Tag Archives: Antony Owen

February in Review

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There were many exciting ventures this month including the second festival of the year. This time I had a festival pass (bought in November and reimbursed as a Christmas gift) and I intended to use it – and then use half term to recover.

There were also (as always) clashing events and those I missed out on. The dream of a helicopter, boundless energy and time or the ability to teleport, all somewhat in the future.

Week 1

After the madness of end of month submissions and a 16 hour after work stint on the laptop, the month started with a rare night off (which I mainly slept through of course)!

Then Permission to Speak, the wonderful spoken word event and brainchild of Rob Francis. Everyone was excited about Ira Lightman headlining, unfortunately he couldn’t make it. The night that unfolded was the first (that I know of) without a headline act, swiftly repackaged as a ‘Free For All’ with performers allocated more time. As always we were treated to a wide selection of novel extracts, short stories, music and poetry. It was really enjoyable, relaxing and a great tonic after one of the hardest work weeks I have in a while. We all missed Ira and hope he will be able to book in at the Scary Canary in the future. He really should treat himself.

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I spent my first writing day in a week, writing. I also caught up with family and almost burnt the midnight oil as a result. Two new poems, both need some time to bed down and then be mangled through edits, but I am happy with the initial results. It was a tense morning with an idling brain, so I am glad by the time my head hit the pillow, I had accomplished some work. I also discovered new opportunities, some marked for 2018 and some on my TO DO LIST – more on that in the future, especially if I am successful in my endeavours.

When my head hit the pillow I couldn’t sleep. So I treated myself to a poetry book. There are many in the queue and some were gazumped as I picked ‘Beginning With Your Last Breath’ by Roy McFarlane. I planned to only read a few pages. By page 3 my eyes started leaking surprise tears and by page 17 my breath was caught and I knew I would be reading this story cover to cover… and I did. Jolly glad I did too. I slept well afterwards and will be reviewing his debut collection shortly.

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On Saturday Antony Owen had organised a Peace Vigil at Coventry Cathedral, where invited poets were performing 15 minute sets. I was disappointed not to be able to make it as I had a prior booking in Cheltenham. It looked like an amazing experience and I am keeping my fingers crossed that I can be part of another one later this year. I did have a couple of poems read on my behalf. I think it was one of those unique, special events that would have filled heart and mind to abundant levels and I cannot wait to hear all about it.

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Antony Owen was joined by invited poets: Mike Alma, Josephine Allen, Mal Dewhirst, Jacqui Rowe, Ruth Stacey & Janet Smith.

Antony said of the event it is an event for poetry to act as a witness to current world events and respond in acts of articulated remembrance.

antony-owen-by-mal-dewhirstMal Dewhirst © 2017

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Peace Curtain.

Janet Smith © 2017

Saturday night I missed Hannah Teesdale’s Special Open Mic Event in Birmingham as my brain and body had had a full work out and my little car had already driven to Gloucestershire. Both events had a lot of positive social media coverage and it would have been great to reconnect and catch up with people in Birmingham.

And I FINALLY started to read Ash Dickinson’s latest collection ‘Strange Keys’, which I had promised myself would be my Christmas book. I read three Christmas novels over the fortnight and ran out of snug time with poetry. Have made up for that since. Mr G bought me a couple of books for Christmas and I have spent the first part of the year battling through a novel. Which in concept was perfect and I see why he risked the gift. It was hard going both in terms of subject matter and chronology. Now I am on a book break for a bit unless the book contains poetry. I am too busy to catch more than snatches of time and poetry is perfect for that. I thought I had better read the collection before I see Ash again next week. Then I can delight in him performing from it.

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A conversation we had last month inspired an idea for a new poem that I managed to get to draft form this weekend. If I can work through it I think it will make a good performance poem. I love it when poets and their poetry connect to my mind in such a way that they just sow treasure. Plenty of wealth in my pad ready to go when I have a minute.

Week 2

Was set to be a corker. Poetry Alight in Lichfield on Tuesday night with Ruth Stacey (who I missed at the Cathedral) and Ash Dickinson, HOWL on Wednesday in Birmingham with Bethany Slinn, Sean Cottelli and Luke Kennard and SpeakEasy on Thursday with Matt Windle. Followed by important deadlines and Writing West Midlands.

It was a corker indeed. I had one main writing focus this week and all my spare time went into it, most of Monday, late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning before work. I managed to hit the deadline and now am keeping my fingers crossed.

Poetry Alight celebrated a 5th birthday, Gary Longden hosted an extra night this year to celebrate the 5th and the event took place downstairs in the back bar which was lovely. It was brilliant to catch up with everyone and watch in awe as Ruth Stacey and Ash Dickinson performed their headline sets. See the full review here https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2017/02/10/poetry-alight-happy-5th-birthday/

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I had a great time at Poetry Alight, fully absorbed and inspired to write more poetry and to edit the Funeral Pyre one.

HOWL was my next poetry feast, Wednesday evening. It was great to see lots of people I haven’t seen in a while and to watch incredible sets from Bethany Slinn, Sean Colletti and Luke Kennard. The night was on fire and made me feel like I didn’t want to ever extinguish the flame. Leon Priestnall was celebrating too. Howl’s 2nd birthday!

