Tag Archives: book launches

Review September 2018

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September – that rolled around quickly!

This has definitely been a month of admin tasks and preparation, also finding my feet again since coming home to UK soil. It took a while for my head to leave Australia after my incredible summer trip to Perth Poetry Festival. It has also been a month filled by projects, book launches and celebrating successes – other people’s as well as my own.

Week 1 

Kicked off with being the Half-ender at YES WE CANT in Walsall. The gig I returned to the UK for! It was a cracking night and a pleasure to have been asked to perform.

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It was great meeting Rob Barratt and on top of that I had a winning Lotto ticket (£1 – before you all get too excited) and an order for a fab new Poetry T-shirt… looks like Mr. G will have to get me something else for Christmas this year!

Read a full review here YES WE CANT

I had 3 poems published in a new project – which you can read more about in Week 4 of this review. One of the poems was a piece I wrote in Australia, so it is exciting for me to see it already out there.

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I arranged meetings and made festival bids for ATOTC and 30-40-60. I was invited to a European Arts Festival in France. I looked at several applications, which I subsequently decided against for now.

I was busy managing INKSPILL, working with our Guest Writers. INKSPILL is our FREE online annual writing retreat which always takes place on the last weekend of October.

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Look out for more NEWS on this coming soon!

I had a meeting about Poetry Projects for October and performances in November. I have been asked to take part in two Remembrance events this year, which is an honour.

I went to a Workshop delivered by Emily Wilkinson who is working on The Ring, 21 Miles project. It was a wonderfully creative afternoon which gave me inspiration for poems, so far I have managed to create a poetry film of 9 Haiku which is currently entered in the 21 competition.

 

A new project LitWorld2 Journal – Pic a Pocket Poems and Flashes is underway. Created by Sarah Leavesley it will feature a weekly poem which has been produced with an image, photo poetry and flash fiction. I am curating the Facebook side of the social media campaign. I created the Facebook group ready and Sarah has worked on a publication schedule. It launches before the end of the month and posts will appear on Fridays.

P1080039 lit world image for twitterresized smaller  © Sarah Leavesley

I am very excited about the overall project and delighted to be able to support Sarah on it.

Unfortunately by the end of the week I was quite unwell but I did manage to get to Birmingham for Helen’s Book Launch.

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Friday saw the first of this month’s Book Launches. Unable Mother By Helen Calcutt – published by V. Press was launched at Waterstones, Birmingham. It was a deeply moving experience, one you can read all about here UNABLE MOTHER

I had a well deserved (and needed – ill) rest over the weekend with Mr. G. Although I was still at the desk proofing an article and dealing with another which had gone to print. I also worked on some poetry for a project which has been simmering away for a while and needs to be sent next week.

Week 2: 

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I was still ill – so much so that I visited the Drs. & got meds. It meant I was not well enough to go to Licensed to Rhyme who were celebrating a 2nd Birthday, I didn’t make it over to Brum Stanza for Jacqui Rowe or PTS for Nellie Cole or SpeakEasy for Kevin Brooke or Hereford for H.Arts Gallery and new exhibition by Molly Bythell (my Ledbury PoArtry partner). Failed on five fronts but was successful at getting better. I spent some time in bed, in lots of pain but resting (which is unusually sensible for me). It was a shame to miss so much poetry but I couldn’t have managed any of the journeys getting across to any of these events so had no choice.

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Some exciting news hit my inbox, something starting in November and something else that I am in awe of and still grinning from.

Saturday saw the launch of ‘Don’t Oil The Hinges’ the new WPL collection from Heather Wastie. It was a great night and having missed 4 poetry events really made up for my week out in ill-health limbo! You can read all about it here Don’t Oil The Hinges

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On Sunday I attended a workshop in Birmingham Waterstones, The Accidental Memoir. It was interesting and gave me two new poems, one new technique and another book for the bookshelf/reading pile.

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The Accidental Memoir workshop was taken by Anthony Cropper and we worked through several exercises in the book he co-produced with Eve Makis.

The Accidental Memoir truly is for all: writers and non-writers, teachers and students, the perfect book for anyone seeking inspiration or imaginative ways to explore their own life story.

This innovative concept was developed as an Arts Council project to help people tap into their own lives. Working with diverse groups from refugees to the elderly and prisoners, it has been a resounding success in unearthing stories that otherwise may never have been told.

Harper Collins © 2018

https://www.harpercollins.ca/9780008302030/the-accidental-memoir/

 

Week 3

This week I missed several Book Launches and Free Verse (London Book Fair), which I read at last year with Stephen Daniels for V. Press.

A lot of groundwork for INKSPILL started this week. I had an invitation to be part of a panel which I really wanted to do but the date in October is already booked up, I am hoping to be considered for the next one. I still feel angst when dates clash, October is an exceptionally busy month in the poetry calendar and there are several overlapping events.

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I worked on promotion for the American A Tale of Two Cities reading, happening at the Sprinkler Factory, Massachusetts on Friday 28th. Very excited to hear how it all goes and hopefully by next year there will be some bigger plans in progress for this project.

I had several project poems to complete and managed to meet deadlines on these. We have all seen the workings of the next part of this project and I will be sharing it with you when I can.

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I also did a lot of editing and FINALLY made some submissions. I made the first of several films creating a montage of the Perth Poetry Festival, which will go live before INKSPILL (27th/28th October).

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This week also saw my Jinney Ring Sculpture Trail Workshop. This is the 2nd year I have facilitated poetry on the Trail and with some exceptional sculptures our inspiration was easily tapped.

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Unicorn – Priscilla Ham

It was a great morning and the techniques/forms I chose to explore were enjoyed by participants. We are now working on our poems for two months and the next stage will be preparing an exhibition at the Jinney Ring which will be up by December.

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An invite to perform next month dropped into my Inbox.

I spent the weekend writing to deadlines and working on the next new project for October.

Week 4:

Another week of preparation for INKSPILL and other writing deadlines and missed events like Poetry Bites. I started to promote National Poetry Day (4th October), I am sad to miss an event in Birmingham with Liz Berry, Roy McFarlane & Jane Commane.

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This event is also the night the new Birmingham Poet Laureate will be appointed. Still cannot believe Matt Windle has finished this two year role, but we all know how time like this flies! Birmingham Literature Festival National Poetry Day

I am delighted to be booked to perform alongside former and current Worcestershire Poets Laureate, as part of the Autumn Malvern Festival for National Poetry Day.

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https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2018/09/24/national-poetry-day-2018-change/

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Back in July I had an invite to read at Livres à vous – A Festival of the Arts in Voiron, France. I wasn’t sure it would be possible and it took a while to make the decisions about travel. Coach and train is fairly cheap but takes a long time and I have to be available for work most days. Today I booked my tickets to fly.

When I was Worcestershire Poet Laureate I completed a project called Twin Town between Droitwich and Voiron and some of the poets involved in that will hopefully be there. I am looking forward to it.

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My poetry film entry for The Ring was found and several poems Unlocked and .. submitted for the competition. You can see all the entries here https://thering21miles.wordpress.com/.

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A last minute booking came in to work with Year 7 pupils at Blessed Edwards in October,  fortunately I was free to accept. This will involve 4 poets looking at 4 elements and group writing with the pupils. I am doubly excited as I got FIRE! My Leo-heart burns!

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The first week of October is looking packed. A week of several double bookings another event I was invited to do A Night with… panel interview/performance/ relaxed Q & A which looks really good – I hope to make it on a different date. This in turn clashed with a book launch and that isn’t viable either. I have an open mic with an amazing headline/line up and the NPD and Swindon Poetry Festival to look forward to.

This week I wrote 4 new poems based on Masks and performed them at 42.

I took another 2 bookings for December. Wrote lots. Edited lots. AND…became the newest Director of Worcestershire LitFest! WLF Welcomes a New Director

LitWorld2 Journal was also released. This is Sarah Leavesley’s Photography/Art/Poetry Project and the first poem to be published is by Kathy Gee.

