Tag Archives: events

November Update

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November is nearly halfway through. The diary is full and we are fast approaching the busy home season too. 

This week events run back to back and there are some that I will sadly have to forego to make sure I keep my head above water and sleep! 

LtR

Tonight is Licensed to Rhyme with Ash Dickinson. I am delighted that a poem which was inspired by a conversation with him earlier this year, is finally ready to perform this evening. 

L2R

 

Tomorrow is the almost-conclusion* of the WPL Hanbury Hall Poetry Project. 18 poets signed up to visit Hanbury Hall over 3 weeks in October during the DAN Art Exhibition in the Long Gallery. Poets used the artworks to inspire writing.

hanbury hall LG malcolm ross

© Malcolm Ross 2017

Since then Polly Stretton and I went along to the closing ceremony to share our poems. Polly’s poem ‘Curves’ won a competition to find a reader for the event judged by Peter Hawkins (Chair) and mine was slipped in as the organiser and Worcestershire Poet Laureate. 

 

This Tuesday Parks Cafe will host 9 of the poets, our reading is accompanied by the artwork on screen and I am very grateful to Rosie Philpott for coordinating that side of the event. It is FREE and I hope many of the artists will be able to attend. 

Parks Cafe Hanbury Poems

 

* Some of these poems may appear in the next issue of Contour the WPL Digital Magazine (Spring Issue – February)

I am organising an exhibition of the poetry along with photos of the artwork that inspired them in 2018 at Hanbury Hall in the Long Gallery – which will be the eventual conclusion of this project.

Wednesday is a poetry outing – a few Worcestershire poets are heading over to Smokey Joes in Cheltenham for Poetry Cafe Refreshed. I haven’t made it back since I headlined in 2015, so well overdue a visit! 

smokey joes

Thursday sees the 7th Anniversary of Hit The Ode – a special event taking place in Waterstones this month. I am keeping everything crossed that I have time after work to make it there. I love this event and haven’t been able to make one since they started back after the summer. They always feature National and International Headliners.

Featuring:
From London, Shadè Joseph
Shadè Joseph is a 23 year old Writer/Musician from East London.
She has been writing/performing poetry and producing, composing and accompanying musicians singer/songwriters and poets for the past four years and worked alongside the likes of London Symphony Orchestra, Ayanna Witter -Johnson
Caleb Femi, Tolu Agbelusi, Tshaka Campbell and Buddy Wakefield. When she’s not doing all of that good stuff she’s probably somewhere laughing or dancing or eating plantain chips or giving someone a hug.

From Northampton, Roger Robinson
Roger Robinson has performed worldwide and is an experienced workshop leader and lecturer on poetry. He was chosen by Decibel as one of 50 writers who have influenced the black-British writing canon. He received commissions from The National Trust, London Open House, The National Portrait Gallery, The V&A, INIVA and Theatre Royal Stratford East where he also was an associate artist.

He was shortlisted for The OCM Bocas Poetry Prize and highly commended by the Forward Poetry Prize 2013. He has toured extensively with the British Council and is a co-founder of both Spoke Lab and the international writing collective Malika’s Kitchen and is an alumni of The Complete Works. His New and Selected Poems is soon to be published on Peepal Tree Press.
He released two albums with Disrupt on every reggae lovers favourite label Jahtari in 2015 and is a founding member of King Midas Sound on Ninja Tune.

From New Zealand, Penny Ashton,
Penny Ashton is New Zealand’s own global comedienne who has been making a splash on the world stage since 2002. She has performed over 600 solo shows and has sold out from Edinburgh to Adelaide to Edmonton. She has represented both New Zealand in The World Cup of Theatresports in Germany, and Australasia in a Performance Poetry Slam Tournament Tour of the UK. She has also performed poetry by invitation at The Glastonbury Festival, her solo musical Promise and Promiscuity at The Jane Austen Festival in Bath and has reported from the Miss Universe Pageant in Las Vegas.

hit 1

On Friday Jack Crowe has organised another extravaganza – I heard so many good things about the first event of this kind (February 2017) and I would like to think by Friday I may have grown wings to fly back into the city. However, looking at the schedule as I type I am having palpitations. 

funk

This event happens at The Edge in Digbeth 7:30 -10:30 PM

If you go on the back of seeing it here – let Jack know, especially if I don’t manage to get there myself, he will be happy that I sent you to the door. 

Funkenteleky, in which four poets and four musicians wake up together.

*they combine live on-stage at The Edge, in a unique, one time only, funky, verby spoken potion which makes y’all do a dance in your minds.

*it’s Birmingham’s most irregular Poetry and Music collaboration night, and it’s gonna be well fun.

Doing this this time shall be:

FERRIS / LEE / WEIR

are an organ trio of critically acclaimed musicians: Dave Ferris on organ, Ben Lee on guitar, and Billy Weir on drums. The name of the band is their surnames, we notice. Expect Latin grooves, New Orleans shuffles, mind-boggling improvisation, and a set of their own inspired tunes to close the night. Don’t expect acid-skiffle space thrash, but equally don’t be surprised if it happens. For Funkenteleky the band will be joined by a player of brass, who will remain mysterious, silhouetted in these pixels, an untapped funk spring.
“I love this kind of grooving, funky organ trio music, and last night Ferris/Lee/Weir took it to new heights of originality, creativity, imagination, feel and chops.”
We can’t wait. https://billyweir.com/ferris-lee-weir/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6shj9zpF1I

LEON PRIESTNALL

is one of Birmingham’s best poets. His work scatters back and forth between the observational and the vulnerable, humorous and raw. Bearing his heart in lines of tongue twisting insight, Leon tells us stories of love and betrayal, and stories of innocence and bliss. The host of Howl, the city’s hippest poetry knees up, we’re thrilled that he’ll be treating us to a unique performance of his own work. A headliner at events such as Hit the Ode, Level Up, Grizzly Pear and more, he is a consummate performer who lives and breathes spoken word. He’s awesome, basically.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQvLIcujRkI

BETHANY SLINN

loves the po. She combines political commentary with small moments, using sensory imagery s k i pping with movement to depict individual and collective urban experiences. She makes the truth vivid and the vividness true. She’s done so at Verve Poetry Fest, Level UP!, Howl, Stirchley Speaks and Shanty Town and is currently focusing on building Agora Poetry, a platform for spoken word and storytelling inviting underrepresented voices into the room. Never-stop-being-curious.
Bethany Slinn- Poet https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qddLIvHI008&t

TARIK ROSS-CAMERON

crafts stories of his experiences in Birmingham, mixing warm humour with authentic social observation. He has honed his talents in headline slots at Howl and Stirchley Speaks. On the 25th of October he launches his new collection ‘Do What you Can’, commissioned by Punch Records, Arts Connect and the Gallery 37 Foundation. In 2016 he was part of the Hippodrome’s B-Side Hip Hop Festival, showcasing his poetic propensity for rhythm and rhyme. He’s a Brummie of whom the city is very proud, and we can’t wait for him to light up the Funkenteleky stage.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=leyl2zLAfYQ&list=PLHtPk-aPh1AaNJIX37Kv47sq5ALe0UBXn

ANDY OWEN COOK

is a writer, theatre maker and friendly human from Sheffield. He has performed and made work for and in Theatre Deli, Arts Depot, Camden People’s Theatre, Wardrobe Theatre, Glasgow School of Art, Flim Nite, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Bradford Poetry City, and elsewhere. Currently he’s touring a performance called The Church of Jim, after a successful month of performing it in one place, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. State of the Arts gave it five stars, calling it “weird, wonderful and somewhat outrageous… from terrifying and bizarre, to beautiful and hypnotic.” Andy once said ‘rimming’ in a poem on BBC Radio Sheffield. Outside of poetry, Andy is a hysterical railway signalman, and you are a glistening moon. He is a wristwatch with no strap and you are a magnifying glass, kindling a fire purely from the thoughts of winged squid scudding to the cities of humans to warn us of ourselves.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3_Nm421q7w
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEuRnEJbRNI&t=2s

 

Saturday I will spend the morning with my Spark Young Writers Group (another reason I may not make it to Funkenteleky). In the afternoon there is a Room 204 workshop that I hope to attend. 

