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Meet your Worcestershire Poet Laureate at Droitwich Library this week!

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Copy of The joy of reading (1)

This Friday – July 28th – as part of Droitwich Artsfest, our current Poet Laureate, Nina Lewis, will be the Artist in Residence at Droitwich Library.

In this role Nina will be appearing at Droitwich library from 10am – 12pm, where she will be writing poetry, chatting to the public, and offering a whole host of creative activities for you lovely folks to engage with, too!

If you’re a budding poet, or a parent looking for a fabulous morning activity for your little ones – or perhaps even a glorious mixture of all of the above – then Nina has just the thing for you.

 

Source: Meet your Worcestershire Poet Laureate at Droitwich Library this week!

POETRY KITS

Nine Arches Press Summer Party

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Nine Arches Press know how to throw a party! I missed it last year as I was performing elsewhere but – having kept a do it next year section of my 2016 diary, I knew it was coming up and booked my tickets as soon as it was announced back in June!

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I had a busy day and went for a power nap before catching my train into Birmingham. Mr. G. came home and found me still asleep. I haven’t moved so fast in a long time. I managed to catch the train and arrive at Waterstones just in time.

It was lovely (and not a surprise) to see so many poets there. They had a good crowd and there were lots of people I didn’t know too.

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Jane Commane (Nine Arches Press) introducing the poets and welcoming us to a party complete with Flamingo straws. Image  © 2017 Cynthia Miller

I was really excited when I saw who was on the list this year and there readings were all captivating.

Gregory Leadbetter has had all of his launches/readings whilst I have been elsewhere, so even though his book was released last year this was my first opportunity to hear him read it. He also hosted the event, using the book sleeves of the new publications to introduce each Guest Poet.

Greg Leadbetter 9 Arches

© 2017 Nine Arches

I thoroughly enjoyed his reading, I had heard several of the poems before at events but listening to a full set was a real treat. I will be putting ‘The Fetch’ on my birthday list. For a first collection it is extremely strong.

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Gregory Leadbetter’s first full collection of poems, The Fetch, brings together poems that reach through language to the mystery of our being, giving voice to silence and darkness, illuminating the unseen. With their own rich alchemy, these poems combine the sensuous and the numinous, the lyric and the mythic. 

Ranging from invocation to elegy, from ghost poems to science fiction, Leadbetter conjures and quickens the wild and the weird. His poems bring to life a theatre of awakenings and apprehensions, of births and becoming, of the natural and the transnatural, where life and death meet. Powerful, imaginative, and precisely realised, The Fetch is also poignant and humane – animated by love, alive with the forces of renewal.

‘The Fetch is a terrific, precise and dazzling collection. The whole book exemplifies a poetry of being that shows what is possible when we allow ourselves to be fully human in our perception and poetry.’ – David Morley
© 2017 Nine Arches Press
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© 2017 Stuart Bartholomew

I am a big fan of Angela France’s work and what is special about her latest collection ‘The Hill’ is I have been privy to the inside of the work for the past two years. I have done workshops using Archive materials with Angela, who has just spent the past two years deep in records of the past. I also know that the places she writes about are places she knows well. I missed her Launch in Ledbury and have resisted buying a copy of her book until I heard her read.

I particularly enjoyed the use of Anglo Language found in a short sequence of work in this book. I think place and people are two subjects that grip me,  for anyone who feels the same this collection is for you!

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Here, we encounter ghosts, foxes and ancient kings. We meet the protestors who, years before the Kinder Scout Trespassers, were standing up for their rambling rights and took the law into their own hands in 1902 when a landowner tried to enclose the hill they had walked for generations. And though history is never far from the surface, The Hill raises questions that are just as important today; who has the right to roam, whose land is it, anyway?

“these are words that make you ache for the place.” – Phil Smith, author of Mythogeography and On Walking

 © 2017 Nine Arches Press

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Rishi Dastidar’ Ticker Tape was released earlier this year. I have known of Rishi for a while but only met him in Ledbury Poetry Festival this year.

His set was fresh and different. His poetry is distinctive and the themes cover a lot we can recognise, modern poetry for the 21st Century. I enjoyed the wit of his work and the pleasure he takes in performing it.

