Tag Archives: Emma Purshouse

Don’t Oil The Hinges Heather Wastie’s Book Launch

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Behind every Worcestershire Poet Laureate is a book and 2018 sees the launch of a new one. Heather Wastie was Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2015-16 and since passing her crown onto Suz Winspear (who in turned passed the crown to me), Heather has been busy touring Idle Women, writing a book of poems for The Ring Project and creating Nationwide adverts… so it is no surprise that this new collection (her 7th book) took a while in the making.

The beautiful cover is designed by Jess Silk.

I was delighted to attend her launch last Saturday 15th September at Park’s Cafe, Droitwich. Apt that we celebrated the launch in the very cafe that features the door which led to the poem/title of the collection. ‘Park’s Cafe Poetry Reading’.

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It was a delightfully fun evening which brought back lots of memories and people. Heather loves to collaborate and I found it particularly touching to see the amount of people in the room who were part of some of the projects touched on in this collection. There were also plenty of ‘Mouth & Music’ friends I hadn’t seen for a while and it lovely catching up and conspiring to do some one off event in 2019.

Knowing Heather and her poetry, I knew we were in for a treat… and I wasn’t wrong! The evening was filled with poetry and music, all of Heather’s Guests had appeared in the book in some way.

After brief introductions from Rod Griffiths & Polly Stretton (Black Pear Press) Heather shared poems from Don’t Oil The Hinges.

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Sharing with us details of where the poems came from, these context introductions are included in her book. She prefaced every poem with ‘I wouldn’t have written this poem if it were not for…’ and when that came round to Chaucer it had us all chortling!

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Heather’s first guest was Sarah Tamar who she used to host Mouth & Music with. We were all delighted to see Sarah again & to hear her poems.

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Then Heather’s Idle Women partner in crime Kate Saffin was next, delivering poetry used in the show (from the Idle Women book), delivered with aplomb. Kate blames Heather for getting her writing poetry. She is a talented Theatre maker and performer.

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Another feature of a Black Pear Press Launch is the author Q&A, hosted by Tony Judge. His wicked sense of humour left us all aghast as he asked Heather who her favourite collaborator was, we knew he was joking… it was a magical moment when Heather answered. We also heard about her writing process, other work she has been involved in and future plans.

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Following an interval we had music from Dave Sutherland, he had set Heather’s poem ‘Carrying the Evening Home’ to music – it was a great sing along and we got to hear one of his own songs too.

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Then Sunny Ormonde, an actor from The Archers performed Heather’s poem ‘Dad Was A Fan of The Archers’, which she performs in her one-woman show.

“Needing a poem about local life for my show at Bewdley Festival I discovered Heather’s wonderfully funny poems on line. Immediately smitten, I contacted her and was over the moon when she kindly offered to write a special poem for the show and Dad was a fan of The Archers was born. Nothing could have been more perfect—it was a huge hit and continues to be so.” – Sunny Ormonde

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Then Emma Purshouse closed the evening with a brilliant set including a poem she had written about the Canal for Heather & Kate to use in Idle Women. Her performance of it moved the room, we were all in that water. This poem will be included in Emma’s next book.

Exceptional!

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A well oiled (unlike Paul’s door) and relaxing evening. A most enjoyable launch and I now have my own copy of Heather’s latest book of poems.

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Find out more about this collection and treat yourself to a copy here https://blackpear.net/authors-and-books/heather-wastie/dont-oil-the-hinges/

black pearPublished by Black Pear Press.

Yes We Cant -PPP, Rob Barratt and Me Somewhere in the Middle of it All as the Half-ender!

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Yes We Cant was back after a summer break. It marks my final booking this side of National Poetry Day – I guess I have to get proactive. I have never gone in search of gigs before, but after 4 years I may have to.

There were new t-shirts, bags of cooking apples, bottles of Rhubarb and Custard cider and lots of poems!

It was a brilliant night and worth every minute of motorway nightmare (roadworks). The night was MCed by Steve Pottinger & Dave Pitt, there were lots of open mic and a good mix of poets, one first timer who nervously took to the stage. She was fab and also won the Poetry Competition.

Yes We Cant is always a fantastic night. It takes place upstairs at The Pretty Bricks Pub in a room which is always hot with energy & words.