And next week looks just as full! 

Happening this month:

Verve Poetry Festival V.I.P Launch, a WPL meeting for a new community project, WPL radio interview BBC Hereford & Worcester with Tammy Gooding, Burning Eye Books Event, A Night of Music and Poetry at the Jinney Ring, the conclusion of the Croome Court Adam Speaks Performance and 42.

My WMRN role at Rugby Library is also active with the public now. I shall be facilitating my first workshop at the end of the month. 

wmrn review writing workshop

In addition to all this I am trying to secure work and focus on my own writing and submissions after submerging myself in the Poet Laureate role for the past 5 months. 

There are patches of the blog which need updating. I will get to them as soon as I can. I am planning some time out from the circuit in December (fortunately it winds down a little anyway).

RELATED LINKS:

https://worcestershirepoetlaureateninalewis.wordpress.com/2017/11/08/hanbury-hall-poetry-at-parks-cafe/

https://worcestershirepoetlaureateninalewis.wordpress.com/2017/11/03/art-down-words-up/

 

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Review June 2017

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What a cracking, action-packed month!

Week 1:

At the end of May, I was notified of the Worcester Poet Laureate finals as I was a finalist, I still hadn’t told many people I had entered. This year our poems were not open to vote on the LitFest site and so many people didn’t know who the participants were.

But I knew. I am getting used to keeping success secret until the time comes when you can share the news. It is tricky and sometimes frustrating, but it is delightful when you can finally go public.

So after the official finalists announcement, I did just that and went public with my news. Damon Lord and Louise Reeder were the other finalists and it is a competition all of us had entered before.

Most of this week was spent preparing for the 9th (WLF Poet Laureate Final/Launch), memorising poetry and writing my brief summary of what I would do in role were I lucky enough to be awarded the position.

I also prepared for our WLF show (11th June) 30-40-60 in collaboration with Kathy Gee & Claire Walker. I had poetry film work to edit and a major software crisis. I was also co-ordinating/ organising the Open Mic section of the show.

304060

Thursday 1st June saw UNCORKED at Bottles, Holly Daffurn’s wonderful new vibey poetry/spoken word night. This started back in April (20th) and at the time I am sure Holly hoped to do it again, at the time she wasn’t sure if it would become a regular event. I am glad to see that it has.

The Headliners were Charley Barnes, Hannah Teesdale and Spoz. I was going to be on this bill but then Charley’s book was released and it was decided better timing for her to appear. (I am happily headlining next month.) It was a fabulous night and I thoroughly enjoyed reconnecting with Hannah and listening to sterling sets from all the featured artists. uncorked-june (2)

The open mic section (of which I was part) worked well too. I wish I had more time to write timely reviews, like I used to back in the day. One man who can be relied upon to do just that is Rick Sanders, re-reading his review brought it all back to me, so hopefully it will make you feel like you were there too.

Vintage Uncorked

Friday night was Stanza and Saturday saw a clash of events, a pre-book Book Launch in Walsall and a editing/workshop in Cheltenham. I always go with the first booking and that was the workshop.

I was due to perform in the Stoke Newington Literature Festival for the Shabda Press launch, but was geographically not close enough to make it to London in time and after cancelling last month’s workshop, didn’t really want to do the same.

stoke

In the end common sense won (rare result) and I headed home.

On Sunday a new event happened in Walsall – the brainchild and action of  Dave Pitt, Steve Pottinger and Emma Purshouse – Yes we Cant – they had a banner made and everything. I love the pay what you think concept and I LOVED the fact that Jonny Fluffypunk was the first headliner. I was going anyway – but when I discovered that it sealed it for sure!

walsall punk

Paul Francis was the other featured guest and I have not seen him for so long. Back to full health and with a new pamphlet, an irresistible buy at only £3 and for a ruddy good cause. Breaking Point – Poems about Migration.

You can read more about the launch in Much Wenlock here.

I like regular forms – so there’s sonnets, a ballad rhymed couplets and a villanelle; and I’m not shy about political commitment. I think the Farage side of the leave campaign was despicable, and am strongly opposed to the explicit hostility to migrants which has resulted from the campaign. So there. I’m not, of course, on the front line, but Wolverhampton city of Sanctuary are, and the booklet is being sold to raise money for them. £72.00 in the first week, which is not a fortune but is better than nothing. Paul Francis © 2017

ppp

I had a great night, the venue was packed and hot! It will be interesting to see how they configure the furniture next time, the open mic spots were enjoyed and I was lucky enough to get there in time to grab one! They had an open poetry competition, on the night 8 lines of topical story in poetic form, with a winner (Mogs, of course) and prizes and everything.

They had table decorations and a fun party atmosphere, frantically fun at times. Paul’s set was incredible powerful and thought provoking and Jonny was on TOP form! I was delighted to get to chat a bit at the end, always aware of getting in the way of new fandom for this man. I snapped up Poundland Rimbaud, his latest Burning Eye collection and chatted politics for a while (on the cusp of the election).

I had a great night and this is definitely a night I will attend again, although I have to miss Brenda Read-Brown on the 2nd July due to a festival event and a family party.

Rick mentions the banner too! https://willisthepoet.wordpress.com/2017/06/05/did-someone-mention-a-banner/

It was a wild way to end the week and leaves me wishing Walsall could be moved a little closer!


Week 2:

After a 5 day run on events, I planned to crack on with some down time pre- Worcester LitFest and apart from working and the inevitable household chore list, I managed some rest – from performing at least.

I have been so busy for the past few months that I have missed the opportunity of submitting work and things on the desk are now living in mountainous piles. My focus was the LitFest and our show 30-40-60 that allowing brainspace for anything else was almost impossible.

I had two poems published by Weasel Press in a digital anthology highlighting Domestic Abuse. degen 1 One of the poems ‘Ripped’ was written this year during NaPoWriMo, the other ‘Statues in Stone’ is a poem I have tinkered with for years.

On Friday the 7th Worcester LitFest kicked off with the Launch and Poet Laureate Final at Worcester Racecourse, just thinking back makes me feel exhausted. There is so much tension and anxiety caused by putting yourself through any competition, but one with these stakes… well.

I thoroughly enjoyed the new venue, I couldn’t enjoy the bar and nibbles as I had work to do and much as I managed to circulate and converse the thrilling excitement everyone else was experiencing was just like nauseating sea-sickness in my mind and stomach.

The Young Writers Competition entries were read and those teens had so much talent I bet there was not a person in the room who didn’t consider hanging up their pen! The 3 winning flash fiction entries were also celebrated before us finalists took to the floor with our poems and promises.

In case you have missed social media for the past 3 weeks… I won! Delighted.

Read more about it https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2017/06/10/worcestershire-poet-laureate-final/

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2017/06/10/worcestershire-poet-laureate-201718/

https://journalread.com/2017/06/16/congratulations-nina-lewis-worcestershire-poet-laureate-2017-2/

PL Suz Winspear – Former Worcestershire Poet Laureate, Nina Lewis and Steve Wilson – County Arts Officer.

For up to date information and all things Worcestershire/Poetry check out my Laureate blog here.

Saturday was a tough day – after the excitement of becoming the new Poet Laureate, I had 3 hours sleep and journeyed into Birmingham to the University for the National Writers Conference, organised by Writing West Midlands.

