Category Archives: Uncategorized

Being a Poet Laureate

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Heather Wastie’s Book Launch for ‘Don’t Oil The Hinges’ is this Saturday.

Weaving Yarns

Ever since the seventeenth century, the UK has had a Poet Laureate, and until 2009 the position was always held by a man. Although women had been considered, none were chosen. In the late nineteenth century, Christina Rossetti missed out when it was decided that, rather than appoint a woman, there would be no laureate at all. In 2009, (now Dame) Carol Ann Duffy was appointed. She said at the outset that her main reason for accepting the role was because they hadn’t had a woman. (1)

Some UK cities have their own Poet Laureate – Birmingham currently has Matt Windle – and some counties do too. Gloucestershire has one (Brenda Read-Brown), Staffordshire does (Emily Rose Galvin) and Worcestershire has had one since 2011. The current Worcestershire PL, appointed in June, is Betti Moretti. There are also several Young PLs:  Worcestershire’s is Rachel Evans and Birmingham’s is Nyanda Foday. So…

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Review August 2018

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scenic view of beach

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Well this is the first post this month online but August was packed, PACKED with poetry. I am still catching up on some blog posts from June-July and now will be adding August to the pile.

Here’s the month in snapshot!


Before Perth Poetry Festival I blanked my diary out as much as possible and missed some fine Midlands poetry events.

Week 1: 

I did a lot of research for Perth Poetry Festival and signed up to an anthology which I was lucky enough to be online for when the thread was posted, a project that is so popular it has a reserve list (more on this later).

cat anthology

The main event this week was a Book Launch in Cheltenham for a charity anthology that I was fortunate to have the shortest poem (apart from short form) I have ever written included in it. The event at Hatherley Manor was dreamy and wonderful and the book raises funds for the cat rescue charity New Start Cat Rescue Centre, Huntley, Gloucestershire.

I will be creating a full blog post soon (and link back here when I am done).

cat rescue anth

This anthology ‘All a Cat Can Be’ was the brainchild of Sharon Larkin and I am privileged to be involved. It would make a great Christmas gift for any cat lover.

 

https://www.poetrybooks.co.uk/products/all-a-cat-can-be

“This book is as gloriously varied as the beloved cats it celebrates. Here you will find poems which are witty, thoughtful, moving, and light-footed. ‘All a Cat Can Be’ offers something to please every reader, while helping cats desperate for a good home. And the photographs are irresistible!” – Alison Brackenbury

Edited by Sharon Larkin and Sheila Macintyre.

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I also sent a poem to Lucy Dougan for her Monster Field Workshop.

Week 2 & 3

I started working on INKSPILL – annual online writing retreat right here on AWF. More on this soon. Secured this year’s Guest Writers and started research.

inkspill banner

I worked tirelessly for a fortnight attempting to get the final issue of Contour Poetry Magazine live before flying off to the Southern Hemisphere. I was at this point still waiting for copy, so did what any good editor should do and contacted the poets who had successfully made publication and shelved the remaining editorial until my return.

contour 4 celebration - Made with PosterMyWall

COMING SOON!

And then I flew to Perth, WA.

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Where I had an incredible time (lots of posts to follow). It was an amazing festival and I did as much of it as I could!

 

Week 4

Was mainly jet lag and editing… not a workable combination.

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I managed to get myself back into Birmingham – it has been too long – over 12 months I think. I went to the Big White Shed Brum night and it was packed with poetry – wall to wall and heart through heart.

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I am going to write the evening up over the weekend if I have a chance but it was a special night. The fusion of East & West (Midlands). There is a cracking poetry scene in Nottingham and this evening was proof of fine work happening in the region.

BWS

A soft spot for me as I started Spoken Word in the East Midlands in Leicester.

Big w shed hl

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2018/09/04/cheltenham-big-white-shed-brum/

And I tie August up nicely with a night at Stanza.

I cannot believe the summer holidays are nearly over!

PoARTry Ledbury

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Back in June I posted about a project I have been involved in since March. PoARTry, the brainchild of Rick Sanders who matched poets and artists to collaborate on new work.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2018/06/29/poartry-ledbury-launch-special-evening-exhibition-poetry-reading/

The experience has obviously been completely different for us all, I am looking forward to seeing the Exhibition this week.

Leena Batchelor and I have spent the past month+ organising the Launch event and I can hardly believe it is just around the corner. We won’t mention the clash with World Cup football – another recorded match for me to watch.

Ledbury PoARTry SHARE

SCHEDULE

6:30/40 Doors – Exhibition/Welcome Drink 

6:50- 7 Ken Calvert Musician

7 -7:10 Intro Rick and Nina – & Leena if she can make it in time.

