Tag Archives: Dodge Poetry Festival

NaPoWriMo 2023 Day 4


Day Four

Our featured participant today is The Scribbletorium

Today’s poetry resource is this collection of poetry video recordings from the Dodge Poetry Program.


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Process Notes:

I started as always with the featured poem, this one very much impressed me. Knowing how hard finding the opposite of everything is and containing an element of sense is a true challenge. Contradicting lines are hard to avoid.

Wake has some great lines:

a dirty eternity for the body to work and hurt,

It gives you a loss so familiar, so shallow,
it cannot be forgotten in full sleep,

The sleeping body with its certainty,

... intact images of the day’s losses

This is a fine mirror poem, as such it chimes in parallel to the original quite closely – which is where I find my wariness in the task itself: when the starting point is someone else’s copyrighted work, of course this is only an issue if you plan to submit/publish your work and a simple solution may be to add an epigraph.

I was very excited to see Dodge Poetry Festival as the resource – another Lockdown discovery – attended most sessions with my anglo-american writing partner at the time, great memories. Although in 2008 I was 6 years rested from my adolescent writing Poet Phase 1 – I had been published in anthologies and magazines for a decade and started A Writers Fountain (as a MSN (who remembers them??) community website – it ran successfully for several years and was ranked #1 on the MSN groups tables. I was 8 years into my teaching career and had little time for anything else. By this point I was stuck in a place I didn’t want to be – but I had travelled to America and Australia and met Mr G. (so it wasn’t all bad)…. I would not find my way back to poetry (or any kind of writing) for another 6 years.

What a resource this is! So many videos. I started at the beginning with Chris Abani Reading in the 2008 Dodge Poetry Festival Saturday Night Sampler – 9/27/08

Patterns ~ and the dying of the heart is unshared

Changing Times ~ but I’m learning to taste my life without judgementI think

I enjoyed Chris so much I watched the next video of his (and the next on the list). Love his mix of humour with deep/ serious subject and the level of brutual honesty in his work.

“Geography Lesson” “The New Religion” and “Histories, #1”

The New Religion ~ This body is a nation I have not known

Or to feel the rub of tired lungs against skin-

covered bone, like a hand against the rough of bark.

Like that. “The body is a savage,” I said.

For years I said that: the body is a savage.

but sometimes, in an unguarded

moment of sun, I remember the cowdung-scent

of my childhood skin thick with dirt and sweat

and the screaming grass.

From Hands Washing Water (Copper Canyon Press, 2006)

Then I watched Ekiwah Adler Belendez reading at the 2006 Dodge Poetry Festival

“Topography,” “Haiku,” and “Coyote’s Trace”

TopographyHe teaches us how to trace the invisible lines of our memory, can the voice be traced?

the continents of my future

a place where there is no room for the sky

Coyote’s Trace ~ do not speak to me/ speak to what makes me hungry/ follow the traces of what I love.

He was so beautiful to the audience – saying their reaction made the reading ‘all the life breathing in each face … makes this a dance not a monologue’.

I looked up Ekiwah Alder Belendez mainly interested in whether he was still writing – and he is. He was also the youngest poet to appear at Dodge Festival (2010 stats) he was 19 when he did this reading. When I was 19, I was reading in the pubs of Leicester. His first poetry collection, Soy (I Am), was released when he was twelve! I wrote my first poem when I was 12.

My final watch (I could sit here all day), was:

Taha Muhammad Ali (with Peter Cole) reading at the 2006 Dodge Poetry Festival

Reading in Arabic and English, “Revenge”

The whole poem needs to be heard in full.

I’ve written Triolets before – I do find them hard they always sound gong like.

As predicted I think it is a bit of a naff poem. Wonderful subject though!

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Flashback Autumn (Nov)

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November finally saw a return to work after 8 months, an anxious time but also a great relief! It was a busy month on and offline. I had more medical appointments and another hospital appointment. But the balance was a month packed with Poetry / Literary Festivals!

At the end of October and beginning of November I enjoyed Dodge Poetry Festival and the packed programme of poetry. I shared a sea theme poem at Wirral Poetry Festival at an evening featuring Philip Gross, watched Andrew McMillan at Todmorden Book Festival, saw Padraig O’Tauna read several times. Watched Sandwell Stories, enjoyed Ankh Spice back in action at the Cheltenham Poetry Festival, HAY had a WINTER Festival Weekend. I joined the final weekend of Culturama.

I had the opportunity to watch Heidi Williamson in action again at The Oxford Centre for Life Writing, Worcester University have also brought part of the Creative Writing Readings online and I managed to catch Hannah Lowe in action (it has been many years since I last saw her read). I caught an event at the Uni of Oxford with Rishi Dastidar on The Craft – a book he wrote a few years ago.

I enjoyed the tail end (dog pun) of Matt Black‘s Book Launch – ‘Sniffing Lamp-posts by Moonlight’ A fundraising book of dog poems.

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I did a workshop with Lansing Poet Laureate, Laura Apol, I attended more Creative Conversations at Glasgow University, I enjoyed events at the Walt Whitman Birthplace, continued with Ledbury Poetry Festival workshops, Poets in Motion and Food for Thought and Grief workshops, we had an open mic to celebrate the end of the Hybrid Experimental Memoir with Tawnya Renelle – a relaxed and fun affair!

I did a Nevada Hall of Fame workshop and a personal highlight of the month was the George Szirtes workshop thanks to Artful Scibe, Mayflower 400 Celebrations in Southampton.

I got involved writing for the Rebellion series with Sheffield Libraries and Nik Perring and started work on his Dear 2020/21 project in association with the BBC/Novels that Shaped Our World and Sheffield Libraries. More news to come. Room 204 provided a special workshop with Thomas Glave, in which we reflected on 2020.

I forgave myself for the deadlines whizzing past and focussed on the successes.

I was a featured poet at Virtual Voices Offa’s Press (10th Nov.) alongside Kenton Samuels, Keith Rogers, Santosh K. Dary and Jeff Phelps. I read at the Reimagine Festival (USA) as part of Redwing’s Poetry for Healing group.

I was one of 11 poets in the Royal British Legion’s 11/11 Challenge for The Poppy Appeal – organised by Leena Batchelor, Worcestershire Poet Laureate. Find out more here https://worcesterlitfest.co.uk/2020/12/16/wpl-poppy-appeal-continues/.

I ran a series of Workshops for The National Star Centre, my gratitude to Ruth, Paul and the team in Cheltenham and to Cheltenham Poetry Festival. These were rewarding mornings where inspiration travelled in both directions!

I was published in the BLER Light Anthology (Black Light Engine Room), had two poems published in Corona, an Anthology of Poems – Edited by Gayl Teller in USA (more on this soon), I had a Renga accepted for a collaborative project in the US, I had two poems published in Geography is IrrelevantStairwell Books http://www.stairwellbooks.co.uk/product/geography-is-irrelevant/. This anthology includes International Poets who were active online at events in the UK during 2020. More on this soon and a poem accepted for the Dear 2021 Pamphlet produced for the Year of Reading/BBC/ Novels that Shaped Our World with Nik Perring.

Like many of us I wrote about the pandemic in the end (resistance was futile, especially as I self-isolated and had a limited palette of outside life experiences) -not that inspiration was lacking, with all the workshops and 5 notepads of ideas… anyway, I wrote Covid poems and didn’t submit them to any of the Lockdown projects or websites collecting such things. I am grateful that there were a few options left at the end of the year, places to to share them. Now, like the rest of 2020 they can be released!