Tag Archives: David Calcutt

INKSPILL Guest Writer Interview David Calcutt Part 2

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Earlier on we brought you the first GUEST WRITER interview from David Calcutt.

Here is part 2

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GUEST

David Calcutt – Playwright

The thing to remember when writing a play is that no matter how much you work at the writing of it, no matter how many drafts you might go through, the finished script is not the finished piece of work. A play is only truly complete when it’s performed with an audience present. That’s when whatever life it has comes into being. The writer of a play should bear this in mind throughout the whole process of composition. And it’s not only that they’re writing for an audience. They’re writing too for the actors who have the responsibility of portraying the characters the writer has created and of enacting their story onstage. It’s an awareness of this that will help with all those practical aspects of playwriting, such as how to bring characters on and offstage, when to change from one scene to the next, how to make dialogue sound if it’s really being spoken by the characters and so on. And, very importantly, how to keep an audience entertained, gripped, enthralled throughout the entire performance. One of the best ways to bear all this in mind, of course, is to write for a particular group of actors and for a particular space so that you can constantly test if what you’re writing is working are not. I’ve been lucky enough to have done a lot of work in the past with youth and community theatre groups so I’ve been able to develop and hone my playwriting skills through writing in the very practical way. But if you don’t have that opportunity, then it helps to create that theatre space and those actors in your head and write with those in mind. And to keep stopping to read the dialogue out loud, playing all the characters yourself. Finally, it’s important to keep in my mind that the story you are telling in the play is a story for which the audience is taking place in the present. They are watching the story happen as if for real before their eyes, being involved in a moment by moment unfolding of events, and that there are forces driving these events on towards their conclusion. So, when writing the play, every single word spoken, every action and movement, must feel fresh and true and instantaneous. Nothing can be wasted.

My most recently completed work for theatre, by which I mean a piece that’s actually being performed, is a one-man play called “The Life and Times of the Tat Man”. It was originally a piece commissioned by my local museum as a way of bringing attention to some of its artefacts, and was scheduled for six performances only, in the museum itself. I came up with the idea of having a scrap merchant, a tat-man, tell stories about some of those artefacts as if they were pieces of scrap he’d collected. But during the writing process I struck through to a much deeper vein. The Tat Man himself, originally intended to be simply a storyteller, became more complex, a character in his own right who had his own story to tell too, and this became bound up with the objects he was telling stories about. This was in part practical, because I felt that, in order to hold an audience for ninety minutes, the piece needed to be more than a simple storytelling piece, it needed to have all those dramatic elements to it that I’ve just been talking about. The Tat Man needed to be a living, dramatic presence himself, so that the audience began to realise, as the play progressed, that there was some secret, inner life to the character that was slowly being revealed, and that they were witness too. But also, during the writing, there came a moment when the character himself suddenly came to life, and I began to hear his voice, and to gain access to that inner life of his. The writing then became an act of discovery, and the more I discovered the deeper became the character and the deeper the levels on which the play seemed to be working.

The challenge of writing a one man play is that you do only have that one character, and therefore the only other people they can talk to are the audience. But this is also one of its strengths. The fact that the character onstage is talking directly to them means that they can’t help but be involved. Also, for the character, the people in the audience are characters too, characters in their own story, so the audience, instead of watching passively are actively taking part in the play, they are part of the story’s dramatic unfolding. All this can make for a gripping and intense performance. As long writer, the actor and director are all working together to ensure that happens. In every performance.

From its original six performances in the museum, “The Life and Times of the Tat Man” has gone on to tour more than thirty more performances over the past eighteen months and shows no sign of stopping yet. We’re already receiving bookings that will take the show into autumn next year.

Other things that I’m working on now: I have a novel I’m trying to get published, a new play we’re looking to find money to produce and tour, and a very new piece of work that I’m not quite sure what to call yet. It has elements of prose, poetry and drama, and the closest thing to autobiography I’ve tried tackling yet. I have no idea how it will turn out. I’ll just have to wait and see.

What excites me in theatre today is what I think has always excited people – theatre that is both visceral and poetic, that is both an emotional and physical experience. Theatre that doesn’t try to hide anything behind elaborate sets or lighting or costumes, but is nothing more nor less than that simple and profound act of human beings in an open space telling their stories to fellow human beings, in a language with artifice or pretence. It’s very rare that you come across it, but is a precious jewel when you do.


Huge thanks to David for the exclusive INKSPILL interview.

honeyman Based on an interview by Nina Lewis

Visit the INKSPILL shop to buy David Calcutt’s books.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/10/24/inkspill-shop/ CC bookshop-window Garry Knight

INKSPILL Guest Writer Interview David Calcutt

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GUEST Part 1

1) How did you become a writer?

I suppose you could say I started writing with a view to being published when I was in my late teens. This was when I began to think seriously about the possibility of someday making my living as a writer. I’d discovered at school that I had a talent for it, had written poems and stories for the school magazine, written short sketches to perform with my friends. And when But it was when I was at college, helped by the encouragement I received from some of the lecturers there – two in particular I can think of – that I really began to work at writing, and to think about publishing it. But that didn’t start to happen until I was in my early twenties, and for a few years then it was mostly poetry that I was writing and publishing. It was having two poems broadcast on Radio 3, on a programme called “Poetry Now” that was produced by the poet George MacBeth, that in a roundabout way turned me towards playwriting.