I followed up the USA performance of A Tale of Two Cities – there was certainly a lot of pre-event news coverage and it seems to have gone really well.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2018/09/30/a-tale-of-two-cities-worcester-usa-uk-a-poetry-event-at-sprinkler-factory/

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I also got organised for Swindon Poetry Festival next week! Whoop! Ready to run at October full pelt now!

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Review July 2018

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July

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Week 1:

July – the season of Festivals. Ledbury Poetry Festival (30th June – 8th July) kicked off with a weekend of events I had hoped to manage. Work has been exceptionally busy and I have grabbed any time I can at the weekend to just recoup a little. My Ledbury Saturday (which was also a reason I couldn’t make this year’s National Writing Conference) was much diminished.

Sunday saw the morning at Evesham Festival of Words and Polly Stretton’s final Poetry Walk Event. It was lovely that she acknowledged those of us who have managed all three of these. It was also great that I had time to stay for the extra reading which takes place in the Almonry Gardens after the walk. http://www.almonryevesham.org/

Read the full review here https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2018/07/30/evesham-festival-of-words/

I booked events for the Autumn and promoted several current projects. I also started firming up plans for Australia and the Perth Poetry Festival in August.

On Tuesday I went to Ledbury to the Homend Poets – who were launching the 11th anthology and a small collective of PoARTry poets promoted the Launch (11th) by reading some of our exhibited poetry. It was a great night – slightly soured by the M50 slip roads being closed for Roadworks and adding time onto my journey home. I had recorded the match (World Cup) and had to avoid using the radio and sadly, the 1.5 hour round the rigging route home meant I was met by revellers leaving the pub and rather giving the result away! I did witness an amazing sunset with the Malvern Hills which I would have missed if the roads had been open.

I managed to secure at least one musician for our Launch event. Bonus.

Much as I wanted to go to Ledbury for Pascale Petit and Tishani Doshi*  I had no energy after work for a mid-week jaunt across for an hour. *Tishani was part of the inspiration behind one poem in my debut pamphlet ‘Fragile Houses’.

I also wanted to go back the following evening to see Martin Figura –Dr Zeeman’s Catastrophe Machine. I spent a few days buckling down promoting events and organising shows and magazines from my desk in the evenings.

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The week finished with a rehearsal for our poetry show 30-40-60. Which was brilliant and made the three of us want to do this show again. None of us can quite believe it has been a year since the premiere event at Worcestershire LitFest 2017!

 

Week 2

Much as the first week of the month work kept me busy with report writing and assessments. I received an exciting invitation for November, more news on that once plans get firmed up.

My main focus was PoARTry at Ledbury. We had our launch night on Wednesday 11th July (another England World Cup game… this time slightly given away by the raucous cheers from the pub next door)!

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© Rick Sanders

It was a great event, mainly the Artists and Poets attended but some of us brought guests so there was an audience. The Exhibition itself did really well.

A more detailed review can be found here.

Thursday saw Ben Banyard Headline SpeakEasy in Worcester, a poet (from our 52 gang) who I wanted to meet and hear in person. It was a great evening in a new venue and the first time this event has been hosted outside. The garden was set for a wedding the next day and was beautiful. It was a fun night! Read more here.

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© Kathy Gee

Friday saw a staff meal (nice to be invited) and then Saturday there was a workshop I wanted to attend in Walsall but after a full week of work and 3 nights out on the trot I needed a breather before Charley Barnes’ Book Launch in the evening.

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I was delighted to be a Guest Poet alongside Claire Walker, Sarah Leavesley and Holly Magill. As it fell during Droitwich Artsfest they advertised it as an Artsfest event. It was well attended and an exceptional evening. A pleasure to welcome Charley to the V. Press family. Read more about this sparkling evening here

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2018/07/30/a-z-hearted-guide-to-heartache-by-charley-barnes-book-launch/

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I had the day off on Sunday – except I didn’t – I spent 6 hours sorting and editing film for our 30-40-60 performance. As well as working on a current Stanza project, sorting Issue 4 of Contour and organising paperwork for the trip to Australia.

 

Week 3 

On Monday night I spent another 5 hours in the cutting room, editing the new film for our event the next day.

On Tuesday 17th July Kathy Gee, Claire Walker and myself performed 30-40-60 in St. Andrew’s Church as part of the Artsfest. We had a small but mighty audience, it was a wonderful evening and lovely to hear people on the Open Mic and see poets visit Droitwich for the first time. Lots of people commented on the venue and of course the show.

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Read more about it here.

Also if you missed it – there is a review here. With thanks to Mad Hatter Reviews.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2018/07/31/30-40-60-performance-review/

One of the exciting things about an International Guest Poet is I get to attend plenty of workshops throughout the festival. I have had the schedule for a few months but now the programme is out was able to book into them. I am as excited about this as I am about being part of Perth Poetry Festival!

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I also had more exciting news – again under wraps for now.

Work finished – another splatter of excitement after a 3 month lock in! It was lovely working with such a great team. As everyone met in the pub to celebrate I stayed in and got an early night because my weekend was a wild one! Poetry WILD that is!

ArtsFest traditionally have a poetry day and for the past 2 years I have had the honour of organising it!

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We started at 2 PM with Poetry in the Square – my guests this year were John Mills and Liz Mills, two poets I met through 52. They put me up for the night before Stafford Festival – it was a welcome return to Stone for me – I lived there for a few years – and we have been friends ever since!

They are also brilliant poets and between us we managed the 2 hour stint in town.

Then I rushed off to Worcester to Guest Poet at Kieran Davies’ Book Launch for Legacy, published by Black Pear Press. Which was a great event, a true celebration – read more about it here.

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Then back to Park’s Cafe for Poetry Extravaganza and the first UK reading of ATOTC. It was a delightful evening of poetry.

ATOTC ME © Rhys Jones – Droitwich Arts Network

Read about it in full here https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2018/07/31/artsfest-2/

 

Week 4

At this point my diary suggested (because I pencilled it in – in May), taking the first 2 weeks of my summer holiday off from poetry events and prepare for Australia… to a certain extent I have missed events I would have otherwise attended, but as always there were some which slipped through that I couldn’t possibly miss.

The week started in Ledbury collecting work from the Exhibition. PoARTry was a great project and I know I will be staying in touch with my artist, Molly Bythell.

I got everything organised for my trip except money and mini-toiletries! It took a while to find cabin luggage small enough for the airline restriction and a while longer after that to choose just 1 piece! I also invested in a large but extremely lightweight suitcase… mine date back to when wheels were first introduced and the handle extends only 6 cm from the corner… they work like a supermarket trolley with a wonky wheel and have mainly been used for storage. Travelling with soft bags and backpack ever since! However, I am not backpacking and the last time I used that on Long Haul it caused a few problems, so decided to do the respectable suitcase thing!

Tuesday saw Poetry Bites at the Kitchen Garden Cafe with Jonathan Edwards and Holly Daffurn headlining. 

Thursday I was in Stratford at a workshop and Friday I went to Stanza, where there was even more exciting news.

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This weekend I received my copy of Hex – by Jennie Farley, published by IDP Indigo Dreams. Jennie was kind enough to ask me for an endorsement. It is the third book I have endorsed and it was a pleasure reading it. It is a mesmerising collection and I look forward to the official Launch in December!

Hex – Jennie Farley IDP

I also approached Guest Writers for this year’s INKSPILL online writing retreat and both have confirmed (exciting), so I spent a little time on this promotional film to encourage you to book it into your diaries NOW!

Find out more INKSPILL 2018.

I am now spending the rest of the month working on 3 writing projects, editing and organising myself ready for Perth!

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Review June 2018

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June this year was definitely a month of transition.

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It saw my final 10 Days as Worcestershire Poet Laureate, the end of 4 years working for Writing West Midlands as a Lead/Assistant Writer for their Spark Young Writers Group in Worcester and although I am not saddened by this particular transition– I have just 3 weeks left in full time employment (which is funding my trip to Australia in the summer).

Week 1: 

I intentionally missed every poetry event this week to conserve energy for the WLF – Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe – the emotional onslaught of watching another poet taking up the mantle of Laureate and the amount of work. work I have to balance meant that there was no time or energy left to support anything else.

