Tag Archives: Jean Atkin

John Hegley Workshop & Performance

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I love John Hegley, most poets do (sweeping generalisation with no statistical back-up!) and I was terribly excited earlier on in 2015 when Jean Atkin announced that he was coming to Ludlow. A few months later Amy Rainbow announced he was coming to Malvern and I managed to catch him first at Confab, back in June.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/06/16/john-hegley-at-confab-cabaret-wlf-fringe/

So it is the Year of Hegley for me, as on September the 1st I went to Ludlow for his fantastically amusing workshop at Appletree Studios.

john hegley appletree

Jean Atkin © 2015

It was great working with a small enthusiastic group – actually it was a fairly large group by workshop standards.

At one point (after I had read a particularly witty ‘Sign’ Poem) John told us not to try to be funny, just write. I hoped he realised that I had just written and that came out – with the one liner, admittedly after writing about 5 failing haikus!

It was great fun and I have a whole collection of poetry swirling around my head on the theme of biscuits!

blue boar

In the evening it was the Poetry Lounge in the Sitting Room and John Hegley was headlining along with Ian McEwen.

It was a great night as always, the venue was packed and I was amongst the list of open mic-ers for the night. Ian McEwen’s poetry was new to me and something I will explore more (by buying his books) he did an experimental audience participation poem which was like nothing I have experienced before.

Jean Atkin © 2015

Jean Atkin © 2015

Mr Hegley, was Mr Hegley. I was delighted that the set was different to Malvern, although of course, we had the Guillemot join us! It has always been a delight to watch John perform. When I was first a poet at the age of 15 -21 I was a big fan of John Hegley and went to see him perform and met him when I was 19 and it had a big impact on me. Hero and Legends and all that stuff. Now as an adult and a writer/poet, I still love his work. It is good to have some heroes carried from teenhood to grownupsville… I will stop before I make John feel too old.

Incredibly talented. Massively entertaining. Balanced between side splitting – & wry smile humour, with a side order of  heart string tugs from serious autobiographical poetry, an endearing and loveable poet and just a jolly, warm chap!

I am glad the railway station gave you two biscuits, you deserved them!

john hegley guillemot

Jean Atkin © 2015

RELATED LINKS:

http://jeanatkin.com/2015/09/02/give-us-your-inner-guillemot/

Poetry Lounge in the Sitting Room -July 7th

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Nadia Kingsley & Keith Chandler at The Poetry Lounge in the Sitting Room with Jean Atkin, Ludlow – 7th July

Still catching up with blog posts for events in time past – so a couple of weeks ago (7th July) I went to Ludlow to see Nadia Kingsley and Keith Chandler headline at The Poetry Lounge – with Jean Atkin, in the new home – still in the Sitting Room – it was quite funny imagining the venue with legs trundling across town.

poetry lounge july

A lovely new venue it is too and as we have the upstairs room we have less ambient noise to contend with than before. The Blue Boar was fairly easy to find, central and is a lovely pub.

blue boar© 2015 Shropshire Star

Nadia Kingsley was headlining back in January and sadly wasn’t well enough back then. She was on top form on Tuesday night though. I was invited to headline in her place, back in January (my first headline slot) with Bert Flitcroft, so I was doubly glad I managed to catch Nadia’s performance.

It was also great to discover Keith Chandler, I am almost certain I have come across him on this Poetry Odyssey at some point. I bought his pamphlet, ‘The Grandpa Years’, published by Fair Acre, a gorgeous little publication that Nadia said reminded her of the sort of pocket size books some granddad’s carry around with them. I had a brief conversation about Poetry with Keith and I was grateful because there were a lot of people who wanted to talk to him.

Bootie july I bought the latest copy of Robert Harper’s brilliant magazine BARE FICTION too.

It was a great night! Shropshire oozes talent and I hadn’t been able to get back up to see people for so long that on a social level alone it was a phenomenal night and the following evening Jean and I were both going to Ledbury Poetry Festival too. I always get that ‘Christmas Eve’ feeling when there are back to back events with the same poetry friends, almost like the pre- sleep-over excitement of a child. Guess I am still a child!