This used to be called the Writers Toolkit, I haven’t been since 2014. Tickets are fairly pricey but completely worth the investment. If you do the sums, (three break out sessions, 2 key-note speakers, priceless networking opportunities, lunch, refreshments and performances are all included in the ticket price AND a goody bag) – it does not feel unreasonably high. This year as I am in Room 204 a free ticket is one of the many perks of the development programme and only 3 hours sleep was NOT going to stop me attending.

I had a wonderful day, met a few new people and reconnected with poet/writer friends. It was lovely to snatch brief conversations with a few of the keynote speakers before they rushed off to Welshpool Literature Festival, I will write a designated post next month and link it back to here. Too much to say in a review paragraph. Needless to say, loved the whole event and got some things out of it. It felt very different to the first time.

nwc 1

I managed a couple of hours at home before my first OFFICIAL engagement as Worcestershire Poet Laureate.

Night at the Museum III – Suz Winspear – Poet in Residence at the Porcelain Museum, Matt Windle – Birmingham Poet Laureate, Oakley – Young Poet Laureate of Worcestershire, Chloe Clarke – Former Young Poet Laureate Worcestershire and myself performed sets of poetry before Suz launched her new Worcester Porcelain pamphlet – The Aniseed Elite. https://www.museumofroyalworcester.org/product/pamphlet-2/

Aniseed-Elite-@2x-768x768

It was a fabulous night of top notch poetry from a talented bunch of poet laureates, a pleasure to be part of and I felt very special. My set included my two finalists poems ‘Lit Up’ (on the theme of Voice) and ‘Tasseomancy’. A less nervous performance of both.

Sunday was filled with preparation for our debut showing of 30-40-60 at the LitFest, another incredible, adrenaline fuelled evening of poetry and pleasure.

Read all about it https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2017/06/22/30-40-60/

wlf1


WEEK 3:

I started promoting 30-40-60, before the show I had sent press releases out in the hope of future festival bids, after hearing the audience reaction I was spurred on to get something concrete organised for 2018.

I also started Laureateship work, traditionally the Poet Laureate has a local radio slot (BBC Hereford & Worcester), Suz put me in touch with the contact and my first radio interview is on 3rd July. The past Laureates have been strong and I want to build on their success, continuing work where the foundations have been laid as well as building new poetry constructs is all part of my mission.

I organised a poetry performance and picnic at an established event ‘SALT KING 200’ at the Chateau Impney – in celebration of John Corbett and put a call out for poetry submissions for a Refugee Anthology, World Refugee Day/ Refugee Awareness Week.

I also created a dedicated WPL blog and email account. I have a feeling I will need both this year!

Worcester LitFest was in full swing and I attended and performed at 42 Festival Special, which featured the Anti-Poet and was an anarchy driven night of high spirits and the following night SpeakEasy with Pete the Temp, which was also the evening Suz and I did the official hand over and had a few more photos taken of the now engraved WPL award!

Handover

I hope to create a dedicated blog post for more details in review of the 7th Worcester LitFest – keep your eyes peeled!

I also received a couple of gifts, a wooden ‘Laureate’s Nook’ sign from Mr G. for my Book Nook (to be created) and a folder with a certificate from Maggie Doyle Poet Laureate Emeritus.

After performing my Grenfell Tower poem at 42 (the reaction it got), I decided it was necessary to share it on social media. I later decided to send it to Reuben Woolley at I Am Not A Silent Poet. https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2017/06/19/sudden-emptiness-by-nina-lewis/ He kindly published it.

not-a-silent-poet-grant-tarbard1


WEEK 4:

Laureate wise – I produced the poetry collection for World Refugee Day (20th) https://worcestershirepoetlaureateninalewis.wordpress.com/2017/06/20/world-refugee-day-in-poetry/ showcasing established, emerging and beginner poets – Local, National & International poets represented. I was amazed by the response and with just 48 hours from call out to end result – it is a fine collective of voices. Strong points that need to be heard and should be made.

love

I also promoted National Writing Day NationalWritingDay_Featured (1) and performed at the final WLF Fringe event for the 2017 Festival – Words on Water – A Midsummer celebration of poetry and prose on the banks of the River Severn. It was an excellent evening and this year even saw a stop off for a much needed rest (it was during the heatwave) and rehydration at the Diglis Hotel. An addition the whole team agree to repeat next year. I will write more about it in my LitFest round up review next month.

At the beginning of the week when my recent win was not the wide-spread news it is now – I was invited to perform at a well established Poetry Festival later this year!

I had a 10 minute Guest Spot at Licensed to Rhyme at the Artrix – the night is run by Maggie Doyle & Spoz.

licensed-to-rhyme

I worked on a couple of projects I am currently involved with. Spent an afternoon at Croome Court as preparation for the Adam Speak Project (Room 204) with 9 other poets.

On Friday evening I ventured back to Birmingham to Waterstones (seems like ages), for Three Midland Poets a night with Nichola Deane, Rich Goodson and Charles G Lauder Jr.

I loved all of their performances and always enjoy meeting, hearing and reading new-to-me-poets. I ended up buying all three books thanks to some (intentionally) hidden handbag book money! It was a great night and despite being exceptionally tired, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

https://www.list.co.uk/event/788728-three-midlands-poets/

I also had an open mic spot and was able to share my Laureate poems as practise for next week’s Headline spot (booked back in April).

Saturday saw my final Writing West Midlands Spark Writers Group for this academic year.

Sunday was a day of rest… of course it wasn’t! I had organised the Poetry Performance and Picnic at SALT KING 200 which was a good event and I will blog about it in more detail next month.

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Design by Rosie Philpott.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2017/06/25/salt-king-200-with-added-poetry/

WEEK 5: 

The extra bit – I finally sat at my desk long enough to consider submissions and writing, for the first time in months. I have been busy with shows, festival events, organising and promoting – which is all well and good but sometimes a poet just wants to write. It felt good. Like the cleanse of the first wash after a long-distance trip.

I even managed a submission!

I heard back from Editors, long awaited Leonard Cohen Anthology response and am delighted that my poem ‘Shadow Line’ will be published in Anthem: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen, more news on that soon. I love signing poetry contracts before work, that will never grow old as a brilliant way to start the morning!

I contacted local media/newspapers about WPL (Worcestershire Poet Laureate) and enjoyed a 2nd influx of messages.

Earlier this month there was talk of both a festival booking possibility and a dedicated one off poetry day/event with publishers. Both things came to fruition – and guess what – they are planned for the same day! Of course I will do both!

I had my first headline gig for a while, featured poet at Spoken Trend in Kings Norton (Weds 28th). A great night and plenty of new to the mic poets and first timers at the event. Tom McCann did himself proud and Tom Crossland was the god of memorised words! 18156973_234039340410245_5610446431448437883_n I thoroughly enjoyed the whole evening. Some fabulous open mic slots, plenty of featured artists amongst them.

SPOKEN TREND One of those nights you wish you could repeat, straight away!

And to complete my month there is a meeting taking place later (30th) about a current project and Stanza this evening, where I plan to take a current project poem along for editing advice!

What a glorious month of sun, heat and poetry!

Copy of Music Festival Poster Template

 

 

Review of the Month January 2016

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What a strange start to the year, so much change and loss. I do not feel that I can write a review of this month without a mention of Sammy Joe, who sadly passed away on the 5th January. Events that I attend weeks later are still making tributes to her and many of us still cannot believe that she has gone. Her funeral is early February and a donation page has been set up to raise money for Mental Health Charities.

Many of us (artists and non-artists) suffer mental health issues from time to time or all the time, it is the nature of using our minds, the depths a creative soul can rise and fall. Anyway instead of flowers some of us are pledging a donation in the hope that other people can experience a better kind of care and understanding.

