Tag Archives: Gary Longden

Poetry Alight – Happy 5th Birthday!

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I have had a great week of poetry. It isn’t often (anymore) that I go to events back to back, but this week there was a run of three events, none of which I wanted to miss. They were all headlined by poets I know, whose work I know. (Warning: Some Fangirl moments may be included.)

The week kicked off with Poetry Alight, a night hosted by Gary Longden in Lichfield. We celebrated 5 years of PA and were treated to the room behind the main bar where the atmosphere was definitely set to ‘party’. Complete with handmade bunting and delicious interval cakes, this night was roaring. It was great to see poetry friends, some I haven’t seen for a while and those I saw a few weeks ago.

The open mic spots were wonderful. Steve Pottinger and Emma Purshouse treated us with floor spots. I was really looking forward to the headliners – Ruth Stacey and Ash Dickinson. It has been too long since I watched Ruth perform. Her set was amazing. Gary splits the headliners, so we get to hear them before the interval and at the end of the evening. Ash treated us to a mixed set from Slinky and Keys and threw in some new poems too.

I love watching the audience react to poets I know, who are new to them. I love hearing poets perform their words, words that I have on my bookshelf that they breathe ultimate life into. This is where the ‘power’ of poetry begins. The fusion of ideas stirred by the vocal chords that conceived them.

Ruth performed some of her Foxboy poems. This was her debut pamphlet published by Dancing Girl Press and is one close to her heart. Based on real people and real issues faced. It is deeply moving and resonate, even though I have never suffered from issues or opinions of ethnicity I key into the emotions in place in this collection. The wandering and the wilderness. I am glad Gary Longden requested her Bear poem too.

Foxboy

It was lovely catching up with Ruth and hearing all about what she is currently busy with. There are some people I really miss seeing regularly and Ruth is one of them.

Ash was brilliant too. He has very recently performed in Derby, Burton and Stourbridge so he was endeavouring to deliver a set without repeated material. He had a set list that after his first half he had hardly touched, this relaxed approach (I blame the bunting), worked because we got to hear poems he may not have performed otherwise. I fell in love with his Camden notebook, a work of middle earth art itself. It was a delight to hear some newly penned poems as well as gems from his  collections. I want posters* of his Coffee poem, ‘If I Miss A Coffee’ and Fridge poem, ‘Chiller Queen’ and I love ‘Method Poet’ particularly as I trained as a method actor.

*And I don’t even have posters anymore!

“She never loved me more than when I was a flower.”

 

Ash Dickinson is a writer, poet and comedy performer.

A multiple slam champion- including Edinburgh and Cheltenham- Ash won the BBC Radio 4 Midlands Slam in 2009. In the previous BBC National Slam in 2007 he progressed through the Scottish heats, eventually finishing among the top 8 in the UK. Ash was runner-up in the 2011 UK All Stars Slam.
In the summer of 2011 Ash embarked on a six-date feature tour of Canada, a country where he also performed in 2006 (including the Winnipeg Fringe Festival). He has performed in Australia, the United States and New Zealand where he was invited to perform at the 2002 New Zealand Festival. In 2012, Ash was flown out to both Spain and Jordan for literature events, and in 2013 he headlined a show in Berlin, Germany. In 2016 he was flown out to Prague, Czech Republic to run workshops.

Ash had a four-star rated one-man show at the 2004 Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the following year formed part of Scotland’s renowned Big Word during its run there. He has appeared at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, the Glasgow Comedy Festival, the Bristol Poetry Festival, The Larmer Tree, In The Woods, The Wickerman, the Stratford Poetry Festival and The Camden Crawl among many others. He has headlined shows throughout the UK and performed at venues such as Ronnie Scott’s (London), the Colston Hall (Bristol), Oran Mor (Glasgow), Jupiter Artland (West Lothian), Stowe House (Bucks) and The Jazz Cafe (London). He has shared bills with many national and international poets as well as comedians such as Frankie Boyle, Miles Jupp and Andy Parsons.