Here’s what Jean Atkin said about the Guest Poets;

We’re so pleased that Nadia Kingsley will be reading for us as a Guest Poet. Nadia has performed at Wenlock Poetry Festival in 2011, 2012, and 2014 – and is published in the anthologies of each of these years. Her poetry has been published in Orbis magazine, Poetry Cornwall, the environmental anthology We’re all in this together (Offa’s Press), and Ink, Sweat and Tears. She managed and wrote poems for the fabulous show ‘Expanding the Universe’ which has been touring the West Midlands this spring.

She’s won prizes for her flash fiction and short stories and her photography, textile art and brick sculpture have been exhibited in the Cotswolds, Birmingham, Brighton and London.

Nadia also runs the very successful Fair Acre Press.

© 2015 Jean Atkin

Nadia is a gem of the poetry world and I always enjoy hearing and reading her work. This set took us through the seasons and plants which play an important role at throughout the year. Segments from a bigger artistic collaboration she has been working on.

Our other Guest Poet for July will be Keith Chandler, who has many awards, accolades and publications to his name, not least being 4th in the National Poetry Competition a couple of years ago. His most recent book is the very well received ‘The Grandpa Years’ from Fair Acre Press. Keith is a very modest poet, so if you haven’t heard him, you’re really in for a treat. It’s fine work, brimming with humanity. And then there is that bone-dry, self-deprecating humour.

© 2015 Jean Atkin

It was a wonderful reading and there was not a person in the room really who couldn’t associate with the resonating emotion and family connections he explored in his pamphlet.

As always there was also abundant talent from the open mic slots shared by;

 graham rob

Graham Attenborough

Adrian Perks adrian rob

Gaia-Rose Harper Gaia-Rose Harper

Nina Lewis (me)me rob 

We managed to convince Jean Atkin to share one with us too.

jean robJean Atkin

Steve Harrisonsteve h rob

rob1

Photography © 2015 Robert Harper

Steve Griffithsjean steve G

jean  Miriam Crane Obrey

Miriam Crane Obrey

Photography © 2015 Jean Atkin

Robert Harper Robert adrian

Photography © 2015 Adrian Perks

 plus a short slot for Helen Barratt, read by John Barratt,

jean audience keith rob

Keith Chandler Photography © 2015 Robert Harper Nadia Adrian Perks

Nadia Kingsley Photography © 2015 Adrian Perksnadia robert

Photography © 2015 Robert Harper

jean keith

Photography © 2015 Jean Atkin

jean Nadia

Photography © 2015 Jean Atkin

jean PL

A superb evening – and of course now I have time to look forward to the next one – where I will (once again) be seeing John Hegley – who I believe has transformed into some sort of bus – having not seen him for 18 years and then 3 times in 4 months!

First Gig of the Year – Guest Poet at The Poetry Lounge

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poetry lounge I booked a spot for The Poetry Lounge before Christmas and was looking forward to the first gig of the year, the Guest Poets were Bert Flitcroft and Nadia Kingsley, I enjoy reading and listening to both these poets.

Then the first miracle of 2015 happened! Jean Atkin asked me to Guest Poet as Nadia was ill (she is going to have her Guest Spot in a few months time, catch her in July), hope you feel better soon Nadia and thanks once again Jean for the opportunity.

This is my 2nd Guest Poet slot and I loved it. I wish I had rehearsed and prepared more but with work and tutoring had little time to extend my set with preparation.

sitting room

I think I chose a good selection of poems and entertained the crowd. It was lovely chatting to people and receiving positive and personal feedback on poems that had resonated with them.

It wasn’t easy to follow Gaia Harper, an incredibly talented young poet who should definitely run for Shropshire’s next Young Poet Laureate (16th January deadline, I think), she will have the best of luck in the future and is a name to watch out for. Her love of language and words was obvious and her delivery was confident and self assured – and I had to follow that with my books brimming with post-its!

I always enjoy these nights in Ludlow, the atmosphere is always soothing and friendly. It was great to see people again, all ready for a new year of Poetry.