I found I liked the medium of radio and began to think of other ways I could have work broadcast, and one of those ways, of course, was to write plays for radio. So I started doing that. It was some years before I wrote one good enough to be broadcast. There was a lot of learning to do, trial and error, listening to radio play, thinking about the medium and the form and what was required to make them work.

2) You are a successful writer and playwright. What are the challenges distinct to each medium for you and what are the strongest similarities?

This is what’s true about all forms of writing. They all have their own particular challenges, strengths and limitations. You need to learn what those are, work to their strengths, try and make the limitations into strengths too. And, once you have a hold of the form, practice manipulating it, shape it to your own particular voice, so that you’re speaking through the form, and it feels natural to you. There are areas of crossover between the forms of course. What it was that attracted me to playwriting – first for radio, then a little later on for theatre as well – was that of all the forms I’d worked in – poetry, mainly, and some short fiction – it seemed the most fluid and adaptable, seemed, and still seems, to contain within it and to embrace the most important elements of poetry and narrative. Theatre especially has the same kind of tight restraints that poetry has that force you into a compactness of language and structure that combined with its narrative drive, it it’s done well, creates for a real forward thrust of energy. And what live theatre has that the other forms don’t have is that it takes place with and for and audience, who bring their own energy to the piece. So, while I do get a lot out of writing poetry and prose fiction, it’s writing for theatre that gives me the sense of being most deeply involved in the actual act of writing itself.

3) What’s the first hook that gets a new play started for you? Is it an image, a theme, a character?

I suppose it’s the search for that initial spark of energy in writing a play that gets me started. Trying to find that piece of action that will get the whole thing started. And a play does for the most part start with action. At least one character has to come onstage before they can speak, and they have to come onstage for a reason, have a real need to be there, a real need to say or do whatever it is they say or do first. It usually takes me a long time to get at those first few moments and I find the play can’t really take off until I’ve found them. Once I’ve done that – or once they’ve found me – then I try to imagine the whole theatre space, create it as real, and watch the characters as they enter the space and start to move and speak, listen to what it is they have to say, while at the same time being in control of the plot and the action, the story I want to tell. Those two modes of imagining are more often than not in conflict at the beginning, but once they come together, and the story I’m trying to tell is in harmony with the real, inner lives of the characters, and what they say do and do is both what is natural to them and what I want them to say and do, then I know that the play is really working.

Part 2 COMING SOON – Check in after the Character Workshop

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4)

Huge thanks to David for giving us an exclusive interview for INKSPILL.

honeyman Interview by Nina Lewis

FIND PART 2 HERE https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/10/24/inkspill-guest-writer-interview-david-calcutt-part-2/

INKSPILL SHOP

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David Calcutt caldmore david-portrait-1

Plays: https://global.oup.com/education/content/children/authors/david-calcutt/?region=uk

An engaging adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s classic novel

Author Thomas Hardy and Adapter David Calcutt

Suitable for:  Teachers of English and Drama of students aged 11-14

Price:  £10.50

ISBN: 978-0-19-837544-9
Publication date: 25/01/2016 (estimated)
Paperback: 144 pages
Dimensions: 216x170mm

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Robin Hood: http://store.barefootbooks.com/uk/robin-hood.html

This lavishly illustrated picture book makes a wonderful gift title to complement Arthur of Albion and The Arabian Nights, and features nine tales including: ‘Robin Becomes an Outlaw’, ‘Robin Meets Little John’, ‘Robin and the Widow’, and ‘Robin’s Last Battle’.

Retold By: David Calcutt

Illustrated By: Grahame Baker-Smith

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Fairacre Press: http://web236.extendcp.co.uk/fairacrepress.co.uk/tag/david-calcutt/

Road Kill, by Nadia Kingsley and David Calcutt, is a journey into the secret lives of our native animals. It starts in town, travels through suburbia, onto country roads, and then into the woods – where fact and myth mingle.
36 pp + 4 pp
paperback
245mm height, 170 mm width
3mm squareback spine
Full colour cover
First published December 2012
£4.00   (includes post and packing)
ISBN  978 0 9568275 1 7
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The Life and Times of the Tat Man: https://www.treepress.org/scripts/the-life-and-times-of-the-tat-man-dad1259a-777e-4390-8e98-5913bc8f7802

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Tony Barrett asThe Tat Man (photo by Stuart Williams).

Tony Barrett asThe Tat Man (photo by Stuart Williams).

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Alison May alison may author

Her romantic comedies, Sweet Nothing, http://bookgoodies.com/a/1781892415

Would you risk everything for love?

Independent, straight-talking Trix Allen wouldn’t. She’s been in love once before and ended up with nothing. Now safely single, Trix is as far away from the saccharine-sweet world of hearts and flowers as it’s possible to be.

Alison May Sweet Nothing

Midsummer Dreams http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00XJOEJTM

Four people. Four messy lives. One night that changes everything …
A modern retelling of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Alison May midsummer dreams

and the Christmas Kisses series http://bookgoodies.com/a/B011M9DZE0 published by Choc Lit.