I for one find it difficult to imagine not seeing Sammy at an event again, my thoughts are still very much with her family and close ones, her daughter and everyone who has known her. Whether you knew her for a few years or more, she will have touched your life in some way either through her brutally honest poetry or through conversation or her cuddly hugs. I wish I had known her for longer than I have, I feel good to have known her and thank her for all our heart to hearts.

Rest in Peace  Sammy x BL RH Sammy Joe © Rangzeb Hussain 2015

 

 CHANGES ON THE CIRCUIT – EVENTS

This month also saw the end of Mouth & Music for a while, back in 6 months time hopefully.

SpeakEasy will still continue as it is part of the Worcester LitFest but after two years at the helm Maggie Doyle & Fergus McGonigal are retiring from organising and MCing the event, the last chance to catch them hosting will be next month.

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JANUARY – BACK TO WRITING

For me January was the month I learnt to swim again *not literally. The end of 2015 from November onwards saw a slow decline in productivity, I found I was unable to write, by December I was barely trying. I had the weight of other things crowding my mind and the ‘love of writing’ spell broke for a while. This deflated me, as it was the first dip I had felt since embarking back into a writing life. It usually makes me feel great, even during periods of editorial rejection or non-submission, but by the end of 2015 I had ground to a halt. I knew I would pass GO again, just wasn’t sure when. I tried not to worry, but wasn’t happy with the negative projection I was giving writing.

I knew I would still carry on with this dream, but was dreading January becoming another winter month of no writing.

Fortunately the month kicked off a few days in with a Claire Walker Workshop, in which I managed to write a poem and faith was restored. The action plan was drawn up and I organised 4 writing days this month as well as working evenings and weekends to get everything done. There has been a lot of editing too.

I wrote over 21 new poems and submitted work to 9 different places. See I told you I meant business. It still amazes me that organising submissions can still take 3-5 hours even when the material is ready. A few revision lessons in not leaving things to the last minute, have managed that well as everything to be sent by 31/1 was actually out by 3oth! Leaving me a whole day at the end of this month to get ready for February. Yes the Action Plan is already saved.

This is my year of WRITING (I keep telling myself).

2013 the year for (re)learning and finally finding poetry

2014 the year of the gig, festivals and commissioned work

2015 the year of headlining and writing my first chapbook

2016 the year of editing/writing

I have had poetry accepted by I Am Not A Silent Poet, Abridged, Maligned Species Fairacre Press. A total of 5+ poems out there for eyes to read. That’s smashing. I will write more about these publications next month.

Contaminated

Your Sentence of Non-Guilt

Poems for Ashraf Fayadh published in I Am Not a Silent Poet

Expectation – Abridged Floodland Issue

Colonisation

Quantum Wonderment – Fairacre Press, Maligned Species Project Spider E-book

I also discovered the poetry of Patience Agbabi. I went to watch her perform at The Hive. I enjoyed a night at the 52 Launch this evening and will blog about both events next month.

Week 1

Workshop – with Claire Walker, new poetry written, performed at The Ort, booked Headline slot for February.

Week 2

Booked tickets for Patience Agbabi & Liz Berry, performed at Mouth & Music & SpeakEasy, went to Poets by the Lake to watch Sarah James, Bert Flitcroft & Roy McFarlane – an event facilitated by David Calcutt, submitted poems, wrote new ones – including some I performed in my set at SpeakEasy, Daniel Sluman invited me to his book launch in February.

Week 3

Wrote and submitted more poetry, published on I Am Not A Silent Poet, thanks Reuben Woolley, I read a lot about Ashraf Fayadh and watched other poets and politicians performing his work, there was an online event on the 22nd in support of his release but I was working my day job and unable to participate. I received a nice rejection email from Little Lantern Press, I had sent work for the next anthology on Loss back in 2015. I started to research modern love and wrote a poem about pearly presents which I took to Stanza.

Week 4

I did a lot of research for the Maligned Species Project which was released by Fairacre Press back in the Autumn and naturally I left it until the last week to work on submissions. It is a really interesting project which again I will blog about in more detail, I have had 2 poems accepted for the spider e-book. I am delighted to have a poem published in the next issue of Abridged too, I was accepted 3x on Friday night – that was a buzz and shows what an activated action plan can achieve!

I am still working on my manuscript and have by-passed 2 self imposed deadlines. I know the editor would rather have a manuscript that is ready though, especially after all this time. It has been on the top of the desk this week and I am part way through.

I was sent an email which made my day/year – someone on twitter had tweeted that in the whole of Paper Swans Press ‘Schooldays’ Anthology the end line of my poem was their favourite line in the WHOLE book! I have read it (RECOMMEND) and know how good the poetry is!

I made more submissions and received another rejection from a magazine I have tried to break since 2015 – does one give up or keep going?

I watched Patience Agbabi perform at The Hive – wow – wowed!

I signed up for a Warwick University course Literature & Mental Health – which starts in February. I started using my Kindle Fire *Thank you Mr G – Christmas pressie!*

I have just come back from the launch of the 52 Prompt book at the MAC, more on this soon.

I wrote my ACTION PLAN for next month!

 

September Review

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SEPTEMBER 2015 Review – What a month! The end of the month marked 2 years a poet, I had a celebration last year and plan to organise a belated one for this year too. September itself was busy for everyone and October doesn’t seem any emptier. November and December tend to become quieter. I will see when it best fits and hope to manage it before the end of the year.

WEEK 1

I took a trip up to Shropshire to join in with John Hegley’s workshop in Ludlow, followed by the Poetry Lounge in the Sitting Room with headliners John Hegley and Ian McEwan.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/09/25/john-hegley-workshop-performance/

john hegley appletree

john hegley guillemot

Jean Atkin © 2015

Jean Atkin © 2015

My application for the Poetry Brothel on 31st October at the P Café was accepted by Caged Arts.

I entered the WLF NPD Competition on the theme of light (and shade).

I worked on the Caldmore Garden writing project and continued to edit and redraft my pamphlet poetry.

Rehearsals for NPD Light & Shade were organised and I worked on the poem for this event. I performed at Spoken Word at The Ort.

 

WEEK 2 light shade NPD

I finalised my NPD poem for Light & Shade performance event on NPD (8th Oct)

I performed at Mouth & Music and SpeakEasy, attended Stanza. https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/09/25/poetry-events-september-spoken-word-the-ort-mouth-music-speakeasy/

WWM PINK

I had had my first WWM Writing West Midlands group of the new academic year and now in the role of Lead Writer – it went really well and I was  very pleased. The Young Writers enjoyed it and my new Assistant Writer is amazing.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/09/26/writing-west-midlands/

I went to the Plenty Fish Book Launch – By Sarah James, Nine Arches Press and celebrated her success by listening to her guest poets – Fergus McGonigal, Mike Alma, Kathy Gee, Ian Glass, Holly Magill & Maggie Doyle and enjoying an evening of Poetry and Curry.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/09/26/plenty-fish-by-sarah-james-book-launch/

plentyfish books

I completed the week in Birmingham with Tessa Lowe at Poets with Passion.

WEEK 3

Started with Arts business meetings and Poetry on Loan training in Worcester, I was booked as a Guest Poet in Cheltenham in October, made the shortlist for WLF NPD Competition, the public were then allowed to vote on their favourite to join the other 3 finalists who are performing at the event on NPD.

I went to Poetry For Lunch – revival 2015 at the P café with Jan Watts and others, performed poetry and enjoyed iced coffee blends. Went to Hit the Ode with Myfanwy Fox to see Jackie Hagan, Toni Stuart and Leon Priestnall.

hit

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/09/26/more-poetry-events-september-poets-with-passion-pfl-and-hit-the-ode/

I went to Swingerella’s Wrecking Ball Tour at the Mockingbird Theatre and rehearsed for Caldmore Carnival event in the garden then spent Sunday working on Alice in Wonderland poetry for the AAOTP (Arts all Over the Place) fundraiser next week.