From politics to pop, from the UK to California, wherever digital heartbeats flutter and stutter, Ticker-tape is a maximalist take on 21st century living. Rishi Dastidar’s first full collection showcases one of contemporary poetry’s most distinctive voices, delivering effervescence with equal servings of panache and whiplash-quick wit.

Here is sheer madcap ingenuity and also impressive breadth; ranging from odes of love to deconstructed diversity campaigns and detonations of banter’s worst excesses, plus appearances from ex-SugaBabes, a shark who comes to tea, to the matters of matchstick empires and national identity. Ticker-tape is bold, adventuresome and wry – an unmissable and irrepressible debut.

 © 2017 Nine Arches Press

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And finally –DFa0G2FXkAA8038

 © 2017 Nine Arches

Tania Hershman who claimed not to be a poet when I met her a few years ago. She is/was a published author who had started to cross to the poetry genre. It is a good idea to expand your repertoire and flex your writing muscles this way.

What is unusual is to have a first collection published by a well established publisher within a couple of years of starting out.

A huge achievement. A pleasure to listen to.

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 © 2017 Nine Arches

Tania Hershman’s debut poetry collection, Terms and Conditions, urges us to consider all the possibilities, and read life’s small print before signing on the dotted line. These beautifully measured poems bring their stoical approach to the uncertain business of our daily lives – and ask us to consider what could happen if we were to bend or break the rules, step outside the boundaries and challenge the narrative.
In feats of imagination and leaps of probability, falling simply becomes flying, a baby collects the data and scrolls through everything it sees, and there are daring acts of vanishing and recreation. Be wary, for even the evidence here often leads us astray. And in between this, Hershman’s precise poetry elegantly balances the known, unknown and unknowable matter of existence, love and happiness, weighing the atoms of each, finding just the exact words that will draw up the perfect contract of ideas.
Praise for Terms and Conditions:
‘This is a sophisticated debut collection by a writer already well known for her inventive short stories.’ – Kathryn Maris

‘There is a plenitude and a loss to Tania Hershman’s Terms & Conditions. A plenitude of tones and forms and linguistic playfulness, and a fine sense of loss that spins and passes through the poems.’ – Simon Barraclough 

‘In her debut collection of poetry, acclaimed writer Tania Hershman reveals the strange intricacies of science and our daily lives. Here, we find a cabinet of curiosities: Elvis and Marilyn, fire ants, cake and wind turbines. Hershman gifts the reader with collisions of grief and laughter, joy and curiosity. A wonder.’- Doireann Ní Ghríofa
‘Tania Hershman’s work is full of brilliant and passionate observations on dreams, falling, names and dancing, they are moving, loving meditations on how we move and love, what it feels like to be alive.’ – W.N. Herbert

It was a superb night and we all had time for mingling and chatting too. A delightful summer’s evening and the kind of party I really like nowadays… relaxed, with books and booze!

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 © 2017 Nine Arches

Artist in Residence

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Artist in Residence at the Library in Droitwich.
28th July 10 a.m -12 p.m
Part of Artsfest.

Poet Laureate

Copy of The joy of reading (1)

I will be at Droitwich Library this Friday 28th July from 10 a.m as an Artist in Residence for the Artsfest.

Droitwich library© 2017 Droitwich Library 

It is an opportunity for you to come and chat to me about all things poetry and have a go at some workshop activities (optional). 

From 11 a.m I will be providing an activity suitable for children (4+) and one for those of us beyond our teen years.artsfest droitwich standardCome and find out about future Laureate plans including information on my Sculpture Writing Workshop at the Jinney Ring – 18th September, browse poetry books, relax and discover what the rest of the Artsfest has in store. 

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Congratulations Nina Lewis Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2017

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I have only just found this lovely post from Polly Stretton. For a long while, this all seemed like a dream. Now, it is sinking in.

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The climax to the seventh Worcestershire Literary Festival was the crowning of our new Worcestershire Poet Laureate Nina Lewis. The opening night was magical with readings from young writers, from the Flash Fiction winner Christine Griffin, plus an ultra-cool compere in Poet with Punch Matt Windle.

Nina Nina Lewis

Laureate finalists Damon Lord and Louise Reeder wowed us with their words. Damon gave an impressive performance and Louise’s second poem was emotional, heartbreakingly beautiful.

