Tag Archives: Andrew Fusek Peters

Poetry Lounge in The Sitting Room

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Sometimes your mind is just in the right place, or the room has the perfect mix of people or the atmosphere is calm and pleasing… whatever it was last night – a combination of all three perhaps, Poetry Lounge was magic!

I was excited to hear the featured poets Angela France and Andrew Fusek Peters and was delighted they were both on the bill together. I also had a pre-booked open mic spot (although I changed my mind on the set I delivered once I got to the venue). I shared some of my Maya Angelou poems, as well as a political one and a natural world and Restless Bones poem, gave the anthology a plug too.

Jean Atkin hosted the event this evening on her own and Jean’s calm presence and knowing the order of readers helped evoke the atmosphere beyond friendly, into homely territory, it felt like a very special night to be a part of.

It was also lovely to see the Shropshire poets again. Definitely worth the drive – although I wish I felt more like Angela about night drives.

sitting room

I love learning about the real lives of poets, with the same awe as children discovering us teachers don’t live in our stock cupboards and that we have a mum and dad too! Touched by new knowledge I wanted to buy one of Andrew’s older publications, ‘May the Angels be With Us’, now out of print, it wasn’t one of the titles he had brought with him to sell, but he sold me the copy he had read from. I know that I could have bought a second hand copy cheaper, but I am all for supporting poets – as I hope to be in the book selling position in the future and would rather see the (small) profit, there was a made-up statistic on TV about only being 10 people in the world making a living from being a poet, I reckon there are a few more, not many though, every little helps.

I enjoyed a great evening of poetry and came home with a scribbled palm of ideas, I do usually pack my notebook for when ideas strike, as they often do listening to poetry. I hadn’t even got my own pen!

It was a great mix of people and work and as a big fan of both Angela and Andrew (can you tell – gush) it was bound to be a fantastic night.

Claire Leavey’s performance was as exceptional as the last one I saw, it was great catching up with her again. I was delighted to meet and discover the poetry of Ted Eames, listen to Steve Griffiths again, both of whom also had books on sale (oh, to be a millionaire…. said the poet)! Martha was a bonus, she had turned up with a book and a notebook of her paternal grandfather and her husband’s grandfather and poetry from the war. As Jean said it was incredible to hear their words 100 years later.

Andrew was so relaxed he performed from the sofa! He was using his photography in slides throughout his performance and didn’t want to stand in front of the images. What wonderful images they were too. He is currently absorbed by the natural world and is discovering new talents. I had no idea he had only been shooting for a year or so, (I just figured, as with myself and many Creatives, he had fingers in many artistic pies), I think this makes his work even more spectacular. He is also entered for a National Award and treated us to that image too.

I guess it comes from his training as a poet – he is incredibly capable of catching the exact moment – akin to choosing the specific word, rather than those that will do. Andrew drew an analogy between poetry verse and a single moment caught in a shot. It was such a touching set.

He peppered it with older poems from his former life writing for children and talked about his brother. The years he was talking about were right back at the beginning of my poetry odyssey, I don’t think I had stepped up to a mic back then, although I was published (and still in school).

Angela France was equally a pleasure to hear / watch again, I have bought her books at previous events already, but there is nothing to beat a poet reading their own poem. She told her story about Laurie Lee and I love that by chance meeting that she had. Being told stories and holding them in her head for years before she could get them down on paper, in a poem. It was lovely to see Angela again, she always inspires me, her writing is so tight, so perfectly fixed together, seamless. I look forward to reading her collections again. She ended with her wonderful poem about night driving and although I understand all the imagery and drove home thinking up her words, I sadly have to admit that the glaring headlights and sharp, fast bends of my own lane journey home, were not so welcomed by me.

I was very tired and trying to concentrate hard with a head full of poetry and ideas is hard work!

Angela france

Here is Jean Atkin summing up the evening;

Just back from a great night of poetry at The Poetry Lounge! Guest poets Angela France and Andrew Fusek Peters gave us great sets, with names for herons, 18th century women who gave birth to small furry souterkins, the pursuit of buzzards and reward of hares, and the benedictions of country lanes at night. Also great readings from our open mic slots – Steve Griffiths, Nina Lewis, Claire Leavey, Ted Eames and Martha, who read the poetry of her pacifist grandfather who wrote about WWI, 100 years ago.