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Read the full review here https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2017/02/11/when-beat-poetry-howls-howl-8-2-17/

My poetry week was not done there, the following evening I went to Worcester for SpeakEasy, Matt Windle was headlining. The night was raucous fun. A wild enticing whirlpool atmosphere that in the end took everyone with it. Some great open mic spots and Matt Windle blew everyone away. He even brought a tear to my eye, a poem I had heard him perform before,  moved me so much tonight. Again a delight to watch the audience who hadn’t seen him before, enjoy his work. Poet with punch indeed, as I said on social media ‘ a w e s o m e – if you look carefully enough you will find Matt between those letters’. He is this year’s Birmingham Poet Laureate and it is great to see him back on the circuit.

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Read the full review here https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2017/02/12/speakeasy-with-matt-man-windle/

To complete my writing week I worked with Writing West Midlands, Spark Writers Group in Worcester at The Hive, where a new Assistant Writer joined us for a one off session, thanks Mollie Davidson.

I also FINALLY read Fergus McGonigal’s first collection cover to cover. It is a great read and it has made me look forward to his next collection even more. Fergus is back on the Spoken Word scene and I hope to catch him soon. fergus-mBuy your copy here.

http://www.burningeye.bigcartel.com/product/the-failed-idealists-guide-to-the-tatty-truth-by-fergus-mcgonigal

Fergus McGonigal takes Ogden Nash’s notion of a poem being an essay which rhymes and targets the unsentimental truth about parenthood, pseudo-intellectual pretentiousness and pomposity, and what happens when the idealism of youth has given way to the disappointment of middle-age. © 2015 Burning Eye Books

Week 3

Mr G’s birthday, Valentines and the much awaited (since the launch party in November) Verve Poetry Festival. verve-pass Unfortunately the weekend clashed with an event at the Swan Theatre in Worcester facilitated by Ben Parker (Poet in Residence). I am hoping he will do a third event as I had to pull out.

I missed Matt Windle and a plethora of other Laureates at the Artrix on Monday as it was Mr G’s birthday and we were celebrating in Birmingham. There were other events but with submission deadlines and an all immersive 4 day festival at the weekend I felt the need to pace myself this week.

I also missed a night of poetry at Smokey Joe’s in Cheltenham.

Thursday couldn’t come soon enough! After work I made my way into the city on the train and arrived at Waterstones for a perfect opening night of the Verve Poetry Festival.

Read the whole story of the Poetry Parlour with Daljit Nagra and Hit the Ode here.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2017/02/17/verve-poetry-festival-opening-night/

I would love to stay in the city, but home really is less than an hour away and I want some book spending money. I want to suggest a poet basement next year though. Sleeping bags at the ready! I had a great night with poetry friends and had to wait less than 24hours for the top up!

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The top up came with a wonderful evening of poetry and a bizarre Dice Slam, I loved the concept of this slam. This is the kind of slam I would feel comfortable entering. You can read the full review of the Readings and Dice Slam here. https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2017/02/20/verve-poetry-festival-day-2-part-1-kim-moore-mona-arshi-and-katrina-naomi/

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2017/02/22/verve-poetry-festival-day-2-part-2-dice-slam-with-apples-snakes/

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2017/02/27/verve-poetry-festival-day-3/

The weekend was immensely satisfying for my poetry soul and I will add more links when I have reviewed the events. An exciting opportunity arose from this experience too. I am writing a review for Sabotage Reviews. I have included events which I have not yet blogged about, this is another reason why I haven’t gone mad this week attempting to review the remaining events, that and I finally started work on the house. This needs to take priority this year, I will be busy as I started to organise events to perform at two festivals in January and this month took on some marketing/support for another two festivals.

Week 4

I finally read ‘The Glassblower Dances’ by Rachel McCrum, bought at Hit The Ode in 2014, I am slowly working my way through my poetry bookcase! The good news for you is it is back in print, so you could have a copy for yourselves, if you need more persuading it won the Callum Macdonald Award in 2013.

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http://www.kickingparis.bigcartel.com/ copies are just £6.00. I am hoping to write some proper reviews early summertime, so look out for those. I read some of it on the train to get my mind set for Verve.

A couple of treats to finish the month I was going to 42 in Worcester but I discovered Tom McCann (who hit the scene last September and is headlining in Stirchley next week), started a Spoken Word night in Kings Norton this year ‘Spoken Trend’. Jan Watts was one of the three headline acts and it has been forever since I saw her. She is busy producing her theatre performances of ‘Holding Baby’, widely acclaimed as brilliant and a must see. I headed over to Birmingham and performed on the open mic, alongside some well established poets and then sat back to enjoy the featured artists James Kearns, Clive Oseman and Jan Watts.

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It was a superb night. A definite recommend.

On Thursday there was a slam night in Dudley featuring Emma Purshouse and in Birmingham a reading at Foyles with Roy McFarlane & Gregory Leadbetter (which I had tickets for) and  Wine & Poetry Evening, the second of its type, organised by Emma Press & Cynthia Miller. In the end I didn’t make it to any of them, my car has been poorly for 6 months and is now finally fixed. I spent the day helping family, by the time I hit home it was gone 6pm and I was out of energy and time.

And finally, I mentioned the Nuclear Impact anthology by Shabda Press in my January Review, now it is available for you to buy. It is an amazingly huge collection of poetry and has been a real labour of love for Teresa Mei Chuc. It is available for $25.00 and proceeds will be donated to charity. If you are in America, there are book launch readings taking place all across the country, Philadelphia, New York and in California, check those out.

http://www.shabdapress.com/nuclear-impact-anthology.html

NUCLEAR IMPACT: BROKEN ATOMS IN OUR HANDS
NUCLEAR IMPACT: BROKEN ATOMS IN OUR HANDS $25.00 USD

Proceeds from sales of the Nuclear Impact: Broken Atoms in Our Hands anthology will be donated to the Women’s Center in Downtown Los Angeles. www.downtownwomenscenter.org/
nuclear-impact-front-cover-final-cover-art-on-the-road-to-perilous-by-john-sokol

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There are talks currently for a reading in the UK, I will keep you posted.