7:10 – 7:18 Val Randle (A) & Nicky Hetherington (P)

7:18 – 7:26 Kate Culling (A) & Bill Thomas (P)

7: 26 – 7:34 Marion Steele (A) & Leena Batchelor (P)

7:34 – 7:42 Alan Richardson (A) & Rick Sanders (P) 

7: 42 – 7:50 Ken Calvert Musician

 INTERVAL – 20 mins – 

 8:10- 8:18 Molly Bythell (A) & Nina Lewis (P)

8:18 – 8:26 Angela Davis (A) & Maggie Reed (P)

8:26- 8:34 Bill Denny(A) & Brian Graham (P)

8:34 – 8:42 Tim Stavert(P)

8:42- 8: 50 Hilary Davies (A) & Myfanwy Fox (P) 

8: 50 – 9:00 Musicians 

 

Just need to buy the refreshments now and print my poems. I am very much looking forward to this Launch!

It is the only evening opening for the Artistree Gallery and our exhibition and it promises to be an amazing evening, so if you are not into the World Cup – you know where to head!

2018 Perth Poetry Festival

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WA Poets Inc

Internationla-Nepali-Poetry-Festival.jpg11- 19th August

Various venues

Festival launch – 16th August at Queens Building, 97 William St, Perth.

Check out the guests and their biographies at https://wapoets.wordpress.com/perth-poetry-festival/2018-perth-poetry-festival-guest-biographies/

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NaPoWriMo 2018 A Review of a Week of Poetry 4

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So that is it for another year NaPoWriMoNoMore! A poem a day, something that has to wait until I have more time. I have several in the poetry bank now, one to be used in an exhibition, a couple on editing ice and a few I will one day be ready to submit! Thanks for the inspiration, the prompts have been fruitful this year!

Congratulations to everyone who took part. Here’s my list of titles:

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Week 4 Poetry 

  1. 26. Teacher’s Gifts
  2. 27. The Great Mother
  3. 28. Postcard from Middle England
  4. 29. Over (Plath response poem to ‘Edge’)
  5. 30. Le Bateau

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Week 1 Poetry

  1. Best Before
  2. The Sea Jewel
  3. The Home at Christmas
  4. Apology
  5. Bring Me The Shoes
  6. Wordle Band Name
  7. Pudding Protest
  8. In the Park
  9. Picking Blackberries
  10. Note at Preached/ Preached to Neat / A Taped Coherent / Open at Detacher

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Week 2 Poetry

11. Cotton To
12. The Tiny Objects of a Vast Mind
13. World Going
14. White Matter Change
15. Apple
16. The Difficult House – Poem Beginning with a line from Sean Nevin
17. Keep the Light
18. Remover

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Week 3 Poetry

19. Not of Eve (Written about the White Witch)
20. Rules of the Game (A poem based on the rules of Badminton)
21. Wið færstice – For a Sudden Stitch (A Poetry Spell)
22. On Display (Reverse text)
23. Contrast (Erasure)
24. A State of Disobedience
25. Narcissus Flower

Submissions Open Tomorrow for the Final WPL Poetry Collection

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The final opportunity to be part of a WPL Poetry Collection.
Send your poems in!

Poet Laureate

Stephen Hawking collection

It seems apt on the day Google celebrates the 241st birthday of Johann Carl Friedrich Gauß (or Gauss), a German mathematician and physicist who used maths to rediscover the lost Dwarf Planet Ceres, that I should post Open Submissions for the final WPL Poetry Collection which asks for your Science/Maths based poetry. 

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© 2018 Google Doogle

Every Laureate finds that something with universal impact happens during their tenure. For many of us the year is filled with such news stories. I felt this collection was a chance for poets to share work that isn’t always at the forefront of poetry and to mark the passing of a genius, who has been around (for many of us) the whole of our lifetimes.  

I posted the full submission guidelines 3 weeks ago here where you can also find articles and starting points if you do not have any Science/Maths based poetry already…

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SUBMISSIONS OPEN Contour Final WPL Issue 4

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Open Submissions, the final call for Contour WPL Poetry Magazine.
Issue 4 Celebration / End of an Era
1st May – Deadline 10th June

Poet Laureate

contour final call celebration issue 4 posterThe final WPL Contour Poetry Magazine will be produced in June after my Laureateship is handed over.

The magazine will go live in July. I will post it on this website alongside archive material from my year as Worcestershire Poet Laureate. 

Future plans

I have plans to keep Contour – either as an annual or bi-annual magazine and will be posting open submission calls over on my blog https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/ so if you are not already one of the 1,198 readers of AWF, get yourselves signed up. 

The 4th Issue will be on the theme of

Celebration/End of an Era

Submission Guidelines: 

Please follow these guidelines carefully or submissions will not be considered.

Submit 1-3 poems, maximum 40 lines 

in the body of an email 

Subject line CONTOUR CELEBRATION

on the theme of celebration/ end of an era.