Ash has been widely published in newspapers, magazines and poetry presses. He has compered busy cabarets and music nights, performed at private and corporate functions and supported bands. He is in heavy demand to run poetry workshops. His media appearances include BBC Radio, The Times, The Scotsman, The Guardian, Metro and Sweet TV.
Ash’s debut collection, “Slinky Espadrilles”, was published in 2012 by Burning Eye Books. His follow-up, “Strange Keys”, was released in April 2016.

Ruth Stacey is a writer, artist, and lecturer. Her debut collection, “Queen, Jewel, Mistress”, was published by Eyewear July, 2015. Her pamphlet, Fox Boy, was published by Dancing Girl Press, June 2014. She designs the covers for V Press poetry pamphlets and was part of the Vaginellas; a collective of female poets re-imagining classic forms of poetry.

Carolyn Jess-Cooke wrote of her debut collection thus : “The significance of this book (Queen, Jewel, Mistress) as a work of art, however, is in its reclamation of history from the female perspective. That the poems themselves are brilliant, almost all of them adroitly executed, makes me want to stand up and give the book a round of applause. There is mastery here, boldness, and a lively assertion of what poetry can give to the historical imagination. This is a book that deserves widespread acclaim.”

Gary Longden © 2017

It was a fantastic night and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I liked being described as a poet on the great conveyor belt of Worcestershire’s talented poets and the whole event inspired me to get scribbling new material. The cakes were gorgeous and to top off the wonderfulness that was Tuesday evening, Ash bought a copy of Fragile Houses. Beam.

fragile-houses-best

 

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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!

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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

 

 

A Week of ‘S’ Scary Canary – Permission to Speak, Saxon and Stanza

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CORINIUM MUSEUM POETRY COMPETITION

I have had a busy week with just 1 day off, which I used for writing, with everything else that has been happening I have only managed 4 writing days ALL YEAR so far! I finally got to write my poem for the Corinium Museum Competition, a group of us Stanza members went on a road trip/ research/ field trip last month. Corinium-Museum-Logo I was relieved to get my poem written after hours of research and trying to make sense or find creativity in the pages and pages of scribbled notes. Now that the pressure is over, I am sure I will manage to write more – there’s a Mrs Getty poem and a sheep poem at least waiting to be written.

 

PERMISSION TO SPEAK – Scary Canary the Venue – with Rob Francis

MM3 Rob Francis Photo Credit: Mary Davies

Rob Francis – a local poet who has moved back to homelands from Leeds and has started a new Poetry Night in Stourbridge, I met him in November and have enjoyed watching him perform his sets ever since. The headline was Fergus McGonigal and I wanted to go and support Worcester’s Poet Laureate. I have been asked to headline myself and have chosen May as I have a few other things happening in March (will post about these soon).

I had a fun time finding the venue – who knew there was Scary Canary the Ladies Dress shop, and Scary Canary in Victoria Passage, a now empty menswear shop and then finally – down the other end of the high street the venue. It is such a cool place – I will take my camera next time (Caution Poet is headlining in March) and post photos. Rob had a very successful first night and it was great to perform under a spotlight (because you can’t see the audience)! It was a great night, thoroughly enjoyed. It was great to catch up with friends and get lots of positive feedback on my set.

permission to speak Feb

 

SAXON

After working all day I took Mr G and two friends to see SAXON at Civic Hall. Mr G and I saw a tribute band a while back who were brilliant and Mr G decided he wanted to see the real Saxon. He made do with some DVDs that Christmas, then they decided to tour! So we got tickets.

It was a fun night and I was front row all night! Really good position, it was funny seeing people of all ages rocking out. Afterwards everybody wanted to carry on partying, which would normally be okay – but I had work the next day. The booking was originally for Monday and got changed to Friday – I had attempted a day off after the gig. I spent the day with Nursery – it was a good job I had been driving the night before.