I am already organising two festival events for V. Press poets and my next headline is in Manchester in a fortnight, plus I am working on submissions and reviews and in addition to all this am now rallying the troops for another Arts Festival happening in early Summer. Oh, and I may be marketing for another MAJOR festival soon too. So my plate is pretty full and I still have 8 lingering poems from my weekend at the Verve Festival to work on, (as well as a house to sort – note for Mr. G.) and it is back to work, work next week too!

I am happy busy but busy all the same. Blogs posts will be low priority now (with the exception of review posts for Verve and promotional drops) for a while, but there is plenty of historic posting in these waters so go and fill your buckets!

Keep writing!

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Fragile Houses The Book Launch

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On October 3rd Fragile Houses, my debut poetry pamphlet was launched at Waterstones Birmingham.

It was a fantastic night and I felt like ‘Christmas Eve’, the next morning it felt like a dream. The morning after felt whimsical and I had to pinch myself to tell that I was awake. This is how a great book launch should feel.

I cannot believe I didn’t blog it straight away, that I didn’t show you all how I felt. That you have had to wait two months for this post.

There was a lot to do before the event and next year I will be blogging about this side of things as I found, through countless hours of research a gap on the practicalities of organising launch events.

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I got to Birmingham with a travel bag of books. I was a bag of nerves, but fortunately had Maggie Doyle and Spoz with me, taking my mind off it.

I wish I had taken a photo of the room and another of the audience. When I stepped into the space, my breath was taken away. We had four comfy, green chairs ready for us at the front (Hays Festival style staging) and more chairs had to be put out for the audience, always a good sign. There were over 25 people there and I was delighted that family and friends had also come to support me. There were three audience members who had seen the advertising and turned up for a free night of poetry and one of them kindly bought my book. So I was able to tick off the unwritten checklist of selling the book to a stranger on the evening of it launching. Happy dance.

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I had asked for Roy McFarlane, Antony Owen and Claire Walker to come and read at the event. Claire started proceedings with a lovely set. I have always been a fan of her poetry (and Roy’s and Antony’s) – one of the many reasons I asked if they would read at the launch.

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My publisher, Sarah Leavesley was also there and made a short and delightful speech that I had to speak after (and she nearly made me cry). I read a selection of poems from the pamphlet, signed and sold lots of books and we all celebrated with wine and cake.

It was an incredible night. It still feels like a dream.

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Signing my first book. The books sold on the launch evening were all numbered as well.


 

Official Launch Photographs were kindly taken by Bernard Davis.

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Here is my post-launch social media message;

A very quick, adrenalin filled THANK YOU to everybody who came to celebrate the launch tonight. Family, friends, poets & general public. Couldn’t have asked for a better event. Room was perfect. Fell in love with that space as soon as I saw the backs of the chairs. Slightly awkward explaining to the general public, who had rushed in that the first half hour was mingle time. Poets never get to chat (learnt that if it is your launch you don’t get to chat either) but think I managed to hug and welcome everyone. Sold more books than no. of people in attendance, thanks for the generosity.

Huge, huge thanks to Claire Walker, Roy McFarlane and Antony R Owen who made me swell with heartfelt sets and lots of appreciated sign language from the green chairs. How ‘Hay’ was that?

Thanks to V. Press for publishing Fragile Houses & Sarah Leavesley for her generous words and all the hard work. I managed not to cry the poems, but after that speech it was hard to do the next intro.

Thanks to Maggie Doyle who had my camera and captured that magic writer- editor/ publisher moment, gave me a lift and has been there from almost the very beginning. Thanks to Giovanni Spoz Esposito for the extra lift relay, for supporting the launch and for the delivery of my words elsewhere. Hope they serve well.

Thanks to John who enabled me to tick ‘sell your book to a stranger’. Thanks to everyone. Next stop, headlining Stirchley Speaks tomorrow, along with the wonderful Carl Sealeaf, P Cafe 7.30pm. Signed pamphlets will be available, minus the free muffins & wine.

Also thank you to Waterstones Birmingham and Bernard Davis who stepped in to catch everything through his camera lens. I cannot wait to see the shots!

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As you can see from this photo – the pamphlet costs £5.50 and makes Christmas shopping REALLY easy.

V.Press have currently got Christmas bundles on SALE. Which means for just £7.50 you can be the owner or giver of two pamphlets.

Festive Offer 3: The way home

2 illustrated poetry pamphlets: David Calcutt’s The Old Man in the House of Bone and Nina Lewis’ Fragile Houses for just £7.50 (including P&P in the UK only)

Review of October

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Review of October

Week 1

Following advice I was trying to not be too busy pre-book launch but after a week off events I took my writing group for Writing West Midlands, watched all the poetry coverage on BBC2, missed another writing deadline and decided that I would drive to Cheltenham to Buzzwords and catch David Clarke and Cliff Yates (another new-to-me poet).

Buzzwords was great, I realised I hadn’t been for over a year. I had a fabulous evening and do not regret it, despite it being the night before my launch. I read my latest poem – a work on tribal philosophy and have some poetry drafts from the workshop to work on when I get a chance (Christmas holidays maybe).

I had imagined I would spend Monday getting ready for the evening – but in reality I missed writing deadlines, overslept, did everything I could to reduce the nervous anxiety of what if no-one turns up and finally at about 2pm started to get organised.

