Tag Archives: Birmingham

All the Verve of Verve!

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Last night saw the Launch Party for Verve – A Birmingham Festival of Poetry & Spoken Word. A V.I.P event which was every bit as good as last year’s.

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I went with Maggie Doyle and the room was full of poets and writers. A party, party! There was cake, Verve Beer and wine, more importantly there were programmes and poets. I loved seeing everyone and spent most of the night whizzing in and out of conversations trying to make sure I spoke to everyone and I am sure I missed a few.

 

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Then Stuart Bartholomew kicked off proceedings with a speech, which could have alienated many poets in the room by introducing his poets for the evening as his favourites (no offence caused, mainly because they are ours too)!

 

Sean Colletti, Casey Bailey and Liz Berry took to the mic for a couple of poems each. Each poet a personal favourite of mine too (all is forgiven, Stuart). Exceptionally moving sets. Beautiful poems and a real teasing taster of Verve to come.

 

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After the readings the brochures were unveiled – literally that shimmery ribbon curtain (seen here) stood between us and  the roller programme. Along with as many programmes as we could carry there was a sweet shop complete with traditional pink and white striped bags!

Last year the programme was massive, I think it may be even bigger this year! I am looking forward to my second experience of Verve and wearing my glittery lips again in February!

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NaPoWriMo Day 11 – Unleashing Counter Protest Poetry

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Day 11 – I was super busy and had time to look at the prompts and not write any poetry. So this is the first day of NaPo that I failed to write my poem a day – this happens. It happens to most people embracing the challenge, maybe the poetry that comes today will be stronger having lingered in my head for 24 hours.

Yesterday I spent the morning making an Easter Promotion video for Fragile Houses (better than an egg), reading proof copy, organising festival events and writing blurb for programmes. In the afternoon I went to Swindon with Rick Saunders (Willis the Poet) to watch him Headline at Oooh Beehive, Clive Oseman & Nick Lovell’s Spoken Word Night. Other Headliners were Aaron Samuel (who has been in the game for just 4 short months and is AMAZING) and Bryony Vine – both of whom were spotted by Clive and Nick at Milk Poets. It was a great night!

Totally forgiving myself for not writing poetry.

Let’s step back in time…

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http://www.napowrimo.net/

Our featured participant for the day is Unassorted stories, where the poem for Day 9 is a portrait of a mental makeover.

Today, we’re also featuring a 1962 interview with Sylvia Plath. In popular culture, Plath is known for three things: (1) she wrote angry poems, (2) she killed herself, and (3) teenage girls who feel angry and a little gothy read her to feel angrier and a little gothier. But look a little further, and you’ll find a deeply philosophical poet, a master of unusual similes that set the reader rocking back on their heels, and a refuser of obvious or comfortable ideas, particularly about motherhood, femininity, and the reality of existing in a physical body. There’s a lot to learn from her densely layered, uncompromising verse. Looking for a few examples of her work beyond those poems you might have already seen? Here’s one, and another, and another.

And last but not least, here’s our (optional) prompt for the day: the Bop. The invention of poet Afaa Michael Weaver, the Bop is a kind of combination sonnet + song. Like a Shakespearan sonnet, it introduces, discusses, and then solves (or fails to solve) a problem. Like a song, it relies on refrains and repetition. In the basic Bop poem, a six-line stanza introduces the problem, and is followed by a one-line refrain. The next, eight-line stanza discusses and develops the problem, and is again followed by the one-line refrain. Then, another six-line stanza resolves or concludes the problem, and is again followed by the refrain. Here’s an example of a Bop poem written by Weaver, and here’s another by the poet Ravi Shankar.

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Yesterday I got as far as reading the examples and writing out my frame. Today I sat down to write my first ever Bop. My first attempt worked technically and was something I needed to write out of myself. It stands as a poem, but didn’t say enough. Then I thought back to recent events in Birmingham. The EDL marched on the city and one of my friends was racially abused. I wanted to write about that. Go Back Home

Saffiyah Khan’s photo (smiling at protestors as she stepped in to defend a woman who was surrounded) has gone viral, I watched a video interview with her yesterday and the whole thing needs to be united against. It seems to me the Bop is a perfect form for such a political statement. So I set back to my page again.

Saffiyah Khan Birmingham Mail

I am working on a re-write and depending on whether I bag an open mic slot at HOWL tonight, might share it with the city.