WEEK 4

Heather Wastie, Suz Winspear and I had our first rehearsal for NPD, I am now trying to learn the poems off by heart as we have choreographed a dramatic showing and I want to be able to use my body accordingly. We even sorted costume. Very exciting.

I went to Poetry Bites to watch Liz Berry and Jane Commane headline. I performed as one of the open mic-ers, also had a good catch up with Jonathan Davidson (WWM). I performed my Alice/ Lewis Carroll poems at the Madhatter’s Fundraiser for AAOTP, booked tickets for Swindon Poetry Festival and organised Guest Writers for INKSPILL – our online writing retreat which takes place the 3rd weekend in October. We had wonderful weather for the Carnival Day in Caldmore (postponed from the summer due to bad weather) the choral poem worked really well and we performed some of our workshop poetry too with David Calcutt – Poet in Residence 2014/15.

caldmore2

I finished off the month writing Vampire poetry for 42 – the 50th event of 42. It was pure celebration on the 30th and lots of incredibly talented performers and writers took to the stage.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/09/28/poeting-training-performing-september/

 

WORKSHOPS

John Hegley

 

OPEN MICS

Poetry Lounge in the Sitting Room, Ludlow, 1st September

Spoken Word at The Ort Café, Birmingham, 4th September

Mouth & Music, Kidderminster, 8th September

SpeakEasy, Worcester, 10th September

Poetry For Lunch, P Café Birmingham 17th

Poetry Bites, Birmingham 22nd

MADHATTER’S WONDERLAND OF LAUGHTER – Arts All Over the Place, Fundraiser, Birmingham 24th

Caldmore Carnival Open Day, Group Poem Performance, Walsall 26th

42, Worcester 30th September

 

BOOK LAUNCH / EVENTS

WWM Lead Writer for Senior Group, Worcester, 12th September

Book Launch, Plenty Fish by Sarah James Published by Nine Arches 12th

Poets With Passion at The Ort, Birmingham 13th September

Poetry On Loan Training, Worcester 14th September

Hit The Ode, Birmingham 17th

Swingerella Wrecking Ball Tour, Mockingbird Theatre, Birmingham, 18th

Caldmore Garden – Rehearsals for Carnival event, Walsall 19th

NPD Light & Shade rehearsals, 21st

Stanza

J. H © 2015

J. H © 2015

October has a busy start with Swindon Poetry Festival, Stirchley Speaks, National Poetry Day, Light & Shade NPD performance and a weekend Book Launch ‘The Girl who Grew into a Crocdile’ By Claire Walker.

I am busy organising our 3rd Online Retreat right here, INKSPILL… LOOK OUT FOR MORE DETAILS SOON!

Review of the Month – July

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ww me If July was a race it would be 100 metre sprint, if it was weather it would be a full on 30 degrees (I am from the UK), July was like the best day ever groundhogged over and over!

Busy, full and delightful.

Was it all Roses?

There were a few dips, loss of confidence in my writing but I am learning that self-belief isn’t a constant and that all artists feel this way sometimes. So, rather like my illness in the early days – I am choosing acceptance. It is better to admit defeat, say this is the way I feel today, so what can I do that will create more time for writing another day. Anything from the TO DO list, which is huge this summer, as I am attempting to unpack the house (finally), deep cleaning as I go.

Write Daily

I am a firm believer in this action and I DO. Even on a dip day some writing will have been created – that is how a dip day is spawned, it doesn’t come from not writing. Besides I had 10-15years of not-writing. If you want to be a runner, you may have a day when you do a quick power walk and some pilates, but I am sure you wouldn’t stop altogether. Even on the non-training days they are devouring everything they can about their chosen goal.

LET IT GO

I have talked about Elsa moments before on this blog. I missed a few submission opportunities this month because I couldn’t key into what the writing required. I am currently working on a big project and that is taking the focus when I am working – and so it should. I have tried to make submissions with work I have already collecting dust.

eastbourne

JULY

I was still on holiday, basking in heat and oceans at the beginning of July. As soon as I was home the run of poetry events kicked in.

 

WEEK 1

Magnetic Diaries A wonderful Poetry Play at The Courtyard, Hereford.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/07/20/the-magnetic-diaries-poetry-play-including-micro-interview-with-author/

Rhyme with Reason A great open mic night in Birmingham.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/07/21/birminghams-growing-poetry-rhyme-with-reason/

Poetry Lounge A fantastic night in Ludlow.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/07/24/poetry-lounge-in-the-sitting-room-july-7th/

Ledbury Cider with Poets Ruth Stacey Book Launch

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/07/31/ledbury-poetry-festival-the-launch-of-queen-jewels-mistress-by-ruth-stacey/

Quiet Compere Tour Worcester Stop 6 A great event to be involved in, 1 of 10 poets.

sarahnina lewisNeil LaurensonMyfanwy FoxMike AlmaJasmine Gardosiclive deeCarl SealeafClaire WalkerCatherine CrosswellAdrian Mealing Sarah Dixon © 2015

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/08/01/quiet-compere-tour-2015-stop-6-worcester/

Then after this run of events I found myself exhausted. I was working full time too. I spent the whole weekend sleeping and unfortunately missed the 52 Picnic and reading in Stratford-Upon-Avon at the Poetry Festival. A great shame as this was something I was looking forward to for a long time.

The Pangaea Slam a wonderful poetry competition I discovered in 2014, this year I posted a video in WEEK 1, unfortunately since then I have been busy with writing projects and life and have not managed to complete this event. It is now on my hit list for next year.

 

WEEK 2

After a weekend of sleep, I was ready to go again and as it was the last week of term, I had less work to do and more energy to play (all my poetry work is play).

Ten Letters was an amazing experience, Poetry Theatre at its best. A wonderful collective.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/08/01/ten-letters/

10 letters 2

Walsall Caldmore Community Garden Workshop with David Calcutt. This workshop was great, the tools of the job was our starting point, due to the weather we spent most of our time writing in The Bakehouse, a wonderful artisan café in town. There were some interesting pieces that came out of this workshop, not to mention the gorgeous food at The Bakehouse and the help yourself bookcase!

In the evening I went to Mouth & Music where the theme (thanks to Gary Longden) was inventions that never made it – the hardest theme I have ever had to write for. I tried to write a poem in the hour I had between the workshop and M&M, it was still in scratch stage but will be developed. It was a great night.

MM July me Peter Williams © 2015

At the weekend I was heading to Shropshire for Writing Down the Dingle, a writing workshop facilitated by Jean Atkin. I had to pull out of this workshop as we had a college reunion the same day – a group of Drama students that haven’t seen each other for 20 years, which was fabulous and a great start to the summer holidays.

 

WEEK 3

I started to focus on writing, I am still editing a collection and now have a couple of new projects to work on from Walsall. I started working on my 1st poetry sequence for 42 for ‘Island of Lost Souls’, I started with black out poetry based on a page of HG Wells. From there I edited and extended the sequence, keeping the archaic language of the original text. In the end the sequence was 5 poems long and following positive feedback I might make it a flash fiction piece.

It was also the Walsall Festival this week, originally an event that was planned got cancelled but I did get to a workshop at Walsall Arboretum facilitated by Jimmie Rennie and David Calcutt, which was great fun.

Photography Janet Jenkins © 2015

swanslakebandstand

writing cafe

 

Followed by a reading at The Bakehouse. It amazed me how different all of our writing was from the stimulus of the lake.

bakehouse

sammy Sammy jimmieJimmie me Nina

janet Janet david David

1benBen 1andyAndy

1 nethNeth

 

In the evening I performed at The Sun at The Station for Arts All Over the Place at the Madhatter Charity Fundraiser. Rachel Green booked me for this event a month ago, having opened the festival for them last year. I was delighted to be asked, although I wasn’t sure which poems to perform. It was a great event and well attended – a great fundraiser, such a success that they are considering making it a bi-monthly event.