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I was desk busy: creating 10 Days – a sequence of films charting my final 10 Days as WPL -reflecting back over the year. These were fun to make but time consuming. Especially after uploading I would spot an incorrect frame and have to go back to the virtual cutting room floor!

Editing the final WPL Anthology Collection of Science/Maths based poems, wrapping up the Twin Town project between Voiron & Droitwich and reading submissions for the final WPL Contour (although perhaps not the final Contour).

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My WPL Twin Town project between Droitwich and Voiron went live on June 7th.

This features 9 poets from England and France exchanging poems on the town and writing responses using something in the original town poem which sparked inspiration.

The collection is bi-lingual and poetry appears in English, French & Portuguese. There is a Food Festival in Droitwich this month and I am hoping to meet Madeleine Silvestri from Voiron Twinning Association, who found the Poet Alain Graz who helped me find our French town poets.

european TT The Anthology can be read here Twin Town.

My poetry films can be found here 10 Days

 

Week 2:

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On Saturday I joined a collective of Stanza Poets in the Forest of Dean for a Heritage Poetry Project organised by Andy Hoaen. After his involvement in survey/heritage work ‘Veteran Tree History Project Speech House Survey’ he decided he wanted to create something. His vision:

I would like to see this as an opportunity for an encounter between two different ways of seeing the world, archaeology with its rigorous approach routed in scientific “objective” description of place and space, and poets with their ability to succinctly capture the essence of things and provide an imaginative subjective view on the world.

It was an interesting and fruitful day for photography and notes and now we all hope to create some tree poetry and more. There may be an exhibition or pamphlet. It was also a great day out and lovely to see some poets who are sadly missed at Stanza meetings.

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© Kathy Gee (no filters)

I wanted the Science/Maths Anthology (my final WPL Anthology) to go live before the Festival Launch and as I was (I just deleted ‘am’) the 7th Poet Laureate I scheduled the arrival for 7:07 AM!

Every Word Counts WPL

You can read the collection here.

Then it was onto the opening of Worcestershire LitFestival & Fringe.

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It was a great Launch – one of the best, although the judging panel missed the Young Writers Competition reading and the Flash Fiction winners as we were interviewing and preparing to judge the WPL competition. My fellow judges were Polly Stretton (former WLF Director), Stephen Wilson (Arts, County) & Rachel Evans (Worcestershire Young Poet Laureate).

The finalists were Peter Sutton, Betti Moretti & Sarah Leavesley and it was a close competition. It was a pleasure to hear them perform poetry  that we judged anonymously just a few weeks ago. Any one of them would have been a worthy winner and done Worcestershire proud. There can only be one winner though and this year it was Betti Moretti.

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Before the winner was announced I performed the poems which won me the Laureateship: Lit Up & Tasseomancy.

 

I couldn’t believe the length of appreciative applause at the end. It was a joyous moment.

 

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© Catherine Crosswell

I had previously joked (since about March when you have to start promoting the competition) that I was going to be the 1st WPL who refused to step down. It was Betti’s idea (for the record) but we had a little tug ‘o’ war over the award.

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It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would have been to congratulate the new WPL and hand it all over. Some relief even, perhaps.

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© Catherine Crosswell

Coffee and cake wouldn’t have fuelled another year at acceleration and it isn’t as if I am not busy.

It was a delight to be part of the event (although if I could, I would have got out of judging), part of the remit – I knew it was coming. Thought it was nice how we were up on the balcony rather than beside the stage as in previous years. This was possibly easier for the finalists. Although there is nothing easy about being a finalist. It is a hard, emotional competition.

A full review of the Launch and announcement of the New WPL here Launch of WLF 2018

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Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe dominated the week, the festival ran from 10th-16th June and was as fantastic as ever. I had to get used to not posting everything on https://worcestershirepoetlaureateninalewis.wordpress.com/ but at least the waters of the fountain are well and truly active and in full spring again!

You can read write ups of the events I was involved in:

Tuesday 12th – Night at the Museum IV – a wonderful night organised by Worcestershire Poet Laureate (2016-17), Suz Winspear – featuring Young Worcestershire Poet Laureate Rachel Evans, Former YPL Chloe Clarke, Nina Lewis Worcestershire Poet Laureate (2017-18) and the NEW Worcestershire Poet Laureate Betti Moretti in the first half and Suz Winspear in the 2nd half with her poems from the Archives to celebrate the end of her 2 year Residency at Royal Worcester. It was a marvellous evening.

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Wednesday 13th 42 Festival Special – A wonderful evening that saw the Antipoet back in Worcester, with their new book – C:/Users/HP/Documents/Writing Projects/Black Pear/Does My Bass/D published by Black Pear Press.

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© Donna Ray

In the second half a plethora of 42 regulars took to the stage for a themed night ‘The Bewitched Worcestershire Inn’.

Thursday 14th June SpeakEasy Special at Worcester Arts Workshop. Headlined by the amazing Dub Thieves, it was also Betti Moretti’s official WPL hand-over with her newly engraved WPL award. A superb night of performances and some who were new to SpeakEasy too.

 

Week 3:

Festival By The River – LitFest Take Over.

An exciting opportunity arose in the Spring to be part of the festival happening at the Weorgoran Pavilion on South Quay, Worcester. The events for the 10 day festival have been programmed by Cat Roberts. The Festival launched on Friday 15th

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and on the 16th Peter Sutton and I took to the stage and what a sparkly, wondrous stage it is!

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I spent a while creating a water based set and wrote some long awaited poems from our Canal trip (Poet’s Day Out) 2017. I had great fun compiling the half hour set.

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It was a brilliant end to my week.

I spent some time over the weekend planning the next couple of events and promoting ATOTC, 30-40-60, ARTSFEST and PoARTry. I also had a rare day off from poetry.

 

Week 3:

Started with an evening organising the Launch/ Reading Event for PoARTry Ledbury with Leena Batchelor. We already have 12 people interested in reading at the event. The next stage is to confirm dates and then we can get on with creating the schedule and marketing the event.

POARTry Ledbury coming soon

 

I finally managed time to create answers for the remaining four questions sent to me to market the Perth Poetry Festival and I started working on an interview for a new article. More on that news soon.

I promoted 30-40-60 which is soon to be rehearsed and performed again (July).

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I promoted the UK/USA readings for ATOTC which I am very excited by.

 

Ludlow Fringe Festival

logo ludlow fringe Dirty Laundry Launch with Deb Alma & Guest Poets.

I was one of Deb’s Guest Poets at this Launch along with Angela Topping, Roz Munro Derry, Holly Magill & Ruth Stacey. It was a fantastic evening and lovely to share a meal in The Blue Boar first and have a good catch up.

A full review can be found here.

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During the week I worked on interviews and poetry, organised my final WWM session and promoted Festival events.

I attended a Room 204 Workshop in Birmingham at Evolve (which back in the day was the Adam & Eve and venue for Sunday Xpress). Creative Writing to Promote Wellbeing workshop by Emma Marks & Sandra Griffiths of The Red Earth Collective CIC, was a half day event on Creative Writing in the Mental Health Setting.

A half day course for writers who want to develop or improve creative writing workshops for people with a lived experience of mental health problems. The workshop will be an experimental and engaging reflection on ideas and issues associated with running creative writing workshops within a mental health setting. © Red Earth

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It was an intense and useful workshop with plenty of participation. I have more ideas now than ever and a good network of support for future ventures in this direction.

Having missed 1.5 days of work to attend Festivals & training I hit the ground running and had a backlog of assessment marking which came home with me and sadly meant I missed Rob Francis at Dear Listener, the fault of my work schedule. test marking and the lack of time to reach the city. No guilt here – only frustration!

This is the weekend I missed 2 events I was supposed to attend and had a clash of two events too. This always makes me feel low. I wish I could clone myself and attend everything!

On Friday night I had hoped to make it to Birmingham Waterstones for the Verve Poetry Press Book Launch of Leon Priestnall and Nafeesa Hamid’s Debut collections.

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Sadly I missed it, you can read about it and find out more about these new collections here When You Miss Something BIG!