Poems for the Farm Event – Jean Atkin at Acton Scott Museum

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A Acton 8 Richard Beaumont played us in.

On Saturday 19th July, Jean Atkin organised the Poem for the Farm Event at Acton Scott Farm to mark the end of her residency. I was lucky enough to manage to get to a workshop she facilitated there earlier in the year (June) and was delighted to be invited back to read my farm poems.

If Acton Scott Historic Farm sounds familiar, you may have been watching Victorian Farm, the programme was made there.

The long drive up to Shropshire was worth every minute and the journey wasn’t too bad (considering the summer sunshine disappeared for a day and we had rain and even a storm once we had all settled in the barn) – as I have just mentioned we were all undercover.

Before the event Jean reflected on her residency at the farm, this is what she had to say;

© Lucy Carmel 2014

© Lucy Carmel 2014

‘Just been counting up, nostalgically, how many poems people really did write for Acton Scott Museum during my residency. Which finishes this Saturday with its Last Hurrah, our cream-tea-fuelled Poems for the Farm event. I am actually quite staggered to report that children, adults, indeed poets from all over the place wrote a total of 87 poems since Easter. Some are on The Poetry Fence, some are in the Hut, lots are in blog posts, some were emailed from as far away as Canada, USA, India… This does make me happy.’ A Acton 10

This is Jean’s Poetry Hut before she made it home A Acton 12 Poetry shed and the wonderful inside once Jean had moved in!

© Lucy Carmel 2014

© Lucy Carmel 2014

My own input to this project/ residency started with a short poem on the Poetry Fence, which I performed on Saturday, published on Jean’s Farm website/ blog and displayed on the poetry fence, it was written about this little fella… the half and half pig, hybrid breeds aren’t usually so literally represented. george-and-halfhalf-pig-mr

40 poets came to share or listen to poetry inspired by the farm. It was a great event and we were able to indulge in some of the best cream teas – if you visit, don’t forget to go to the Old School, now a café for a cream tea of your own. We listened to each other’s farm poetry and watched a slideshow of Andrew’s animal shots whilst listening to Jean perform her poems in the dark. It was a really friendly atmosphere and a supportive audience too.

I literally got there just in time and the table of people I knew was already full, there were people I wanted to talk to on that table that I never really had a chance to talk to at length, but it meant that I met more people and Steve Harrison sat with me, he had just won the Ledbury Poetry Slam, pipping Catherine Crosswell to the post, he was very modest about it. It was his first slam, he is a great poet and I am always entertained watching him, he was joking about needing to learn his farm poem (the fence poems were 6 lines maximum) and obviously he had learnt his set for the slam.

Here are some photographs of the event © Jean Atkin & Nadia Kingsley 2014

A Acton 1

Adrian Perks reads: I sink into the hammock by the haystack./ This is the life.

 A Acton 2 Andrew Fusek Peters A Acton 3  A Acton 4 Colin Fletcher reads ‘Thomas Acton’s Winged Collar’.A Acton 5 A Acton 6 Nadia Kingsley reads: ‘He turns his head – a Shakespeare
mask: too large, too monstrous – his body is far, far, far too long, which makes me think, that it is his legs
that are short, all wrong,

  A Acton 9 Steve Harrison (who’s just won the Slam at Ledbury Poetry Festival!) and remembered all his words!reads:
Not plugged into cells,
nor stacked in towers.
Wireless chickens
pecking, preening, 
just solar-powered.

Poems A Acton half-half-pig-mr A Acton poems-for-the-farm-event-004

Here I am reading my two farm poems. The Cart poem has now been published on Jean Atkin’s blog along with Meg Cox’s Farm Poem.