I am going to write a full post about the launch and some follow up posts about the organisation aspects, as there is a gap of relevant information in this area.

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Waterstones Book Launch for Fragile Houses in Birmingham with Guest Readers – Roy McFarlane, Antony Owen and Claire Walker. It was a cracking night, the next morning I woke up to go to work and it felt like a dream.

The following evening I headlined at Stirchley Speaks. I have been headlining since Autumn 2014 but this is the first time I had a book to sell. I did leave home without them and had to turn back to grab the bag, I knew there was something I had forgotten. Since this night I have started using a large event handbag and always carry a couple of copies.

Stirchley Speaks was a great night and I sold lots of books, I realised at this point I had underestimated how many I should order. Taking advice from Jane Commane back in 2014 who said that audience doesn’t necessarily convert to readership. I was aware not everyone I know will buy the book. I have a list of people who want a copy next time I see them too.

It was good to catch up with everybody in the P Café and it was an incredible night of poetry.

The next day I contacted my publishers and ordered another box.

I hadn’t submitted any poetry for a while and had news of one of my poems being published in the USA. More on that when it happens.

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I treated myself to an evening off and a little rest before National Poetry Day, which is fast becoming one of my favourite dates on the calendar.

I collected my new batch of books and went to Suz Winspear’s NPD event in Worcester. As Worcestershire Poet Laureate, Suz is working hard this year in the city and found a brand new venue for the NPD Event. Berkeley Almshouses was the venue and some of the residents came to enjoy the event. It was a great evening and the old chapel had fabulous acoustics and suited Suz very well.

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This year’s theme was messages and I certainly sent a few texts whilst trying to track down the entrance to the venue. Great sets from everyone and I got to catch up with Math Jones (up from London) and Ruth Stacey. I even sold a book!

I spent the weekend Fri- Sun at Swindon Poetry Festival, it was 2nd year there and much as I loved it last year, this year was EVEN better! It deserves a full post and as I pretty much did everything on the programme, will certainly need one. A great way to finish an exhausting, fantastic week in my poetryskin!

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Other great news was Matt Windle became Birmingham’s new Poet Laureate and by the end of the week I had sold over 50 copies of my book!

 

Week 2

Started with a recovery day. I started to create Poetry Films, something I have got hooked on. Last year Sarah Leavesley kindly tutored a group of us in the art of production and I was inspired by the Poetry Films I had seen at Swindon. There are several poems in my pamphlet that I will rarely perform. These are all now Poetry Films.

On my recovery day I spent some INKSPILL admin time and rehearsed a set for Licensed to Rhyme. Roy McFarlane was headlining. It was a great night and I was allowed to sell my pamphlets, they had a table and everything.

The next evening I went to Ledbury to the Poetry Salon where Deborah Alma was reading and finally got a copy of her book, ‘True Tales of the Countryside’, a beautiful Emma Press pamphlet. deb-alma2

I unexpectedly performed in the open mic section. Fragile Houses reached Ledbury. It has since reached Palestine, Malta, Holland and Australia to my knowledge. It was a wonderful, rich evening and great to see Ledbury folk again.

This week was also Birmingham Literature Festival and due to work commitments and events was the first time since coming back to writing (2013) that I missed it. The night after Ledbury Liz Berry and Benjamin Zephaniah were performing and also Gregory Leadbetter had his book launch for ‘Fetch’ (Nine Arches) at Waterstones, Birmingham with Angela France and Jo Bell reading.

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© 2016 Nine Arches

I was gutted to miss both these events but with working and poeting I had no energy and if I remember rightly was asleep as soon as I had finished tea.

The following night Luke Kennard was performing in Birmingham and I missed it because it clashed with SpeakEasy, where I was already performing. Roy McFarlane was the feature and it was a joy to listen to him twice in one week.

Fragile Houses received a Chez Nous Review which I was delighted to discover came from Gram Joel Davies. He actually chose some of my favourite foods – go and have a read.

http://vpresspoetry.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/chez-nous-recommendations-for-fragile.html

By the end of the week I was run down with illness and missed Holding Baby a play by Jan Watts and the rest of the Book to the Future Festival (again for the first time since 2013). I hope to catch the show another time, I have heard nothing but good things about it.

It was great to finish the week with a Madhatter Review http://www.madhatterreviews.co.uk/books–e-books.html

 

Week 3

Fragile Houses has positive reviews on Amazon and Good Reads.

I was asked to do something that I am really excited about, more on that next year. I spent days preparing for INKSPILL in shifts of 8 – 12 hours.

Mr G and I went to London to see Woven Hand.

I was too tired to manage Hit the Ode and Smokestack Poetry Evening event clash), both in Birmingham, both top nights. I also missed the Dylan Thomas Festival, running for the first year in Cheltenham. Unfortunately it clashed with INKSPILL this year.

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I signed up to an online course ‘Arts for Health’ and performed poetry for ‘She Speaks Her Mind’ Woo Feministas – alongside Suz Winspear, Charley Barnes, Claire Badsey & Holly Magill.

Then of course it was INKSPILL with Gaia Harper, Roy McFarlane and Deanne Gist. This was the 4th year for us and it was a success. I already have Guests and plans lined up for 2017.

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The Magnetic Diaries – which I saw in it’s infancy in Hereford last year was on at the MAC and although I couldn’t make the show I did make Sarah Leavesley’s workshop ‘Pain to Poetry’. I have some poetry notes and one poem so far from this and it was a challenging (emotionally) but not unpleasant experience. I also got time to reconnect with many poetry friends I have not seen in a while.

