Tag Archives: commissions

One Week in October – Poetry Festivals, Events, Weddings and a Commission.

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Reviewing October weekly as my writing life is tightly scheduled this month. What an exciting first week it has been. I have really tried to cut down on the amount of events I go to as I need to TIE myself to my desk/ laptop and get writing this October.

 

Opening A Festival

The month started with a surprise phone call from Rachel Green, programme director – Arts All Over the Place – Poetry, Performance (and Everything Else) Festival. Long story, short I sent proposals in September, what I could offer the festival and a bio in just 50 words. A glitch meant that when I contact Rachel, weeks later, the programme had already been devised. She did offer a drama workshop that I could have facilitated, typically it was the one day I was booked for work. I had to turn the opportunity down. AAOTP_3

A few days later she called to ask if I could OPEN THE FESTIVAL – the OPENING EVENT! As with all good drama graduates we are taught to accept the job and worry about the fine print later. This is how I found myself on National Poetry Day dressed as the Poetry Princess and treating an audience to a one-woman show! Still grateful to be saved by the buffet. People enjoyed my crystal delivery and poetry and I was caught in conversation with several attendees about poetry throughout the course of the day. Of course I stuck around for Cathy Crossley and Jan Watts and their National Poetry Day workshop, which resulted in pages of notes for potential poetry.

Later I performed as part of Soulful Poetry event organised and hosted by former Birmingham Laureate, Rob McFarlane. It was great to talk to Roy after the event as well as hearing more of his poetry. He was extremely supportive of my poetry and performance.

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Birmingham Poet Laureate

After this I hot footed to the Library of Birmingham to support Jasmine Gardosi & Matt Man Windle with their bid to be the next Poet Laureate. I am glad I managed to catch all the performances.  birm poet laureate 2014 Adrian Blackledge became the new Birmingham Poet Laureate for 2014-2015 and my alliances and friendships with Matt and Jasmine remain intact. In his speech Adrian made a point – that more people write poetry than read poetry… and that maybe something needs to be done about it. I wanted to spend more time in the library but it had been a long day and I had to be up for work.

 

WEDDING

This weekend saw my younger brother getting married – the first wedding in our immediate family. A big occasion and a brilliant wedding that I think only Dave and Jenny could have pulled off. I read ‘I Love You’ by Roy Croft in their service, lots of tissues were needed. My brother and his wife, crying on each new line, my toughest and most intimate audience yet.

I was worried about coughing as well as crying, I am suffering a lingering chest infection. On my second lot of antibiotics and praying these work. It has been extremely challenging teaching, performing and watching events with this loud, hacking cough constantly interrupting!

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Birmingham Literature Festival

All photographs  Birmingham Literature Festival © 2014

On Sunday (fortunately hang over free) I went to see my relatives who had stayed with Mum and then went to Birmingham Literature Festival, I wanted to pack as much in as I knew my schedule wouldn’t allow another day there, until Saturday 11th, when I perform.

BLF With Great Pleasure

I went to see the recording of Radio 4 Poetry Please with Roger McGough, followed by With Great Pleasure, also recorded for BBC Radio 4. Rich McMahon was playing guitar and singing in the foyer BLF Rich McMahon before the evening show at the Rep Theatre of Tell Me on a Sunday, which was a storytelling event set up by Writing West Midlands and Cat Weatherill to share real life stories. Marking the end of 3 years on this project she had selected some of the top stories and tellers to perform and treated us a little to her own stories in between.

BLF Tell me on a sunday

In honesty after the wedding I should have spent the day asleep, I know I would have regretted not making the effort to go to the festival though. I also bumped into an old friend Nicola who I hadn’t seen for years. Funny last time she was working creative/ language jobs and I was teaching full time – now she teaches full time and I am getting creative with job roles.

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Writing

Monday and Tuesday were spent writing poetry for the Urban Nature Performance/ Commission – which takes place at The Library of Birmingham next Saturday as well as catching up on some neglected household chores, doctors appointments and going to work. NAKED_LUNGS_200x200px

Performing

I have a writing day today and another project to sink my wrists into – I also have a fair few events lined up;

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Thursday 9th Performing at Anniversary SpeakEasy, Friday attending and performing at the Mad Hatter’s Cosmic Chill Out for the end of Arts All Over the Place Festival, Saturday THE BIG DAY performing in the Birmingham Literature Festival, then having a performing break until next Tuesday. And that’s with reducing the performance schedule!

 

Review of September

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September was a truly magical month for me in my writing skin. I marked the one year point of becoming a poet (again) and also started to get lots of opportunities and offers that reflect (to me) the next level of my adventure.