 

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BUY A COPY Leon Priestnall is something quite rare on the Spoken Word circuit – a romantic, a lost soul, with so few of the right answers and so many of the wrong ones. His poems are full of questions, not solutions, or even a step further back from that – are asking the question of what questions to ask. © Verve Poetry Press

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BUY A COPY Besharam – Nafeesa Hamid’s glorious debut collection – asks this and many other questions. When does a girl become a woman? When does her world allow her to become a woman? And what kind of woman should she be? The answers aren’t readily forthcoming. © Verve Poetry Press

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There was also a welcome return of Confab Cabaret in Malvern and they had Elvis McGonagall Headlining and I had a chance to get to Stratford Poetry Festival to see Tony Harrison. Of course neither of these events were possible as I was already committed to the Book Launch. Exhaustion is a hard thing to forgive.

Week 4:

On Saturday I headed to The Hive for my last Spark Young Writer group. It has been a pleasure to work for WWM for the past 4 years, 3 of those as a Lead Writer and I shall miss this part of my writing life a lot!

Spark YW

Afterwards I planned to go to Stratford Poetry Festival to The Black Box event, which was part of a schools/education project I worked on this Spring. My eldest nephew also had a very important birthday – plans for Sunday were rearranged to Saturday and I was already late as they started whilst I was still in my WWM session. I decided I couldn’t miss his momentous occasion and so instead bailed on watching the children perform at the festival. If there is one thing guaranteed to make you feel more guilty than exhaustion it is letting children down!

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Saturday also saw a 10th Birthday Summer Party for Nine Arches Press, having attended their celebrations before for a few years, I was gutted when I discovered this clashed with WWM and my nephew’s birthday party!

I knew I was never able to go – this did not stop me wanting to be there. Again, I have heard wonderful reviews. Sharing photos that have been shared on social media.

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#TenforNine: Nine Arches Press celebrates ten years of publishing

Join us to celebrate ten years of publishing with a series of birthday events on Saturday 23rd June at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

Saturday 23rd June at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

© Nine Arches Press will publish new work by ten poets in 2018.

(Top: l-r Aviva Dautch, Romalyn Ante, Sarala Estruch, Robert Peake, Josephine Corcoran. Bottom: l-r Riche McCaffery, Deborah Alma, Roy McFarlane, Suzannah Evans, Isobel Dixon)

There will be something for everyone:‘The Big Read In’ is a chance for readers’ groups to hear TS Eliot Prize shortlisted poet Jacqueline Saphra (All My Mad Mothers) discussing her work, followed by an exclusive writing workshop with former Canal Laureate Jo Bell as well as the launch of Josephine Corcoran’s debut collection, What Are You After? The evening will see a ‘Birthday Mixtape’ event in the conservatoire’s jazz club, co-hosted by Nine Arches Driector and Editor Jane Commane and Rishi Dastidar (Ticker-Tape) featuring favourite readings from a range of Nine Arches Press poets. © Nine Arches Press

10 9 JC

9 10 cake

I missed the WLF Poetry Picnic in Cripplegate Park as I had to finish marking before I could journey to Cheltenham for Anna Saunders Book Launch. I also had an opticians appointment earlier in the week and needed to take Mr. G. into town to help me decide which frames to buy. I was walking around with 9 pairs at one point!

gfb anna

Anna’s Book Launch at The Retreat Wine Bar was amazing, a pure night of celebration. Her guests were David Clarke and Jonny Fluffypunk and there was an open mic section with Ghost themed poems to start proceedings. It was packed and the open mic list read like ‘Beautiful South Lyrics’.

anna book launch

Full review COMING SOON.

The main focus this week was the PoARTry Ledbury project, my own writing and Book Launches, more family birthdays and Poetry Festivals. I attempted to keep my schedule free of evening events as this is the busiest time at work with lots of deadlines to meet by the beginning of July and in the current heatwave all I really want to do is feast on ice lollies and sleep!

 

The date was finally set for the PoARTry event, we decided it then spent a week trying to match schedules before finding an AGM clash with the date and reverting back to the original one, which sadly means Rick Sanders won’t be there.

We have had about half the collective sign up to say they are coming so it looks to be a great evening shaping up. Leena and I now have our work cut out developing a running order/ details of the evening. I am looking forward to it and getting extremely excited about seeing my artist’s work in the flesh. Molly Bythell was my extremely talented partner on this project and our collaboration has been bountiful. I am only framing 2-3 poems but have written close to 20!

Ledbury PoARTry SHARE

calcutt

On Thursday evening I made my way into Birmingham to David Calcutt’s Book Launch at Waterstones, which was in the Art Room, where I had my own Launch back in 2016. It was great to catch up with people and was a lovely evening. Full review here.

© Elaine Christie

Ledbury Poetry Festival is also underway, I am hoping to get across there at some point. I am definitely there on Tuesday 3rd July.

ledbury 18

 

All in all, an incredible month of ‘not being —— anymore’, getting used to just being again.

May Review 2018

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May was a huge month for editing and writing and marked my final full month as Worcestershire Poet Laureate, a position I have loved. Who wouldn’t want to be an ambassador for poetry? I was also juggling working full time with a full schedule.

Week 1: 

Still learning how to balance full time work with a writing career, I found a lack of energy and time were enemies to my To Do list.

My final Worcestershire Poet Laureate submission windows opened. One for Scientific/Mathematical poetry in honour of Stephen Hawking and the other for the final edition of Contour WPL Magazine, Issue 4 Celebration & End of an Era.

 

 

I spent most of the week working on A Tale Of Two Cities Special Edition Contour Magazine.

I received news of a recent submission being successful. One of my Jinney Ring Sculpture Workshop poems is to be published in Domestic Cherry Issue 6. I join many poetry friends in this issue and what is more we get to read our poems at an event in the Swindon Poetry Festival, which is great. This will be my 4th year attending Swindon Poetry Festival and it is always amazing. Last year I was booked as a V. Press poet in V. Formation, reading alongside Stephen Daniels and Gram Joels. This year I knew I was heading down after National Poetry Day (I have a booked gig), now I know I will get to read too. Wonderful.

My role as Reader in Residence for West Midlands Reader’s Network was wrapped up in an evaluation which took an incredible amount of time to write, but future funding depends on such things and I was able to use some of it in a public review for Warwickshire Libraries too. I sent reviews of Book Review Workshops and the Poetry on Demand event for the Rugby Library website.

nina

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2018/05/12/a-word-from-nina/

I received finalist poems for the Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe Poet Laureate Competition. I have a fortnight to judge these poems. I am looking forward to discovering who the finalists are on the 10th June. This year the finals will be held at The Angel Centre – which is the 4th venue for the WPL finals.

Over the weekend I secured an interview with Kate Garrett on her recent charity venture ‘Bonnie’s Crew’, took some poems for a polish and prepared for the final WPL event at Hanbury Church.

habury 7th

 

Week 2:

Started with a Bank Holiday and sunshine. I hosted the final WPL event, a reading at Hanbury Church of our Sculpture Trail poems from the Jinney Ring workshop. A full review of the event will be posted soon. To my delight this event has also lead to future work.

 

 

It seemed strange that this was it, as far as WPLaureating goes.

I had tight deadlines for copy, reviews, interviews and editing this week. Promotion has started for Australia – Western Australia Poetry Festival. Scott-Patrick Mitchell is responsible for a lot of the streaming online. He has sent interview questions to use as part of the Marketing & Promotion of the festival. I completed the bulk of an interview on time but had a few questions that needed a more considered response. Everything is in place for the marketing machine now though.

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I spent some time prepping Q&A for the ‘In Conversation’ event at the BMI.

I was fortunate enough to get to PTS (Permission to Speak) which featured the Poets, Prattlers & Pandemonialists taking over the hosting for the evening and featuring artists from The Black Country Broadsheet project. It was a great night of high energy hosted by Dave Pitt featuring: R.M Francis, Mogs, Steve Pottinger & Casey Bailey. I shared my NaPo poems (not all 30)! A full review can be found here

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2018/05/10/mighty-force-poets-prattlers-pandemonialists/

poets-prattlers-and-pandemonialists-3

The following night I headed over to Birmingham to the BMI (Birmingham & Midland Institute) for an In Conversation & Reading of Fragile Houses. Another fabulous night in the John Lee Theatre. Read the full review here. https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2018/05/12/open-conversation-bmi/

BMI

This was a great opportunity to reach a new audience and was booked last Winter, I had been looking forward to it for a while.

