The end of this month seems even busier than the beginning, which is crazy because I intentionally withdrew from performing poetry to concentrate on a writing project and take stock. With all the writing & editing there hasn’t been much time to take stock! I did have to take on a lot of day work (as my half term is unpaid) I managed one FULL day of writing mid-week which was a godsend! I spent most of this week preparing articles and posts for Inkspill, researching and communicating with our guest writers; William Gallagher, Charlie Jordan and Heather Wastie. If you missed it you missed a treat – follow this link to some of the programme, join in – it’s never too late! I was also working towards finishing a big writing project I have been involved on since the end of August. I spent hours writing on Wednesday, which was great – hard work feels so good when you love what you’re doing! I also received some news on Wednesday – I had been given an award from Arts all Over the Place for stepping in last minute to compere they opening event at the festival. I was able to go and pick up my award en route to the Restless Bones night at The Ort, due to work I didn’t get there in time to join in all the fun, very touched by Rachel Green and Arts All Over the Place. Pictured with Big Bren – Birmingham’s host for Sunday Xpress. I hope to work with Rachel again in the future. Although I was working on Thursday the booking was amended last minute and I was able to leave early and to the Library of Birmingham for Poetry for Lunch with Jan Watts. I always love this short, fast paced game of poetry tag and we were watched by a bunch of school kids waiting to go to the Rep Theatre, it made me doubly grateful for the early release! In the evening Elaine Christie had organised another launch event for Restless Bones Poetry Anthology. We were to perform poetry and watch the film Born Free. The Ort has lots of things going on some nights (it is community based) Thursday evening there was an art class in the gallery *(the space we had booked) and events and reservations in the café downstairs so we were up in the Gods in a level I never even knew existed as far from the bar and toilets as possible, still nothing a tray and some good balance couldn’t solve! Although there were a small select few of us another batch of books were sold, that’s over £330.00 for the all proceeds are being donated to charity. It was also one of those magical nights when the world seems right and everything is running to cosmic order. Those nights when you become aware of behind the scenes and feel incredibly touched by existence. Tessa Lowe had the idea that everyone else should pick poems to read which weren’t theirs – one of mine was by Emily Dickinson and it got read earlier, so I had to think on my feet – it was great to hear us all read words by somebody else, it was incredibly moving. As is the book, you really should buy yourself a copy! Come along to the next event 25th November where Restless Bones poets are reading at Poetry Bites, Kitchen Garden Café, Birmingham (Kings Heath). BUY YOUR COPY THERE £9.99 It was a great evening with a wonderful atmosphere. I was also trying to squeeze in a trip to Hanbury Hall (National Trust Property) to visit an exhibition that Stanza members are writing poetry about, I am glad I didn’t attempt this too as Thursday left me exhausted. I went after work on Friday – which was a pain with regards to the light and lack of time I spent with my notebook but was a lovely rest-bite from work traffic on a Friday night! There was so much going on in Birmingham this weekend. I missed it all as I had my project and Inkspill to attend to and had already accepted two weekend events I didn’t feel I could say anything other than YES to! The Poet Laureates took over the Library on Saturday with performances, workshops and a general spread of Poetry! Britain’s Got Talent came to town and one of my poetry friends, Andrea Smith (a.k.a Swingerella) had a very successful audition – I expect we will see her on the TV soon! Ruth Stacey was involved in a writing walk – this was in Ledbury and not the city – but had I been available was something else I would have liked to do! It looked fab. I also missed SOCKTEMBER which was an event I had planned to take part in performing poetry and enjoying a bonfire. I spent the time I would have been there chained to my desk writing and editing and I have no regrets there at all! I have made a note for this next year and hope to help the event and give the cause the time it deserves. I did manage to escape my desk briefly on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday we celebrated a big and important birthday, my Great Aunty Sheila and we all saw my brother Dave and his wife, Jenny fresh back off their wonderful honeymoon. On Sunday teatime I attempted 1940-50s fancy dress – with the help of Google and a few items in my wardrobe I generally don’t wear anymore and certainly not together, styled my hair and shot off to Worcester for Alan Durham’s Book Launch of The Hen Race. http://henracepress.com/2014/10/28/keep-calm-and-carry-on/ Read all about it straight from Alan on his blog. It was a great launch, Heather Wastie played the keyboard and sang a selection of the songs mentioned in the book. She was brilliant! Polly Robinson and Heather read extracts as well as Alan and the wonderful cover art was on display. We were spoilt with drinks and canapés and it didn’t even matter that my worst fear was realised, people hadn’t realised I was in fancy dress! It was lovely to pop in and see everyone too and the room was packed. A great turn out for the launch. The empty seat was mine. Every spare minute of the last few weeks has been spent on my writing project, so much so that despite reminders in my writing schedule it was only 7 day before that I had started to instigate work on the writing weekend. I felt was a great success, lots of hard work went into making it happen, especially with other commitments and opportunities that have arisen this year! Thanks again to everyone who took part! It was a full and action packed week!