 

Week 4

I spent the early part of the week writing. I entered a few free poetry competitions. I took some bookings for next year and exchanged pamphlets with J.V Birch through the post. She is a childhood friend, now living in Australia and has also become a poet at the same time as me. It has been exciting to map and mirror each other’s journeys through this new world.

I dressed up for Halloween as a ‘Cereal Killer’ and went off to perform at the Halloween Special 42 in Worcester. Where (due to the wig) people didn’t recognise me. It was a fabulous night and a great excuse to dress up. Fantastic sets from everyone.

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photos by Liam Cortintias

The next day I had to do my best to get all the make up off and go to a workshop run by Angela France, the theme was Fairy Tales and I had a thoroughly enjoyable day and even sold a few books.

I listened to poetry on Radio 4 and missed my Stanza meeting to take part in a Charity Quiz night. All teams of 8 and due to circumstances we ended up with just 4 in our team. We were going for the Booby Prize but decided it was hard to share a bottle of wine and so started to get answers right. We came in 5th not too shoddy, somewhere in the middle. Over £1000 was raised for MacMillan.

I hoped to go to Lania Knight’s workshop, having missed her last one due to a crash on the motorway, but this weekend we celebrated a special family birthday.

 

Review of June

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So why was there only one blog post this month? Mainly because I have been training myself to learn to love the editing process as much as the writing one… although, I am certain this will never happen.

I have taken a real backseat with performing too. We are entering the summer festival season and despite looking through brochures and deciding I would like to attend many events, I have been held back from doing so as I am time poor and poor at the moment.

I haven’t submitted anything other than edited manuscripts for ages and writing new material has been a no go zone too. Due to the long summer break I have been taking on as much work as possible and I am also busy trying (and failing) to arrange birthday parties and mini breaks. June is also a ‘real life’ busy month with birthdays, celebrations and events, not to mention the hours consumed watching programmes about Britain leaving the EU. The REMAIN/LEAVE campaigns were something not many of us understood prior to June and I needed to be sure of my stance and understand the impact before voting.

The world knows the story since… seems strange that when David Cameron resigned as Britain’s Prime Minister it was only the 3rd most important story of the day.

And of course when the future is in the head of a poet, it guarantees that there isn’t much room left for poetry.

Here is a review of what I managed and sometimes what I missed in the world of poetry this month.


Cheltenham

I totally missed Cheltenham Poetry Festival, but the month started with a personal invite to a workshop. Unfortunately there was a tragic accident on the motorway in the morning and the only other route to Cheltenham was blocked by overflow traffic, so I didn’t make the workshop. I felt guilty feeling sad about it when there were some poor people who hadn’t survived the day.

Editing

I spent my break editing and haven’t managed a writing day since.

Book Launches

Jenna Plewes had a book launch at the local library on the 6th June. Her latest collection ‘Pull on the Earth’ includes lots of poems about her travels. It was an enjoyable launch.

Pull of the Earth is published by Indigo Dreams and is available for £8.99 + P&P BUY your copy here

See blog post for more details https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2016/07/06/book-launch-pull-of-the-earth-by-jenna-plewes/

Pull of Earth

Open Mics

June saw Jess Davis hosting her final Stirchley Speaks. The monthly poetry night held at the P Café will be hosted by Callum and Jessica Bates from July. This is a full circle for them as they were one of the three headline acts appearing at the first Stirchley Speaks one year ago.

I was lucky enough to perform, it was a great night.

Unfortunately it clashed with David Hart appearing at The Works’ Canteen. I had hoped to make it back to this night held at the Black Country Museum, hosted by Dave Reeves. David Hart meantime, waits on my list of must see.

I also missed HOWL as I was still editing.

I performed at the 42 Festival Special as part of WLF (Worcester LitFest), an enjoyable night themed around the Last Stop on the Worcester Night Tra.

I also had a slot at WLF SpeakEasy which was hosted by the ever delightful Myfanwy Fox and headlined by Angela France. It was great to catch up with both of them and Angela gave me a good Ledbury tip off.

 

Lit Fests & Workshops

Worcester LitFest kicked off on the 10th June with the Poet Laureate Final (I remember the nerves from this time last year), not good memories as far as emotions go. Traumatic in actual fact. This year saw a new venue at Worcester Race Course and instead of 3 finalists being picked from 6 performers, they had 3 finalists striving for the accolade. A wise decision was also made with regard to the amount of other ceremonial achievements celebrated beforehand, making it a shorter event and allowing the poets to suffer less palpitations. I didn’t manage to support in person this year but I am delighted to announce that this year’s Worcestershire Poet Laureate is Suz Winspear!

Positive Images Festival

On June 12th I headed over to Coventry for a ‘The Atomic Sun’ workshop with Antony Owen, Patron of CND Peace Education UK and Award Winning Poet. Antony and I have poems in an anthology due out later this year published by Shabda Press entitled ‘Nuclear Impact Broken Atoms in our Hands’. It was a deeply moving experience which I will post about separately.

http://www.positiveimagesfestival.co.uk/

https://antonyowenpoetry.wordpress.com/

http://www.cnduk.org/information/peace-education/item/2254-peace-education-patrons-antony-owen

Workshop

Gary Crew is an Australian Author of YA Fiction. His picture books for KS2+ are brilliant and ‘The WaterTower'(1994) formed part of the mantle learning at one of the schools I work at. The Watertower

As part of his time here in the UK (mainly London and Oxford) he was also able to catch a train up to the Midlands and workshop with some very eager children. As part of his contract he had to deliver something to academics (funding), so I was one of about 40 teachers treated to a session with him after work.