Include a 75 word Bio written in 3rd person

to worcspl[at]gmail[dot]com

Poems must…

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St. George & The Poets

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flagI gathered a collection of poems for St. George’s Day including historical information and poetry from some of our Nation’s Poet Laureates, seems a shame not to share it with you.

Poet Laureate

rose-red-love-dew-40502.jpegHappy St. George’s Day!

To celebrate I have gathered a fine collection of English poets and example poems. 

Sit down with a cup of tea & enjoy!

Jane Austen 

Ode to Pity by Jane Austen
1

Ever musing I delight to tread
The Paths of honour and the Myrtle Grove
Whilst the pale Moon her beams doth shed
On disappointed Love.
While Philomel on airy hawthorn Bush
Sings sweet and Melancholy, And the thrush
Converses with the Dove.

2

Gently brawling down the turnpike road,
Sweetly noisy falls the Silent Stream–
The Moon emerges from behind a Cloud
And darts upon the Myrtle Grove her beam.
Ah! then what Lovely Scenes appear,
The hut, the Cot, the Grot, and Chapel queer,
And eke the Abbey too a mouldering heap,
Cnceal’d by aged pines her head doth rear
And quite invisible doth take a peep.

©/sourcedhttp://famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/jane_austen/poems/3462

Thomas Hardy

The Tree:…

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NaPoWriMo 2018 A Review of a Week of Poetry

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Napo! Napo! Napo!

Well we have just completed the first week of poetry for NaPoWriMo and I am feeling positive about the daily writing. Being Worcestershire Poet Laureate is amazing but I would be lying if I said my own writing time hasn’t suffered. It needn’t have, I just decided to spend my year organising lots of events and opportunities for other writers and as far as my own progression through that time, it has been left organic.

My grey cells needed a few days to get used to the writing process again and I had to drag myself out of hiding in research.

What I love about NaPo is the optional prompts I attempt to follow often reveal offshoot ideas which I am banking for a quieter time. A notebook page is filling up nicely, I can only imagine what it might look like by the end of the month.

So at the end of a week in Napoland what have I got other than this fun new jpeg?

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A desk full of poems.

From Day 1:

Best Before (a poem about secret shame)

The Sea Jewel (John Harrison) which has since had editing circle treatment and promises to be a good finished piece sometime in the future. Plus I have now written many poems about Historical figures, a future pamphlet maybe.

Resources: A list of trivia prompts for the future and a short list of secret shames & pleasures.

 

From Day 2:

The Home at Christmas (a poem which links to work I have written on Dementia for a current PoArtry project, this poem has also received editing circle treatment and I hope one day will have stanzas all as strong as the final stanza, which is already one of those POW moments!

Apology (a humorous performance poem)

Resources: An article of Poetic I

Website for wordles

 

From Day 3:

Bring Me The Shoes (a quirky performance poem/list poem)

Several Wordle Band Name/poems

 

From Day 4:

Pudding Protest (a coupling written for the Suffragette Poetry Anthology project using a workshop prompt I created)

From Day 5:

In the Park (A translation poem)

Resources: A collection of black and white photographs and a whole list (website) of poetry in translation.

 

From Day 6:

Picking Blackberries (A poem about Dementia which uses long lines from Poetic Lines Napo prompt and part of the writing I am doing for the PoARTry Project)

Resources: Alberto Ríos’s article on the Poetic Line

 

From Day 7:

The Teacher and the Poet Are Not the Same (Working title)

So considering I have fallen 2 days behind due to real life poetry work, I have managed 7 poems and a few wordles, a stack of ideas to be used in the future and some great craft resources.

Success!

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I picked Day 6 & 7 up on Day 9. Just Day 8 & 9 to go and I will be back on track!

Suffragettes Anthology

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Suffragettes Anthology

Poet Laureate

HIVE SUFFBack in February there was a Suffragette Exhibition at The Hive in Worcester. I took the opportunity to provide an impromptu poetry workshop based on the Library Exhibits. 12 people attended and a few more visited the exhibition and wrote from the workshop prompts and research links I shared. Here is a selection of the resulting work. 

00 x 61.tif© Museum of London

Deeds Not Words 
                                                                                                                                   
Inspired by Emily Wilding Davison,
Suffragette, died June 8th, 1913
 
Dear Joan of Arc,
my wreath left at your feet
marks you undefeated.
Your spark lives on,
igniting the tinder of my resolve.
Sisters, Women’s Social Political Union,
stand up now,
sacrifice now.
 
I pledge today, Derby Day,
will turn heads
against blind-gendered minds
with our vision against division.
 
You will see.
You will be proud.
 
If I’m arrested they’ll say,
About her person was:
Two flags
One purse
One half…

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