Nina told the Worcester audience that as Laureate she would wish to build on the legacy of past Laureates. She has a passion for promoting poetry and experience in organising poetry events independently and for festivals, and she’d endeavour to raise awareness of  local talents while her overarching theme is to get people connecting with poetry.

Congratulations to Louise and Damon for their achievements. Mega-congratulations to Nina, Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2017!

PL Suz Winspear outgoing Worcestershire Poet Laureate…

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World Refugee Day in Poetry

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Just in time for World Refugee Day – in Refugee Awareness Week – this went LIVE. A collection of poetry about refugees from emerging and established writers. Regional. National and International poets were involved.

Thank you everyone for your amazing submissions and to those kind enough to grant permission to use photos.

Please read – share – and read again.

Poet Laureate

world refugee UN“I’ve met so many who have lost so much. But they never lose their dreams for their children or their desire to better our world. They ask for little in return – only our support in their time of greatest need” — UN Secretary-General, António Guterres


rescued A group of rescued people on the deck of an Italian naval vessel as the sun sets in the Mediterranean. ©UNHCR/A. D’Amato

Reproduced under Fair Use Act all credit to http://www.un.org/en/events/refugeeday/


Back in May, I was fortunate enough to meet some people from the charity People in Motion at a Spoken Word event ‘Gobs & Guitars’ organised by Sarah Tamar to raise money for the cause and to say goodbye to The Boars Head, the much loved venue of Mouth & Music (Heather Wastie/ Sarah Tamar). Read more about it here.

Inspired by a week of events happening in Malvern, organised by People in…

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Sudden Emptiness by Nina Lewis

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I have not had much of a chance to submit any work since March, I spent April writing new NaPoWriMo poems and reading a LOT and May preparing for Lit Fest shows and laureate finals.

Then the world changed, less than 2 weeks after the terror attacks on London Bridge, came the Grenfell Tower fire. The true toll, as far as loss of life, is something we are not being provided, people are being warned not to talk about it and there is so much political/social/class warping involved that if it was fiction, you would be asked to make it more believable!

I spent the morning horrified at the news and came home with a few hours spare before performing at WLF. I penned this poem, that night I read this poem and from people’s reaction & feedback, knew it had to be shared.

Published on I Am Not A Silent Poet not-a-silent-poet-grant-tarbard1

Huge thanks to Reuben.

I am not a silent poet

I go to work,

think of all the people

trapped in that tower.

I watch the four year olds,

how little they know of this.

Children in West End schools

will have focused awareness,

Kensington assemblies, prayers.

I think of the man at the window,

the memory of twin towers,

the split screen bulletin

staples that connection.

I discover at lunch time

how much the redevelopment cost.

Six have died.

I think of the Fire-fighters

running to rescue –

engulfed in black smoke floors.

The baby thrown ten storeys to safety

into the arms of a stranger.

The blazing heat of this summer’s day.

Streets empty of cars as parents

walk their children from school,

thanking their blessings

beneath the thrum of a police helicopter.

The evacuated,

clutching what they could grab.

Screaming flames and sudden emptiness.

They were told to stay put,

every flat a fire resisting box.

Amongst…

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Worcestershire LitFest and Fringe: Our final few hurrahs!

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The end of Worcester LitFest (almost) there is still a magical event on Wednesday 21st June Midsummer Poetry and Prose Walk 7 p.m. starting at the Worcester Bridge entrance of Cripplegate Park – a FREE event, do come and join us.

Massive congratulations to the LitFest team for the 7th amazing festival. So good to see so many people travel in for events from other parts of the U.K and also see lots of audience that are new this year!

Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe

The LitFest and Fringe team are nursing aches, pains, and smiling faces after a busy but wonderful festival week. Last Friday night saw us split between the Greek classicism of Natalie Haynes at The Hive and the Big Fat Quiz taking place at Titania, while Saturday morning calmed things down slightly with our children’s workshop at the wonderful St John’s library.

Things wouldn’t stay quiet for long, though! Saturday night, at Worcester Arts Workshop, LitFest and friends opened their arms to some top class London talent. We had an intimate evening of poetry and performance from Robert Cole, Math Jones, and Keleigh Wolf. A fabulous evening was had by all in attendance and we left on a grand high ready for the TWO slams that we had pencilled in for the following day.

Sunday evening saw us head back to Drummonds where we kicked the evening’s events off with a…

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