I will add a post of information about his writing. It was inspiring for me and I bought a book of his I have not read as poetry instantly sprang to mind, we will see where that leads (after I have finished this first manuscript maybe)!

https://www.fantasticfiction.com/c/gary-crew/

 

Performances

Quiet Compere Worcester LitFest

Friday 17th June I was lucky enough to be part of the QC Event at Worcester LitFest, Sarah Dixon returned for another wonderful night of poetry at The Hive. A different format this time she had featured poets, guest poets and some open mics, pre-booked (like mine) or signed up on the night. Link to follow.

Midsummer Poetry Brothel Caged Arts

Heidi Murphy hosted her 2nd Poetry Brothel at P Café on the 22nd June to celebrate the solstice. I had missed the Solstice Walk (Festival Fringe event), due to family celebrations clashing so it was useful to be able to blow the dust off last year’s solstice poems. No time to pen anything new, but I did have time to raid my wardrobe for florals; trousers, flower in the hair… it was my 3rd Poetry Brothel (am I forming a habit?).

Writing West Midlands

From September the Junior and Senior groups are amalgamating, so I spent an entire Saturday at the library being Jenny Hope’s assistant and then taking my own final session for this term/year in the afternoon. I had hoped to attend A Night at the Museum, WLF event in the evening but after working two groups and with a few hours of limbo, I decided I was too tired and left the city for home.

So there is June in rather a big nutshell – and of course, I am still writing NaPoWriMo poems (from April prompts)…

pen sarah wilko anderson 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.

Popshots Outsider

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

Stanza

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

November – Cork Poets, Fireworks, Book Launch, Performances, Workshop, Work, Getting Published, Writing & Wild Fire!

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November – Cork Poets, Fireworks, Book Launch, Performances, Workshop, Work, Getting Published, Writing & Wild Fire!

to do

Just taking a deep breath to read the title of this post makes me realise how busy this first week of November has been, especially as I used my only writing day (Monday) to catch up on household chores and laundry. The laundry was a bit of a mistake, 3 loads, it started raining, we have just enough airers for this amount, discover our central heating does NOT work. Fortunately Mr G called up our insurance company and they sent an engineer out – we have a new thermostat and more importantly, a warm house! We were beginning to ice up on the inside! Unfortunately the engineer wasn’t here until Friday so the clothes are only just dry. inkspill laundry We do have a tumble dryer mode on the washer but it seems to make everything several sizes smaller, so we avoid it for clothes.

Hard to believe it was sunny back at the beginning of the week, after the monsoon of recent days. I accepted way too much work this week but it was all at places I have worked before so at least there were no extra miles getting lost or classes I wasn’t prepared for! It did result in two 5pm crash outs Wednesday and Friday though.

Writing Work

I have an ever-growing list of current writing projects, 3 of which now come from workshops I have attended over the past fortnight. None of which I have managed any time on this week. All of which I want to get my teeth stuck into this weekend, well Sunday now. I have used today up in a flurry of road systems, motorway junctions and a gallery workshop.

In writing the reviews of these events this week I have decided to go back to the old format of posting separate events.

Here are some links so you won’t get lost (unlike me)!

Tuesday 4th November

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/11/08/coventry-nightblue-fruits-annual-celebration-with-poets-from-cork/

Nightblue Fruit – Antony Owen, with Guest Poets from Cork; Adam Wyeth, Cal Doyle & Kathy D’Arcy.

saleha Adam saleha cal saleha kathy

Photos by Saleha Begum.                                                                                                    Saleha Begum © 2014

 

Wednesday 5th November was Guy Fawkes Night and despite it being a work night Mr G planned our first ever Bonfire Party. Last year we had a fire in the firepit, some sparklers and watched everyone else’s fireworks in the sky.

This year we invited neighbours, friends and Mr G’s God children, who loved it. Was great to see them work through fear of sparklers and fire and before the end of the evening they were (under supervision) throwing more wood on the fire and writing in the air with Sparklers. We took photos but have not uploaded any yet. Many of our neighbours celebrated on the 5th so there were lots of other fireworks to watch as well as our own.

The fireworks still whiz, pop and bang as I write this, families waiting for the weekend to have a party. Mr G and I have always gone to public displays – nothing beats your own garden though, the fairy lights looked great on the summer house and a great night was had by all. At least 4 hours of fun in layers in the cold, before the rain came. fs fireworks Big thanks to Mr G for buying the fireworks and for Leyton for lighting them!

I was exhausted after work and had gone to the supermarket too (I planned to cook burgers and had bought refreshments for the kids). I fell asleep watching teatime TV and could have happily gone straight to bed. By the time I woke up Mr G had the fire going and the garden was all ready for our guests. It was a great night, even if I was too tired to cook and the kids had all the Sparklers!

 

RELATED LINKS

http://www.bonfirenight.net/

Thursday 6th November – Fergus McGonigal launched his first poetry collection.  Fergus Tatty Truth

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/11/08/book-launch-the-failed-idealists-guide-to-the-tatty-truth-by-fergus-mcgonigal/

fergus book launch © 2014 Gary Carr Gary Carr © 2014

I was invited to read at his launch, I forgive him for making me go first!