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Rachel Green © 2015

rg1rgRachel Green Sammyme rachel

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Howard Atkins © 2015

I took some bookings for August Headlines, diary is now booked up to October.
WEEK 4

I had an amazing night at Shakti Women Womanly Words event. Lots of great performances and a touching experience. It was the first of a schedule of events planned for this summer.

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42 Drummonds was a great event, my sequence of poetry went down well and we all got to say goodbye to Math Jones, who is off to the smog of our Capital City.

And since then I have chained myself back to my virtual desk to continue writing.

©Murdock Ramone Media

©Murdock Ramone Media

SUBMISSIONS

I have sent 4 submissions this month, I am waiting to hear the results and keeping my fingers crossed as always!

 

It has been an amazing month. Made more spectacular by the fact that my (unpaid) summer holidays started 2 weeks ago and since then I have been in my poetry skin and I still have 6 weeks to go. This is my holiday, being my poet self!

WORCESTERSHIRE POET LAUREATE – The Final – I am a Finalist!

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I am delighted to announce this news! WLF&F logo concepts

Back in March, I entered the competition for this year’s Worcestershire Poet Laureate. I was over the moon to make the long-list. There was an interview with two of the team, at which you had a chance to read poetry as well as answer lots of questions. This idea is a good one, as you can tell a lot from people with a little informal chat and some interview questions.

From there I made it to the short-list with 6 other poets. We will compete for the title of Worcestershire Poet Laureate on the 12th June, at The Guildhall in Worcester, as part of the opening ceremony for WLF – Worcester LitFest & Fringe.

PLEASE VOTE

We all wrote two poems, our first of which have been published on the WLF website and are open for public votes.

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

I am not allowed to tell you which poem is mine, you have ONE VOTE – it’s FREE so please take some time to read the entries and cast your vote.

THE PROGRAMME

You can see the full programme  Prog LitFest 2015 v3.

TICKETS

Tickets can be downloaded or collected from the Tourist Information Centre at The Guildhall or from Worcester Live Box Office, Huntingdon Hall, CrownGate, Worcester WR1 3LD Tel: 01905 611427 or from a member of the LitFest team. Note: When you pay via PayPal your receipt is your ticket – please print a copy and bring it with you to the event.

THE LAUNCH

You can join us at the launch for just £5

June Event Venues Time Ticket Cost  PayPal
12 Friday Launch Poet Laureate Competition / Young Writer Winners / Flash Fiction Winners Guildhall 6pm for 6.30pm start £5.00 btn_buynowCC_LGbtn_buynowCC_LGbtn_buynowCC_LG

WORCESTER LITFEST & FRINGE

I will be performing at;

The Launch Of The Festival – Poet Laureate Competition
And Young Writers’ Awards
The Guildhall, High Street, Worcester WR1 2EY
Friday 12 June – 18:30 for a 19:00 start
Join us for the launch of the Festival and watch 6 poets go head to head as
they compete for the title of Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2015.
Judges include: current Worcestershire Poet Laureate Fergus McGonigal,
Poet Laureate Emeritus Maggie Doyle, County Arts Officer Steve Wilson,
Young Poet Laureate Chloe Clarke and the Secretary of LitFest.
To open the event, we will present the prizes for the Young Writer
competition and the winners of the Flash Fiction competition will be
announced.
Tickets can be purchased online by visiting www.worcslitfest.co.uk/2015-
programme-tickets.

 

Adam Millard
42 Worcester Festival Special
Drummonds Bar, The Swan With Two Nicks,
28 New Street, Worcester WR1 2DP
Wednesday 17 June – 19:00 for a 19:30 start
42 Worcester’s Festival Special this year sees the welcome return of Adam
Millard. A writer, mainly fantasy and horror, Adam’s whole life consists of
movies, books, and writing. He’s 31 and lives with his beautiful wife Zoe,
and son, Phoenix Justice. Adam has over fifty tattoos and smells of rich
Mahogany.
Who can resist?

 

SpeakEasy Festival Special
Thursday 18 June – 19:00 for a 19:30 start at The Old Rectifying House,
North Parade, Worcester WR1 3NN
Here’s your chance to read your short stories, poems, prose, try out your
performance poetry or music that tells a story. This evening is for you!
Please email curators Maggie and Fergus at speakeasy.litfest@gmail.com or
arrive early to claim an open mic slot.

 

LitFest Solstice Walk – a fabulous freebie
Starting around 10:30pm Saturday 20 June
Join us for a spookily fun walk around Worcester’s famous waterside for the
Summer Solstice – this year we’re keeping it local – the walk will be along
the banks of the River Severn. Starting outside Cripplegate Park gates on the
St John’s side of Worcester Bridge at 10:30(ish) Saturday 20 June, following
the Jonny Fluffypunk / Offa’s Poet gig. We’ll bear health and safety in mind
and ask everyone to bring a torch and wear stout shoes / boots and warm
clothing.
The route will be along the riverside to Diglis Lock and encompass the
Diglis basin marina area. There will be poetry and prose performances along
the route to entertain you.
Start time 10.30pm – finish anticipated just after midnight.
Anyone who wants can perform their poetry, short stories or flash fiction.
We’re allocating 5-minute performance slots for those interested.
Bring a torch, warm clothing and wear stout walking shoes.
Contact secretary@worcslitfest.co.uk

 

PERFORMANCES/ EVENTS 

These are the events I will going to – there are lots more, check the full programme.

‘A Night At The Museum’
Ben Parker & Todd Swift – Poetry Book Launch
The Museum of Royal Worcester, Severn Street, Worcester WR1 2ND
Saturday 13 June – 19:00 for a 19:30 start
Free Entry – refreshments available

This book launch marks the conclusion of Ben Parker’s tenure as poet-inresidence at The Museum of Royal Worcester. Ben Parker will be reading from a collection of poems produced during his residency, which will be available for purchase for the first time. This event also marks the beginning of Todd Swift’s residency at The Museum, and Todd will be reading from his highly acclaimed poetry.
Ben’s poetry has appeared in a number of magazines, including The White
Review, Under the Radar and Oxford Poetry, as well as Lung Jazz: Young
British Poets for Oxfam. His debut pamphlet, The Escape Artists, was
published by tall-lighthouse in October 2012 and shortlisted for the 2013
Michael Marks Award.

Todd is a British-Canadian poet, publisher, critic and editor. He is the editor
of numerous anthologies; and has published eight full poetry collections. His
poems have appeared widely, including in Poetry Review, and Poetry
(Chicago). In 2004 Todd was the Oxfam Poet-in-residence. He blogs at
Eyewear and runs the indie press Eyewear Publishing. Todd’s PhD in Creative
and Critical Writing is from The University of East Anglia (UEA). He was
born in Montreal, Quebec.

 

Festival Fringe Events with ‘ConFab Cabaret’
John Hegley
John Hegley – ConFab Cabaret Special
Monday 15th June 20.00-22.30 (Doors Open 19.30)
Tickets £10 online (address below) or £12 on the door
A fun packed variety night with lashings of Spoken Word.
John Hegley will be headlining an extra-special ConFab
Cabaret. John performed on the streets of London in the early eighties,
fronting the Popticians, with whom he also recorded two sessions for John
Peel, and has since been a frequent performer of his words, sung and
spoken, on both local and national radio and television.
Tip top support will be provided by luscious lovely local Malvern muses –
Adrian Mealing, Amy Rainbow, Catherine Crosswell, Clive Dee, Myfanwy
Fox and Sue Thompson. With a fabulous audience poem and
added merriment from international circus performer Steve Kaos!