I am delighted Roy McFarlane is the Poet in Residence there and look forward to his programme of events and get more involved in Birmingham again.

I planned to spend the weekend editing, I mainly slept – being a busy poet and working full-time is not easy. I did manage a good shift on ATOTC and got the main frame of the magazine complete – overcoming lots of horrendous formatting issues. Sadly I realised I had missing Bios and so put a call out for those.

I am hoping that before the end of the month we will have the special edition ready for upload.

project

 

Week 3:

What is a perfect way to start the week? A workshop with the exuberant Ash Dickinson of course! Having missed the opportunity to do one in Burton last year I was delighted to discover that he was doing one before/for Licensed to Rhyme!

cafe-morso-barnt-green (1)

Read the full review here https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2018/05/16/ash-dickinson-workshop-licensed-to-rhyme/

It was a fabulous evening of laughter and poetry and set me up for the week.

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Lorna Meehan headlines next month – so I need to get my diary free *although I think it falls during Worcestershire LitFest.

On Thursday I had intended to hit Birmingham at the Twisted Tongues event (usually held in Derby), however after a long day at work and with a weekend of events scheduled I did the sensible thing (very unlike me) and spent the night in the garden enjoying the end of the sun before having a relatively early night.

tt

I spent a lot of the week compiling the Special Edition Contour Magazine and chasing poets for photos.

On Friday I whizzed from work straight to The Hive in Worcester for a Book Launch. Cutting the Green Ribbon – debut poetry collection for Katy Wareham Morris, published by Hesterglock Press.

ctgr-poster-as-jpeg Katy was joined by Guest Readers Holly Magill, Kathy Gee and Claire Walker – it was a superb night of poetry. Full review coming soon.

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I surprised myself on Saturday by firstly forgetting there was a Royal Wedding (I was reading poetry books and working on a submission) and secondly by writing about it. I had not planned to and I know many poets balk at this sort of sentimentality – but important events during one’s Laureateship ought to be marked and so I found myself with laptop on lap, catching up with images from the BBC whilst watching the ceremony from the point of the Bishop’s Address onward and I did manage to write something.

the tone is set3

https://worcestershirepoetlaureateninalewis.wordpress.com/2018/05/19/the-royal-wedding/

I finished the week being a Poetry Judge at Sarah Leavesley’s Book Launch at Parks Cafe.  Sarah celebrated the launch of her new novella Always Another Twist and latest poetry collection How to Grow Matches. It was a charity event in aid of St Paul’s Hostel in Worcester and a fantastic evening (even if I did want to run away with the prizes)! A full review will be posted soon.

matches launch

Sarah was joined by Guest Readers: Holly Magill, Jenny Hope & Liz Kershaw and the night was MCed by Charley Barnes.

https://droitwichstandard.co.uk/news/award-winning-droitwich-author-to-hold-special-book-launch-at-charity-evening/

 

Week 4

The week started with a well earned day off work to fill with Poetry work. This year I was invited to be part of the Living Library event at Blessed Edward Oldcorne Catholic College in Worcester. The event is organised annually by Librarian Linda Bromyard and enables several classes from Year 7 to come and meet real writers and talk to them about their work. Again, I will be writing full reviews of work from May soon and this event will certainly be given one. It was as inspiring for the adults as the students, I would have loved something like this when I was studying English.

 

http://www.worcesternews.co.uk/news/14543190.Authors_bring_school_library_alive/

The deadline for judging this year’s WPL finalist poems came around fast. I enjoyed reading this year’s entries, I am not so much enjoying sitting in judgement at the finals, but will part of a team of 5 judges and it is part of the WPL remit accepted last year. My hat goes off to poets who judge competitions with 100s of entries, it is a tough job.

I FINALLY gained access to the Arts Council portal (being trying since 27th April) only to find the decision was a no. Ironically the new system is more suited to individual bids, I used the British Council funding scheme a joint venture with the Arts Council. I rushed to get mine in before 1st March deadline and may have been better to wait for the new batch and changes in the system.

Print

Still, I took on the full time teaching role to pay for it and now I have the freedom to enjoy it evaluation free. The bid was to cover my travel to Australia for the Perth Festival and some workshops back in the UK after the event. At least I learnt how to apply for funding and also had the pleasure of analysing statistical data which shows my work this year has impacted on over 360 individuals.  Lots to celebrate.

pexels-photo-970537.jpeg

On the same day I discovered this failure I was also Headlining at Poetry Bites. It has been a while since I headlined a gig and it was a pleasure. Again full review waiting in a queue.

Poetry bites promo small2

I had to plan my Australian workshop and send a 200 marketing blurb this week. It is based on themes pulled from Fragile Houses and is going to be great. I am really looking forward to this experience and have scheduled time when term finishes to get prepared. The review of July will be simpler – it will just say…

ppf

Preparing for Australia!

I have also been working on the final three WPL projects:

  • Contour Issue 4 WPL Digital Poetry Magazine
  • Twin Town European Poetry Exchange
  • Every Word Counts – Science/Maths Anthology

Contour Issue 4 the Celebration issue is still open for submissions until my final day as Laureate 10.6.18, I have been busy catching up with the Headliners of SpeakEasy for the interview section and have an article or two to add (new feature).

Twin Town 

european TT

Most of the poets involved managed their poetry exchanges before the deadline, I stepped in and wrote a response poem and a Town poem in case the final poet didn’t manage it. We are now just waiting on a final response poem from a poet who received it over 2 weeks late, a June deadline has been negotiated and I have secured my good friend Nathalie Brooker to work on my French translations. This should be live in June, publication is planned for 10th June, the day I end my Laureateship.

Every Word Counts 

I spent time long listing poems from the 30 day submission window.

 

Extra Bit 

A much needed break from work, 9 days in my poetry skin.

DAY 1 of 9

I planned my penultimate WWM Spark Writers group – they are sad to see me go, they are not the only ones. My sensitive poet’s heart could crack with all these changes!

I spent some time organising the first of the UK ATOTC readings. A collaborative of 11 who will read call/response poems during the 2nd part of the evening as part of Artsfest 2018.

I made the final promo pushes for the last 2 WPL submissions. Had a lovely night at Waterstones celebrating the Launch of Deborah Alma’s new Nine Arches Press collection ‘Dirty Laundry’ a full blog post owed for that night too!

wk1pOETING MAYJUNE

I made it to 42 and the newly refurbished Drummonds for a night that was pure entertainment.

I finish the month with mild exhaustion and the hope that the few submissions I have managed to make this month will find themselves a home amongst pages. Fingers crossed.

june 2

June

June sees the 8th Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe Festival, the crowning of a new Poet Laureate, the finalists in the running are Sarah Leavesley, Betti Moretti & Peter Sutton. The Launch takes place on the 10th June 2:30 pm at the Angel Centre, Worcester and sadly will mark my last day as Worcestershire Poet Laureate.

broken heart love sad

Photo by burak kostak on Pexels.com

Other events to look forward to are: Meet the Authors, Stanza in the Forest of Dean for a Forestry/Poetry project, the rest of the WLF Programme, I am performing on Tuesday at Night at the Museum, Wednesday at 42 Special with the Anti-Poet, Thursday at SpeakEasy Festival Special and Saturday as part of The Ring Project.

I am performing as part of Ludlow Fringe Festival, have my final ever WWM Spark Young Writer Group, attending the Stratford Poetry Festival for the schools project with Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, attending and performing at a few book launches and finishing the month with Ledbury Poetry Festival.

At the desk I am working on a current manuscript, prep for Perth Poetry Festival (Australia, not Scotland), Contour Issue 4 Digital poetry magazine, The Twin Town Poetry Anthology & a collection to mark the passing of Stephen Hawking featuring Science/Mathematical poetry Every Word Counts.

