Tag Archives: Ddotti Bluebell

Poetry Wrap 7

Standard

This week I have mainly been researching markets, which takes so long – but is a habit I need to get back into.

I also logged my writing days and have discovered that I have had less than a month so far this year and that 40% of that time was dedicated to workshops, everything I have managed has been across just over 2 weeks, so instead of feeling frustrated and beating myself up over delaying schedules and losing out on opportunities, I am now proud of everything I have managed to accomplish in such a small window of time.

This year has been strange, I have worked more and Mr G was working away for 3 months so weekends were our only time together, there have been patches of no writing at all and certainly a lack of submissions. I am still pushing, working hard and succeeding though and do not wish to moan over lost time knowing that plenty of writers out there still work full time and have to squeeze time at the keys into evenings and early morning sessions.

I needed to see it – track the data – to find out what was happening as these feelings are new to me. Having spent the best part of 2 years on an ultimate high! Now I have seen what has gone on I can plan to turn it around in the next 6 months. Nothing like a Midsummer to take stock! writing space 2 mote carlo This is not my writing space or view, it is the view of someone I completed the University of Iowa poetry course I did last month. Lucky, hey? It captures how I feel post-analysis.

This week I had just one gig in the week and a whole weekend of performing;

There is a month long festival in my hometown which tends to lean towards classical and choral music more than anything else, but there was one open mic/ acoustic event on Wednesday (also my eldest nephew’s birthday… he reaches double figures)! I went down to check it out and perform.

Friday night was Debbie Aldous’s new night in Birmingham at the Two Towers Brewery, where everyone performs in  open mic spots.

two towers

Spoken Word and More… and there was plenty of ‘more‘. Lots of stand up, singing, musicians – including a medieval harpist and a Polish Violinist – who was the exceptional opener for the night. As well as storytelling and poetry. It was a challenging gig, not an audience who particularly focussed on poetry.

The micro brewery, warehouse setting was interesting and so was my re-calculated sat nav journey. It took about twice the time it should have to get there. An entertaining night that was worth the late night and all performers received beer tokens and a chocolate roll!

Zuzana Klementova harp Zuzana Klementova me Zuzana Klementova tom Zuzana Klementova1 Jo © Zuzana Klementova 2015

It was also Rage Against Racism this weekend down at the Custard Factory – mainly musical acts, with chosen poets performing on Saturday night. I had already been booked for Droitwich Festival so didn’t apply. I wasn’t able to go and support the gig as I was at my own, but Rangzeb took some amazing photos and Ddotti Bluebell has commented on how great the night was. I think it is an important cause – so even though I wasn’t there – here is a flavour of the evening;

Thank you to all the poets who came last night to support such a great cause & the poetry was truly thought provoking & emotional. As Rangzeb Rango said it diluted the poison of racism & expressed a special unity of people through art…. Big Up the Word Up! Crew . © Ddotti Bluebell 2015

All excellent poets and performers.

RAVE

Left to Right: Ddotti, Jasmine, Kamil, Antony, Carys, Sammy, Kurly

RAVE 8 Kamil

RAVE 1

rave 6 Kurly

Rave 4 Ddotti

Rave 3 Stephen

RAVE 2 Carys

Rave 7 Jasmine

Rave 5 Sammy

Live Lit at Park’s Café as of Droitwich Festival Arts Week was a fantastic event and I felt privileged to be a part of it.

Live Lit, featured 9 poets and we each had 10 minute performance slots – a great way to practise for the QC Compere Tour on the 10th July (ever closer)! It was a great night of poetry and fun with friends. Performers included;

• Fergus McGonnigall (previous Worcestershire’s poet laureate) & MC
• Heather Wastie (Worcestershire Poet Laureate )
• Jenny Hope
• Math Jones
• Mike Alma
• Bridget & Malcolm Wakeman
• John & Pauline Franks
• Nina Lewis
• Polly Robinson
• Ruth Stacey
• Sarah James (runs the Poetry Society’s Worcestershire Stanza)

A great night organised by Malcolm Wakeman.