So here is my review of September – chest infection aside, it has been the greatest month!

Blogs & Projects

I continue with 52, I wish I had more time to read the wonderful poetry that has grown from Jo Bell’s project and would like to be able to post some of my older poems for feedback, may have to take them to Stanza instead, with my poetry and work life keeping me busy I manage to get ahead and then find myself 2 or 3 prompts behind the rest.

Naked Lungs – My 1st commission – 3 other poets and myself are due to perform at Birmingham Lit Fest next month in a piece about Urban Nature which we are all writing for at this current moment in time. Very exciting and I can’t wait!

One Year a Poet – OYAP, some party I have been organising since August to bring together writing friends to perform and celebrate a year back on the circuit.

INKSPILL – I have had so much on this month that the writing retreat hit the back burner for a bit – it is worked on in my head and will come together for the final weekend in OCTOBER.AWF 2014 OCT Cal

Submission

I worked on very few submissions this month and at least I know the outcome of recent submissions.

I sent poetry to Barefiction & Poetry on Loan competition, I missed 3 other submissions due to a busy performance schedule and too little editing time.

Barefiction and Scottish Mental Health both sent rejections of encouragement and Sarah James won the Poetry on Loan competition.

There is a glint of light, which I hope to share with you all soon.

 

Performing Poetry

Events I performed at include;

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The Poetry Lounge in the Sitting Room – Ludlow, hosted by Jean Atkin and headlined by Angela France.

Staffordshire Arts Festival – Reams of Dreams at St. Chad’s, hosted by the then Poet Laureate, Tom Wyre and former Poet Laureate, Mal Dewwhirst. The Young Poet Laureate was announced and I took an incredibly emotional journey back to somewhere that was home 10 years ago.

Mouth & Music, Kidderminster, hosted by Heather Wastie & Sarah Tamar, headlined by Ben Norris

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SpeakEasy, Worcester Hosted by Fergus McGonigal – Worcester Poet Laureate, headlined by Peter Wyton and also appearing Brenda Read-Brown, who won the Worcester LitFest Slam and was awarded her trophy.

One Year a Poet – OYAP – A party of spoken word to celebrate one whole year back on the scene. A whole load of poetry and writer friends enjoyed free cake and words of each other and the amazing saxophone of Dutch Lewis, hosted by myself.

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Poetry For Lunch, The Library of Birmingham, hosted by Jan Watts, this month inside, in the mezzanine overlooking the foyer.

Spoken Word at The Ort, Birmingham, hosted by Debbie Aldous.

Poetry Bites, Birmingham, hosted by Jacqui Rowe, headlined by Charlie Jordan & Jan Smith.

Naked Lungs at Cherry Reds, Birmingham, hosted by Joe Whitehouse & Chris Baker, booked for a set. Very exciting evening. My fourth official booking to perform.

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Word Up, Birmingham, hosted by Ddotti Bluebell – a night of amazing poetry. Headlined by former Birmingham Laureate Stephen Morrison-Burke.

100,000 Poets for Change International Event: Carnival Records, Malvern, hosted by Clive Dee, an exciting afternoon of music and poetry in the perfect vinyl loving setting! A one off spectacular that I most pleased to have been invited to perform at.

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Sunday Xpress, Birmingham, hosted by Brendon, headlined by Ash Dickinson.

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Performances and Events

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Ben Norris at The MAC, Birmingham, in his one man show – Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Family.

Wolverley Village Tea Shop – Pop Up Poetry Event organised by Sue Wood and featuring Worcester Lit Fest poets and others. This was an open mic style event and I was invited to perform, I wish I had, especially when most people there asked me why I hadn’t read and said it was a shame, I was having a dippy day and was more than happy to sit in the sunshine and listen to poetry, whilst drinking real coffee.

Elvis McGonagall at The Hive, Worcester, an event organised by the Worcester Lit Fest, also featuring; Fergus McGonigal – Worcester’s Poet Laureate, Maggie Doyle – Worcester Poet Laureate Emeritus and Claire Walker, who came 2nd in this year’s Poet Laureate Competition.

Meetings and Projects

I  met with Joe and Chris a.k.a Naked Lungs and the other 3 poets they have chosen to work on the commissioned project of Urban Nature which is to be performed on Oct 11th at the Library of Birmingham at the Birmingham Literature Festival. We met in a coffee shop and then explored some hidden nature in a community garden in Digbeth. Digbeth Garden Hannah J Graham

I also managed to get to Stanza this month again, hosted by Ian Glass, a very packed group this month. stanza scrabble