Plenty of work to absorb the extraction of my Laureateship! And who knows in between I may even get to write and sleep!

close up of tree against sky

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

October Review

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OCTOBER 2015 Review – Another great and busy month. We held our 3rd annual writing retreat INKSPILL, I worked on new poetry and current projects and performed all over the place. I even had a week off from performing and writing, to plan and prepare INKSPILL. It was also a month of Festivals, Swindon and Birmingham and I headlined in Cheltenham too. I also worked on two commissioned performances, one for National Poetry Day and the other for this evening, a Halloween Poetry Brothel!

WEEK 1

The month started in Swindon at Poetry Swindon Festival, tickets for which were only booked last minute a few weeks before.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/10/05/swindon-poetry-festival-2015/

It was a brilliant weekend, I performed as part of the 52 event, wrote new poetry in Jo Bell’s X-ray Spex workshop, met some great poets and writers and enjoyed performances from many poets including Kei Miller & David Clarke.

I also made it to Stirchley Speak, which, as always was a great night of poetry at the P Café, hosted  by Jess Davies.

WEEK 2

Then it was NATIONAL POETRY DAY on the 8th October, which is like a massive party day for any poet! NPD LIVE This year I celebrated by taking part in Heather Wastie’s Light and Shade event at the carpet museum in Kidderminster.

light shade NPD

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/10/12/national-poetry-day-light-shade-event-at-kidderminster-carpet-museum/

Suz Winspear and I were the touch of theatre, working on a commission from Heather to write poems about the carpet industry and incorporating Light and Shade into the proposed work. We then met with Heather and created our performance for the night – which took place in a narrow corridor, looking over the museum and the looms. An area that is not usually open to the public.

It was also Birmingham Literature Festival 8th – 17th October, I wasn’t able to get to as much as I wanted to this year, but what I managed was fantastic. BLFest  I felt blessed to see Rita Dove and it was great to see so many writing world friends too. I had tickets for other events on the last weekend of the festival, but a Writing group for WWM needed my assistance, so I missed those.

Short and Sweet: Short Fiction Salon

This was an event hosted by fiction writer and Heart Breakfast presenter Rachel New, Short & Sweet allows you to dip your toe into the water of live literature, and enjoy readings we select for you – including a story from Rachel herself written especially for this event.

Rachel New is a veteran of short fiction challenges – having survived two unusual residencies at Birmingham Literature Festivals past – Ten Day Sentence in 2013 and One Page Wonders in 2014. Both these experiences saw Rachel writing against the clock, responding to prompts from the wider festival audience and producing huge volumes of creative fiction. Rachel brings this expertise, as well as her ongoing PhD studies in creative writing, to the Short & Sweet arena for performances and discussion.

© 2015 Writing West Midlands

Rita Dove and Guests

We are delighted to welcome Rita Dove, the former U.S. Poet Laureate and a Pulitzer Prize winner, to give a rare poetry reading in the UK. A mesmerising performer, Rita Dove’s work covers a range of subjects, each of them addressed with wit and verve.

Her most recent poetry collections are Sonata Mulattica and American Smooth. She is editor of the Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry and is Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia. Among her honours are the 1996 National Humanities Medal from President Bill Clinton and the 2011 National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama, making her the only poet to ever receive both medals.

As a prelude to Rita Dove’s reading, we present three short poetry performances. Jo Bell, Canal Laureate, will be reading from her eagerly awaited new collection, Kith. She will be joined by Birmingham Young Poet Laureate 2014-15, Serena Arthur and by Oliver Sullivan, a young performer from the region who was runner up in this year’s Poetry by Heart Competition. 

Sponsored by the University of Birmingham.

© 2015 Writing West Midlands

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/10/12/birmingham-literature-festival-2015/

On 10th October it was also Claire walker’s book launch for the much awaited poetry pamphlet THE GIRL WHO GREW INTO A CROCODILE. It was a lovely evening celebrating the poetry of my talented friend! I would recommend this pamphlet published by V Press, highly indeed.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/10/31/marvellous-book-launch-the-girl-who-grew-into-a-crocodile-by-claire-walker/

claire w croc

WEEK 3

Was filled with open mics, headlines, book festivals, talks and workshops.

Leon Priestnall and the The Blue Dive headlined Mouth & Music, on the 13th October. mmoct It was a great night and I enjoyed myself immensely. There were some fab open mic-ers and great musicians and it was good to catch up with folk I have not seen in a while.

mmoct leon mmoct blue dive mmoct me PHOTO CREDIT © Peter Williams 2015

The next evening I took a trip out to Cheltenham where I was headlining for Sharon Larkin at The Poetry Café Refreshed. It was a lovely event at the interesting American Diner venue of Smokey Joe’s. I was able to promote the Restless Bones Anthology. I enjoyed hearing poetry from other performers including; Roger Turner, David Clarke, Gill Garrett, Miki Byrne, Michael Newman, Michael Skaife d’Ingerthorpe, Angel Whitehorse & Sharon Larkin.

poetry cafe refreshed

This week also saw another festival. The Book to the Future Festival, UoB, University of Birmingham has always been scheduled for after the Birmingham Literature Festival, this year they over lapped. The following evening I performed at Phenomenal Women, in the Costa Café on site at Birmingham University. This event was organised by Jan Watts and was my 3rd year taking part and I think it was the best one yet. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

book to the future b2tf group b2tf jan

The region’s top female poets, including University of Birmingham alumna Jan Watts (Birmingham Poet Laureate 2011/12), Nina Lewis, Jackie Smallridge (Scrubber Jack) & Andrea Smith.

I went back to University and the Book to the Future Festival the next day (Friday 16th October) for a talk and a workshop.

Making a living from writing narinder

Narinder Dhami is best known for her books Bollywood Babes, Bend it Like Beckham and young adult reads such as Bang Bang You’re Dead.

It was a good talk that confirmed lots I knew already, I made copious notes and it sounds like I am on the right track. Always good to find this out.

Then I went to Jacqui Rowe’s workshop at the Barber Institute. I have wanted to take one of Jacqui’s workshops for over a year now, I was never available, until now. It was great and inspiring and has given me lots of poetry to work on.

Self and others – art and writing workshop

 BL RH jACQUI
Inspired by the Barber Institute’s Terms of Engagement exhibition, showcasing portraits from the University of Birmingham collection, join Jacqui Rowe to explore how we write about character.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/10/15/open-mics-guest-spots-book-festivals/

After this I went to a Stanza meeting, taking with me a poem I only had 30 minutes to write. It was a hectic week because I was also working my day job pretty much full time this week too.

On Saturday I had tickets for Birmingham Literature Festival, it was also the 2nd Session for WWM Young Writers. I had planned to manage the 30 mile trip after and it would have been a rush. I was asked to help assist the Junior group in the morning, so I had a whole day at The Hive Library. WWM PINK

thehiveworcsorg thehiveworcsorg

Our group has grown by a few as well, nearly in double figures which is great. I don’t think it was any wonder I needed a week off after this.

WEEK 4

I didn’t quite have a week off – I took a week off performing and writing poetry. I was working the day job and preparing for INKSPILL.

It was our 3rd Annual Online Writing Retreat and it was a great success and worth every minute of hard work. Thanks to our Guests Writers; Playwright – David Calcutt, Author/ Romance Novelist – Alison May and Poet -Daniel Sluman.

The links are still active to the weekend workshop that happened on 24th/25th October and you can take part at any point, let us know you are doing so with a like or a comment.

INKSPILL 2015

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/10/25/inkspill-active-programme/

Wednesday saw the first Halloween Spoken Word night at Drummonds 42 – where I was able to perform a freshly penned poem and another I had written a few hours before the event. Claire Walker also had a headline slot and it was great to hear her again. I love the pamphlet (I may have already mentioned this) but it is always superbly satisfying to hear a poet share their words in their own voice.

It was optional fancy dress, I used a spider theme. 42 42

Thursday I wrote some new poetry in a workshop and missed a launch of the Poetry Review Magazine as I was too tired to drive again after spending a couple of hours on the road already. This was a shame as one of the poets was Helen Mort, another Poet I am yet to meet and hear.