Snippets of reviews for the night;

A Fantastic success – well done Fergus, Malcolm and all of the performers. Angela says it was the best so far! – Peter Hawkins
A big thank you to everyone who took part. A most enjoyable evening. Malcolm Wakeman
Lovely evening — will look forward to doing it all again with good friends. Polly Robinson
Start to finish – poetry, music and prose – a lovely way to spend a Saturday evening, in the company of some very special people. Thanks everyone for another Droitwich ‘Special’. Mike Alma
I think we are all looking forward to next year’s already!

Followed by a great meal at a local restaurant where we had plenty of time to chat and laugh – and eat! I love a Poet Social – we don’t organise them nearly enough! I will plan an after party for my future book launch!

Today I am headed out to Digbeth to check out the new venue for Sunday Xpress, at The Edge – Foundation Arts space – which was a magical venue and for the first time performers who are not musicians were really listened to! I much prefer it at this new venue, I tried to support them as much as I was able in the past, usually Sunday is an allocated home/rest day… now though – being at Sunday Xpress makes me feel on top of the world, so I hope to be back soon to share in everyone’s artistic talent! Lots of new faces too, so that’s a bonus for them.

Now we have had a take-away tea (Mr G isn’t coming away with me on the 1st holiday I have in 2 years, so we wanted to do something special. I had hoped to spend the evening together, it is already 9pm and I still have to submit poetry and pack my suitcase. I am very excited about going away – especially during term time – it’s the first time in 17 years I am able to do that!

My week off from blogging will give you time to catch up with all the posts.

But before I go… in other news…

PUBLISHED

Talking of submissions and projects there are two more exciting pieces of news I need to share in this week’s wrap. After my research at the beginning of the week I found a new creative outlet in Visual Verse, they post an artists work and you have an hour to write about it and post your poetry. I love creating this way and can often be found musing over some image waiting for visual verse of my own to appear, the wait is never long. They published my poem, it is a pleasure to have poetry displayed alongside such great company, the chapter is a great read, treat yourself to some coffee time!

http://visualverse.org/submissions/shame-in-the-city/

Here is the link to read the chapter of verse for yourselves, I performed ‘Shame in the City’ last night for the first time, good reactions. We have all been there on one side of the line or the other, I think!

http://visualverse.org/

52 – THE BOOK!

The second exciting piece of news is that the 52 Anthology has made it to press, cannot wait to pick my copy up in Stratford in July. It is £7.99 and will be a great read, guarantee it. This is the result of Jo Bell’s 52 project in 2014. Published by Nine Arches Press, a labour of love which should sell really well. On the back of the hundreds, thousands of people who have been touched by 52, Jo Bell’s recently launched ‘Kith’ is already on it’s 2nd publication run! I have a feeling her last collection ‘Navigation’ had a second run of copies pre-52 as well. It could just be the magic of Jo Bell and the weight in her words of course! Poetry Goddess to many people.

52 the book

http://ninearchespress.com/publications/poetry-collections/the%20very%20best%20of%2052.html

Various Authors

Chosen by Jonathan Davidson, with foreword by Jo Bell and Norman Hadley

ISBN: 978-0-9931201-7-6

Price £7.99

Date: 14th July 2015

Format: Paperback

Jo Bell’s 52 project started with a simple idea: Write a poem a week. Start now. Keep going. In the 52 weeks that followed, this global workshop group became a phenomenon. Hundreds of poets took up the challenge and their poems swept the board of poetry prizes, publications and personal successes. Thousands of poems were written and shared. This selection by poet Jonathan Davidson offers a taster from the poetry banquet of 52.