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PPP – Steve Pottinger, Dave Pitt and Emma Purshouse (reading the winning poem).

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The exceptional performers on the Open Mic.

Yes We Cant always have a Headliner and a Half-ender. I was delighted when Emma asked me to be the September Half-ender and it also guaranteed I used my return ticket from Australia. I did a set from Fragile Houses, a couple of new ones (including one I wrote during Aaron Lee’s Workshop in Perth) and an old, old one.

It was lovely to chat to people in the interval and I think the mix of poems I chose from humorous to heart-tugging went down well.

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Rob Barratt finished the night with an incredible set. He was entertaining and even got the room singing a selection of popular songs, no easy feat… but of course Walsall was up for it! I love watching performers I have not have the pleasure of meeting before and this was no exception.

I now have Rob’s book to re-read the poems he performed at a powerful pace, at leisure and he really hit the nail on the head with his poem about Education and ‘Distressed’.

Here’s an interview with Dave & Rob.

Rob Barratt who was a bag of awesome wrapped in a bow of wonder. – Dave Pitt

http://www.robbarratt.co.uk/

I also received received a PPP lotto ticket and won! £1.00 – but as Emma pointed out I could buy another ticket!

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Walsall, you were wonderful – thanks for having me!

And just to put the scratchcards in context… here’s the 1st Birthday Party clip!

Mighty Force – Poets, Prattlers & Pandemonialists!

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I have had the pleasure of knowing this lot since 2014/15. Back in 2016 Emma Purshouse, Steve Pottinger and Dave Pitt banded together to form Poets, Prattlers & Pandemonialists, a year later their show was created.

It premiered at the Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton in April 2017 before they toured around the country and completed a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe.

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“This isn’t just poetry, it’s storytelling, and most importantly it’s theatre. Glorious theatre, framed in a manner which gives space for the work to shine but keeps the audience on the edge of their seats throughout.” – Neil Reading, Director of Arena Theatre.

“Excellently framed, excellently delivered. The right amount of peaks, troughs, and misty-eyed bits.” – Matt Panesh, Artistic Director, Edinburgh Free Fringe.
“Chaucer with scratchcards.” – Jimmy Andrex, poet.

Now these three poets are industrious so alongside their show they created Yes We Cant a night of Spoken Word at Pretty Bricks in Walsall,  a pub that does indeed have pretty bricks. 34b10f6f8294900e524a14bf8ffdc85c

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I was fortunate enough to make their opening night back in June, Jonny Fluffypunk and Paul Francis headlined and it was fabulous!

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Fast forward almost a year and this monthly event is still going strong.

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And earlier this year the Wolverhampton Poetry collective announced a new project to raise the profile of poetry in and of the Black Country. They managed to obtain an Arts Council grant which enabled them to roll out a whole programme and get other local artists involved. The Black Country Broadsheet was produced which includes commissioned poems, videos have been made and professional photo shoots have been enjoyed.


CASEY BAILEY • BONES • JEREMY GRANT • R.M. FRANCIS
MOGS • RICK SANDERS • MARIANNE BURGESS

are the other poets commissioned for the project (see Rick, you got your commission, no more writing about fake ones).

 

Poet Steve Pottinger said: ‘This project is all about taking poetry to people who don’t think they like it, who don’t know it’s being written and performed in pubs and clubs around them, and who may never have attended or enjoyed a live event.

So, if you’ve got friends who you think might be interested, please tell them about it. We’re doing everything we can to show them the best local, contemporary performance poetry.’

Black Country Artsfoundry © 2018

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The project showcases the poets across 5 free events and has done just what they hoped it would. New poets have been found, some bravely taking to the mic for the first time (and blowing us out of the water!) and new to poetry people have decided it is not a bad night out after all.