Last night I had a non-poetry belated birthday night outthink floyd
 with Mr G seeing a Pink Floyd tribute band.

 

TONIGHT I am taking part in the Poetry Brothel at the P Café, it is a SELL OUT.p cafe brothel
 There are 6 poets taking part – we applied earlier in the year, Poetry Brothels are big in Europe and despite my nerves I am looking forward to it. I will post in early November about tonight.

 

WORKSHOPS

Jo Bell

Jacqui Rowe

Angela France

Narinder Dhami – Talk

PERFORMANCES

Swindon Poetry Festival Performed at 52 Event

The Poetry Café Refreshed Headlined Cheltenham

Phenomenal Women – with Jan watts Book to the Future Festival

Poetry Brothel – Caged Arts P Café

NPD Light & Shade Commission – Performed with Suz Winspear

OPEN MICS

Stirchley Speaks

Mouth & Music

42

BOOK LAUNCH / EVENTS/ FESTIVALS

POETRY SWINDON FESTIVAL

Book Launch The Girl Who Grew Into A Crocodile Claire Walker – V Press Pamphlet, performed.

Birmingham Literature Festival

Book to the Future Festival

WWM assistant writer cover & Lead Writer for Senior Group, Worcester.

Stanza

INKSPILL – the 3rd FREE Online writing Retreat

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September Review

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SEPTEMBER 2015 Review – What a month! The end of the month marked 2 years a poet, I had a celebration last year and plan to organise a belated one for this year too. September itself was busy for everyone and October doesn’t seem any emptier. November and December tend to become quieter. I will see when it best fits and hope to manage it before the end of the year.

WEEK 1

I took a trip up to Shropshire to join in with John Hegley’s workshop in Ludlow, followed by the Poetry Lounge in the Sitting Room with headliners John Hegley and Ian McEwan.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/09/25/john-hegley-workshop-performance/

john hegley appletree

john hegley guillemot

Jean Atkin © 2015

Jean Atkin © 2015

My application for the Poetry Brothel on 31st October at the P Café was accepted by Caged Arts.

I entered the WLF NPD Competition on the theme of light (and shade).

I worked on the Caldmore Garden writing project and continued to edit and redraft my pamphlet poetry.

Rehearsals for NPD Light & Shade were organised and I worked on the poem for this event. I performed at Spoken Word at The Ort.

 

WEEK 2 light shade NPD

I finalised my NPD poem for Light & Shade performance event on NPD (8th Oct)

I performed at Mouth & Music and SpeakEasy, attended Stanza. https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/09/25/poetry-events-september-spoken-word-the-ort-mouth-music-speakeasy/

WWM PINK

I had had my first WWM Writing West Midlands group of the new academic year and now in the role of Lead Writer – it went really well and I was  very pleased. The Young Writers enjoyed it and my new Assistant Writer is amazing.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/09/26/writing-west-midlands/

I went to the Plenty Fish Book Launch – By Sarah James, Nine Arches Press and celebrated her success by listening to her guest poets – Fergus McGonigal, Mike Alma, Kathy Gee, Ian Glass, Holly Magill & Maggie Doyle and enjoying an evening of Poetry and Curry.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/09/26/plenty-fish-by-sarah-james-book-launch/

plentyfish books

I completed the week in Birmingham with Tessa Lowe at Poets with Passion.

WEEK 3

Started with Arts business meetings and Poetry on Loan training in Worcester, I was booked as a Guest Poet in Cheltenham in October, made the shortlist for WLF NPD Competition, the public were then allowed to vote on their favourite to join the other 3 finalists who are performing at the event on NPD.

I went to Poetry For Lunch – revival 2015 at the P café with Jan Watts and others, performed poetry and enjoyed iced coffee blends. Went to Hit the Ode with Myfanwy Fox to see Jackie Hagan, Toni Stuart and Leon Priestnall.

hit

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/09/26/more-poetry-events-september-poets-with-passion-pfl-and-hit-the-ode/

I went to Swingerella’s Wrecking Ball Tour at the Mockingbird Theatre and rehearsed for Caldmore Carnival event in the garden then spent Sunday working on Alice in Wonderland poetry for the AAOTP (Arts all Over the Place) fundraiser next week.

WEEK 4

Heather Wastie, Suz Winspear and I had our first rehearsal for NPD, I am now trying to learn the poems off by heart as we have choreographed a dramatic showing and I want to be able to use my body accordingly. We even sorted costume. Very exciting.

I went to Poetry Bites to watch Liz Berry and Jane Commane headline. I performed as one of the open mic-ers, also had a good catch up with Jonathan Davidson (WWM). I performed my Alice/ Lewis Carroll poems at the Madhatter’s Fundraiser for AAOTP, booked tickets for Swindon Poetry Festival and organised Guest Writers for INKSPILL – our online writing retreat which takes place the 3rd weekend in October. We had wonderful weather for the Carnival Day in Caldmore (postponed from the summer due to bad weather) the choral poem worked really well and we performed some of our workshop poetry too with David Calcutt – Poet in Residence 2014/15.

caldmore2

I finished off the month writing Vampire poetry for 42 – the 50th event of 42. It was pure celebration on the 30th and lots of incredibly talented performers and writers took to the stage.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/09/28/poeting-training-performing-september/

 

WORKSHOPS

John Hegley

 

OPEN MICS

Poetry Lounge in the Sitting Room, Ludlow, 1st September

Spoken Word at The Ort Café, Birmingham, 4th September

Mouth & Music, Kidderminster, 8th September

SpeakEasy, Worcester, 10th September

Poetry For Lunch, P Café Birmingham 17th

Poetry Bites, Birmingham 22nd

MADHATTER’S WONDERLAND OF LAUGHTER – Arts All Over the Place, Fundraiser, Birmingham 24th

Caldmore Carnival Open Day, Group Poem Performance, Walsall 26th

42, Worcester 30th September

 

BOOK LAUNCH / EVENTS

WWM Lead Writer for Senior Group, Worcester, 12th September

Book Launch, Plenty Fish by Sarah James Published by Nine Arches 12th

Poets With Passion at The Ort, Birmingham 13th September

Poetry On Loan Training, Worcester 14th September

Hit The Ode, Birmingham 17th

Swingerella Wrecking Ball Tour, Mockingbird Theatre, Birmingham, 18th

Caldmore Garden – Rehearsals for Carnival event, Walsall 19th

NPD Light & Shade rehearsals, 21st

Stanza

J. H © 2015

J. H © 2015

October has a busy start with Swindon Poetry Festival, Stirchley Speaks, National Poetry Day, Light & Shade NPD performance and a weekend Book Launch ‘The Girl who Grew into a Crocdile’ By Claire Walker.

I am busy organising our 3rd Online Retreat right here, INKSPILL… LOOK OUT FOR MORE DETAILS SOON!

August Does Not Flutter – It Whirls

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I love August – I think I told you last year, bound to love my birth month, the time when every LEO feels their inner Leo and connects to the warmth of the sun.

bday

I have never been one for the Horoscopes, although birth maps and star maps always seem to correlate closely to the human in question and as we were all made from stars, the path cannot be that far off.

August IS summer (despite the UK weather), it is FREEDOM (why I chose a career path with every summer off), it is SPIRIT, time to connect and reconnect…

I have become (temporarily I hope) one of those people who doesn’t socialise as much as I used to (denying it is an age thing right now)! My birthday will be time to reconnect with all those friends I hold in my heart and don’t often see.

Before that, August whirled in with a full diary and bountiful booty in the form of poetry to enrich my life!

  • I have: booked tickets for events in August and September.
  • finished work on a project which is now out there, cast in the submissions net.
  •  been asked to read at a book launch
  • asked to do a set at a gig in a Nature Centre – which sadly I am double booked for
  • I have planned my trip to London
  • to read at THE POETRY CAFE!
  • I have just come home from the first poetry event of the month for me at P Café, Stirchley Speaks.
  • I have a workshop booked with Claire Walker when I get back from London
  • then later the same day I am headlining at Howl along with Carl Sealeaf and Sophie Sparham
  • I have tickets to see Liz Berry perform – finally!kaf fest
  • A stanza meeting.
  • A reading at a Book Launch for Paper Swans in Oxford.
  • Poetry Launch for Margaret Thatcher’s Museum by Antony Owen.