Our multi-cultural city stands united.

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Carrie Etter’s prompt was to describe an image in 2-5 lines and use this as the end of the poem and work back from there.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/birmingham-edl-march-photo-picture-woman-mosque-best-of-british-tea-party-muhammad-afzal-a7674726.html

I wrote about the image of Saffiyah Khan

edl The Independent

The Independent © 2017

Fighting against this dark veil

shrouding Centenary Square.

I think it is important for people to know that there were Unity Rallies, Counter Protestors and demonstrations, like the tea party held at the Mosque. 300 attended that, there were 50 EDL members. The protest was originally planned for the East Midlands, but moved to Birmingham after the Westminster attacks.

Saffiyah was not a counter-protestor, she was just in the city and came to this woman’s aid. Stepped in where others looked on.

I was not there – I was in the city in 2014 when the EDL came, I was performing at an event at the Library for Birmingham Literature Festival, an event that one poet pulled out of because her skin was the wrong colour that day. I was afraid and I was inside the library. Saffiyah states she wasn’t being brave, but it takes a lot to stand up like this. Look how straight her back is!


Jo Bell shares Late Fragment by Raymond Carver http://www.jobell.org.uk/


58d3e6b0bba6c-bpfullThe Poetry School gave us Day 11: Old English Day

Old English or Anglo-Saxon verse is fascinating and powerful. To write in a typical Anglo-Saxon way, you need:

·         lines with 4 stresses (though it doesn’t matter how many feet, i.e. your line can be as short as ‘Hold. Stay! Hold, hold!’ or as long as you want providing it only has 4 stresses)
·         an optional central caesura or pause between stress 2 and 3
·         alliteration of 3 of the 4 stress words (this doesn’t have to be on the first syllable if the stress is on a later syllable, e.g. although would alliterate on ‘th’).

It’s all very flexible though. If you want to alliterate 2 of the words, or all 4, or you want to skip your caesura, that’s absolutely fine. Sound complicated? It’s not! You’ll soon get the hang of it and it’s a very natural, flowing way to write.

It’ll all be much easier with an example few lines from Simon Armitage’s translation of ‘Gawain’ (which is actually a Middle English revival of the alliterative style). The stresses are indicated in bold.

as he heaped his hair to the crown of his head,
the nape of his neck now naked and ready.
Gawain grips the axe and heaves it heavenwards,

A longer extract can be found here https://www.theguardian.com/books/2006/dec/16/poetry.simonarmitage


 

Sabotage Reviews – Verve Poetry Festival

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I can now reveal why all went quiet on reviewing Verve Poetry Festival last month… I was writing this review for Sabotage Reviews. I am delighted they have posted it and I will now (when I have time), resume the blog posts before I forget all the details of the events!

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http://sabotagereviews.com/2017/03/25/verve-poetry-festival-16-19th-february-2017/

I am really chuffed to have had the opportunity to write this! Get it in your diaries for next year.

 

Verve Poetry Festival: Day 3 Poetry Breakfast

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Verve Poetry Festival had nearly 40 events, I spent the whole day at the festival both Saturday and Sunday, missing only the children’s events some workshops and some performances (because of workshops).

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POETRY BREAKFAST

Saturday kicked off with Roz Goddard and Cynthia Miller treating us to a Poetry Breakfast. Free pastries and Philip Larkin Jazz – what is there not to like? Roz opened the event with her love poem to Birmingham.

Cynthia talked about the programme and how the festival evolved from an enthusiastic tweet. One the rest of the city is grateful she sent. They hoped for an accessible poetry festival and that is exactly what they created with Verve. They wanted to reflect the spirit of Birmingham, the passion and drive and they certainly accomplished that too.

Cynthia is one of the new Primers poets (Primers Vol. 2) from The Poetry School and Nine Arches Press and will see her poetry published soon. She shared ‘Anthem for a Nasty Woman’.

Roz talked candidly about falling out of love with poetry and then falling back in love for it with the help of this festival. We all lose confidence and fall out with poetry from time to time, for me it is a weekly occurrence. It always feels good to hear others talk about what you experience, as it answers that question – is it just me? – with a resounding NO!