Excellent open mic-ers; Steve Harrison, Gaia Harper, Robert Harper, Graham Attenborough, Steve Griffiths, Deborah Alma, Bethany Rivers and David Harley. I particularly enjoyed hearing Deborah sharing her own poetry with us. She is famous in her Emergency Poet role, and it’s well worth a visit for her special poetry treatments, she is an equally a brilliant writer and I felt privileged to hear her set.

poetry lounge

‘A wonderful, warm, funny, transporting Poetry Lounge in The Sitting Room. Thank you wonderful guest poets Nina Lewis (fantastic rant about her car tax Incident) and Bert Flitcroft – we kept recognising ourselves Bert  and great reads from all our open mic slots, with special mention for the astonishing Gaia Harper  who was just fab. Great to hear Deborah Alma read, she should do it more often… Thank you everyone!’

– Jean Atkin

Poetry Lounge in The Sitting Room

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Sometimes your mind is just in the right place, or the room has the perfect mix of people or the atmosphere is calm and pleasing… whatever it was last night – a combination of all three perhaps, Poetry Lounge was magic!

I was excited to hear the featured poets Angela France and Andrew Fusek Peters and was delighted they were both on the bill together. I also had a pre-booked open mic spot (although I changed my mind on the set I delivered once I got to the venue). I shared some of my Maya Angelou poems, as well as a political one and a natural world and Restless Bones poem, gave the anthology a plug too.

Jean Atkin hosted the event this evening on her own and Jean’s calm presence and knowing the order of readers helped evoke the atmosphere beyond friendly, into homely territory, it felt like a very special night to be a part of.

It was also lovely to see the Shropshire poets again. Definitely worth the drive – although I wish I felt more like Angela about night drives.

sitting room

I love learning about the real lives of poets, with the same awe as children discovering us teachers don’t live in our stock cupboards and that we have a mum and dad too! Touched by new knowledge I wanted to buy one of Andrew’s older publications, ‘May the Angels be With Us’, now out of print, it wasn’t one of the titles he had brought with him to sell, but he sold me the copy he had read from. I know that I could have bought a second hand copy cheaper, but I am all for supporting poets – as I hope to be in the book selling position in the future and would rather see the (small) profit, there was a made-up statistic on TV about only being 10 people in the world making a living from being a poet, I reckon there are a few more, not many though, every little helps.

I enjoyed a great evening of poetry and came home with a scribbled palm of ideas, I do usually pack my notebook for when ideas strike, as they often do listening to poetry. I hadn’t even got my own pen!

It was a great mix of people and work and as a big fan of both Angela and Andrew (can you tell – gush) it was bound to be a fantastic night.

Claire Leavey’s performance was as exceptional as the last one I saw, it was great catching up with her again. I was delighted to meet and discover the poetry of Ted Eames, listen to Steve Griffiths again, both of whom also had books on sale (oh, to be a millionaire…. said the poet)! Martha was a bonus, she had turned up with a book and a notebook of her paternal grandfather and her husband’s grandfather and poetry from the war. As Jean said it was incredible to hear their words 100 years later.

Andrew was so relaxed he performed from the sofa! He was using his photography in slides throughout his performance and didn’t want to stand in front of the images. What wonderful images they were too. He is currently absorbed by the natural world and is discovering new talents. I had no idea he had only been shooting for a year or so, (I just figured, as with myself and many Creatives, he had fingers in many artistic pies), I think this makes his work even more spectacular. He is also entered for a National Award and treated us to that image too.

I guess it comes from his training as a poet – he is incredibly capable of catching the exact moment – akin to choosing the specific word, rather than those that will do. Andrew drew an analogy between poetry verse and a single moment caught in a shot. It was such a touching set.

He peppered it with older poems from his former life writing for children and talked about his brother. The years he was talking about were right back at the beginning of my poetry odyssey, I don’t think I had stepped up to a mic back then, although I was published (and still in school).

Angela France was equally a pleasure to hear / watch again, I have bought her books at previous events already, but there is nothing to beat a poet reading their own poem. She told her story about Laurie Lee and I love that by chance meeting that she had. Being told stories and holding them in her head for years before she could get them down on paper, in a poem. It was lovely to see Angela again, she always inspires me, her writing is so tight, so perfectly fixed together, seamless. I look forward to reading her collections again. She ended with her wonderful poem about night driving and although I understand all the imagery and drove home thinking up her words, I sadly have to admit that the glaring headlights and sharp, fast bends of my own lane journey home, were not so welcomed by me.

I was very tired and trying to concentrate hard with a head full of poetry and ideas is hard work!