Alison M Christmas

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You can find out more about Alison at www.alison-may.co.uk, on facebook at www.facebook.com/AlisonMayAuthor, or by following her on Twitter @MsAlisonMay

CC bookshop-window Garry Knight

Daniel Sluman

Sonia Hendy-Isaac © 2014

Sonia Hendy-Isaac
© 2014

http://www.ninearchespress.com/publications/poetry-collections/absence-has-a-weight-of-its-own.html

© 2014 Nine Arches

“Daniel Sluman has looked mortality square in the eye and given it shape. These poems are crafted with a striking maturity, each with a heartbeat and blood in its veins. If poetry has a purpose, then this is it.” Helen Ivory

“Daniel Sluman’s debut collection crackles with energy; his language is physical, fast-paced, passionate, fearless. A real discovery by Nine Arches Press.” Penelope Shuttle

Daniel tweets here

INKSPILL Day 1 Meet Our Guest Writers

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INKSPILL 2015

Meet our Guest Writers for 2015, who have generously given their time for free to give us insights into their writing lives.

GUEST David Calcutt

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David Calcutt is a playwright, poet and novelist. He has written many plays for the professional stage, community and youth theatre, as well as original plays and adaptations for BBC Radios 3 and 4. Several of his plays for young people are published by Oxford University Press, including “The Terrible Fate of Humpty Dumpty”, “Lady Macbeth”, “Beowulf” and “Dracula”.

He also has three novel for young people published by Oxford University Press, and one by Barefoot Books, “Robin Hood”. His poetry appears widely in both print and online magazine, and he has published three pamphlets of poetry: “Outlaws” by Iron Press, and “Road Kill” and “Through the Woods” by Fairacre Press.

David has worked as a resident writer in care homes, St. Giles Hospice and a community garden and has also both written and directed several large-scale community plays. His most recent work for theatre is the one-man play, “The Life and Times of the Tat Man” which is currently still on tour with Regional Voice Theatre.

GUEST Alison May

alison may author

Alison is a novelist, short story writer, blogger who grew up in North Yorkshire, and now lives in Worcester. She worked as a waitress, a shop assistant, a learning adviser, an advice centre manager, a freelance trainer, and now a maker-upper of stories, and novel-writing tutor.

She won the Romantic Novelists Association’s Elizabeth Goudge trophy in 2012, and her short stories have been published by Harlequin, Choc Lit and Black Pear Press.

 

GUEST Daniel Sluman

Sonia Hendy-Isaac © 2014

Sonia Hendy-Isaac
© 2014

Daniel Sluman is a poet who was born in Oxford, in 1986. He started writing poetry when he embarked on a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing in 2008. Since then he has been published widely in UK based print journals and e-zines. His poems have appeared widely in journals such as Cadaverine, Popshot, Shit Creek Review, and Under the Radar.

He received an MA in Creative & Critical Writing from the University of Gloucestershire in 2012 and his debut full-length collection, Absence has a weight of its own, was published in 2012. His second collection, ‘the terrible’, will be published Autumn/Winter 2015, also with Nine Arches Press.

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BOOKS BY ALL OUR GUEST WRITERS ARE AVAILABLE IN THE INKSPILL SHOP – OPENING SOON

INKSPILL Programme 2015

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INKSPILL 2015 Programme

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Having given yourself the gift of a writing weekend, I am sure you are eager to see how it pans out. Timings are given in GMT, posts will remain active beyond the weekend and can be commented on at any time.

We dream of conversations between participants on threads, do make the virtual seem real and join in actively throughout the weekend.

  • Participants without WordPress accounts can sign in as a ‘Guests’.

Throughout the weekend if you prefer, you can email directly to:

awritersfountain[at]hotmail[dot]com or join the closed Facebook Group

https://www.facebook.com/groups/194707454197891/

If you want to share work that you are considering submitting you can share it on the closed Facebook page and it won’t be considered published. Let us know you have done that with a link back in the comments box, so we can find and read your work.

Please appreciate that I may not have time for individual responses over the weekend.

INKSPILL 2015

SOCIAL MEDIA – Share links throughout the weekend across social media.


INKSPILL – The Programme 2015

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SATURDAY 24th

DAY 1 inkspill pink

9:00 Coffee and a writing challenge

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10:00 WORKSHOP: Exploring Self

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11:30 Introducing Our Guest Writers Alison May, David Calcutt and Daniel Sluman.

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11:45 VIDEO & DISCUSSION

Inspirational writing video By Rae Dover

Discussion on writing on the hop and how to deal with rejection.

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12:30 LUNCH – after lunch we start back with a short excerpt from an Amy Tan interview (2008), you may be interested in watching the full interview (1hr 23 mins) if so, maybe view it with your lunch.

13:45 INTERVIEW short video an interview by Roger Rosenblatt with Amy Tan (2008)

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14:30 GUEST WRITER Interview with David Calcutt

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15:00 WORKSHOP: CHARACTER

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16:40 GUEST WRITER Interview with David Calcutt Part 2

17:40 GUEST WRITER Interview with Alison May

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18:00 Free time to spend on your own writing from this retreat or projects you are currently working on.