I really enjoyed waking early and catching a bus into town to catch this FREE event, it was definitely worth it. Even though the decision not to do a writing activity stung (my brain was ready), instead we did Speed Dating (hold onto your hat Mr.G, not like that)! It was a genius idea as it got us mingling and talking to each other about the festival and the future of poetry. We swapped three times, discussing a cue question given to us by Cynthia and moved on at the sound of a Tibetan Singing Bowl (perfect for the early hours). It was fun watching Birmingham wake up behind the screen (festival marquee).

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A great way to greet a full on day of poetry and workshops.

And it was FULL ON. The team have realised that scheduled breaks are necessary, especially as they had certain hard-core participants (Dean Atta, I may be looking at you and Angi Holden) who did 3 back-to-back workshops, that is 6 hours of focus. That is beyond most of us.

 

RELATED LINKS

Reviews of the Dice Slam and reading from Friday Night, Outspoken and Nine Arches – read them here: http://createdtoread.com/poetic-delights-verve-poetry-festival/

https://burningeyebooks.wordpress.com/2017/02/22/verve-poetry-and-diversity/

 

Verve Poetry Festival Day 2 – Part 2: Dice Slam with Apples & Snakes

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What Verve did really well and the secret behind the magic of the festival was the fusion between Spoken Word and Poetry. I always knew this was possible and the team proved it. What I really loved was people’s reaction to Spoken Word – those who had not experienced it before or wouldn’t brave a city event, found that they loved it.

There was plenty of talk over the weekend of the age demographics for both types of event but by the end of the weekend the spaces were filled with a wide range and people began to understand that it doesn’t matter. They stopped seeing it. If poetry is to thrive we need to have this commitment and enthusiasm for bridging a gap that technically doesn’t have to exist. It of course depends on what you like and I am just happy that I immerse in both forms comfortably.

To come from the relative quiet of the 2nd floor Festival Marquee to the loud, riotous mouth of the 1st floor Bar Stage and immerse ourselves in foot stamping, witness the clicking of appreciate and the howls after every poem performed was, even for a veteran of the spoken word scene, a bit of a culture shock. Like hitting London after a long weekend in the Isle of Wight!

I have been to slams, I have even braved one as a contestant. Now that I know work by heart I may brave some in the future. I had never been to a Dice Slam and I appreciate the Dadaism of scoring through chance, a roll of the dice. It made me feel sorry for the contestants with scores as low as 3 when their performances were clearly double figures, but on the other hand it took away that horrible scoring process that is always subjective at such events.

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Toby Campion, Vanessa Kissule, Skye Hawkins, Charley Genever and Kareem Parkins-Brown were the contestants and I looked forward to every performance as none are names I know. My experience of Spoken Word is bound to the city and some of the big names who headline throughout Poetryville. I love festivals for the potential of meeting and watching new to me poets.

This was an incredibly lively event, hosted by Amerah Saleh, who is a poet I know from her days with Beatfreaks and on the circuit of Birmingham. I first saw her perform at Mouth & Music on home turf. She was also one of four Podium Poets at this year’s festival. The others were Helen Calcutt, Jasmine Gardosi & Geraldine Clarkson.

THE JUDGES

We were introduced to the judges who all performed. Anna Freeman, a lecturer in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, she is also a multi-winning slam poet and if that wasn’t enough she is also a novelist. http://www.annafreemanwriter.com/

verve-goodreads-anna-freeman © 2017 Goodreads

I loved her ‘My Little Pony Poem’… ‘My Unicorn Friend, branding is a capitalist concept – so I explain this to the other six year olds…’

Dan Simpson is a poet and a producer and has a Doppelgänger working behind the café/bar in Waterstones and is published by Burning Eye. http://www.dansimpsonpoet.co.uk/verve-2-dan-simpson

© 2017 Dan Simpson (I presume)

In a peak of genius which was in keeping with the Dadaism of Dice Slamming, Dan brought this book along with him to use as a judging tool. requesting page numbers from the audience before scanning the page for relevance or reading non-relevance to justify the scores. Sometimes the universe worked and the reading was as apt as a fortune cookie fortune… other times more of a Christmas cracker joke.

Memorable, surrealistic performance… ‘what kind of 90s feminist, Disney character sandwich filler are you?’

Luke Kennard

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Who after years of not getting to see seems to be in my life right now as much as full meals. (Yesterday I had my first proper dinner for a week, so I am suggesting Luke pops up in my schedule weekly/monthly and not everyday… his family would have something to say about that I am sure!) If you haven’t discovered Luke yet, please do.

