunk return from his Austerity March experience in London to perform for us again. A highlight for me.
  • WLF Bert and Jonny joined us on the Summer Solstice Walk up the River Severn, where we all performed poetry at locations along the walk. A super, magical experience.
  • I was asked to perform at a fundraiser next month for Arts All Over the Place.
  • I attended a workshop with Candy Royalle, the international act at this month’s HTO (Hit the Ode) – which I missed as I was performing at the WLF Special SpeakEasy. It was amazing, she is a forceful spirit, driven and dazzling in her buoyant enthusiasm. Great to meet her, gutted I missed her set. I created 3 poems, in the 3 hours as well as picking up some great performance tips. Mainly driving home some things I already know. It was lovely to work alongside friends too!
  • I was invited to be a featured poet, but was unable to accept as I will be at Ledbury Poetry Festival, I am hoping this booking may happen later this year instead. Something else to look forward to!

Read about these events on fine detail here Poetry Wrap 6 & WLF – Worcester Lit Fest & Fringe 2015 – A Wrap! which includes links to individual WLF posts I created throughout the festival.

 

Week 4

  • I had 2 writing days at the beginning of the week, it has been a while since I have been able to dedicate time to actually writing. I did a lot of market research too and drew up a list of submissions to hit before the end of the month – as I realise I have hardly sent any work out there this year.
  • I took part in an open mic as part of my town’s current Festival.
  • I went to the Two Towers Brewery to perform as part of Debbie Aldous’s new night Spoken Word and More.
  • Droitwich Summer Festival invited 9 performers to entertain with poetry and music at a magical Live Lit event hosted at Park’s Café and organised by Malcolm Wakeman and MC-ed by Fergus McGonigal (everything he touches, turns to gold)! Performers included;

Fergus McGonnigall (previous Worcestershire’s poet laureate) & MC

Heather Wastie (Worcestershire Poet Laureate )

Jenny Hope

Math Jones

Mike Alma

Bridget & Malcolm Wakeman

John & Pauline Franks

Nina Lewis

Polly Robinson

Ruth Stacey

Holly Magill

Sarah James (runs the Poetry Society’s Worcestershire Stanza) & Val.

It was lovely to go for a meal with people afterwards too and chat away the night. I finally got to bed at 2:30 a.m after I had worked off the adrenalin! I have been looking forward to this event since Sarah James launched her new book The Magnetic Diaries, KFS Press. Since then she has had Hearth published, a collaborative book (Mother Milk Books) and is about to have PlentyFish – her new collection published with Nine Arches Press.

  • New opportunities for training presented themselves and I was fortunate to be online at the time. Looking forward to telling you all about this latest venture in September.
  • I also continued work on my own collection.
  • I had a poem published on Visual Verse – ‘Shame in the City’.
  • News of the 52 ANTHOLOGY published by Nine Arches Press – Out soon!
  • I performed at Sunday Xpress just before coming home to pack my suitcase! They have found a new home at The edge Artspace, Foundation Arts, a great venue in Digbeth. The room was as crowded as outside (it was a hot day – the beginning of this heat-wave, just in time for my holiday! Loved performing this afternoon, it is the first time I have felt this great after Sunday Xpress, fabulous venue, great people, new faces, abundant talent – just a marvellous mix. Unfortunately I missed the bands this time as I have to make some submissions and pack a suitcase. I will be back over there over the summer though. Fabulous success, deserved after years in the pubs of Digbeth. (There are some gems of bars in Digbeth, just noisy and full of local life that is great for a pint but not so accommodating for a poem!)

All this and more can be found in Poetry Wrap 7

inkspill holidayAnd now I am going on holiday for a much deserved rest!

 

THE WRITE YEAR WILL BE UPDATED ON MY RETURN

Poetry Wrap 3

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A week of poetry; getting it published, reading it, writing to form and performing as a Headline act.

A busy and rewarding week with some full (much needed) writing days.