  • Dudley: 9 April, Cafe Grande, 7pm – Jeremy Grant, Rick Sanders aka Willis the Poet, Marianne Burgess, Dave Pitt
  • Walsall: 16 April, The Pretty Bricks, 7pm – Emma Purshouse, R.M. Francis, Mogs, Bones
  • Great Bridge: 19 April, Great Bridge Library, 7pm – Steve Pottinger, Emma Purshouse, Jeremy Grant, Rick Sanders aka Willis the Poet
  • Stourbridge: 9 May, Claptrap, 7pm – R.M. Francis, Mogs, Steve Pottinger, Casey Bailey
  • Wolverhampton: 15 May, The Lighthouse, 7pm – Bones, Casey Bailey, Marianne Burgess, Dave Pitt

Due to a hectic work schedule, editing, writing and NaPoWriMo (I can hear Dave Pitt chuckling), I was not able to make the earlier dates. But watched as the internet steamed away on adrenaline filled reviews and knew that I had to catch this wave.

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So Stourbridge was penned in the diary and despite being truly creamed by work, I went! They were all in a similar state having lived the highlights of Swindon the night before at Oooh Beehive.

beehive Despite this, energy was not lacking as Dave MCed us through an incredible night of words.

I have not made a PTS for some months and it was great to be back in this wonderful venue, sitting next to Rob who was enjoying a night off from jumping up and down on stage and instead was able to enjoy the evening.

Everyone performed phenomenally well and it was great to see/hear new talent too.

Mogs performed a brilliantly funny set as always, treating us to some of the best from his book of children’s poetry. pypwl-front-cover

It was great to catch a whole set from R.M. Francis, thoroughly enjoyed and I realised it had been a while since I experienced Rob’s poetry back to back, good to hear him in full flow again.

Steve Pottinger performed some of my favourite recent poems of his, I love his train journey to Mars, no spoilers… okay, they terminate in Wolves…

Casey Bailey was his usual, incredible self. Playing his adopted by Wednesbury card to pacify the Brummie in the room situation and celebrated his latest collection ‘Adjusted’.

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https://caseybailey.bigcartel.com/

It was an incredible night and I am so glad Claire Walker sent a message saying she was going because it has been ages (or at least feels that way) since we caught up and was lovely sharing such a special night with friends. Plus Claire and I are booking some special work of our own in, we hope before the summer. I shared 3 of my 30 NaPo poems and a t-shirt quip. Shame I wasn’t wearing a poetry t-shirt, that would have won battle of the bands for sure!

Great to catch up with a room full of poetry friends and to be back in the Black Country, to see first hand one of the 5 events in this programme and to be able to tell them what an epic group of poets they are on feedback forms (well, if you do go and get Arts Council funding). I may not have written the word epic but I said some very pleasant things that I know someone else magpied (stole) for their feedback form.

If you can, catch the next one on the 15th May, you will NOT be disappointed!

And if you want to catch their original show head over to Stoke-on-Trent.

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Vanguard Readings – Birmingham

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2016 has been a busy year, which is why the blog posts are fewer. My pamphlet has reached final proof stages after 17 months of hard work. The editing process is a new experience for me and due to the nature of the subject (core of which is family/growing up) it has taken time to cross that gauntlet between autobiographical recount and something interesting enough for people to read, feel, attach themselves to.

I am in final proof stages with my pamphlet now and it is a great  feeling.

There are gaps I want to fill on the blog and now I have started to work on INKSPILL, I want to fill the gaps before the next big project takes over.

VANGUARD READINGS

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Back in March I attended Vanguard Readings, in Birmingham. Richard Skinner is the man behind Vanguard. Vanguard Readings are hosted monthly in London from October to July, they feature new writers and established authors, 6 writers each read for 10 minutes.

Richard realised the need for expanding out and touring Vanguard Readings regionally.

vanguardI am glad he did. A whole evening being carried away by poetry. Readers; David Calcutt, Helen Calcutt, David Clarke, Jane Commane, Emma Purshouse and Richard Skinner.

With plenty of time in the interval to mingle, chat and catch up. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and came away feeling inspired and rekindled.

Vanguard Readings take place at The Peckham Pelican, SE London.

Ten Letters

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Amazing Poetry Theatre created by the minds of Spoz (Giovanni Esposito) and Lorna Meehan. Fascinating, a should NOT be missed show. Which so far has been performed twice at the MAC and hopefully will continue to develop and grow.