    © 2014 Antony Owens

    © 2014 Antony Owens

  • Word Up with Not a Silent Poet
  • Poetry Walk with Roy Macfarlane at Croome Court
  • other possible open mic/ KAF festival events
  • workshop with Angela France in Stratford-Upon-Avon
  • Drummonds 42 – an altered states theme ^ which after all this writing activity I may well be in!
  • To celebrate the end of the month I am going to the Poetry Picnic organised by Apples and Snakes.

A happy summer 2011

September is already bustling in the diary stakes, with workshops, performances and book launches, not to mention (oh, go on then) my new role as Lead Writer for the Writing West Midlands Senior Writing Group, in addition I am booked for training on a new venture and to improve my media savvy skills (ready for next year’s Pangaea Slam – which I intend to complete), I have tickets for a friend’s post Edinburgh show and a wedding (not mine – yet)!

October is already brimming with Poetry Festivals and we will celebrate National Poetry Day, more book launches, performances, writing jobs and workshops are already lined up in the diary.

I look forward to this new season of events and will rest at Christmas!

Writing Projects

I am currently working on two large writing projects which I hope will come to fruition and I look forward to telling you more about them in the Spring. In the meantime, they have resulted in an idea for an article on Motivation and several practitioners I hope to contact and blog about – inspirational people that I consider myself blessed to know.

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Keep Writing x

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.

Review of August

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Can’t believe it is the end of August already! What a CRazY month it has been – especially when I consider last year (in my first year of writing before I had found my poetry feet) I practically took the whole month off! Although I think that had more to do with resigning from my job and enjoying the last summer off on full pay for a while!

August saw; a plethora of birthday celebrations, wedding outfit shopping, allotmenting, garden centre visits, new plants, harvesting vegetables, catching up with friends and family, as well as Arts/Music festivals, one off events, performances and Book Launches!

August is always busy because it is summer and I don’t work (or get paid) < before you get too jealous. This month I may not have gone on holiday but I did extend my birthday celebrations over several weeks and it wasn’t even a significant one! Who needs a holiday when the 6 weeks poeting took me all over the Midlands.

Zebra© 2014 Rangzeb Hussain

Blogs and Projects

52 continues – as it will all year – I am now planning a catch up though before I start back to work as I have missed some weeks.

Last month I wrote about Naked Lungs and a project/performance for Birmingham Literature Festival. I presumed they had picked other participants to collaborate as I hadn’t had an email. There was an email. It just didn’t get to me! Momentarily dancing around the lounge… My next exciting venture to work on, the performance is October 11th, a week after my brother’s wedding.

INKSPILL a free online writing retreat I run from this Blog at the end of October 25th/26th is in full swing (organisation), more on this soon – September will be full of tasters and teasers.

ONE YEAR A POET – I am also busy organising a celebration of my first year back in the world of poetry and it was also the point at which the 1st 9 months of a writing life bore fruition – in terms of work and being a writer. There are lots of poets/artists lined up and it should be a cracker!

BLOG The blog now has 781 follower just 3 people joined this month. The most popular post continues to be my articles about Short Story Writing

Title Views
Writing Short Stories – Tips on Planning and Structure More stats 438
Writing Short Stories – Tips on Narrative Structure & The Writing Process More stats 279

This may have to do with being linked on educational sites, or just they were dang good posts!

TTP

Submission

I worked on lots of writing this month, I regret not spending more time on my pamphlet submission, I lost confidence with it and shelved it, only to dust it off again on the deadline day – when by the time the writing was finished I was half an hour late leaving for an event, speed reading is not to  proofreading, needless to say I came home and found 3 mistakes!

I sent poetry to Bombay Gin, Paragram, Barrelhouse and a portion of a pamphlet to VPress.

Publishing

I worked with proof copies of GBWO and Restless Bones Poetry Anthology.

HCE Here Comes Everyone Published my poem ‘Falling into Line’, written especially for the Boy/Girl Issue of the magazine, it is available online and as a print copy.

 

Performing Poetry

speak mic

Performing Poetry – the links will take you to blogposts about the events.

All over the Midlands this month, I have (as always) missed some events – because I am human mainly, once I find my superhero self I shall fly out to all gigs… Mr G also booked a fortnight off work.

The month started amazingly with A Night with Maya Angelou – organised by Jordan Garvey and Shakti Women. I watched a video of my performance for the 1st time, it was a little uncomfortable.

Maya Angelou

Mouth and MusicWar & Peace A great evening hosted by Sarah Tamar, I was expecting the subject matter to weigh heavy – but the evening was as vibrant and uplifting as always.

War and Peace

PFL Poetry For Lunch – The Funny One with Andrea Smith

Birthday Stanza – a normal Stanza meeting where I took CAKE! Great to be back with the Stanza crowd, first meeting in 2 months, due to clashing dates and performances.

Stanza

Bridge the Gap – an intergenerational tea party on a canal boat – the brainchild of Aysha Begum(Beetfreaks). My first time on a moving canal boat and therefore also the first time I have performed on one!

Poetry on a Boat

Restless Bones Poetry Anthology – Book Launch – Restless Bones raises money for Born Free Foundation, protecting animals against the fur trade. The book launch was at Akamba an African Heritage Centre in Solihull, a fitting environment. It was a great night and it is a great book. Details on how to buy your copy, coming soon.

Book Launch

42 Drummonds – An open mic/ off theme night at 42. A small and select crowd, a great night of story, poetry and theatre.

Worcester Music Festival Humdrum Express – Ian Passey organised a menu of bands and supporting poets for a great night at The Swan and Two Nicks.

Worcester Music Festival Word & Sound – Amanda Bonnick and Jenny Hope organise Word & Sound nights and this one was hosted by Amanda as part of the music festival. It was a cracking night with some stellar performances. Crème de la crème!

(Links to follow)

 

Performances and Events

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I don’t always perform, sometimes I just enjoy the Arts and support friends and fellow poets.

Benches – Jan Watts Book Launch / Off the Page Event – starting on the canal and finishing in the Library of Birmingham.

Launch

I have since read and reviewed the book. This link is the blogpost and details on how to buy your own copy can be found here.

Review

SpeakEasy – a night of poetry hosted by Maggie Doyle.

SpeakEasy

Naked Lungs -They have booked me to perform next month so I thought I would go along and check it out. Glad I did, great night. Performers included Ian Bowkett and Ben Norris.

 

My writing life/ The Poet Within

August has been a funny month – action packed but also dippy in emotional stakes, belief in my writing, confidence drooping in my ability to perform, inner gremlins getting a look in. I suppose the more seriously I take myself the more this may happen or it could have been some of the subject matter covered by this month’s writing. Or the pressure I placed on myself to complete this month’s submissions and performances. It doesn’t look more than usual but considering I took about 10 days off completely, it is a LOT! August has produced many new poems and some still have slightly rough edges. My writing spirit is high!

 

 

RELATED LINKS:

August

Leave Time for Admin and Research

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Hopefully one day, you can add ‘marketing’ to the title listed.

The greatest lesson I have learnt since I relaunched into writing is that Admin and research take a lot of time and both are necessary. I have spent the past few days researching markets and scheduling writing through the diary around life and performing.

It has taken days… I tried an old trick I used to push myself with back in the days of a pile of office work. I worked out that in an hour I had (on average) covered about 5 websites, I basically tried to cover what I needed to find out in less than 20 mins a site, then less than 15, I couldn’t shave any time off this as I was also copying information into files on my computer.

I am only part way through my list and have, as yet, not actually worked on any new writing, which I am champing at the bit to do (eager).

I can now post a review of ‘A Night With Maya Angelou’ with links to Jordan’s review (organiser). I am also dropping in a post about ‘Off the Page’, Jan Watt’s official book launch, attended on Tuesday.

Go read, enjoy! jan benches