Restless Bones – The History Behind the Project
Elaine Christie is a local poet and also works hard to protect animal rights. The story behind the conception of this project/idea is touching, last year Elaine’s best friend, Pat Clarke passed away. Elaine was left some money …. I leave the rest of the explanation to Elaine Christie, who came to the Book Launch with decorative balloons and a cat wreath;
“This lovely cat wreath was to remember my best friend Pat Clarke, who died last August. She left some money to me and when I read about China skinning animals alive, I had an uncontrollable urge to do something. Something more than signing petitions and writing letters and emails, powerful they may be, seeing dogs piled on top of each other almost crushed and tigers anxious and angry crammed in cages awaiting their fate, I thought of all the superb poetry I had heard over the years and the idea came, wouldn’t it be ideal if I could bottle that, as a message to the world to wake up, this kind of cruelty is not acceptable. The final push came when leaving The Barber Institute after a workshop with Jacqui Rowe. Saleha Begum and I went for a coffee and she gave me the final push! Thank you Saleha xx
There are many to thank, firstly the poets, each of you were picked for your talent and I’m as passionate about your poems as you are! I know you have looked into these cruelty issues and I hope I haven’t scarred you all for life! Jacqui’s poems have stayed with me for years, such rich language and the stories behind the poems are marvellous, and you do have a magic eye! I wish I was half as intelligent! Thank you for editing our book, it has made all the difference and has wings to fly!”
ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING
G. K. CHESTERTON
ELAINE CATHERINE CHRISTIE
DES – LONE WOLF
GIOVANNI ‘SPOZ’ ESPOSITO
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
ALFRED LORD TENNYSON
Restless Bones is a poetry anthology compiled by Elaine Christie and edited by Jacqui Rowe, featuring four of my poems and lots of my poetry friends too -all talented writers – it is a spectacular collection of work and I can’t wait for the published copies to be in circulation.
Elaine Christie had organised a pre-launch tour around some of the regular poetry events in Birmingham. I had been unable to attend due to work commitments, however on Friday night (along with a tribe of other poets) I managed to make an event in Birmingham.
The 18th July was also another Stanza meeting, I have missed quite a few unfortunately. It was a good one too by the sounds of it, in the end I could probably have managed both as we went on quite late.
It was the Spoken Word night at The Ort, a very warm evening Elaine introduced the project and the book, then Tom Wyre, Tessa Lowe, David Barber, myself and Chris Fewings performed some of the poems from the collection.
Rather excitedly the next time I perform them will be at the REAL book launch!
Of course I will reveal more information about the publication then. You will be able to buy copies a % of sales is donated to the Born Free Foundation Charity.
At the beginning of the month I had an opportunity to join a list of other fantastic poets submitting work for an Anthology of Poetry to support the Born Free Foundation/Charity. I found this specific writing task challenging, mainly because I did a lot of research into the fur trade (the focus of our work) and found it beyond upsetting. I also found it really hard to write decent poetry on the subject.
In the end I opted for a wide view of the whole human impact in the animal world, especially considering we are ALL members of the Animal Kingdom, the second was the release of several animals rescued from captivity. They had never seen the outside world before and it took over 20 minutes to coax them from the cages.
The anthology is the brain child of Elaine Christie and the other nice thing is that it features lots of my poetry friends. She has compiled a wide selection of excellent poetry and the book will also include some stunning artwork. My poetry was accepted. I look forward to holding this publication in my hand and supporting the promotion of the project later this year!
It took the whole writing day to complete the final edits, but it was worth it and besides the two poems I submitted it has provided me with a small bank of poems on this important subject.
AND I GOT PUBLISHED! 🙂