The first weekend I was without my car and missed The Ort with Debbie Aldous in Birmingham, the end of Cheltenham Festival, Caldmore Writing workshop with David Calcutt and Confab Cabaret in Malvern with Matt Windle ‘Poet with Punch’ and Kurly, who I recently saw perform at SpeakEasy in Worcester, which is where I will have to catch him again when he Headlines.

 

Studying Poetry and Writing West Midlands

I spent time catching up with my MOOC course, writing poetry, reading poetry and preparing this weekend’s writing session for WWM, as Ian is away and I get to be Lead Writer again. WWM

 

Submissions, Publications, Poetry Festivals & Blogs

I submitted to the Seamus Heaney anthology and had a poem accepted, to be published in print form later this year. I booked tickets for the 52 event as part of Stratford Poetry Festival and emailed a couple of poets about Guest Blog posts.

 

Performing Poetry/ Headlining

Performance wise I had just the one gig, it had been a week since I performed and I also (made what I have since learnt is a mistake) took a set with 80% new material to Headline at Permission to Speak, the Scary Canary – a wonderful new spoken word night created and hosted by Rob Francis.

MM3 Rob Francis I was headlining alongside the ever talented Ian Passey, a.k.a Humdrum Express.

http://heyevent.com/event/2141316629340676/permission-to-speak-4-poetry-spoken-word-feature-poet-nina-lewis

I complete my week working with the Senior writing group at The Hive. hive3

Next Week at a glance:

  • Mouth & Music Love in the Revolution
  • HOWL
  • SpeakEasy
  • & it is Mental Health Awareness Week

Review of April 2015

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 April

You were a glorious month on one side of the coin and a very difficult one on the other. I am going to write a separate blogpost about the dips because I think it is something all writers experience and it might help people who feel they are alone with the downside of this profession.

My highlights include Wenlock Poetry Festival, having poems published and performing at a Book Launch.

BLOGS & PROJECTS

David Calcutt is currently working on a group poetry project for a performance in June, from the Caldmore Writing Workshops. Sadly I can’t make the reading as it is the final session in the library with WWM group and the distance between the two venues and timing of the class make it impossible. They are considering re-doing it for a summer festival in August though so I hope to make that one.

The MOOC poetry course (University of Iowa) finally started and has been great so far – I will share some of the poetry that has been created as a result, some of it I hope to work on and publish, but I can leave teasing snippets here on AWF. CN-1780-logo-uofiowa

There are too many students (6000) I think, to make any real bonds with, but we have a good few weeks to go so maybe networks will develop too. I love the international favour and the excitement of discovering new poets and poetry.

WWM PINK I have also planned another writing session for WWM, after our network meeting as I am the LEAD Writer again for May. It is going to be a great session.

The Quiet CompereQC things are hotting up, it was over a year ago when 10 poets were approached to take part in this tour. My t-shirt has been ordered, I have gone for a lovely bright blue one!

quiet compere 2015 T

I am going to be using some of my next headline set as part of my 10 minutes and also hope to interview the Quiet Compere herself, Sarah Dixon, for this blog. She is Arts Council funded (which means we are paid) and tours the North of England/Midlands (and this year the South too) with 10 selected poets performing 10 minute sets at various venues. Ours is THE HIVE in Worcester, the studio space in the library is perfect for performance, especially with the lighting rig!

sarah-dixon-quiet-compere-tour-schedule

http://www.thehiveworcester.org/events.html

sua litfest The Power of Poetry To Heal with Rachel Kelly, Susanna Howard and Jill Fraser, was worth going to. A very moving event and meeting Rachel in person – who has requested another blogpost – well it would be rude not to was smashing too.

28/04/2015

The Power of Poetry to Heal

Poetry as a means to help dementia victims and depression: Rachel Kelly, Susanna Howard and Jill Fraser

Stratford Artshous
I will write a more detailed post soon, both about the event and the work these people do.
52
Norman posted an abundance of final prompts for us to get our teeth into and the community of MINT is going strong. Most of us are still full of the pleasure Wenlock brought us and are now booking tickets for Stratford Upon Avon Poetry Festival.