RELATED LINKS:

http://burningeyebooks.wordpress.com/2014/11/13/new-november-title-1-the-failed-idealists-guide-to-the-tatty-truth-by-fergus-mcgonigal/

If you would like to buy the book directly rather than through Amazon, here is a link:

http://www.inpressbooks.co.uk/the-failed-idealist-s-guide-to-the-tatty-truth/

 

By Friday I was so tired it was a struggle to survive work, but I did and then slept for a few hours when I got in. Mr G and I had planned a quiet night in and that’s exactly what we did.imagesCAUYQ41E

I had hoped to manage some writing but I was too tired to think, let alone type. I had the night off completely. Except for checking emails on my phone – and thank goodness I did, as I received one from an editor telling me they were publishing a poem of mine in an upcoming print anthology.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/11/13/published-2/

Saturday Last week I discovered a call out for people to take places on a workshop run by Emma Purshouse at Bilston Art Gallery, they currently have an exhibit called ‘Craft & Conflict’.

I got extremely lost and it took twice as long (and then some) than it should have and even though I ended up on the motorway 6 junctions further away than I should have been on my way home, it still only took 35 minutes to make the 15 miles back, although probably more miles owing to the junctions, really need to get my Sat Nav mended.

Anyway it was totally worth the extra petrol and road stress. This was the 2nd session of the day and the Arts Services had advertised it as intergenerational, which it was this afternoon. Children have great imaginations and I was impressed by the writing of younger members of this workshop. The Gallery collection was more than I expected, more pieces. There was so much that grabbed me that I plan to continue producing work from this workshop.

Craft-and-Conflict-web-210x200 wolverhampton art orguk

Saturday 8th November a Workshop with Emma Purshouse, Bilston Art Gallery, Craft & Conflict

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/11/13/a-workshop-with-emma-purshouse-craft-conflict-exhibition-bilston-art-gallery/

SUNDAY 9th November

With such a busy week of work and events by Sunday my tiredness caught up with me and once again I didn’t make it online to complete my planned schedule, nor did I find time to write my Wild Fire poems from David Calcutt’s wonderful Community garden Workshop. My list of writing projects is growing faster than the first scarf I knitted, when I forgot how to cast off! caldmore david-portrait-1

Needless to say I didn’t make it to the Community Garden Bonfire to read my non-existent fire poetry,  I barely made it to getting dressed!

caldmore bonfire

Caldmore Community Garden Bonfire with Poetry readings with David Calcutt.

With work booked the next day, I had an early night. Sure this was a great night I missed and I look forward to hearing all about it.

Coventry – Nightblue Fruit’s Annual Celebration with Poets from Cork

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Tuesday 4th – A Treat in Coventry and a Night with Poets from Cork

Antony Owen works hard on the exchange programme between the UK and Ireland. He had invited a handful of Irish Poets from Cork, Adam Wyeth, Cal Doyle & Kathy D’Arcy to guest at Nightblue Fruit at a new Venue (which we only just found), to be fair we were delighted to find Coventry, I took Claire Walker and Maggie Doyle too, Three Poets do Battle with Road Signs and the A44 4 44 (title of a poem yet to be written)!BCB

It was a great night, I felt energised by the atmosphere and thoroughly enjoyed listening to new poetry, both that of the Guest Poets and open mics. I performed a few poems which seemed to go down well. I performed an allotment poem (from the ever expanding collection), my Halloween poem about Princess Juliana and a poem written for 52 about my hacking chest infection, called Constrict.

Before we left I treated myself to a book. Kathy D’Arcy’s collection ‘Encounter’, which I look forward to reading, I am sure I will hear her voice as I read my way through it. She was complimentary about my poetry and liked the unique voice of my work. A voice I hope future years of writing will strengthen.

I enjoyed all the sets, Kathy’s poetry spoke to me and connected me, it is powerful when that happens. Her work reminded me of my time in Ireland and she was brimming with smiley positivity! I was very careful not to look around the shelves, I could have spent a fortune on books! I have so many lined up to read and have just borrowed two more.

BCB1

Poet Biographies Written by Antony R Owen;

Major Open Mic event run annually to celebrate Coventry’s twinning with Cork, Ireland in association with O’Bheal and Coventry’s Nightblue Fruit. Twin city link acknowledged by President Michael D Higgins in 2014.

ADAM WYETH is a poet, playwright and essayist. Born in Sussex in 1978, he has lived in Co. Cork since 2000. Wyeth’s critically acclaimed collection, Silent Music was Highly Commended by the Forward Poetry Prize. He has been hailed as a ‘poet of ideas exquisitely wrought and swarming, demanding a reader awake to complexity on a subtle scale… The Irish Times call, ‘Silent Music is a clever volume that playfully questions taken-for-granted certainties… a fresh and imaginative voice is evident.’

Adam’s second book The Hidden World of Poetry: Unravelling Celtic Mythology in Contemporary Irish Poetry was published by Salmon in 2013. The book contains poems from Ireland’s leading poets followed by short essays that unpack each poem and explore its Celtic mythological references. Paula Meehan says ‘This book connects us back to a Celtic dreamtime through mythology, which is, no more, no less than the poetry of the ancestors. Seamus Heaney calls Adam, ‘A gifted commentator/close reader. A hearer and heartener.’