“Poetry changes lives, both in the reading and the writing. The 52 project brought together well-established poets with rising names, and generated world-class work. We wrote a poem a week – enjoy reading them, one week at a time.” – Jo Bell, founder of 52.

notebooks

Have a good week everyone and

keep writing x

Advertisements

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

Standard

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!

A Great Night at Word Up!

Standard

I have had an amazing night – now on the post performance adrenalin mixed with sugar rush of waffles from ‘Something Sweet’!

It was an amazing night at Word Up, Ddotti had managed to get a PA system and the mic can really help over the noise of the coffee house/bakery busy times!

Ian Bowkett was brilliant and I loved watching him perform again and have come home with some of his poems to enjoy as soon as I have downloaded them. QCM Ian

All the other performances were a really high standard too and lots of new faces. I managed for the 1st time EVER, to perform a poem from memory and I managed it with a confident performance too!

I was delighted to see Kate Walton (Story Tramp) again, before she goes off to do all the summer festivals, it was a shame she couldn’t perform but the slots were so full, we were bursting at the seams!

After a great few hours it was over, it finishes 9.30 as York’s Bakery shuts, as with last time I made it (back in February I think) a group of us, most of us who performed and some who watch went to the other side of the city to ssSomething Sweet to eat waffles, crepes and sundaes at the 24hour waffle place! It was great fun, despite having to split over 2 tables as there wasn’t a big enough table for us all.

It is a great time to chat – as I have said before, the gigs are great but there is never time to socialise in the interval with everyone and if people all leave at the end of the night there will definitely be a handful of people (at least) who you wanted to speak to and never had the chance.

meword up

I had no idea how late it was – but it was around midnight when I got home!

Buzzing on sugar and adrenaline! inkspill heart

The Quiet Compere (21/3/14)

Standard

What an event, this one…macwhatshappeningcouk
I only knew Sarah L Dixon through 52, Jo Bell’s challenge (which I have blogged about before – 52 poems in a year – one a week) there must be many poets meeting or at least making connections virtually. I hope to ask Sarah L Dixon to tell us more about her Quiet Compere idea, when she is less busy.
Basically she runs an open mic night in Manchester, the difference from other event is the format. To allow the poet more time to share work she books 10 acts and gives them 10 minutes each.

She had the idea of taking this format on the road regionally, got Arts Council Funding for her idea (I slip that in as if it were easy – but I am fairly sure that was a process on its own!) then starting taking herself on tour. Each venue hosts 10 local poets who are pre-booked and they each delight the audience for 10 minutes. She has ‘toured the North with a jaunt into Birmingham’ – luckily enough.

I saw the line up in late January/February and recognised many of the names. We heard the Manchester night sold out so we made sure (my poetry friends Claire Walker and Maggie Doyle) we had our tickets well in advance.
You would expect to pay more than a fiver to go and see many of these names. The tickets were an ASTONISHING £3.00! Entry to some open mic events is more than that!

The Birmingham night took place at the MAC – Midlands Arts Centre – recently reopened after a 15million pound facelift! It has been closed for a while. There is so much that has been built up around it since I went over 10 years ago! It sits nestled in Cannon Hill Park and is a great venue and just a few miles out of the city.

Gary Longden was one of the 10 performers and although I knew him, from other poetry friends and his wonderful blog (to which there is a link), I had never met him. He runs Poetry Alight – the night in Lichfield where Michelle Crosbie performed last month. Another great night I missed…. so frustrating when there is so much on and I still have to work!
I finally got to meet him, it was brief as he didn’t know who I am.

I hope to make it over to Lichfield soon, Andrea Shorrick (Swingerella) thinks they would like my poems!

The Performers were QC banner

In the 6 months I have been back on the performance circuit I have been lucky enough to perform alongside 7 out of 10 of these poets. I met Sarah James at her book launch for Beyond beyond – the same evening I watched Jenny Hope perform and met Ruth Stacey. These are the first poets I met in Worcestershire (on this set list) and they have all given so much to me over the past 6 months, including welcoming me to their celebratory curry meal – where I met lots more poets.