Angela france

Here is Jean Atkin summing up the evening;

Just back from a great night of poetry at The Poetry Lounge! Guest poets Angela France and Andrew Fusek Peters gave us great sets, with names for herons, 18th century women who gave birth to small furry souterkins, the pursuit of buzzards and reward of hares, and the benedictions of country lanes at night. Also great readings from our open mic slots – Steve Griffiths, Nina Lewis, Claire Leavey, Ted Eames and Martha, who read the poetry of her pacifist grandfather who wrote about WWI, 100 years ago.

Submissions, Picnics (Poetry ones!), Missed Events and New Ventures

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The Week Off

Mr G took last week off work so we could do some work on the house and garden together and spend some time enjoying ourselves, I don’t think we will be going away on a proper summer holiday, fortunately the weather has been amazing and I won’t moan when it turns overcast as I have a ton of things INSIDE to be getting on with over the summer break.

 

New Work

The good news this week is I have already secured 1 job for the new term, it doesn’t offer many hours but will cover my part of the mortgage payment at least, as far as bills, food shopping, car expenses and spending money go, I will have to pick up a few more days work every week. But having that 1st contract means I won’t end up with a month of no work. September is not a particularly busy month for us.

 

4 Day Run of Events – Picnics (Poetry ones)

At the tail end of the week before I went to Coventry for Antony Owen’s book launch, then Birmingham to promote Restless Bones Poetry Anthology (published and launching in 3 weeks!), then took a drive up to Shropshire to go to Poetry on The Farm – an event organised by Jean Atkin to celebrate the end of her 3 month residency at Acton Scott Farm. Then on the Sunday I had an EPIC day – I have not had time to blog post it yet and I cannot wait to do so. Jo Bell was poet in residence at Hall’s Croft for Stratford-Upon-Avon’s Literature Festival, she also started ’52’, you will remember me posting about it in the New Year, we all met up for a picnic – over 52 of us, she has over 500 members in 52 now. It was an amazing day that involved picnics, raffle prizes, poets, reading 52 poems at The Shakespeare Centre to a festival audience, flash mobbing outside Shakespeare’s Birthplace (a sonnet of course!) and then not getting drunk in The Dirty Duck pub, by the river.

 

Watch Out for the 52 Post

I WILL write about it in a separate post, the Acton Scott post has just taken a couple of hours to write and put together, it is now getting late (past midnight) and I have some ACTUAL writing to do. Look out for the 52 post.

During the next week mainly because I was exhausted from the adrenalin of a 4 day run and also because Mr G had booked time off to be together, I didn’t go to any poetry events.

 

Missed Events

On Monday I missed Shindig in Leicester, I was invited and originally began performance poetry in Leicester in the 90s. I will go another time when I haven’t already covered 100s of miles the previous few days.

Tuesday (and I am still gutted about this) I was very tired and had actually fallen asleep when I should have been hitting the road. I missed Poetry Bites in Birmingham, always a great night, organised and hosted by Jacqui Rowe. Anthony and Joseph were there headlining and promoting ‘The Year I Loved England’, (I had already seen them in Coventry), Matt Windle  was the other headliner, always a pleasure (I am seeing him in Kidderminster in a few weeks) and Sammy Joe, who I have seen before, but it would have been good to see her again, plus all the floor spots, it was a cracking night by all accounts and I missed it.

Friday there was a night write event hosted by Jo Bell as part of the Stratford festival that I would have loved to have parted money for, my concern was staying awake 10pm to 6 am – I have spent months attempting to regulate my sleep, to make sure I am awake during the day and the knock on situation after breaking this pattern would be equivalent to jet lag. The decision was made for me when we went up to the garden in the afternoon and enjoyed some cold, crisp wine. Another year maybe.

Saturday there was a performance in the Stratford that I wanted to see.

Sunday there was Sunday Xpress in Birmingham and Al Barz facilitated a one off Poetry in the Park in Walsall. There was also a showing of ‘Tales of the Tat Man’ David Calcutt’s latest venture in Birmingham at tea time.

Phew! A week of activities and I didn’t manage any of them.

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A week of Work- Gardens – Sun – Gas Men, Shopping, Theatre, Reading & Writing

I was still working at the beginning of the week, we spent some time running errands and whilst I was at work Mr G bravely tackled the back garden, completely transformed by the time I came home. We had a fire that evening and the neighbour sat out with us in the garden, although he went in about 3 hours before we did.

