Tag Archives: celebrations

ONE YEAR A POET – OYAP Celebrating Poetry and Life as a Poet


The 14th September marked 12 months since I ventured into the world of poetry – or more accurately, re-entered it after a 15 year break from writing, the performing came later – 2nd October marks that – last year it was Julie Boden’s event in Leamington – this year it will be performing poetry at Roy McFarlane Soulful Poetry night for Arts All Over the Place, ‘Poetry Performance and Everything Else Festival’. Both Roy and Julie are former Birmingham Poet Laureates.

I have been planning my event since the beginning of August and was excited that it was finally here. On the evening of the event the ‘quiet’ Sunday night Pub venue I had booked was rammed. There was a 2nd party booked and it was a loud staff party, I had been told they would be seated around the corner and later there were several groups of young drunk people in and all sorts happening out in the beer garden, which FORTUNATELY I was oblivious to.

I had been promised balloons and apparently the Helium balloon wasn’t working so before it even started I was in a manic spin of panic attacks and anxiety, which is a real shame because looking back on it – it was a cracking night, just in the wrong venue.

My Dad was with me when I performed at Julie Boden’s event in 2013, mum came to the Book Launch of Restless Bones so I thought as we were borrowing his PA system it seemed only fair. Plus I am proud of him, an amazing jazz musician and has worked with such poets as Jo Bell and Julie Boden. Everyone enjoyed dad’s playing Dad kATHY and I think the inspiration may have worked both ways as dad is joining us for the next SpeakEasy – which is the 1st anniversary one and will be a great event.

I invited people who have inspired me or supported me over the year. As I told them on the night I had expected rejection and success in writing and networking but I could never have predicted the friendships that have come from this year of poeting.

That was really what was central to the celebration, it wasn’t about me and my year at all.  My event was an invited open mic type of event, I didn’t force guests to perform but thought rightly, that they would want to perform. I kept introductions short as most people knew each other – although I was bringing my Worcestershire & Birmingham scenes together.

Dad played a couple of numbers on his saxophone after the interval and in the interval – we ate cake – cupcakes cakes Andrea which I had spent some time in the morning making with Claire Walker and her daughters. Claire also made another Stanza cake for us to enjoy – there was no cake to bring home!

I still have photographs to upload, which I will add to the names of performers when I can.

Here is a night of music, poetry, stories and celebration.


OYAP2a I opened the night with 2 short poems, one about the place I have come from (just a few short years away – 2012) how writing has helped me heal and the 2nd poem, where I am now, living a life that makes sense. Andrea

me3 andr Then Andrea Smith kicked the party off with hilarious poetry that my dad loved! *Pic. to follow*

Geoff Cox, who tells me he writes a poem about once a year asked to perform one short piece, I am touched he wanted to do it at my party. Impressed. *

Jan Watts performed a great set, made us laugh and jangle our bangles – how I tried to get a photo of that, needed a sport timer. She even did a request. *

Kevin Brooke performed his poetry for us, which I was delighted by, he is also a talented short story writer and recently had a book launch for his latest book. (Link to follow)*

Claire Walker performed some poems I requested and shared others too as well as showing us all she should be on the next GBBO (Great British Bake Off)*

Heather Wastie closed the first half with a collection of poems. I had planned to have another interval later and divide the night into 3 parts. At this point we were running to schedule, but this was to be the last time in the evening we would manage that.

My dad, Dutch Lewis played after the interval of cake, cup cakes and chatting. dAD2

Tessa Lowe opened the second half of the night and was sporting a crown from the Digbeth Olmpics she had attended earlier. My own floral head piece was bought because Holly Magill suggested I wore a tiara for the night. TESSA

Antony Owen took to the mic after that and shared poetry – he is well known as a war poet, he performed other poems from his collection. antony

Mike Mike Alma performed his great poetry next and then Tim Scarborough and I took to the floor for ‘Rainwatch’ the first poem we collaborated on. It went down well, not everyone had heard us do it before. Kathy rainwatch

Andrew Owens treated us to a short story (I am reading his collection at the moment) and from one host to another praised what I was doing – which was sweet because I was all over the place emotionally.  andrew

Maggie Doyle performed great poetry including a poem she wrote especially for me, she gave me a copy after the party. It was a lovely gesture. Kathy Maggie

Tim Scarborough treated us all to a set of his own. I have missed seeing him perform these last couple of months. Kathy Tim

Suz Winspear entertained us with some of my favourite poetry of hers and got to use my dad’s music stand, giving her faithful stand a rare night off! *

Dave Barber shared his poetry and made sure that other poets could come from Birmingham. *

Kathy Gee was next up to the microphone and treated us to some of her poetry. *

Najma Hush performed just one poem, I am grateful she came and performed. *

Io, Cass Osborn performedKathy IO for us all.

Kathy IO 2


Tim and I closed the show with our moustache poem. me3 andr

me adjectives kathyDad Andrea

Me and Dad andrea A great celebration – thanks everyone!


Thank you to everybody who came and shared their words and to those who came and celebrated, Elaine Christie, Michelle Crosbie & James Walpole, it was a great night!