19:30 Poetry Film ‘The Beach’

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Followed by another

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21:00 Night Write challenge

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And for those of you who do not wish to sleep, links will be shared from the 2013 INKSPILL retreat to keep you busy!


SUNDAY 25th

DAY 2 inkspill pink

9:30 Coffee and a short film.

10:00 Beautiful Ugly Writing Challenge

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11:30 GUEST POET Daniel Sluman Interview

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11:50 Free time to spend on your own writing from this retreat or projects you are currently working on.

12:00 Lunch – As it is Sunday, take a break.


13:30 How not to Waste Time – Article & discussion

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14:00 WORKSHOP Weather and Folklore

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16:00 REFUGEES – An exploration of poetry, writing and person.

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17:30 Explore the Archives, including Guest Posts from 2014

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20:00 Evaluation & Ending – this will include a quick and easy click poll (rather than a 2 sided sheet of A4 evaluation), please take a few moments to leave your mark. Thank you.

A BIG Thank YOU post

20:30

CC Nick Papakyriazis The INKSPILL posts will remain active – the LIVE element is over. There will be no more INKSPILL related posts until next 2016.

Thanks for coming!

*Over the following week this programme will have active links embedded and be posted to the top of the blog roll to help you navigate to specific parts of the INKSPILL programme.

If after that, you wish to find retreat posts use the keyword INKSPILL in Categories at the bottom of the page OR click 24th or 25th on the OCTOBER calendar to the right of the screen.


INKSPILL PROGRAMME 2015 inkspill pink

AT A GLANCE

SAT 24th Oct SUN 25th Oct
Writing Challenges

In Nature

Night Write

Writing Challenges

Beautiful Ugly

Refugees

Meeting Guest Writers FREE TIME TO WRITE
Workshops

Exploring Self

Character

Workshop

Weather & Folklore

Video & Discussion

On writing & rejection

Poetry Films & Shorts

ARTICLES

How Not To Waste Time

INKSPILL SHOP OPENS INKSPILL SHOP
INTERVIEWS

With Amy Tan (2008)

David Calcutt Guest Writer

Alison May Guest Writer

INTERVIEW

Daniel Sluman Guest Poet

ARTICLES Archived

INKSPILL 2013

Historical Research

Writing Historical Fiction

How to Write a Short story

The WHY Technique

Archive INKSPILL 2013 

ARTICLES Archived

GUEST WRITERS POSTS

INKSPILL 2014

WILLIAM GALLAGHER

How To Get Rejected

Making Time To Write

Writing Doctor Who

What You Get From Writing

ARTICLES

Archived Links

INKSPILL 2014

Stephen King On Writing

HEATHER WASTIE

On Her Writing Journey

Editing A Poem

Histrionic water

Spaghetti hoops

INKSPILL 2014

William Gallagher Guest

Writing Motivation

You vs Yourself

CHARLIE JORDAN

Thoughts on Writing & Editing Part 1

Thoughts On Writing & Editing Part 2

INKSPILL – 2015 Guest Writers Revealed

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Later today the INKSPILL programme will be revealed, giving participants chance to see what is on offer and of interest to them over the this weekend (24/25th October).

There will be more information released on our Guests and their books, links will be available for you to explore and buy tomorrow.

GUEST

David Calcutt

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Alison May

Daniel Sluman

Sonia Hendy-Isaac © 2014

Sonia Hendy-Isaac
© 2014

THE AWF BOOKSHOP is NOW OPEN CC bookshop-window Garry Knight

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/10/24/inkspill-shop/

Poeting, Training & Performing – September

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I am currently working against end of month deadlines for a few projects as well as working the proper job to make up for lack of summer funds. I am really too busy to be blogging and in three days time will be reviewing September anyway… but I also believe my poeting needs a mention, after all that is why this blog was created and some of you are following the journey.

 

Business Meetings, Plans & Poetry On Loan Training

This month I have taken on board training – which is something I haven’t done for a while. I had a great business meeting, which was a spin off from the laureateship competition exposure and this guided me through the end of year ideals well. Including some possible job applications, which have now been openly shared across social media increasing my known competition, which is terrifying but hasn’t put me off going for it anyway. This meeting helped me come home and set some clear goals for myself rather than just wavering between writing the manuscript, performing poems and getting involved in projects (like Caldmore Gardens with David Calcutt’s residency, NPD with Heather Wastie, organising the next INKSPILL – AWF’s very own FREE online writing retreat, supporting and promoting Arts All Over the Place Festival in support of Mental Health).

I did ‘Poetry on Loan’ training with Brenda Read-Brown and Jon Seagrave (Jonny Fluffypunk). It was a great session with librarians and poets sharing experiences and evaluating from our roles. I hope one day soon I will be able to provide the service of Poet on Loan. Ready now. Sadly I missed this year’s competition, remembering the deadline as the end of the month rather than the beginning!

 

Rehearsals

I have been rehearsing for Caldmore Carnival (26th)

Janet Jenkins © 2015

and NPD Light & Shade (on National Poetry Day – 8th October). Caldmore was brilliant, a group from the Calcutt/Caldmore workshops sent poems which David then edited into a   CHORAL poem to be performed by Andy Summers, Jimm Rennie, Janet Jenkins and myself, unfortunately after making the rehearsal Jimmie wasn’t well enough to perform this past Saturday and David took his place.