The Concept

Ten Letters is a new piece of intergenerational poetry theatre about Birmingham starring the best in local poetry talent. Produced by Giovanni Spoz Esposito and Lorna Meehan and incorporating multi media and live music, Ten Letters celebrates, procrastinates and immortalises this city we live in through a group of unique voices aged sixteen to sixty.

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A cross generational show from 16 to 60 bringing together poets who all know Birmingham in their lives. Poems about the great and grime of the place, of memories and hopes.

Incredibly powerful and moving – I did not expect to be reduced to tears or goose-bumps, but with every voice I felt connection, my own memories resurfaced of trips to the Science Museum, the life-size dinosaur, suburban streets, black and white photos taken by grandparents in front gardens. It was all there buried away inside.

Particular highlights was watching the audience reaction to Maggie Doyle’s letter to Birmingham, the generational memories and Mexican wave recognition going on amongst the middle seats of the auditorium.

Lorna Meehan who wants to stab at your emotion buttons with her letter recalling divorce and the role of the city in her dual living experience, cut deep with parallels and reduced me to teary eyes – thank goodness I was sitting amongst poets.

The passion of Spoz’s letter that was uncensored and raw.

 

On the Night

This is what I wrote when I got home;

Ten Letters… Has to be summed up in 17 letters…

Absolutely awesome!

A Birmingham for everyone! Great show/ media content and live music. Performances that have emotional bite, I ran the whole gauntlet – tears of parallel hurts, tears from laughter, goosebumps! Everything and some unexpected memories came flooding back. Birmingham you are amazing in the skins you have given our lives! Amazing – as were Spoz & Lorna in conceiving this project. Take it to the nation, Birmingham – because you’re bloody brilliant!

There were stunning performances from the entire cast and the whole show was an amazing feat for Birmingham, a love letter, letters of thanks, hidden praise until twisted recollections – a triumph for poetry theatre and the city.

I am SO GLAD I didn’t miss it.

There are plans to move further with it, it was a crowd funded project and incredibly well produced.

Photography by Nigal Goodship © 2015

Kraze Kasey Bailey Nigal Goodship

Maggie Doyle Nigal Goodship

Joe Cook Nigal Goodship

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Top to bottom Performers: Casey Bailey, Maggie Doyle, Joe Cook, Aliyah Denton & Aliyah Holder (A Squared), Lorna Meehan, Jasmine Gardosi, Luci Hammans & Sipho Eric Dube (Unhindered Reign), Spoz, Carl Sealeaf, Emma Purshouse, Callum & Melissa Bate (Prime Poetry)

A Workshop with Emma Purshouse – Craft & Conflict Exhibition – Bilston Art Gallery

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A very apt workshop the day before Remembrance Sunday. It was intergenerational and listening to the children’s poetry based on Conflict Art was insightful. It is the Centenary of WWI, which has created a whole deluge of War poetry, something I have attempted in the past and this year. I find it hard as despite having family serve in WWII, war is something I have not (fortunately) experienced first hand, there are a mountain of clichés to conquer and sometimes I feel I have no right writing about such things. However, Art is a world I know and I found using the exhibition as stimuli I was able to get ink on paper.

The exhibition itself is filled with such varied interpretations of Conflict that choosing ‘a piece’ to use as a starting point was a tough decision. I am a fan of Haiku, so when asked to produce 3 I thought it would be easy. There was so much story both the artists and the subjects and war itself that coming up with a complete idea in 3 lines was challenging. My first Haiku hit the nail on the head though. It was good to have Emma’s Feedback and support and I am glad I discovered this workshop in time. I look forward to creating poems that wouldn’t have existed otherwise.

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I was absorbed by some of the artwork, so much so I wished I had hours to just sit looking at it – not half an hour to form all my ideas into a poem. I took photos in the hope of spending more time on this body of work, but it will not be the same as sharing the space with the art, up close.

I thoroughly enjoyed my workshop experience and now hope for time to settle back down with my photos and notebook and get to work.

We read examples of our work from the workshop in the afternoon in the Gallery, it was great to hear everyone’s interpretation of the exhibits and the theme of War & Remembrance.

 

RELATED LINKS:

http://www.emmapurshouse.co.uk/

http://www.wolverhamptonart.org.uk/events/craft-conflict/ Craft and Conflict brings together both contemporary and historical items that commemorate and explore the themes of war and remembrance. The exhibition is on until the 22nd November, if you are local I highly recommend it!