Offa’s Poets And Jonny Fluffypunk
St Swithun’s Institute, The Trinity, Worcester WR1 2PN
Saturday 20 June – 19:00 for a 19:30 start
Offa’s Poets Bert Flitcroft and David Bingham
‘Thought-Apples’ is a collection of 25 poems by Staffordshire poet Bert
Flitcroft. They are philosophical, occasionally piquant, always accessible and
pleasing to the ear. Bert was born in 1946 and grew up in Lancashire.
Nowadays he lives near Lichfield, a retired English teacher.
David Bingham’s debut collection from Offa’s Press, ‘The Chatter of
Crows’, includes impressive Japanese-influenced haibun and haiku, which
amuse and intrigue in equal measure. David lives in Ironbridge, Telford, is a
retired Humanities teacher and has a Diploma in Creative Writing from
Birmingham University. He’s currently editor of Blithe Spirit magazine.
‘Good on the page and good on stage’ are Offa’s Poets’ watchwords.
Jonny Fluffypunk
And…the unforgettable ‘economic refugee’ from the Home Counties
returns to LitFest. Stand-up poet, sit-up storyteller and give-up musician
Jonny Fluffypunk has been dragging his art around the poetry, comedy and
alternative cabaret circuits for over 10 years. A multiple slam champion who
hates competition in the arts and an outspoken voice for anarchy, peace and
bicycles, Jonny’s a favourite with LitFest audiences. His ‘Sustainable
Nihilists’ Handbook’ is published by Burning Eye, and he is currently touring his no-fi stand-up spoken word show ‘Man Up, Jonny Fluffypunk –One Man’s Struggle with Late-Onset Responsibility’ to rousing acclaim.
An evening not to be missed!

WorcesterLitFest 2014

wlfjfp7wlfjfp1WLF speakeasy

 

Review of February – Another Great Month!

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‘I cannot believe it is March, but then February is such a short month! This year has been fantastic so far – as you know if you have followed the story – I am now in my 3rd year of the 1st of 4 Olympic challenges… inspired by the Summer Olympics in London, I realised that we hear the GOLD stories and not the 4, 8, 12, 16 years leading up to them. Often athletes may get to GOLD just before they are forced to retire… as writers don’t need to be in peak physical condition (we are only ever warned about the writers saggy bottom), we can (and do) write into our 80s and beyond. So once 16 years has passed I will not lay down my pen, I will carry on, but my beginners strides were to consider my writing life 16 years ahead.

Here is the beginning of year 3 (and considering I rediscovered poetry (my main focus) back in September 2013 I am only 1.5 years in) I read with awe CVs and Bios of writers in their 2nd, 3rd, 4th 5th years of their careers and thought ‘WOW, they’ve achieved that fast’ – and here I am;

Published

Performing and known locally

Headlining events

Mentoring young writers

I  have spent a year working as an assistant writer for Writing West Midlands and now can cover as a Lead writer (with some incredibly exciting news today about my future and this role which matches my hopes exactly)

Work has appeared on the Poetry Trail Wenlock Poetry Festival 2014

I worked on a commission performed at Birmingham Literature Festival (a year after I attended the festival as a wide-eyed gleeful new poet)

I have been booked as a featured act for a Charity event in Birmingham this Spring

I was booked last year (way before the amazing 52) to be 1 of 10 poets on Sarah Dixon’s Quiet Compere Tour 2015

I am working on my first chapbook/ pamphlet

I will be performing on the same night as John Hegley (Poetry God) this Autumn

I have grabbed every opportunity for workshops, tutorials and conversations with writers and publishers

I am supporting Daniel Sluman in the promotion of his second collection ‘the terrible’, right here on the AWF Blog

I AM HAPPY!

owl

Now to February – how did it look?

BLOGS & PROJECTS

As I get more active in reality, naturally I have less time to blog (I still find it amazing to consider the time that goes into such small posts), however the blog is still healthy and full of life, so thanks for popping in for a read.

Literature Festival Season is upon us, I booked all my tickets for Wenlock Poetry Festival 2015, including the 52 Project with Jo Bell and Norman Hadley, my book has been ordered too. 52 was such an amazing project to be a small part of and it has brought the wonders of the publishing world and success to many of the participants.

This year I am seeking to place my poetry in suitable places, rather than spending my life writing to theme (although no doubt I will do this also). I have been a bit slack this month in sending anything out, with Mr G working away from home I seem to have lost some of my precious writing time and the energy needed to flow creatively. Coping to live alone again is a hard, time consuming struggle, just one month to go though and we will be back to normal!

I did submit poetry to Rethink and entered the Corinium Museum competition.

I continued to attend David Calcutt’s Community Garden workshops in Walsall. We have exciting ventures mapped out for March, including a reading event in the garden and more workshops. Some of the poetry I have produced in Caldmore can be seen on his website (link to follow).

I also had my 2nd workshop with Angela France in Stratford-Upon-Avon, which was even more inspirational than the first and has had me mapping out all sorts of ideas and poetry threads in my notebook since!

I also booked myself onto my 2nd online writing course, this one with the University of Iowa.

SUBMISSIONS

I submitted work to;

Rethink Your Mind (Competition)

Corinium Museum (Comp.)

 

PERFORMING POETRY

This year I decided to pull back on the 100+ gigs of last year to allow more time to work on writing.

Permission to Speak, Robert Francis, Stourbridge. Featuring Fergus McGonigal

Mouth & Music, Heather Wastie & Sarah Tamar, Kidderminster. Featuring Lorna Meehan & Kate Wragg

Hit the Ode, Spoz, Birmingham. Featuring Jasmine Gardosi, Rose Condo & MiKo Berry

Drummonds 42, Andrew Owens, Worcester.

 

EVENTS & WORKSHOPS

Stanza

SpeakEasy, Fergus McGonigal & Maggie Doyle, Worcester. Featuring Gary Longden

Angela France – Stratford-Upon-Avon workshop – mapping poetry

Poets at the Hive – Ben Parker, Sarah James, Ruth Stacey and Todd Swift

David Calcutt – Caldmore Gardens Workshop

Caroline Horton – AND TEXT Workshop, Birmingham MAIA Creatives

Writing West Midlands – Assistant writer/ Lead Writer and cover

I was asked to perform in Mad March Events in Malvern, at a Book Launch in April, interviewed Daniel Sluman for the blog promo tour, stocked up on more books;

‘The Forward Book of Poetry’

‘FU Pardon My Tone’ MiKo Berry

‘A Poetry Handbook’ Mary Oliver

‘The Escape artists’ Ben Parker

‘Unfinished Study of a French Girl’ Todd Swift

‘Magnetic Diaries’ Sarah James

and read a ton of writing articles.

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© 2015 Forward Arts Foundation

© 2015 Forward Arts Foundation

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Sonia Hendy-Isaac © 2014

Sonia Hendy-Isaac
© 2014

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3 in a Row: Mouth & Music, Howl & SpeakEasy – A Week of Events

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This week was a fairly busy one, due to full time work I was not able to make one of the events listed in the title, but as it is a NEW Word Event – I thought I would take this opportunity to promote it, I am hoping to make next month’s and then give you a real flavour. I heard it was a great evening – but more on that later!

planner

Tuesday Night saw Mouth & Music – this month upstairs in the Gallery (a space I love) with headliners Lorna Meehan and Katie Wragg. I was lucky enough to catch Katie last month headlining SpeakEasy, I wanted to hear more from her, a talented guitarist/songwriter who has collaborated on performance work with Heather Wastie and I hope one day will write Kidderminster, the Musical. (Although she may hate me mentioning such an idea as I have made it sound like a feasible project! Sorry Kate.) And Lorna – who I would follow around the planet listening to, a fantastically talented performance poet, who herself has been booked to headline these 3 events this month – so you read more about her in a minute.

It was an incredible evening, some real talent and great pieces shared. Even had an open mic-er who has spent a year listening to us all and joined in at the mic. Magical when that happens. Splendidly dramatic performance as well!