LIGHT and shade 

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Suz Winspear and I met with Heather Wastie for our first ‘Light and Shade’ rehearsal and ideas flowed extremely well. The whole spectacle is now blocked and there will just need to be a few run throughs before the night. We have sorted costume and now all we have to do is get to know the final performance draft of our poems, practise and enjoy! It is a great collaboration to be part of.

 

Caldmore Carnival – Choral Poetry Performance

It was a pleasure to see the garden caldmore being used in full summer (September) glory and I am glad we performed before they had all the talented dance and music groups on, the talent of local young people.

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Carnival Photography Nina Lewis © 2015

We had a great weather day too!

 

Swingerella – Wrecking Ball Tour – Birmingham

I really feel this show deserves a blog post of its own. I may have to do a feature of some sort as Andrea Smith/Shorrick is taking the world by storm as Swingerella and her show was amazingly powerful with messages that need to be exposed. I booked my tickets to see her show at the Mockingbird Theatre, Custard Factory, pre-Edinburgh – Swing did the fringe and went down a storm there and then came back to perform a swansong on home soil.

When I have some more time next month, I will blog about her fabulous journey and the show, which has reached the end of its run. She may even give us a sneak preview of her next venture.

Jimmy Riddle © 2015

Jimmy Riddle © 2015

 

Poetry Bites with Jacqui Rowe, Featuring Liz Berry & Jane Commane

It was a pleasure to be at this event, not only to watch the headliners Liz Berry and Jane Commane but also for so many reasons.

It has been ages since I have been able to get to Poetry Bites, there were so many poets I hadn’t seen for a while who also managed to attend and it was great catching up. I got to sit and chat with Jonathan Davidson and Jane Commane AND some poetry friends from elsewhere came to check it out and perform. I think I may have converted several new fans.

It was fantastic to hear Jane Commane’s poetry. She is a well established editor (Nine Arches Press) and so often my involvement with Jane (since 2013) has been when she is wearing her editing shoes. To hear her poetry was a delight.

Liz Berry, well like John Hegley, she is back in my world again, so soon. The upside of this is I remembered to take my book to be signed and as it hasn’t been that long since her KAF appearance, she remembered our conversation about the book.

Poetry Bites is un-mic-ed (without a mic) and Liz is softly spoken. It was a magical combination listening really hard and hanging onto the edge of the last sounds in words.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/09/23/kaf-liz-berry-and-blair-dunlop-13th-august/

 

In Other Poeting News

I was asked to guest poet next month at an event in Cheltenham and started working on some new submissions.

Last month I was booked for the next AAOTP Arts All Over the Place Fundraiser and spent a morning writing poetry about Alice in Wonderland and Lewis Carroll. Due to unforeseen circumstances I wasn’t able to attend this event until it was nearly over, I did manage to perform and the poems went down well and are also be suitable for the Festival display.

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I booked tickets for Swindon Poetry Festival and am delighted to be one of ten readers at;

Lunch with a celebration of ’52’ group and Anthology Fri 12:30 – 2 2/10/15 – Lower Shaw Farm: Come along and enjoy lunch at Lower Shaw Farm, after which we will have readings from the 52 group brought together last year by Jo Bell. This will be a celebration of this wonderful project. There will be readings from the book and from 52ers present.

Lunch with a celebration of ’52’ group and Anthology is happening this Friday 2nd October. So I am now rehearsing National Poetry Day Poetry, a headline set and poetry for 52, hard because we will be reading poems on behalf

Hilary Robinson © 2015

Hilary Robinson © 2015 52 Flash Bomb Poetry outside Shakespeare’s Birthplace 2014

of people who cannot be there and we all read poetry differently. Fortunately I have just found communication about organising the reading of other people’s poetry. Some of my original selection have already been chosen. We are reading one poem each from the anthology

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and one of our own from the 52 Project. I can’t wait – particularly excited as I missed the Stratford meet earlier this summer.

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Quite unbelievably it is the 50th 42 event this week – looking forward to a celebration and performance this Wednesday. Writing poetry for it over the next 48 hours, poetry that I am hoping will also work for a submission this month.

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I have lots of great things to look forward to next month and then I think I will rest back a bit more and see the end of the year off behind a desk (that, I would like to believe… we will see)!

 

 

Poetry Wrap 5 (A Brief Introduction on Exhaustion)

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A Brief Introduction on Exhaustion

June has started as busy as expected, both in terms of work and poetry. As I don’t work/earn over the summer I have to take on some extra work before the end of term – thus slipping the writing/working balance out of favour.

What I am trying to do, let me correct myself, what I was trying to do was maintain the writing schedule despite lacking ‘free’ time. For the past two days I have worked (yesterday was a 16 hour day) and then had a 2 hour sleep (starting with a few poems from Philip Larkin) when I have come home. Tonight this sadly means I am missing Mouth & Music as I feel my eyes are permanently glazed and driving would not be advisable. Instead I am sitting on the sofa writing this and will spend some time on the editing pile, possibly literally – asleep on top of a massive pile of paper!

lanegan 009 And an early night.