November – Cork Poets, Fireworks, Book Launch, Performances, Workshop, Work, Getting Published, Writing & Wild Fire!

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November – Cork Poets, Fireworks, Book Launch, Performances, Workshop, Work, Getting Published, Writing & Wild Fire!

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Just taking a deep breath to read the title of this post makes me realise how busy this first week of November has been, especially as I used my only writing day (Monday) to catch up on household chores and laundry. The laundry was a bit of a mistake, 3 loads, it started raining, we have just enough airers for this amount, discover our central heating does NOT work. Fortunately Mr G called up our insurance company and they sent an engineer out – we have a new thermostat and more importantly, a warm house! We were beginning to ice up on the inside! Unfortunately the engineer wasn’t here until Friday so the clothes are only just dry. inkspill laundry We do have a tumble dryer mode on the washer but it seems to make everything several sizes smaller, so we avoid it for clothes.

Hard to believe it was sunny back at the beginning of the week, after the monsoon of recent days. I accepted way too much work this week but it was all at places I have worked before so at least there were no extra miles getting lost or classes I wasn’t prepared for! It did result in two 5pm crash outs Wednesday and Friday though.

Writing Work

I have an ever-growing list of current writing projects, 3 of which now come from workshops I have attended over the past fortnight. None of which I have managed any time on this week. All of which I want to get my teeth stuck into this weekend, well Sunday now. I have used today up in a flurry of road systems, motorway junctions and a gallery workshop.

In writing the reviews of these events this week I have decided to go back to the old format of posting separate events.

Here are some links so you won’t get lost (unlike me)!

Tuesday 4th November

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/11/08/coventry-nightblue-fruits-annual-celebration-with-poets-from-cork/

Nightblue Fruit – Antony Owen, with Guest Poets from Cork; Adam Wyeth, Cal Doyle & Kathy D’Arcy.

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Photos by Saleha Begum.                                                                                                    Saleha Begum © 2014

 

Wednesday 5th November was Guy Fawkes Night and despite it being a work night Mr G planned our first ever Bonfire Party. Last year we had a fire in the firepit, some sparklers and watched everyone else’s fireworks in the sky.

This year we invited neighbours, friends and Mr G’s God children, who loved it. Was great to see them work through fear of sparklers and fire and before the end of the evening they were (under supervision) throwing more wood on the fire and writing in the air with Sparklers. We took photos but have not uploaded any yet. Many of our neighbours celebrated on the 5th so there were lots of other fireworks to watch as well as our own.

The fireworks still whiz, pop and bang as I write this, families waiting for the weekend to have a party. Mr G and I have always gone to public displays – nothing beats your own garden though, the fairy lights looked great on the summer house and a great night was had by all. At least 4 hours of fun in layers in the cold, before the rain came. fs fireworks Big thanks to Mr G for buying the fireworks and for Leyton for lighting them!

I was exhausted after work and had gone to the supermarket too (I planned to cook burgers and had bought refreshments for the kids). I fell asleep watching teatime TV and could have happily gone straight to bed. By the time I woke up Mr G had the fire going and the garden was all ready for our guests. It was a great night, even if I was too tired to cook and the kids had all the Sparklers!

 

RELATED LINKS

http://www.bonfirenight.net/

Thursday 6th November – Fergus McGonigal launched his first poetry collection.  Fergus Tatty Truth

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/11/08/book-launch-the-failed-idealists-guide-to-the-tatty-truth-by-fergus-mcgonigal/

fergus book launch © 2014 Gary Carr Gary Carr © 2014

I was invited to read at his launch, I forgive him for making me go first!