Adam’s debut play Hang Up, produced by Broken Crow, has been staged at many festivals, including the Electric Picnic, the Galway Theatre festival and will be staged in Berlin later this year alongside his fourth play, Apartment Block. Hang Up has also been recently adapted into a short film and premières at Cork international Film Festival, 2014. His third play, Lifedeath was showcased at the Triskel Arts Centre mini-festival of new work in 2013 and was named by the Irish Examiner as the play of the festival. It had a performance reading as part of University College Cork’s Theatre programme. In 2013 Adam was commissioned to write the The Poetry Sessions, for Cyclone Theatre Rep. A full-length play covering all the poets on the Leaving cert syllabus, which has just been on its nationwide tour.

adam wyeth

Cal Doyle has read as part of Poetry Ireland’s Introductions Series. Most recently his poetry has appeared in New Eyes on the Great Book and the Penny Dreadful. He regularly writes on Irish poetry for Southword and is the poetry editor for the Weary Blues. He is currently working on respective collections of poetry and prose. He lives in Cork, where is completing an MA in Irish literature and cinema in UCC.

Cal Doyle

Kathy D’Arcy is writer in residence with Cork literary organisation Tigh Fili (Poets’ House). Her first collection, Encounter, was published by Lapwing Publications in 2010, and a second, The Wild Pupil, was published by Bradshaw Books in 2012 (‘among the best poems I have read in years’ – Thomas McCarthy). She currently teaches Irish women’s literature with UCC’s MA in Women’s Studies programme, runs writing workshops and works with homeless teenagers, but she originally qualified and worked as a doctor. She is also a playwright; her plays ‘Retreat’ and ‘This is my Constitution’ have been staged in Cork, and the latter appeared recently at an Irish parliamentary briefing on constitutional change. Last year she was awarded an Arts Council Literature Bursary, and this year she received an Irish Research Council Postgraduate Award to conduct a Creative Writing PhD developing her experimental poetic techniques.

Kathy d'Arcy

It was good to see Saleha Begum too, she has travelled far and wide since I last saw her and is busy with her own creative projects. Here are some of her photographs from the night, they catch some of the warm atmosphere (in a very cold room).

saleha Adam saleha cal saleha kathy

Saleha Begum © 2014

It was a fabulous evening, the Big Comfy Bookshop is a place to visit, great venue for words, coffee, books and marshmellows. It didn’t matter that we lost our way (or at least I did) on the way home, or that it was midnight before I was in, or that I had work the next day. This was one of those truly magical, uplifting nights where the stress of the work day slips away as you surround yourself with comfort. Pure pleasure.

 

RELATED LINKS: BCB2

http://thebigcomfybookshop.blogspot.co.uk/

adamwyeth.com

www.kathydarcy.com

2nd Week of October – A Birthday Event, An End of Festival Party and Performing at BLF

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I spent the beginning of the week with 2.5 writing days, I was working on the Naked Lungs commission as well as an on-going project for October. I am enjoying filling my new poetry book with poems.

WLF&F logo concepts On Thursday SpeakEasy celebrated its 1st anniversary/birthday, with cake, poetry and TWO Headline acts, Antony Owen and Spoz. I was delighted to perform at this special event too and took 3 new poems with me, including one I wrote especially for the SpeakEasy team, which went down well. It was an epic evening! Speakeasy OCT

 

Lots of talented poets took to the mic including; Heidi Murphy, Charley Barnes, Leena Bachelor, Mike Alma, Polly Robinson (who also did a special Birthday poem), Heather Wastie, Michelle Crosbie, John Lawrence, myself and Mogs. As well as 4 open mic-ers, there were some open mic-ers who hadn’t been before, both good poets who I am sure we will see again.

the-year-i-loved-england Antony Owen brought some poets from Coventry to read some of the poems from his latest book, ‘The Year I Loved England’ – it was a great set. I bought the book at his launch in Coventry earlier this year, but nothing beats watching him reading his own poetry. © 2014 Antony Owens

Spoz, as always was thoroughly entertaining, he did his Jeremy Clarkson poem which I love and also treated us to a special effects housefly poem from his book of kids poems. BL spoz RH

I left on a real high.

On Friday I went to Digbeth to celebrate the end of the Poetry, Performance (and Everything Else!) Festival, with the cosmic chill out party. It was a brilliant party upstairs in a pub, there was a proper stage and sound system/board and technician, like real bands get! I had to follow Swingerella and Kate Bush! Who were both brilliant and massive crowd pleasers with their entertaining acts. I was worried approaching the stage with just my book of poems – thank goodness I had planned to perform the Moustache Poem! It was the toughest crowd I have had – thank goodness for stage lights – I couldn’t see the audience – I could hear them all talking though!

The end of the festival landed on World Mental Health Day, which is the main reason for the festival – raising awareness and fighting against the stigma of Mental Health. I had rehearsed a set which included some poems about my own experience. I decided during Swingerella’s act not to perform these. I had 3 funny poems, but still they talked.

Half way through the ‘Adjective’ poem I felt the audience with me – as there was movement on the stage as well as funny words. They wanted props and SHOW and I am so glad I packed my moustaches! I won them round on this final poem – especially as I needed a volunteer to hold the mic – there was audience participation and Swingerella and I bantering back and forth when she came up to the stage to help with the props!

It felt great! It also gave birth to the idea that I may collaborate with Swingerella in the future.

Mad hatter

On Saturday I had to get my Writing Job covered and it was the first day of my new mentoring role as I was at the Library of Birmingham for the Birmingham Literature Festival performing a collaboration for Naked Lungs.

Last year I went to the festival and spent most of my days there, I had just re-embarked on a life as a poet. This year, I was not able to make much of the festival, but I was performing in it.

This was a busy weekend for poetry events and I missed a Slam at Malvern Cube, the 20th Anniversary/Leaving party of the Cheltenham Slam and Ledbury Poetry in the Orchard.

I have written a separate post about Saturday Birmingham Literature Festival