He is the new canal laureate and a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Birmingham University. He has published collections for more than 10 years, the most recent ‘Cain’ published by Penned in the Margins and has also just published a novel ‘The Transition’. transition-topping-books© 2017 Topping Books

https://www.toppingbooks.co.uk/events/bath/novelist-luke-kennard/

They had the tough job of validating dice scores and they did so with hilarious monologues/comments of worth and woe. As entertaining as the performers, although the performers threw us some very serious poem curve balls too.


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The five featured poets are all ridiculously talented writers and performers, and will converge on Birmingham from every corner of the country. It will be the first time Sky Hawkins (the North), Toby Campion (the Midlands), Kareem Parkins-Brown (London), Charley Genever (the South East), and Vanessa Kisuule (the South West) share the same stage. You may have seen some of them individually, of course, but the Dice Slam at Verve Festival really is a rare opportunity to check the pulse of poetry on a national scale at a single event. And to stop you feeling homesick, the local touch will be provided by our host, Birmingham’s own poetry powerhouse Amerah Saleh.

© 2017 Verve Team

Toby Campion reminded me of my time living in Leicester, he was very excited to be part of the Slam and grabbed hearts with his Midlands Poem. A conversation with the North and South… ‘you never acknowledge the Midlands, despite having been attached for thousands of years!’

Sky Hawkins opened the night with spectacularly hard hitting poetry. ‘Do not let the wolves teach your sons… especially if your sons are half wolves themselves.’ She was the overall winner. Receiving a massive 11 points from the dice.

Charley Genever stormed it- her Meal Deal poem went down particularly well. I liked the darkness of her poetry and that stunning flame/net mesh dress. (I know we shouldn’t belittle women by commenting on their fashion. I will mention Kareem’s bright orangey puffer jacket for balance here.) ‘A woman consumes in shades…’

Kareem Parkins-Brown performed his cake poem to great response. ‘I’d risk it for some lemon drizzle..’ and of course it opened the debate over Jaffa Cakes (biscuit)! Listen to it here: https://soundcloud.com/kareempb/cake (WARNING: Contains swearing, but you will hear how much the audience enjoyed his set).

Vanessa Kissule also pulled incredible set out of the bag having already enjoyed all other performances. I was immersed in the moment and was delighted to get to meet her briefly after the show. ‘Youth is made for bright colours and hemlines that hug upper thighs’

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It was a fantastic second night at the festival.


Dice Slam originated in the Netherlands when Bernhard Christianssen tried the format for the first time. There has only ever been one in the UK before and that was 6 years ago. (Before I hit the poetry scene or even started writing again.) No doubt it was brought to you by Apples & Snakes/ Bohdan Piasecki.

Photography unless otherwise stated © 2017 Waterstones/ Verve Team

Love Poems at Waterstone’s with Emma Press

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Event in Birmingham 11the February

Love Poetry with Emma Wright of Emma Press, featuring Richard O’Brien and Liz Berry.

I found out about this special Waterstone’s event whilst at the MAC at the end January for the 52 Book Launch, it clashed with the final SpeakEasy MC-ed by Maggie Doyle & Fergus McGonigal – but you know me, any chance of something a little bit different, besides who would turn down the opportunity to hear Liz read twice in a month?

Emma requested one LOVE (of any sort) poem to be emailed and from these she confirmed the open mic spots. I was delighted to find confirmation and positive praise. My poem was one of three written in January for submission of Romantic poems, all of which (3) were published in New Ulster February Issue.

It has become this year’s favourite poem of mine, other people seem to like it too.

Event Description

The evening will be hosted by Emma Wright from the Emma Press, which is newly based in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.

Emma is curating the open-mic section, and is looking forward to meeting local writers.

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It was a great night with a host of open mic-ers all taking to the stage for one poem each. Poets in the first half;

Jenna Clake – Imaginary boyfriend

Steve Harrison – Love comes in many hues

Nina Lewis – Meticulous Thought

Anna Baker – Composting

Natalie Burdett – Gravity

Then Richard O’Brien read from his pamphlets (all 3 if I remember correctly), great to hear a full set from him.