SUBMISSIONS & COMMISSIONS

This month I was looking for time to write on my own projects and completely had my head in the sand about other submission opportunities. I made a bid for a festival this summer and also another one for BeatFreeks Pen Museum – which I didn’t get chosen for but Jess Davies and Sammy Joe did, so congratulations to them. I won’t pretend I am not gutted – I love pens and this would have been the perfect commission (paid as well) to celebrate National Museum Night.

l also entered some poetry for an amazing opportunity which sadly has not come to fruition this time.

Can you see why I started to dip?

I submitted 3 poems to I am not a silent Poet and had all 3 published.

Bomb Damage

Girls on the Ground

Weapons of War Ghanda’sStory

They were written for 16 Days of Activism Event last Autumn at The Library of Birmingham.

I submitted to an anthology project ‘Birmingham Bound’

Satellite

PERFORMING POETRY

Spoken Word at The Ort

SpeakEasy

Book Launch – The Magnetic Diaries by Sarah James

Mouth and Music

WILD WORDS – Restless Bones Fundraiser

Word Up

Wenlock Poetry Festival – Poems & Pints

Wenlock Poetry Festival – 52

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EVENTS AND WORKSHOPS

WWM Network Meeting

WWM Group

Caldmore Community Garden Workshop

Stanza

Wenlock Poetry Festival

I also started to work on a workshop project.

Stratford Literary Festival

All in all a good month that I need to blog about as soon as I can.

Happy Writing x

A Wonderful Week of Writing – Workshops, Guest Slots & Work

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The last week of January was a busy one – apart from working at a desk on ‘actual’ writing and submissions I was also quite active as a poet. On Wednesday I went to Walsall to take part in another of David Calcutt’s Workshops at Caldmore community Gardens, where he is poet in residence, in the evening I performed at the 42nd 42, a special evening full of cracking talent and then on Friday night I appeared alongside Antony Owen and Lily Blacksell as Host Poets at Word Up, a great night now hosted by Ddotti Bluebell & Jasmine Gardosi.

This month I have only performed at 25% of all the events I have been invited to and that’s about 75% less than last January, I have possibly written more – although I have suffered one of those annoying blanks this weekend as I desperately try and push a couple of Corinium poems out. My intention for 2015 was to perform less and write more, so far I think I have balance. Let’s see if I can keep it up!

Caldmore Community Garden Workshop with David Calcutt

caldmore david-portrait-1 This was my 3rd Caldmore workshop, ‘Write in the Moment’ and I had been looking forward to it all month. Unfortunately I got lost having come off the motorway a junction too late and ended up stuck in a one way system. As soon as I have acknowledged everyone with a quick hello, I got straight down to writing and because I had been in the garden before it wasn’t too difficult to catch up. In fact by the end of the workshop I had 2 pieces of writing and a poem that almost worked.

Janet Jenkins took more photos, she has a wonderful collection from the very first workshop (the one I missed) and the changes in the garden throughout the seasons are exceptional to see side by side. Of course, having had an allotment for 5 years I know how much these public spaces change with the seasons and weather, it reminds me that Mr G and I always said we would stitch our allotment photographs together.

It was a fun workshop and I met more writers – there have been a small group of us over Winter. Over lunch we shared news and heard about exciting projects everyone is currently involved with. I look forward to the next workshop, which once again falls on a day when I have an evening event/ performance. caldmore ccg_logo

42 banner      The 42nd 42 Andrew Owens

I wasn’t able to make the final 42 of last year, so I was determined that I wasn’t going to miss this one. It is a sci-fi/dark themed event and I knew that fans of Douglas Adams wouldn’t let us down! They didn’t, it was a great night – wonderful to see people who only started performing there last summer gaining confidence and owning the stage as we enjoy their stories and poems.