Sarah has her next event this Tuesday for Poetry Bites and has headlined at SpeakEasy (she has done a million other things but these are the connections to me). We also all went to The Writers’ Toolkit together in the Autumn. Jenny Hope is a lead writer for Writing West Midlands and Ruth Stacey works alongside her as an Assistant Writer. I had already arranged to work for Writing West Midlands as an Assistant Writer, the same day I met them. They have all performed at SpeakEasy and also attend Stanza meetings, Sarah is the Poetry Society leader in our region.

As well as SpeakEasy, Ruth, along with Bobby Parker performed with me at the Kidderminster Creatives re-launch, BHG Gallery event. Bobby has also headlined SpeakEasy and I have also performed at the same Mouth & Music events – the open Mic in Kidderminster.

Charlie Jordan I met through events we attended at Birmingham Literature Festival in October. We first performed at the same event in October, at Jan Watts Phenomenal Women at Birmingham University for the Books of the Future UOB Festival. Since then we were at a Twilight Poetry Event at The Rep, organised by Joanna Skelt *Birmingham’s current poet laureate. We have been in the arena together at the amphitheatre at the Library of Birmingham performing for Jan Watt’s Poetry For Lunch. Charlie is also in the Decadent Divas although due to a top secret mission she was unable to make the latest Confab Cabaret event, this means the Decadent Divas have to come back and entertain us as the full 4 piece another time.

Laura Yates, one quarter of the Decadent Divas headlined at Mouth & Music, as well as performing at Confab Cabaret as a Decadent Diva.

Ddotti Bluebell runs Word Up at York’s Bakery and also performed at Najma Hush’s Dance Exhibition Gallery opening, which is where I met her and performed newly written Dance poems. I have seen her perform at Word Up too. She is another encourager on the scene and having only recently met her, feels like I have known her a lot longer.

There were 3 new to me poets to enjoy; Gary Longden, Matt Man Windle and Ian Bowkett. Sarah L Dixon treated us to some of her poems too. When you are an active poet you often hear the same poems being performed by people in different venues so it is great to come across new poets who have 100% unknown material. That’s not to say that I dislike hearing great poetry being repeated.

Everyone was incredible and the audience were blown away in quick succession by each performer.

The evening was kicked off by Sarah L Dixon – I enjoyed her poems, observations of her three old and the world children inhabit, touching and entertaining. She introduces each poet simply by name and lets their poetry speak for itself.

Sarah L Dixon © 2014 Gary Longden

Sarah L Dixon © 2014 Gary Longden

 

Ruth Stacey was the first to step up to the mic. I love Ruth’s poems and I know she doesn’t often perform. She is currently having great success in print and I look forward to reading her Foxboy collection when it comes out later this year.

It was a real treat to hear Ruth and she shared poetry I hadn’t heard before alongside some of my favourites of hers that I have heard before.

Ruth Stacey  © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

Ruth Stacey © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

 

Laura Yates performed next and treated us to her Birmingham poem which I will never tire of. She is such a confident performer and we all enjoyed her work. Another poet that I could have spent all night listening to.

Laura Yates © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

Laura Yates © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

 

Sarah James performed next, I haven’t heard her for a while – as I missed her headline at SpeakEasy due to Mr G’s birthday. I love listening to anything she reads her play on words and intelligent understanding of linguistics makes much more sense when it comes from her voice.

sarah james © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

Sarah James © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

 

Gary Longden performed next and treated us to some cheeky poems, none of which I had heard as this was the first time I met him, I liked what I heard and hope to listen to some more of his witty poetry soon.

Gary Longden © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

Gary Longden © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

 

Bobby Parker in complete contrast took us all deep inside of him and shared some extremely raw poems which he performed confidently and then he shared one of my favourite poems about a friend who encouraged him to go to a special event, I won’t say more – you will have to buy his books or hear him perform.