Poetry Wrap 5

Worcestershire Poet Laureate Competition

At the beginning of June the voting poll for Worcester Poet Laureate competition was closed. Our poems are still on the website, the shortlist has been revealed. This year the six competing finalists are (in no particular order);

Tony Shadforth
Heather Wastie
Suz Winspear
Damon Lord
Betti Moretti
Nina Lewis

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http://worcslitfest.co.uk/worcestershire-poet-laureate-competition-2015/

Caldmore Community Garden Workshop with David Calcutt

caldmore ccg_logoThis weekend sees Caldmore Carnival and the poets from the workshops are performing a collaborative poem, edited by David Calcutt and made from snippets of our workshop poems, lines we are most proud of/moved by. It is a strong piece and works well with various voices. I was lucky enough to have a part to read in rehearsals. Sadly I can’t make the event in the garden on the 13th as I will be working my last session, this academic year, for Writing West Midlands.

The workshop provided us with an opportunity for prose writing. I now have the scaffold of a short story/flash fiction about the garden or perhaps some raw material for a poem.

It was great seeing everyone again, I missed the last workshop as some man drove into my car and it was off the road getting fixed. I look forward to the next few, August will see the end of this project and David’s residency in the garden. It has been lovely being involved and has left me with happy memories and some decent poems. Always a plus point!

 

Stirchley Speaks – The P Café with Jess Davies

I met Jess through 52, a shy, retiring young poet, a fledging ready to spread her wings. Well she’s done that!

Stirchley Speaks was the first night of a monthly poetry event run by Jess at the P Café! What an amazing opening event she had, no less than 3 former Birmingham Poet Laureates; Spoz, Joanne Skelt and Jan Watts. She had people travelling from Swindon and Malvern to be there, she brought together poets from different genres, the Poetry Bites crowd was well presented as was the young, level up, beat poets of the now. Most importantly she brought poetry to the outer city, to Stirchley and was paid back loyally by a great local crowd of supporters and some NEW talent!

It was an incredible unfurling of a young poet’s vision and was an extremely adrenaline packed (and actually packed) gig!

I had lots of positive comments about the poem I shared (although it is my favourite poem) it is always good to hear how it touches others. To the point of getting them to feel like writing again (job done).

Here are some great photographs shot by Murdock Ramone Media, to try and bring a little Stirchley to the Blog.

The venue itself has been highly rated in reviews of Stirchley Speaks. The P Café boasts a fabulous drinks menu as well as truffles, muffins cakes and bakes.

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SS p cafe 1

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SS crowd

Behind the camera there was standing room only and some people listened from through the opening in the café!

I have written a longer review of this event in a separate blog post LINK TO FOLLOW.

 

Permission to Speak at The Scary Canary with Robert Francis

Robert Francis booked Brenda Read-Brown and Peter Williams to headline this month’s Permission to Speak. There were some new faces to the event, venue and the stage – which is always a bonus. Rob made the decision to make this event FREE and move it to Thursday evening – one step closer to the weekend. I hope the success of this event continues to grow. People of STOURBRIDGE – GO TO THE NEXT ONE!

permission junePeter treated us to sets in the 1st & 2nd half, Brenda delighted the audience with her wit – I thoroughly enjoyed watching audiences reactions. There were plenty of people there who hadn’t discovered Brenda Read-Brown, as with most people who have caught her set, they are now hooked!

Plenty of open mic talent and all round a great night on my favourite stage of them all, (it’s made from old school desks)!

 

Spoken Word at The Ort with Debbie Aldous

1 birm ortI was glad to be able to catch up with Tessa Lowe on Friday and miss the tennis for The Ort – the tennis was postponed for playing the next day. It was a great night of Spoken Word and Music. I saw lots of familiar faces and lots of new – a particular highlight for me was the improvisation set with David Rees-Jones. Plenty of open mic action, it all is, no headliners here.

I shall not make the next one as it is the 10th July and I am one of TEN poets performing on the QUIET COMPERE Tour! QC

 A Cluster of Poets at Cannon Hill Park MAC (Midlands Art Centre)

Before the weekend I was invited to take part in a poetry event at Cannon Hill Park, thanks go to Jasmine Gardosi and Tony Fox for organising it.

We performed in the Pop Up Storytellers Tent to a mixed crowd, some of the cutest kids. We were all fumbling through our poetry when we realised how young the audience was, we managed it though and had a great time in the process.

Here are some photos to give you a flavour.

MAC With Frankie Ryan, Tony Fox, Syrac Citam, Timothy Scotson, Callum Bate and Nina Lewis at Cannon Hill Park.

MAC T Scotson  MAC Carys Timothy Scotson & Carys Jones MAC Farhan Farhan MAC Graham Langley, Catriona Heatherington, Rich Scott, Cath Edwards and Jenna Catton at Cannon Hill Park. The Storytellers

This is how Storytellers fall ^^^^

and the poets? Well, they fall like this –

MAC Callum Bate, Frankie Ryan, Nina Lewis, Jasmine Gardosi and Timothy Scotson.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^  ‘Jazz hands’!