Lots of fantastic work was shared and I particularly liked the 42 facts Andrew threw into the gaps between performances. All about 42 from years before I got back into the poetry saddle!  Polly Robinson also mentioned that she shares the pages of the Paragram Anthology ‘Remember’ (who published us just in time for Christmas) with me  and Andrew told everyone about my Guest Spot at Word Up on Friday.

Guest Poet at Word Up  QCM ddottivlad Jasmine

I was so excited when I received an email asking me to be a guest poet at this Birmingham event. We had an amazing turn out, especially considering ‘Je Suis Birmingham’ – a one off event of artists solidarity following the Charlie Hebdo killings, was happening on the same night.

Word Up often have more than one Guest Poet (Hosting – as they call it) and I shared the night with Antony Owen and Lily Blacksell. Phenomenal poets and performers, I was happy to share the mic with them.

Tariq Jahan was also there – he lost his son in the riots three years ago (2011) and is good friends now with Antony Owen, whose poem ‘Unbranded’ is about this. He is a poet unafraid to write about violence. Tariq now works around the world spreading peace and hope, he makes things better. An exceptional human being and the story he shared from his trip to Syria is one we should all hear.

There were lots of new faces and people who had come from Oxford and Wales to perform too. I loved seeing everyone again, I didn’t realise it has been 3 months since I saw them and about 5 weeks since I last performed in Birmingham. I am very grateful I was at Word Up and heard Tariq speak.

Unbranded – The Year I loved England Pighog Press

You can find out more about the work Tariq does here http://www.pennyappeal.org.

If you have anything to donate please follow the links above. To buy the wonderful collection of Joseph Horgan & Antony Owen click here

http://www.pighog.co.uk/titles/the-year-i-loved-england.html

the-year-i-loved-england there are links at the bottom of the page for customers in UK/EU/GLOBAL

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/07/19/book-launch-the-year-i-loved-england-by-antony-owens-joseph-horgan/

‘This poetry expresses poignantly the emotions that I at times find difficult to articulate. The words pierced my soul and brought back the images, emotions and feelings of those days in August 2011 when Britain burnt’

Tariq Jahan

As for work – well the mortgage payments continue to be provided through the part time day job whilst I search for more artistic ways to cover the bills. I think I may have found a completely suitable one. So next week now has JOB APPLICATION added to the almighty To Do list.

There are 2 poetry events, (well there are 5 but only 2 penned into my diary), 1 stanza  and Mr G and I are off out for a rare night at a gig, having stated he was too old for it all last year! We saw a Saxon tribute band a few years ago and were blown away by them, I am still grinning from my backstage moment and the fact that Mr G has the bass guitarists t-shirt! Anyway, Mr G said if they ever re-formed he’d love tickets…. well …

They did and we are off to see them. The gig was scheduled for December but the drummer ended up in hospital! I am also working all week, bar Tuesday – if I am awake that will be my writing day!

Review of January

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An exciting start to 2015, the month has flown by! jan

My car completely died on me the first day back at work and had to have a new battery, I’ve worked at ‘World’s End’, survived the first month of Mr G working away from home, been a Guest Poet at The Poetry Lounge in the Sitting Room -Ludlow, I was invited to be a guest poet at Word Up, Birmingham – alongside Antony Owen and Lily Blacksell, I was booked as a Special Guest for a charity event in March and as a headliner/Guest Poet for a new Open Mic Night in Stourbridge – that’s booked in for May, was worried March was looking a little full already. I’ve read 4 books, made contact with Rachel Kelly after reading her book ‘black rainbow’ and was inspired to write a New Year blog post – I have been really touched by this connection, got copies of Heather Wastie’s and Bert Flitcroft’s books, was the team leader in Mouth & Music’s Spark Off Event,

poetry loungem&M1803_BlackRainbow_Dhb.inddTPTD coverapples_book_largesinging_puccini_book

FINALLY got an appointment with my Doctor (have been trying since November), avoided all January SALES (mainly due to the car costing a small fortune and the rest being spent on poetry),

Had to survive with my mobile phone dying on me (for the 4th time) finally getting it sent away! I laughed at how they mistook my age to mean techsavvy lending me a Samsung Galaxy without any manual! The loaned charger didn’t work either – fortunately mine is designed to fit different handsets so it seems.