A Acton 7

This shot also shows Andrew‘s very impressive piece of kit, he spent some time in the early hours with Jean taking photos – the animals thought they were being brought breakfast! The barn had an exhibition of photography by Andrew Fusek Peters and Jean’s poetry, they plan to exhibit them around the County – so if you get a chance go and see them, they are beautiful and very inspiring. Andrew is not only a talented writer but shoots fantastic (that doesn’t give it enough justice) photography, a real delight, a master of capturing the exact split second of motion or stillness. He was selling his artwork and I was very tempted, unfortunately I had only taken book money with me. I did manage to buy his book ‘Dip’ that I have been after since I met him at the Wenlock Poetry Festival, back in April. Wishes do come true, keep asking!

When my writing schedule has calmed down (I am currently working on poetry, a monologue and some short stories!) I plan to revisit Andrew’s photography and write some poems of my own. I also have several pages of notes from Jean’s workshop to develop into poems and shots of my own taken on my day at the farm, to create more poetry from.

Other poets involved in this event were; Mike turner – read his son’s poem – Oliver aged 15, Liz Roberts, Helen Paris, Meg Cox, Julia Dean Richards, Jacob, Frank, Peter Holliday, and Paul Francis.

Setting up Poems for the Farm 3

We have all been lucky to know Jean and for her to have involved so many people in her 3 month residency is impressive. Taking poetry to the people on the farm. Poet’s are lucky to be given a residency, it is wonderful when the setting suits the poet as well as it did here. Jean loved her time on the farm and the impact she and her poetry residency have made will continue to linger I am sure.

I will finish the post with a collection of Jean’s photos from the farm and one of the cutest poems written by a visiting child, Huxley aged 3.A Acton poem-charlie-by-huxley

A Acton Lucy on a shire aged 4  A Acton dusty-by-freya-8y

 

A link to A Acton Poet on the farm Jean Atkin’s Farm Poetry Blog and write up of the event here

My Writing Life: News

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Yesterday I had no internet connection! This is an offline post I wrote:

Mr G and I went out on Sunday, for treats and garden/house shopping, after a lovely morning together, (on the last free Sunday I have for about 5 weeks) I popped onto the blog to leave a few posts… low and behold, the phone lines were down in my town… last time I remember this was after a storm many years ago… cannot believe it in the 21st Century, but there you go no internet.

I have decided to write all my posts offline ready to post and go out with Mr G for a lovely Steak meal and forget all about the world I could access… where some very important news was waiting for me in my inbox!

I am very excited about all the wonderful things happening to me right now in the world of writing.

Firstly, at the end of May I applied to Naked Lungs to take part in a pop up poetry event at the next Birmingham Literature Festival this year in October. It is a paid gig too! WOWZERS! Typically they have been inundated with creatives applying to be part of this half hour event, so we have been invited to meet/interview with them to discuss our proposals. blf logo

Unfortunately, it was a day I was working full time, I emailed with possible solutions to this problem, then late last week the agency rang and my days got changed about into 2 half days, freeing up potential time on Monday and Tuesday, I now need to decide which slot will be better for me, traffic-wise I guess Tuesday morning is the better option, just hope I can get to work on time! (I received confirmation today my interview is Tuesday morning.)

It is exciting and I hope it provides an opportunity.

Secondly, it is the 4th Worcester LitFest & Fringe starting at the end of this week and I am happy to announce my involvement.

wlf pop

I have been asked to take part in the Pop Up Poets event on Sunday 22nd, it looks great fun.

WLF 42

I am also one of eight performers who will take to the stage at 42, have to get some dark poetry ready for that set. I think my recent poem about Martha Graham, written for the 52 project may be a suitable starting point. Maybe I will dust the Zombie poem off for another outing.

WLF sp

The SpeakEasy Worcs LitFest special was originally invited guests only, I was one of the poets asked to do a 6 minute set. I am looking forward to both of these events and the headline acts.

I am busily involved in other open mic events and workshop/ performances right up until the end of June. Living the dream… 8 months in!

There are even more exciting events taking place in July.

I am performing on stage with The Poetry Army – Brainfruit, in my hometown and also hope to attend the pre-show workshop if Writing West Midlands can find cover for the Worcester group.  poetryarmy

I am attending the Born Free Anthology Book Launch, reading my poems from the book, along with others at various venues in Birmingham, starting with The Ort, where I was hoping to perform with Tim Scarborough again but he has other commitments for the rest of the Summer on Fridays and can’t manage it. I am performing a solo set instead. born free

Tim and I hadn’t actually seen each other for weeks as we were both performing individually for the last Mouth and Music. Where he performed an incredible set of poetry written about his late wife, poems I was honoured to help him edit. Not that they needed much work. We decided mm that we will collaborate for the next Mouth and Music on the theme of Summer. I look forward to squeezing some rehearsal time in!