Farhan, Callum Bate, Ryan Murray – now Frankie – now Frankie Ryan, Nina Lewis, Jasmine Gardosi & Timothy Scotson

 

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I loved the PINK Storytelling chair, it matched my new (worn for the 1st time) shoes! This pop up poetry event was a great way to end a full on week of poetry.

Half Term Week – Workshops, Writing, Courses and Performances

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I hoped that half term would bring me plenty of time to write, sometimes things don’t work out as planned. I was very grateful for booking a workshop back in January, as this was the first time this week I actually sat down and wrote.

Last year I was fortunate enough to get a last minute place on a workshop during half term with Angela France in Stratford-Upon-Avon.

On Thursday I had the opportunity to attend another workshop with Angela and it was wonderful. I have pages of ideas to sink my teeth into and have been surprised by some of the poetry that has come from the mapping work we completed during the day.

Copyright 2013 peonymoon

Copyright 2013 peonymoon

Thursday evening (why does everything always happen on the same day?), I went to Hit the Ode – it doesn’t seem like months since I was there but I think it has been 4 months since the last one! Primarily I went to support Jasmine Gardosi – another local (and phenomenal) poet who is fast becoming a favourite headliner in our region. I did manage to get an open mic spot too. These are usually 5 mins and I planned to treat the audience to my poem about taxing my car and another about a friend who bakes the most amazing cakes. Performers tend to do poetry by heart and I only knew the 2nd poem off by heart. When I got there – there were so many open mic-ers that we only had time for one poem. Although I have performed ‘Cake-Man’ there before. Hit the Ode was such a great night I have written a separate blog post (link to follow). hit 1

I have managed to squeeze some writing time in this weekend and have a schedule / action plan I devised on Wednesday that I am trying to keep on top of. I am missing Sunday Xpress today and having a belated Shrove Tuesday (Pancake day) with Mr G. instead.

Next week I am going to catch Ben Parker perform again *and this time I will buy his book, his collection has had rave reviews. He is performing at The Hive in Worcester alongside Todd Swift, Sarah James and Ruth Stacey.hive5

I booked two more workshops which I’m looking forward to – another Community Garden workshop in Caldmore, with David Calcutt and one with Caroline Horton during the afternoon (of the same day) in Birmingham, I will be exhausted by the time I get home in the evening and have full time work around these workshops too. Sadly this means I shall miss Confab Cabaret in Malvern in the evening but hope to make it to one soon, haven’t been able to attend for events clashes for months.

I am busy trying to write ‘ghost’ poems for Drummonds 42 on Wednesday and have since found out about a clashing event which I would love to attend, I have committed to the performance in Worcester and think I can deal better with a night there than a really late night in Birmingham, especially after work, with work the next day. However the GOOD TO TALK TOUR is worth a mention and if any of you are in Birmingham it will be well worth you turning up to support.

david allen poetry tour

The 4th event in 1st Time Dave’s (aka David Allen’s) epic charity poetry tour of the country goodtotalktour.wordpress.com Taking in 10 gigs in 10 cities in 10 days – all by pushbike!Entry is £3 but donations welcome, all money going to Birmingham’s Open Door Youth Counselling serviceFeaturing:First Time Dave
Dave is the Reading Poetry Slam’s most winningest (it’s a word) poet. He’s an Archimedes Screw showcase champion and a Bang Said the Gun golden gun winner. He mixes the serious and the silly, the personal and the political. This is the 4th gig in his Good To Talk Tour, raising money for counselling and homelessness charities all over the country in honor of his friend Lizzie Lee who passed away last year.

PLUS! Two favourite poets of mine;

Lorna Meehan
Lorna has been on the circuit for over ten years, performing at festivals like Glastonbury and touring with Apples and Snakes with her mixture of candid hilarity and mellow introspection. She is also an actor, playwright and Associate Director with RoguePlay Theatre and is currently experimenting with longer narrative based poems with theatrical elements.

Jasmine Gardosi
Jasmine Gardosi is a spoken word poet, workshop facilitator, coordinator of West Midlands Poets’ Place and co-host of poetry nights Word Up and Opus Club. A speaker at TEDxBrum’s 2014 International Women’s Day event, her talk addressed the taboo surrounding menstruation. She was placed as the runner up in the the 2014 OxjamBrum Poetry Slam and was shortlisted for Birmingham Poet Laureate 2014/15. She’s also a karate world silver medallist, but that doesn’t really have much to do with poetry so she slips it in subtly wherever she can.

It will be a real shame to miss this event, but I don’t believe in getting out of one event to support another, no matter how unique it is.

I will also probably miss Word Up this month as after a week of work, I don’t think I will have the energy and also won’t have seen Mr G as I am working the day he is home. This is a shame, but I did intend to cut back on events this year. However, I found a downside to this on Thursday night, after a break in performing it was really hard to manage a confident performance, it took the first few stanzas to gain the audience, I think it worked out in the end though.

Just in case my writing diary isn’t packed enough (which it is) I have just enrolled for an online writing course in Spring with CN-1780-logo-uofiowa – I completed one back in 2013 (my 1st year back in my writing skin), it was fun. I am hoping this one will be even more beneficial.

Have a great week, keep writing!