Mr G and I adjusted to a working life apart only to be reunited several months sooner than we expected.

It snowed! Four times – the 3rd time I narrowly missed two collisions on the brow of a hill and had to call in to cancel work as all exits were snowed in. Even people in Landrovers were struggling – I stood no chance – my car has a moped sized engine and is as useless as me in ice and snow.

BLOGS & PROJECTS

Delighted to see a new flow of followers this month, I have managed to blog about this month and also I think there are probably a high percentage of people looking and searching for things in January. Great to see the activity remain strong. You know me, always trying to beat the stats!

52 came to an end *which I missed as I was offline for Christmas, we are being weaned off with some new prompts from Norman and have the promise of books and anthologies to look forward to.

This year I am seeking to place my poetry in suitable places, rather than spending my life writing to theme (although no doubt I will do this also).

Work re-started (after Christmas break) on my own personal poetry project and will probably be the case for most of the year. I also submitted work for magazines and a collection of poems.

I continued to attend David Calcutt’s Community Garden workshops in Walsall. This month we were writing in the moment. My poetry can be seen on his website (link to follow). I was nearly an hour late but caught up with pages of ideas and two almost poems. Our path has been raked over ready for the community path to be built up to the wild area, this path will feature our group poem written in December.

Our Poetry Society Stanza group was invited to submit poetry for a competition at Corinium Museum, Cirencester  http://coriniummuseum.org/, a group of us went on Poet’s Day Out Trip – cake, museum, lunch, shopping. I thoroughly enjoyed my day with Kathy Gee, Maggie Doyle & Claire Walker. I have written pages of notes, chosen the artefacts to write about… now I just to need to WRITE!

Corinium-Museum-Logo

SUBMISSIONS

I submitted work to publications and poetry press.

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Magma Violence

Faber New Poets

PERFORMING POETRY

This year I decided to pull back on the 100+ gigs of last year to allow more time to work on writing. Despite this promise I couldn’t resist January, especially as I missed most of December. Wonderfully I started and ended the month with Guest Poet slots. I have more events booked through until July, which is brilliant.

The Poetry Lounge in The Sitting Room – Guest Poet alongside Bert Flitcroft – Jean Atkin, Ludlow

SpeakEasy New Year , Fergus McGonigal & Maggie Doyle, Worcester

Mouth & Music, Spark Off! – Team Leader in opposition with Peter Williams – Heather Wastie & Sarah Tamar

Drummonds 42 (the 42nd event) – Andrew Owens

Word Up – Guest Poet alongside Antony Owen & Lily Blacksell- Ddotti Bluebell & Jasmine Gardosi

It feels like I have attended more events than this – there were plenty I didn’t go to – needing writing time and having a different focus this year and of course, some just clashed; Spoken Word at The Ort (I hope to make it by March, the dates clash with Stanza meetings), Luck’s Weight Exhibition poems and photographs by Jean Atkin & Andrew Fusek Peters, Hit the Ode, Spoken Worlds, Sunday Xpress, Shindig, Grizzly Pear, Purple Penumbra, Je Suis Birmingham.

EVENTS & WORKSHOPS

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Writing West Midlands – Assistant writer/ Mentor- the new mentor role (which was a time-limited position came to a close this month to praise and positive feedback)

The Stanza Group working on Museum Poetry

David Calcutt – Caldmore Gardens Workshop & Poetry on the Path Project

A great start to the New Year and my 3rd year in the world of writing, 2nd year in the world of poetry.

owl

PS: Like all Bloggers I keep my eye on the traffic and I forgot to add this gem to the review: BOOM!

Your blog, awritersfountain, appears to be getting more traffic than usual! 38 hourly views – 2 hourly views on average
A spike in your stats