RELATED LINKS:

http://burningeyebooks.wordpress.com/2014/11/13/new-november-title-1-the-failed-idealists-guide-to-the-tatty-truth-by-fergus-mcgonigal/

If you would like to buy the book directly rather than through Amazon, here is a link:

http://www.inpressbooks.co.uk/the-failed-idealist-s-guide-to-the-tatty-truth/

 

By Friday I was so tired it was a struggle to survive work, but I did and then slept for a few hours when I got in. Mr G and I had planned a quiet night in and that’s exactly what we did.imagesCAUYQ41E

I had hoped to manage some writing but I was too tired to think, let alone type. I had the night off completely. Except for checking emails on my phone – and thank goodness I did, as I received one from an editor telling me they were publishing a poem of mine in an upcoming print anthology.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/11/13/published-2/

Saturday Last week I discovered a call out for people to take places on a workshop run by Emma Purshouse at Bilston Art Gallery, they currently have an exhibit called ‘Craft & Conflict’.

I got extremely lost and it took twice as long (and then some) than it should have and even though I ended up on the motorway 6 junctions further away than I should have been on my way home, it still only took 35 minutes to make the 15 miles back, although probably more miles owing to the junctions, really need to get my Sat Nav mended.

Anyway it was totally worth the extra petrol and road stress. This was the 2nd session of the day and the Arts Services had advertised it as intergenerational, which it was this afternoon. Children have great imaginations and I was impressed by the writing of younger members of this workshop. The Gallery collection was more than I expected, more pieces. There was so much that grabbed me that I plan to continue producing work from this workshop.

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Saturday 8th November a Workshop with Emma Purshouse, Bilston Art Gallery, Craft & Conflict

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/11/13/a-workshop-with-emma-purshouse-craft-conflict-exhibition-bilston-art-gallery/

SUNDAY 9th November

With such a busy week of work and events by Sunday my tiredness caught up with me and once again I didn’t make it online to complete my planned schedule, nor did I find time to write my Wild Fire poems from David Calcutt’s wonderful Community garden Workshop. My list of writing projects is growing faster than the first scarf I knitted, when I forgot how to cast off! caldmore david-portrait-1

Needless to say I didn’t make it to the Community Garden Bonfire to read my non-existent fire poetry,  I barely made it to getting dressed!

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Caldmore Community Garden Bonfire with Poetry readings with David Calcutt.

With work booked the next day, I had an early night. Sure this was a great night I missed and I look forward to hearing all about it.

Postcard Poets – Birmingham Literature Festival

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Postcard Poets: Home-made, Home-grown

PostcardsTwenty poets were commissioned to write poems on the theme Home-made, home-grown. Six have been chosen to appear on specially-designed postcards, with thousands of copies in libraries throughout the West Midlands.

This year’s chosen poets, Fergus McGonigal, Roz Goddard, Emma Purshouse, Spoz (Giovanni Esposito), Jane Seabourne and Brenda Read-Brown will be appearing at the launch of the Poetry on Loan postcards – and they’ll all be performing their work for you.

© Birmingham Literature Festival 2013

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Having absorbed the Benjamin Zephaniah screening and filled myself with some food, I returned to the Library of Birmingham for Postcard Poets event. Sadly I took no pictures, it was a small room and other audience members were being well behaved!blf ikon 4

I was also enjoying the performances too much to peel my eyes from the stage, it was a great night, exceptionally entertaining!

Postcard Poets was a great event. 20 Poets were commissioned to write poems around the theme of homemade and home-grown. 6 of these poets had come to perform a selection of poetry and their postcard poems. The postcards are free and available at all public libraries in the region.

I really enjoyed this event and wished I wasn’t as tired as I was, I could barely stay awake and by the time I was home I was too tired to even talk!

The performing poets were;

Fergus McGonigal, Roz Goddard, Emma Purshouse, Spoz (Giovanni Esposito), Jane Seabourne and Brenda Read-Brown

Some of whom I’ve met. Roz was on the picture writing course I took earlier in the summer, Fergus popped into the Sarah James book launch and has also been chosen as the MC for an open night event (that I will also write about) that I attended last week, WLF’s SpeakEasy.

Spoz is regionally very famous, he lost his job (with many others) when the Rover car plant shut down (a major employer for generations in the region) he used his redundancy money to relaunch himself as a poet – a great slam poet who now works with lots of community based projects and has celebrated lots of success. I have seen tickets for his shows, but never managed to catch him. I was impressed by his energy.

I loved discovering all the other performance poets.

It was a fabulous evening and one of the best factors of this Literature Festival, is that many events were free, including this one – and it really was superb.

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