Tag Archives: HTO

More Poetry Events September Poets with Passion, PFL and Hit the Ode


On Sunday 13th, I was back again at Café  1 birm ortin Birmingham, this time with Tessa Lowe and Poets With Passion. Once again it was lovely to reconnect with poets I hadn’t seen in a while and meet new people who love poetry. Tessa’s events are always relaxed and it was a lovely way to spend Sunday afternoon.

Before I left she asked Chris Fewings and I if we would be interested in leading the group as one off sessions. Depending on the weather, I have agreed for 2016.

I cannot wait to pick a theme and find poems.

1 birm ort yelp

Poetry for Lunch with Jan Watts at the P Café, Stirchley 17th

Last year you may remember that Jan Watts, former Birmingham Laureate, ran a series of weekly poetry events in the ‘bear pit’ at the Library of Birmingham. Due to funding cuts the library was unable to repeat this successful programme in 2015.

I was delighted when Jan decided to re-launch PFL at the P Café and gutted that I had work booked and couldn’t attend the first event a week before.

It was a great event, lots of poetry was shared and they are creating a Smorgasbord of poetry on the wall at P Café from PFL.

The P Café is an amazingly creative place with a fantastic menu of delicious food, drinks and treats. The truffles are to die for and the atmosphere of the place breeds instant relaxation and happy vibes. I only wish I lived a little nearer!

The best moment at PFL has to go to Elaine Christie –

PFL ELaine

What are the chances of this happening – A fly landing on the page of my poem, when the next line I was about to read was – “Or lost in the flurry of flashing fireflies”

pfl dave pfl jan pfl me pfl mike pfl mogspfl 1

Photography Elaine Christie © 2015

Hit the Ode with Bohdan Piasecki (Apples & Snakes), Birmingham 17th

It was a busy old day for poetry. In the evening Myfanwy Fox (thanks for the lift) and I were in Birmingham for Hit the Ode. They have 3 headliners – a local, national and international poet.

Leon Priestnall (who hosts HOWL) was headlining in the local slot and he was on fire for his set.

The National Poet was Jackie Hagan from Manchester and the International poet was Toni Stuart from South Africa.


Hit the Ode brings the most exciting poets from the region, the country and the world to the heart of Birmingham.

Join us! We have poems. Poems you can spread on toast in the morning. Poems which sing embarrassing songs under the shower. Poems which will heal if you apply steady pressure. Good poems, Come and get them.


From Birmingham, Leon Priestnall
A stalwart of the Birmingham poetry Scene, Leon is a poet with a passionate performance style, betraying influecnes ranging from hip-hop artists to the Beats. Leon runs the popular Howl event series in Kings Heath, and has been a Hit the Ode supporter for years – we’re delighted to finally be able to offer him a full slot. He will be joined on stage by a special musical guest.

From Manchester, Jackie Hagan
Jackie Hagan was raised on broken biscuits, by hecklers, in a little town that’s now studied on the GCSE syllabus as a ‘failed social experiment’. She performs poetry and comedy, is a playwright for Graeae Theatre and runs Seymour Poets, a creativity project for isolated adults based at blueSCI Arts and Wellbeing centre in Manchester. Jackie is the winner of the 2015 Saboteur Award for Best Spoken Word Show for Some People Have Too Many Legs.

From South Africa, Toni Stuart
Toni Stuart is a poetry writer, performer and developer from Cape Town, South Africa. Her work uses poetry to interrogate a range of social issues such as the stories of place and displacement, HIV/Aids, and gender-based violence. She was named in the Mail and Guardian’s list of 200 Inspiring Young South Africans for her work in co-founding I Am Somebody! – an NGO that uses storytelling and youth development to build integrated communities.

Bohdan Piasecki © 2015

The whole night was electrifying as always and I thoroughly enjoyed being back at HTO – (they take the summer off).

J. H © 2015

As Sweet as Candy: Poetry Workshop with Candy Royalle


I was excited to find a link 5 days ago via Social Media for a FREE workshop. Candy Royalle is an Australian Poet who performed in the INTERNATIONAL slot at Hit The Ode, Birmingham (Apples & Snakes) Thursday night, which I missed as I was performing in Worcester at WLF SpeakEasy.

candy royalle pic

I will certainly catch her next time she is in the UK. She gigs all over Europe and America, so you don’t have to make a long haul flight to catch her, in the meantime check out YouTube.

Her remaining shows on the tour are in Wales and London:

Event: The Butch Priestess International Tour
Candy Royalle in
Time: 7:00pm.

Address: Hackney Attick (Hackney Picture House) 270 Mare St Hackney.

Candy Royalle in
Swansea, Wales
HOWL Poetry Presents…
Time: 7:00pm.

Address: Mozarts 76B Walter Road.

I signed up for my ticket and marked my DAY OFF over in the diary with WORKSHOP. I was (as always) a little nervous beforehand and once I had done my route I had the thought that it would be full of HTO poets and I wasn’t wrong. Lovely to turn up to a bunch of familiar faces. I knew everyone, which was great – as we all knew each other it made for a relaxed atmosphere without that heightened anxiety sharing work with strangers can have. Big kudos to Candy and Bohdan Piasecki for organising this amazing, free event.

I had no expectation of this workshop other than I wanted to come home with some new work, I have… pages full of ideas. It was great to meet Candy too, an enthusiastic writer with boundless energy and an easy manner, Australian’s tend to have this gentle presence – this is a huge generalisation, but I have travelled East and West coast and found it to be a common connection.

I had the best afternoon, lots of writing exercises, 3 new poems and some great tips for pre-performance nerves. I couldn’t think of a much better way to spend a day off.

Candy managed to condense a day’s workshop into 3 hours and cater for all our varied needs.


As thanks for a free workshop I bought her book ‘Heartbeats’. You can buy it too.


<!– Buy now –> Candy Royalle has performed alongside many of the greats including Ursula Rucker (who said “Candy Royalle is all at once fragile, powerful, raw, sensitive, beautiful, unflinching and honest. She, her spirit and her work, will change you”) Shane Koyczan, Sarah Kay, Phil Kay, Rives, Anis Mojgani and Holly McNish to name a few. A festival curator once described Royalle as “an act you remember for years” and the Austin International Poetry Festival Chair stated Candy had “…changed the face of poetry in Austin, forever”. Few who see her can forget her intensity, her combustible blend of intellect, imagination and heart. 

Bio from http://candyroyalle.com/ © 2015