Stonking night at Mouth & Music – Lorna Meehan, Jasmine Gardosi, Katie Wragg, Heather Wastie, Peter Williams, Paul Francis and a ton of talented open mic-ers…. and in the warmth of the gallery! Loved it – I had the inspiration for 5 new poems and scribbled notes all over next month’s flyer!

I am beyond excited that Tom Crossland and Joe Whitehouse grace the stage in April and before that, next month we have the talents of Paul Francis and Rich Stokes, as if last month’s Spark Off wasn’t fabulous enough!

Next month’s theme is Politicians and as I am attempting to write some similar themed poetry for submission this week I should have it covered. My research this week was to watch and transcribe a programme which in turn pushed me towards focussing on a few specific areas. Should be a fun challenge – I use Media/ politics in poetry but have never written one purely from a political point of view. It is good to stretch yourselves as writers.

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I wanted to get to Kings Heath for Howl the next evening – but had also been working full time with some older children and was still tired from the previous week I think – my medication doesn’t help with the tiredness (in case you were wondering why tiredness and sleep feature so heavily on the blog).

Long story short, I did not make it. I fell asleep before 6pm right after my fast-cook-pre-gig tea and didn’t wake up until they had already kicked off. It is some drive too and I really wouldn’t have been safe behind a wheel – I could barely keep my eyes open! So I traded myself an early night and was actually reading in bed by 9:30pm and asleep before 10pm. All sure signs I wasn’t able to make it to the gig.

The day after was also my 5th writing day and I thought if I went to HOWL I would definitely spend most of it asleep- unfortunately that was the reality even without the gig – I think my day started at lunchtime.

Howl Feat is a new evening in a great little pub ‘The Sun at The Station’ in Kings Heath, Birmingham. Hosted by Leon Priestnall, this month’s featured artists were Casey Bailey, Lily Blacksell (who featured alongside Antony Owen and myself at Word Up last month), Lorna Meehan and Joe Cook.
Howl provides a space for the best spoken word artists in Birmingham to speak freely, no restraint, express themselves, provide food for thought, rock the house and entertain.

Casey Bailey
A spoken word poet and rapper from Birmingham. Poetry style is literal and lyrical, touching on a number of different subjects, from growing up in inner city Birmingham to world events. These subjects are tackled with a combination of straight talk and humour.

Lily Blacksell
Lily studies at the University of Birmingham, where she is president of Writers’ Bloc. She has performed her poetry in pubs, theatres, pub-theatres, poetry slams and literary festivals. In 2013, she was part of Apples and Snakes’ Lit Fuse programme, and she also had a poem filmed in the centre of Brum as part of their Power Plant series last summer: http://vimeo.com/109935773

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. You can listen to her work here: https://soundcloud.com/lornameehan

Joe Cook
A.K.A Cookie, is a poet, musician, workshop facilitator and political activist from Birmingham. Heavily influenced by Hip-Hop and Reggae his musical background shows in his lyrical poetry. Described as “The Streets meets Joe Strummer” , his voice is raw, full of passion and heavy beats. He’s performed all around Birmingham at prolific venues such as The Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Mac Birmingham, Recently opening for Hollie McNish at the Rainbow Warehouse as well as performing in London with the Burn After Reading Poetry Collective

HOWL

Then Thursday rolled into view and I had finished the early mornings with work. I struggled to wake up though and after a brief early morning coffee and scan of some writing articles, I fell back to sleep. I had supposed to work on some submissions due mid-month which I knew with Valentine’s and Mr G’s birthday would be impossible over the weekend, as it is I missed these deadlines yesterday.

I completed my politician research and shopping online for Mr G and to book Valentine’s tickets, ran out of time for any actual writing, not that MUSE was shouting loud enough to get through.

I tore to the shops to pick up some birthday/valentine’s bits & made it home with half an hour to spare before SpeakEasy (or at least before Claire’s kind lift), I wasn’t sure if I was able to go this month, had I made Howl – I doubt I would have had the energy.

Speakeasy was great – we were late getting there and missed the first half almost, just caught Kathy Gee! The Headline Act was Gary Longden (Staffordshire’s Poet Laureate), was great to catch a whole set of his.

Lichfield poet, Gary Longden returns to Worcester after a long break. He is our headliner for SpeakEasy on Thursday, February 12th. We are also delighted to welcome one of the Decadent Poetry Divas – Lorna Meehan (Headlined at Mouth & Music at the Boars Head Gallery on Tuesday, February 10th). Kathy Gee, John Lawrence, Neil Laurenson, Math Jones and Charley Barnes, together with open mic slots, complete tonight’s event. We hope you can join us for an evening of varied poetry, unique styles, plenty of entertainment and, of course, the fantastic raffle.

It was a good night and enjoyable to watch for once – although Claire Walker and I have both been told to perform at the next one! There was a clashing event I may have been involved with but so far next month’s still free.

speakeasy

 

 

November – End of Month Review

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I cannot believe we are only one month from the end of the 2014! This month has been busy and lots has been going on both in terms of writing and life (not that I usually separate the two).

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Blog & Projects

With only two months of 52 remaining I am making effort to actually post my poems in the group and receive feedback and editing support. I wish I had more time for this amazing project but I have been ‘on the road’ a lot this year and with one thing and another have not always found time to work on the poems as much as I would have liked. Those half baked 52 poems have never seen the light of day on the site as the intention is not workshop standard poetry.

I do plan to plug the gaps in 2015 – especially as I presume there won’t be 52 as a weekly event anymore, so I should have time to work on them.

I continue to work on a big project of my own, which I hope will reach daylight by 2015/16!

Paragram have sent proof copies and orders are already stacking up for the ‘Remember’ Anthology – featuring my poem ‘Picasso of Dance’.

Submissions

I only made two submissions this month, I also finished my Hanbury Hall Poems for our Poetry Society/Stanza group. We are still not sure how these poems will be used, but I will keep you posted.

Performing Poetry

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After a year of open mics and events I have decided to spend the next 12 months on writing focus. This does not mean that I will not perform, it only means I will perform less, saving a fortune in transport costs and allowing more time to write. This year I have especially enjoyed seeking out special events to be part of, finding these opportunities is a priority in 2015. I have enjoyed managing 6 performances, a workshop and a book launch instead of 9- 12 open mics and my writing has been far more productive with the extra time I have gifted myself.

Coventry Nightblue Fruit with Cork Poets at the Big Comfy Bookshop – Adam Wyeth, Cal Doyle & Kathy D’Arcy.

Nightblue fruit

Mouth & Music at the BHG – Boars Head with Fergus McGonigal & Humdrum Express

M & M

Medical Themed Quiet Compere at the Strand, Cheltenham with Sarah L Dixon

Medical Themed

Poetry Bites – Kitchen Garden Café Birmingham

A group of contributors to the Restless Bones Poetry Anthology formed the Headline act at this event.

16 Days of Activism -Library of Birmingham

Restless & 16 Days

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Events & Workshops

Workshop with Emma Purshouse, Bilston Art Gallery, Craft & Conflict

Craft & Conflict

Book Launch – The Failed Idealist’s Guide to the Tatty Truth By Fergus McGonigal

Book Launch

Stanza

WWM – Writing West Midlands – Young Writing Group & Mentoring

WWM

A Shard of Writing Time

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I am hoping to post my review of the wonderful and busy month of October soon, I have taken on a lot of day work and have some projects on the boil too – time on the computer has been non-existent and following an extremely busy half term I decided to take the weekend off, including online, that was off too!

The result is that stressful cyber loss that involves backed up emails, more updates on social media than you will ever manage and some old news being new news to you. Out of touch in just 48 hours!

I will endeavour to use some writing time tomorrow to catch up with myself before our Bonfire Party.