Poets in the second half;

Robert Harper – Your Eyes

JJ Evendon – I’ll be

Harpreet Kaur – The Linguist

David Grullon – You are

Carol Witherow – Allihies Flowers

Then Liz Berry closed the evening with some of my favourite poems from her collection. Plenty of time to mingle and chat (and buy books of course), a relaxed atmosphere and great company. I could have stayed all night – in fact – we (a bunch of 5 poets heading for trains) offered this to the guy who unlocked the store and let us out. Unfortunately Health & Safety and the likelihood of finding some well rifled paperbacks by morning, wouldn’t allow us to stay and we all headed home.

I even managed to get Mr G’s valentine present and have warm and rich conversations with most of the poets/audience in the room.

I had worked all day (on a fortnight full time placement) and only just got into the city in time to buy some notebooks and head halfway up the 6 floor Waterstone’s – Birmingham mourns the loss of the historical Waterstone’s  geographorguk       geography.org.uk

where I first met Angela France in 2013, but we also love this massive book shop the other end of the same street and both are/were close to the station.

It was a fabulous event and I am delighted the Emma Press are now closer to home and that Waterstone’s are able to promote move events like this… I feel a publication party in the planning! I was lucky enough to meet Emma Wright and Richard O’Brien a few years ago on the Mildly Erotic Poetry Tour and now they are Midlands based they, like I, pop up everywhere. I look forward to seeing them again soon.

More Poetry Events September Poets with Passion, PFL and Hit the Ode

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On Sunday 13th, I was back again at Café  1 birm ortin Birmingham, this time with Tessa Lowe and Poets With Passion. Once again it was lovely to reconnect with poets I hadn’t seen in a while and meet new people who love poetry. Tessa’s events are always relaxed and it was a lovely way to spend Sunday afternoon.

Before I left she asked Chris Fewings and I if we would be interested in leading the group as one off sessions. Depending on the weather, I have agreed for 2016.

I cannot wait to pick a theme and find poems.

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Poetry for Lunch with Jan Watts at the P Café, Stirchley 17th

Last year you may remember that Jan Watts, former Birmingham Laureate, ran a series of weekly poetry events in the ‘bear pit’ at the Library of Birmingham. Due to funding cuts the library was unable to repeat this successful programme in 2015.

I was delighted when Jan decided to re-launch PFL at the P Café and gutted that I had work booked and couldn’t attend the first event a week before.

It was a great event, lots of poetry was shared and they are creating a Smorgasbord of poetry on the wall at P Café from PFL.

The P Café is an amazingly creative place with a fantastic menu of delicious food, drinks and treats. The truffles are to die for and the atmosphere of the place breeds instant relaxation and happy vibes. I only wish I lived a little nearer!

The best moment at PFL has to go to Elaine Christie –

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What are the chances of this happening – A fly landing on the page of my poem, when the next line I was about to read was – “Or lost in the flurry of flashing fireflies”

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Photography Elaine Christie © 2015

Hit the Ode with Bohdan Piasecki (Apples & Snakes), Birmingham 17th

It was a busy old day for poetry. In the evening Myfanwy Fox (thanks for the lift) and I were in Birmingham for Hit the Ode. They have 3 headliners – a local, national and international poet.

Leon Priestnall (who hosts HOWL) was headlining in the local slot and he was on fire for his set.

The National Poet was Jackie Hagan from Manchester and the International poet was Toni Stuart from South Africa.

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Hit the Ode brings the most exciting poets from the region, the country and the world to the heart of Birmingham.

Join us! We have poems. Poems you can spread on toast in the morning. Poems which sing embarrassing songs under the shower. Poems which will heal if you apply steady pressure. Good poems, Come and get them.

Featuring:

From Birmingham, Leon Priestnall
A stalwart of the Birmingham poetry Scene, Leon is a poet with a passionate performance style, betraying influecnes ranging from hip-hop artists to the Beats. Leon runs the popular Howl event series in Kings Heath, and has been a Hit the Ode supporter for years – we’re delighted to finally be able to offer him a full slot. He will be joined on stage by a special musical guest.

From Manchester, Jackie Hagan
Jackie Hagan was raised on broken biscuits, by hecklers, in a little town that’s now studied on the GCSE syllabus as a ‘failed social experiment’. She performs poetry and comedy, is a playwright for Graeae Theatre and runs Seymour Poets, a creativity project for isolated adults based at blueSCI Arts and Wellbeing centre in Manchester. Jackie is the winner of the 2015 Saboteur Award for Best Spoken Word Show for Some People Have Too Many Legs.