I am going back to Acton Scott Farm to take part in a celebratory afternoon of Jean Atkin’s residency, including reading some ASF poetry from the workshop day. acton Where I also hope to finally buy my copy of DIP by Andrew Fusek Peters.

I am going to Stratford-Upon-Avon, where Jo Bell is the resident poet for the annual Literature Festival, she has organised a 52 picnic, where there will be so many of us hoping to perform we will be selected from a raffle to perform our 52 poems.

I have been so busy this year that I haven’t always managed to write my weekly poem in time to submit it to the 52 group, I have however, tried to catch up, I still have a few missing weeks and I really miss reading other people’s poetry because you learn so much, I hope to catch up with it this summer. Morning-Sun-mit

AND excitedly I share news that came after this was written and will have a post of its own. I got published!

 

The Poetry Lounge in The Sitting Room

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A superb night – an amazing first half, I was totally absorbed, glad I could sit and enjoy, this is not to say the 2nd half wasn’t also great – just treat after treat in the first and perhaps my mind was more attentive (not thinking about the return journey, in the dark)! Great 2nd half too! glad I could sit and enjoy. Good mix of poetry tonight! I had a fab time! It was lovely to see the Shropshire crowd again and although it is a journey across there it is worth it! The atmosphere is warm and I love the venue and all the lampshades. sitting room

And as if that much love wasn’t enough Andrew Fusek Peters was there, I met him at Wenlock Poetry Festival and discovered some of his poetry is from a place I know well…

It was good to hear him read and I got very excited by the prospect of getting a signed copy of his book (which I’d not got enough money for by the end of the day in Much Wenlock)! He didn’t have enough copies.

DIP

© 2014 Random House

 

 

Synopsis

‘This is our day of reconfiguration, where the mist has wiped the sea from the very face of the earth and the sun is swaddled far from the reach of human eye…

In Dip, Andrew Fusek Peters describes an extraordinary year of wild swimming. He leads us to rivers, lakes, waterfalls and hidden pools, into wild waters and untamed landscapes that have the potential to surprise and move us in unexpected ways.

Following in the wake of great writers such as Richard Jeffries and Edward Thomas, Dip combines meditations on place, history and myth with sharp observation and a poet’s eye. It is also a personal journey: swimming through all four seasons, Andrew Fusek Peters surfaces at last from deep depression. Lyrical, honest and incisive, Dip is about the many ways in which immersing ourselves in the elements can restore us to ourselves.

andrew f peters portrait (1 of 1)

About the Author

Britain’s tallest poet, Andrew Fusek Peters has written over 100 books for all ages with his wife, Polly, including award-winning poetry collections, verse novels and fiction. Their work has appeared on Poetry Please and Radio 3 Words & Music, amongst other places. For several years, Andrew was an itinerant arts presenter for Central TV and has enjoyed a varied broadcasting career. Today, he lives and works in Shropshire, where he is passionate about the countryside and addicted to the pleasures of wild swimming.

 Copyright © 2014 The Random House Group, a Penguin Random House Company

http://www.randomhouse.co.uk/editions/9781846044472

This summer he is doing some exciting days DIP Shropshire -workshops that involve wild swims, which is one way he helped stabilise his mind and emotions throughout his depression. I would love to attend one, but I hate swimming, we will see.

Dip Shropshire

It was a fab evening and I discovered several new poets/ artists and lapped up the warm welcome. I think my set was okay and exactly on time so James Sheard didn’t have to evil eye me off the stage! 😉 I only wish I could make the venue closer to home, learn to teleport or employ (a voluntary) poetry chauffeur!

Thanks Deborah Alma & Jean Atkin!

 © 2014 Writing West Midlands

© 2014 Writing West Midlands

 

© 2014 Jean Atkin

© 2014 Jean Atkin