 

STANZA

After work on Friday I was so exhausted I came home and went straight to bed. This just about revitalised me for an evening of poetry, but I was very glad I went as there were an abundant amount of strong poetry and I received ideas for mine that I hadn’t considered. It was an enjoyable night as always.

However, I had no energy left to get to the Opus Club on Saturday night – hope to make the next one.

I spent some time on Tuesday checking out Arts Jobs and festivals. There are tickets I need to buy for Wenlock and Stratford (both in April). I nearly applied for a job this evening but there is a higher level of commitment and investment than I first realised and I am unsure whether the position is right for me right now.

I also received my copy of Maps and Legends – Nine Arches Press and can’t wait to get stuck in and I saw Mike Alma and bought a copy of his book too.

I have spent most of the weekend asleep and now have a week of poetry and work to look forward to again. I have 2 days work so far, Tuesday evening is Mouth & Music in Kidderminster – Guests are Lorna Meehan and Katie Wragg, Wednesday night is a new one called HOWL, in the city – hoping for Open Mic spot and Thursday sees SpeakEasy in Worcester with Gary Longden (Stafford’s Poet Laureate) headline. I am hoping to just enjoy a night out listening to everyone else perform. Then it is Mr G’s birthday and Valentines Day … so a busy weekend coming up too.

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The Quiet Compere (21/3/14)

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Performers were QC banner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sarah L Dixon © 2014 Gary Longden

Sarah L Dixon © 2014 Gary Longden

 

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

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

Ruth Stacey  © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

Ruth Stacey © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

 

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

Laura Yates © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

Laura Yates © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

 

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

sarah james © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

Sarah James © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

 

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

Gary Longden © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

Gary Longden © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

 

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

Bobby Parker © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

Bobby Parker © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

 

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

Charlie Jordan © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

Charlie Jordan © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

 

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

Ian Bowkett © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

Ian Bowkett © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

 

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

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

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

Jenny Hope © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

Jenny Hope © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

 

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

Ddotti Bluebell © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

Ddotti Bluebell © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

 

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

Matt Man Windle © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

Matt Man Windle © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

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

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

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

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

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

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

And Claire Walker’s review here

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

 

cheltenham fest

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

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

A touring poetry show.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

You can also catch Bobby Parker at the festival

bobby parker1

Poetry Alight – A Missed Opportunity

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As you will know if you read my blog posts this week starts to get busy tomorrow and doesn’t really stop much until the end of the month, so over the past few days I have been attempting to reserve some energy.

Last month I discovered the wonderfully talented Michelle Crosbie had her debut headlining performance alongside Jo Bell and Matt Merritt.

Michelle Crosbie is an emerging Midlands poet whose stage presence and rehearsed reading has delighted audiences from Worcester to Wolverhampton, engaging and compelling, Michelle is an irresistible live performer.

It was originally booked for a different night and in my confusion I suddenly found out yesterday it was that evening. I sadly, didn’t make it. Sounds like it was a great night and may be my 2nd big regret of the year…. nights like this take a lot out of me though and with 4 other gigs lined up this week, I know I made the SENSIBLE decision.

Would have been great to go and support Michelle… I am sure there will be more opportunities to.

Gary Longden hosts Poetry Alight, a quarterly spoken word event in Staffordshire. One I hope to attend at some point.

1 scottish poet

Jo Bell is one of the UK’s leading poets, and the winner of the Charles Causley Poetry Prize 2013, a past Director of National Poetry Day, incumbent National Canal Poet Laureate, a doyenne of the festival circuit when performing, and a stalwart supporter of festivals, not least in her capacity as trustee of the Ledbury Poetry Festival. Jo’s poetry is accessible but never dumbed down, challenging but always within reach. 

Matt Merritt is a journalist, historian, ornithologist and poet. He lives near Leicester, England, and writes (and reads lots of) poetry. His  new collection, The Elephant Tests, is out now from Nine Arches Press. Pithy and  rounded his writing is a delight.