A Wonderful Week of Writing – Workshops, Guest Slots & Work

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The last week of January was a busy one – apart from working at a desk on ‘actual’ writing and submissions I was also quite active as a poet. On Wednesday I went to Walsall to take part in another of David Calcutt’s Workshops at Caldmore community Gardens, where he is poet in residence, in the evening I performed at the 42nd 42, a special evening full of cracking talent and then on Friday night I appeared alongside Antony Owen and Lily Blacksell as Host Poets at Word Up, a great night now hosted by Ddotti Bluebell & Jasmine Gardosi.

This month I have only performed at 25% of all the events I have been invited to and that’s about 75% less than last January, I have possibly written more – although I have suffered one of those annoying blanks this weekend as I desperately try and push a couple of Corinium poems out. My intention for 2015 was to perform less and write more, so far I think I have balance. Let’s see if I can keep it up!

Caldmore Community Garden Workshop with David Calcutt

caldmore david-portrait-1 This was my 3rd Caldmore workshop, ‘Write in the Moment’ and I had been looking forward to it all month. Unfortunately I got lost having come off the motorway a junction too late and ended up stuck in a one way system. As soon as I have acknowledged everyone with a quick hello, I got straight down to writing and because I had been in the garden before it wasn’t too difficult to catch up. In fact by the end of the workshop I had 2 pieces of writing and a poem that almost worked.

Janet Jenkins took more photos, she has a wonderful collection from the very first workshop (the one I missed) and the changes in the garden throughout the seasons are exceptional to see side by side. Of course, having had an allotment for 5 years I know how much these public spaces change with the seasons and weather, it reminds me that Mr G and I always said we would stitch our allotment photographs together.

It was a fun workshop and I met more writers – there have been a small group of us over Winter. Over lunch we shared news and heard about exciting projects everyone is currently involved with. I look forward to the next workshop, which once again falls on a day when I have an evening event/ performance. caldmore ccg_logo

42 banner      The 42nd 42 Andrew Owens

I wasn’t able to make the final 42 of last year, so I was determined that I wasn’t going to miss this one. It is a sci-fi/dark themed event and I knew that fans of Douglas Adams wouldn’t let us down! They didn’t, it was a great night – wonderful to see people who only started performing there last summer gaining confidence and owning the stage as we enjoy their stories and poems.

Lots of fantastic work was shared and I particularly liked the 42 facts Andrew threw into the gaps between performances. All about 42 from years before I got back into the poetry saddle!  Polly Robinson also mentioned that she shares the pages of the Paragram Anthology ‘Remember’ (who published us just in time for Christmas) with me  and Andrew told everyone about my Guest Spot at Word Up on Friday.

Guest Poet at Word Up  QCM ddottivlad Jasmine

I was so excited when I received an email asking me to be a guest poet at this Birmingham event. We had an amazing turn out, especially considering ‘Je Suis Birmingham’ – a one off event of artists solidarity following the Charlie Hebdo killings, was happening on the same night.

Word Up often have more than one Guest Poet (Hosting – as they call it) and I shared the night with Antony Owen and Lily Blacksell. Phenomenal poets and performers, I was happy to share the mic with them.

Tariq Jahan was also there – he lost his son in the riots three years ago (2011) and is good friends now with Antony Owen, whose poem ‘Unbranded’ is about this. He is a poet unafraid to write about violence. Tariq now works around the world spreading peace and hope, he makes things better. An exceptional human being and the story he shared from his trip to Syria is one we should all hear.

There were lots of new faces and people who had come from Oxford and Wales to perform too. I loved seeing everyone again, I didn’t realise it has been 3 months since I saw them and about 5 weeks since I last performed in Birmingham. I am very grateful I was at Word Up and heard Tariq speak.

Unbranded – The Year I loved England Pighog Press

You can find out more about the work Tariq does here http://www.pennyappeal.org.

If you have anything to donate please follow the links above. To buy the wonderful collection of Joseph Horgan & Antony Owen click here

http://www.pighog.co.uk/titles/the-year-i-loved-england.html

the-year-i-loved-england there are links at the bottom of the page for customers in UK/EU/GLOBAL

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/07/19/book-launch-the-year-i-loved-england-by-antony-owens-joseph-horgan/

‘This poetry expresses poignantly the emotions that I at times find difficult to articulate. The words pierced my soul and brought back the images, emotions and feelings of those days in August 2011 when Britain burnt’

Tariq Jahan

As for work – well the mortgage payments continue to be provided through the part time day job whilst I search for more artistic ways to cover the bills. I think I may have found a completely suitable one. So next week now has JOB APPLICATION added to the almighty To Do list.

There are 2 poetry events, (well there are 5 but only 2 penned into my diary), 1 stanza  and Mr G and I are off out for a rare night at a gig, having stated he was too old for it all last year! We saw a Saxon tribute band a few years ago and were blown away by them, I am still grinning from my backstage moment and the fact that Mr G has the bass guitarists t-shirt! Anyway, Mr G said if they ever re-formed he’d love tickets…. well …

They did and we are off to see them. The gig was scheduled for December but the drummer ended up in hospital! I am also working all week, bar Tuesday – if I am awake that will be my writing day!