From South Africa, Toni Stuart
Toni Stuart is a poetry writer, performer and developer from Cape Town, South Africa. Her work uses poetry to interrogate a range of social issues such as the stories of place and displacement, HIV/Aids, and gender-based violence. She was named in the Mail and Guardian’s list of 200 Inspiring Young South Africans for her work in co-founding I Am Somebody! – an NGO that uses storytelling and youth development to build integrated communities.

Bohdan Piasecki © 2015

The whole night was electrifying as always and I thoroughly enjoyed being back at HTO – (they take the summer off).

J. H © 2015

Word Up, KAF Mouth & Music & 42

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The end of August saw a flurry of open mic events in Birmingham, Kidderminster and Worcester.

WORD UP 21st August

Word Up, Coffee Lounge, Birmingham: hosted a special I Am Not a Silent Poet event with Reuben Woolley, Marcia Calame and Jess Davies headling. The nature of our poems fitted into serious, often unperformed pieces which tackled big issues, which is the voice of Reuben’s online publication I Am Not A Silent Poet, protest, exposure.

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My set consisted of the poems he published earlier this year https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/the-write-year/ and some others that I shy away from performing.

It was a great night hosted by Jasmine Gardosi.

All photographs © Reuben Woolley 2015 – there were more performers who I haven’t shared photos of, apologises to them.

word up andrew fellows reuben Word Up Jodie Rose McLoughlin Reuben word up louise hart reuben word up reuben 2 Word Up Reuben 3 word up bernard reuben word up jess reuben Word Up Marcia Calame reuben word up me reuben word up reuben word up vlad reuben

Word Up 1Reuben After the event we went to the pub for a catch up, which was great because there is never enough time to talk to people at events and Reuben lives in Spain and only comes back to the Midlands for August. He was a national tour this year too, gigs up and down the country. I hope he is now having a rest!

 

MOUTH & MUSIC KAF Special – Slightly Circus 23rd August

MOUTH & MUSIC, Boars Head Gallery, Kidderminster:

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This event was originally in the open air/marquee positioned close to the main stage and the closed street of the festival. However, the weather left us with no option but to retreat into the Boars Head Gallery – which is always a great space to perform in I think. The bands were on downstairs and it felt exciting and intimate. There was optional fancy dress and I am so glad other people entered into the spirit of it.

© PTR Art & Design 2015

© PTR Art & Design 2015

I had researched my clown make up but sadly on the day I was too hot getting ready and the white base wouldn’t cover my skin – in the end this was a godsend really as Maggie Doyle and I ran from the car park to venue – me losing half my wrapping paper patches which were all over my PJs/trousers and most of my make up ran too. So imagine the carnage of a white base face!

© Heather Wastie 2015

© Heather Wastie 2015

The event was as exciting as dressing up. Headlined by Amy Rainbow and her wonderfully talent son, Merlin – who in spite of the small performance area, wowed the audience with his amazing Hula Hoopla skills.

© Peter Williams 2015

© Peter Williams 2015

© Peter Williams 2015

© Peter Williams 2015

Dave Reeves was also headlining and performed a fantastic, enthusiastic set with Heather Wastie.

© Peter Williams 2015

© Peter Williams 2015

© Peter Williams 2015

© Peter Williams 2015

It was lovely to perform as part of KAF (Kidderminster Arts Festival) for the 2nd time and good that this event attracted performers who had not previously attended Mouth & Music.

It was a lovely afternoon. Photo credits to Peter Williams, who also performed, treating us to a couple of songs.

MM Holly pwMM mag pwMM me PWMM polly PWMM mike pwMM heather dave PW The event was hosted by the wonderful Ringmaster, Sarah Tamar.

MM Maggie sarah Tamar PW

RELATED LINKS:

http://www.halesowennews.co.uk/news/13576317.Kidderminster_s_Mouth_and_Music_goes_circus_crazy_for_one_month_only/

https://mouthandmusic.wordpress.com/2015/09/01/august-review/

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42, Drummonds, Worcester: Hosted by Andrew Owens

I am delighted that 42 is pulling in such a wide audience and huge collective of poets and writers. It is always an exciting event and recently the list of performers has increased dramatically. The theme was ‘Altered States’ which was more open to interpretation than other themes and produced a varied feast of stories, storytelling and poems. It was a fantastic night, I thoroughly enjoyed it!

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42 was my final event/open mic of the month.