Andrea andrew antony CAKeMAN cakes Andrea Dad Andrea Dad kATHY dAD2 Dutch andrea Kathy IO 2 Kathy IO Kathy Maggie Kathy rainwatch Kathy Tim me adjectives kathy Me and Dad andrea me andrea me2 andrea me3 andr Mike TESSA


Where I Am At – 21 Months in…


I love the fact that even when I am not writing, I am reading about writing. This summer I have also looked for art opportunities for paid work – the whole idea of teaching irregularly was to bolster on arty days too, last year it was a big leap of faith and I decided that over complicating it would send me crazy, budgeting for the year, I realised I could get by on just supply teaching – although the long holidays and short ones in between have seen me dip into the savings… that’s what they were there for. The leap may have taken a nano-second but it wasn’t impulsive, I have saved wages to bolster this new artistic/creative life of mine and I know – potentially – when I am strong enough I can equal my salary, not through writing alone as I am sure you understand, but having fingers in all the pies – which has always been my style. At 15 my careers advisor advised that I give up half of my hobbies! I have never uttered the words ‘I am bored’ but I am prone to an occasional day of collapse, like yesterday.

Each year of this 16 year plan I am sending my self an email from my future self, stating current position and outlook, hopes and upcoming opportunities and a fantasy projection into the next year. I know I have already surpassed my expectations for 2014 (name on bills, booked for slots, paid performance work, involvement in Literature/Arts festivals) but unfortunately my Outlook inbox froze and somehow the future self email got deleted. I checked the deleted file, nothing – I searched for it – it had gone – POOF! Disappeared…. maybe there was something that I wasn’t supposed to read. But just in case I might copy the email somewhere else this year as back up!

Excitedly in 6 days time I am hosting my first event, a poetry party (with a sprinkle of short stories too). I decided that I wanted to mark One Year in my poetry skin with a celebration. I have invited people who have been a great influence, support, become poetry friends, all of them incredibly talented and all of them willing to perform in an open mic poetry party.

Last year on the 14th September I attended my 2nd network event (Writing West Midlands) drove for hours to the border of Wales to attend as I very much wanted to hear the speakers; SIMON THIRSK & IAN BILLINGS.

Here’s a link to my original post about this turning point day in which I speak to people, get a writing job, attend a book launch, meet lots of lovely poets who I now consider friends.  A whole day with poets – 12 hours and 140 miles….

Turning Point

Book Launch

This was the day I decided to be a poet, to rekindle my love with the pen. After spending the first 9 months of 2013 revising and learning the craft of writing & submitting short stories and the occasional poem. The actual date of my first open mic was 2nd October, this clashes with several festivals including Birmingham Literature Festival and a Mental Health Arts Festival, so I decided the pinnacle turning point should be celebrated instead!


BL RH me 2

My Birthday Week, Poetry Events and Special Times


The Birthday week started – the birthday week is when normal social occasions get preceded by ‘birthday’ regardless of whether they have anything to do with my birthday at all.



I LOVE birthdays – but this year I have decided I don’t want to grow any older. That’s the downside.


The week started with a day of writing, research and relaxation, long overdue and most necessary as there is barely a blank diary day now until October. We went for a meal on Monday – which was nothing to do with my birthday – but happened close enough to the celebration week to be included.

I caught up with friends on Tuesday afternoon and also went to Mouth and Music, which was an amazing night (own post to come later), yesterday I had a busy day and just enough hours to finish a special poem for my brother on his birthday – we celebrated with a family meal last night – his birthday, not mine. A great night out! We started early and were all home before 9pm as my nephews have gone off on holiday today, but I was exhausted. Happy and exhausted. Had an earlyish night and slept through. This is brilliant – Tuesday night I only managed 3 hours and Wednesday was a tough one to get through on that little sleep.

Today I would have loved a lie in but needed to get to the doctor’s. Mr G and I have less than a fortnight to sort out the allotment and we went up last week to hack back (the bit we managed will probably already be all overgrown already again)! I noticed on Friday marks on my calf and shin, they were bright red and fairly painful, I just presumed it was nettles or caught on a thorn. Not wanting to waste Doctor’s time – I let my body self heal – which it is doing – but I don’t need scars on my legs or further infection and after seeing family last night I was persuaded to take the matter more seriously. I have some cream.

Today I went to Birmingham where I performed at PFL – I cant remember the last Poetry for Lunch I managed to get to, it was the Stanza group one in June I think.

Andrea booked me a few weeks ago for a special comedy themed one. It was funny.

poetry for lunch

I was able to meet fellow 52er Rueben Woolley too.

Tonight I went to SpeakEasy, I enjoyed the entertainment and definitely count it as my 2nd Birthday outing – the 1st being Birmingham earlier and PFL, well we did all go for a drink afterwards. inkspill coffee Ben Parker headlined SpeakEasy, an Oxfordshire poet originally from Worcester, a passionate page poet, we all enjoyed his refreshing set.

I spent the afternoon in between gigs attempting to write some poetry for submission. Nothing hit me earlier, but I did manage to grab a title and write a poem about another subject entirely – all was not lost.

I am going to attempt to get some poetry down before bed after my long and pleasant day poeting!

Tomorrow I am meeting up with friends who can’t make my weekend celebrations and also need to buy (or bake) a cake for Stanza tomorrow night. 1 bday