Bobby Parker © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

Bobby Parker © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

 

Charlie Jordan kicked off the second half with her wonderful performance. A true performance poet. She has been a Poet Laureate for Birmingham and the first poem she performed, I had heard before. The second one was new to me and absolutely adorable. She took us with us every step of the journey when she performed that.

Charlie Jordan © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

Charlie Jordan © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

 

Ian Bowkett came next with his PHD and humour – he would have helped me understand Maths if I had met him earlier in my life for sure, he makes numbers fun, very entertaining and for his final piece he performed from heart and completed a Rubix Cube at the same time! COMPLETED! WOW – WOW – WOW! The Brian Cox of poetry (I mean that as a huge compliment) he is much younger of course.

Ian Bowkett © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

Ian Bowkett © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

 

He said he didn’t want to follow Charlie, I have been there and it is a hard act to follow – he did brilliantly!

In fact that was something special about the Quiet Compere tour – these 10 Poets were all top class, there was no judgement on my part but you couldn’t have judged them apart if you’d had to… good job!

Jenny Hope and her beautifully quiet voice, soft and metred came next. Again I love hearing Jenny perform and it had been a while since I last saw her. I loved her set. Could have listened all night. She hooked me in and I didn’t want the bubble to burst.

Jenny Hope © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

Jenny Hope © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

 

Ddotti Bluebell came next sharing dynamic poetry, some I had the pleasure of catching at York’s Bakery, it was brilliant – she must have had to use at least 4 voices and entertained us all with memories of her childhood and her brothers and being the only girl. Something I can empathise with.

Ddotti Bluebell © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

Ddotti Bluebell © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

 

Matt Man Windle finished the night, great emotive performance he again was another natural born performer and I have since found out a boxer – well his poetry was certainly punchy!

Matt Man Windle © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

Matt Man Windle © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

It was an AWESOME evening (in the true – yes, wow at the universe and it’s awesome expanse) type way and my Birmingham poetry friends met and saw my Worcestershire friends perform. Everyone had time to mingle afterwards, it was great having so many friends at this event.

And the bit I can’t get my head around… Sarah L Dixon (coming from Manchester) had not seen these poets perform before – the evening was slick and each poet brought something special to the event.

Here are the shots from my seat – I really need to upgrade my mobile! © 2014 N Lewis

QCM IanQCM jennyQCM LauraQCM MattQCM RuthQCM Sarah JamesQCM BobbyQCM CharlieQCM GaryQCM ddottiQCM Sarah L Dixon

Check out Gary’s review – through the eyes of a performer.

http://garylongden.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/the-quiet-compere-mac-birmingham/

And Claire Walker’s review here

http://thegirlwhogrewintoacrocodile.wordpress.com/2014/03/23/the-joy-of-publication-and-an-evening-with-the-quiet-compere/

 

cheltenham fest

Sarah L Dixon’s next event can be seen as part of Cheltenham Poetry Festival which starts this week for a week.

A Matter of Life, Death and Poetry
Friday 28 March 2014 at 8:00pm

A touring poetry show.

The Quiet Compere presents A Matter of Life, Death and Poetry

The legendary Quiet Compere events enlist established poets and emerging voices.

The Quiet Compere introduces them with little fanfare, so that the poems (and not the poets’ track records)
tell you all you need to know.

This festival special features a stellar line-up – Rosie Garland, Samir
Guglani, Sarah Maxwell, Bethany W Pope, Stephanie Portersmith, Rod Tame, Avril Staple and
of course the compere herself, Sarah Dixon.

Let poetry show you what really matters! Join us for a selection of darkly funny, thought-provoking and life-changing poetry

Tickets are £5.00/ £4.00 and can be bought here

http://www.cheltenhampoetryfest.co.uk/eventdetail.php?ID=70

 

You can also catch Bobby Parker at the festival

bobby parker1