Performers included;

Alison May
Myfanwy Fox
Suz Winspear
Sharon Carr
Andrew Owens
Polly Robinson
Dayna Norton
Nina Lewis
Kevin Brooke
Brian Comber
Timothy Stavert
David Harvard
Kieran Davis
Chardonnay Jade
Dan Hurrell
Liam Cortinias

 

Ten Letters

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Amazing Poetry Theatre created by the minds of Spoz (Giovanni Esposito) and Lorna Meehan. Fascinating, a should NOT be missed show. Which so far has been performed twice at the MAC and hopefully will continue to develop and grow.

The Concept

Ten Letters is a new piece of intergenerational poetry theatre about Birmingham starring the best in local poetry talent. Produced by Giovanni Spoz Esposito and Lorna Meehan and incorporating multi media and live music, Ten Letters celebrates, procrastinates and immortalises this city we live in through a group of unique voices aged sixteen to sixty.

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A cross generational show from 16 to 60 bringing together poets who all know Birmingham in their lives. Poems about the great and grime of the place, of memories and hopes.

Incredibly powerful and moving – I did not expect to be reduced to tears or goose-bumps, but with every voice I felt connection, my own memories resurfaced of trips to the Science Museum, the life-size dinosaur, suburban streets, black and white photos taken by grandparents in front gardens. It was all there buried away inside.

Particular highlights was watching the audience reaction to Maggie Doyle’s letter to Birmingham, the generational memories and Mexican wave recognition going on amongst the middle seats of the auditorium.

Lorna Meehan who wants to stab at your emotion buttons with her letter recalling divorce and the role of the city in her dual living experience, cut deep with parallels and reduced me to teary eyes – thank goodness I was sitting amongst poets.

The passion of Spoz’s letter that was uncensored and raw.

 

On the Night

This is what I wrote when I got home;

Ten Letters… Has to be summed up in 17 letters…

Absolutely awesome!

A Birmingham for everyone! Great show/ media content and live music. Performances that have emotional bite, I ran the whole gauntlet – tears of parallel hurts, tears from laughter, goosebumps! Everything and some unexpected memories came flooding back. Birmingham you are amazing in the skins you have given our lives! Amazing – as were Spoz & Lorna in conceiving this project. Take it to the nation, Birmingham – because you’re bloody brilliant!

There were stunning performances from the entire cast and the whole show was an amazing feat for Birmingham, a love letter, letters of thanks, hidden praise until twisted recollections – a triumph for poetry theatre and the city.

I am SO GLAD I didn’t miss it.

There are plans to move further with it, it was a crowd funded project and incredibly well produced.

Photography by Nigal Goodship © 2015

Kraze Kasey Bailey Nigal Goodship

Maggie Doyle Nigal Goodship

Joe Cook Nigal Goodship

aliyah denton aliyah holder

lorna

jasmine

unhindered reign sipho eric dube luci hammans

spoz

carl

emma purshouse

callum and melissa bate prime poetry

Top to bottom Performers: Casey Bailey, Maggie Doyle, Joe Cook, Aliyah Denton & Aliyah Holder (A Squared), Lorna Meehan, Jasmine Gardosi, Luci Hammans & Sipho Eric Dube (Unhindered Reign), Spoz, Carl Sealeaf, Emma Purshouse, Callum & Melissa Bate (Prime Poetry)

Review of April 2015

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 April

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

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

BLOGS & PROJECTS

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

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

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

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

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

quiet compere 2015 T

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

sarah-dixon-quiet-compere-tour-schedule

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

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

28/04/2015

The Power of Poetry to Heal

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

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

SUBMISSIONS & COMMISSIONS

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

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

Can you see why I started to dip?

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

Bomb Damage

Girls on the Ground

Weapons of War Ghanda’sStory

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

I submitted to an anthology project ‘Birmingham Bound’

Satellite

PERFORMING POETRY

Spoken Word at The Ort

SpeakEasy

Book Launch – The Magnetic Diaries by Sarah James

Mouth and Music

WILD WORDS – Restless Bones Fundraiser

Word Up

Wenlock Poetry Festival – Poems & Pints

Wenlock Poetry Festival – 52

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EVENTS AND WORKSHOPS

WWM Network Meeting

WWM Group

Caldmore Community Garden Workshop

Stanza

Wenlock Poetry Festival

I also started to work on a workshop project.

Stratford Literary Festival

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

Happy Writing x