On Tuesday after I had tutored we spent time sunbathing on our new sun loungers in the garden and then watched a box set that we haven’t seen for ages, we managed to get onto the next season.

Midweek, we had the excitement of a house full of Gas Men changing meters and discovering holes we shouldn’t have had! The oven works better and poor Mr G spent the whole time out in the baking sun tidying up the front garden – which now looks amazing! A warm welcome. Again once the house was empty we went to sit outside.

© National Theatre 2014

© National Theatre 2014

In the evening my mum and I went to the Arts Centre to see the National Theatre production of Skylight. I have never watched a theatrical performance on a screen before (wonders of the digital world) but with the cuts to Arts funding this allows people who don’t live in London to see the shows. It was more like watching it live on stage than a cinematic experience would be. I loved it. (And the Arts Centre has Air con.- most places, including our home, don’t – because it is rarely this hot or dry for this length of time in the UK. So that was a real treat!)

I also took a couple of shopping trips for summer clothes and caught up reading my writing magazine, I have been an issue behind pretty much the whole of 2014, one day I read the July issue and then over the weekend read the August issue, freeing my time up to write now for a couple of weeks before the next issue arrives!

I also had submissions to make – one for a project very close to me, I wrote three pieces for that in the end and the other was 3 poems, 1 written especially and the other 2 heavily rewritten to a publication I have previously been rejected from, fingers crossed – we will see.

We discovered a new garden centre and spent an afternoon choosing plants for the garden display. We will be going back there soon.

We have frogs in our pond and the plants are establishing themselves well around it.

We have eaten lovely home-grown salad potatoes and beans, we are waiting on the tomatoes – they won’t be long. We have had strawberries & pak choi already, the cucumbers are growing and we have decided we need to give the allotment up. We have done it for 5 years and it was good when we had no garden of our own, but now we have the house project and a garden that needs constant TLC and I am gallivanting off into the world of words all the time, we just cannot find regular time to go and tend the plot. We never had the right tools, as we were very ‘natural’ harvesters, this meant jobs done in no time with machinery were taking forever with tools not fit for purpose. It has been a big decision, but there is room to grow some stuff in the garden and at least this way there will be less waste.

I had a brilliant time with Mr G, lovely to have the company, much missed today when he went back to work… (although my mum popped in for a catch up), Mr G is off again soon, although the poetry schedule won’t be abandoned next time, we are hoping to make a start on the house.

 

Current Submissions

I am currently working on submissions that have a tight deadline (of a few days) – a one act play/ monologue and a short story. Fingers crossed I planned and mapped out plot/action and characters today. I am hoping to write them tomorrow, edit and redraft/ proof and submit on Wednesday! Not ideal, but having been so far behind on magazine issues, have only just discovered the opportunities.

work

This week I have a Poetry Party tomorrow, Drummonds 42 event on Wednesday (performing), a possible road-trip to Wales, hoping to finish the week off with a workshop.

If the road-trip works out – I will miss OXJAM Slam which is a charity fundraiser (OXFAM) and a night celebrating the life and words of Maya Angelou.

Hope you will understand now why my posts have been infrequent this month – will try harder to regularly post in August as my writing life will be getting very exciting!

 

Happy writing x

 

Poems for the Farm Event – Jean Atkin at Acton Scott Museum

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A Acton 8 Richard Beaumont played us in.

On Saturday 19th July, Jean Atkin organised the Poem for the Farm Event at Acton Scott Farm to mark the end of her residency. I was lucky enough to manage to get to a workshop she facilitated there earlier in the year (June) and was delighted to be invited back to read my farm poems.

If Acton Scott Historic Farm sounds familiar, you may have been watching Victorian Farm, the programme was made there.

The long drive up to Shropshire was worth every minute and the journey wasn’t too bad (considering the summer sunshine disappeared for a day and we had rain and even a storm once we had all settled in the barn) – as I have just mentioned we were all undercover.

Before the event Jean reflected on her residency at the farm, this is what she had to say;

© Lucy Carmel 2014

© Lucy Carmel 2014

‘Just been counting up, nostalgically, how many poems people really did write for Acton Scott Museum during my residency. Which finishes this Saturday with its Last Hurrah, our cream-tea-fuelled Poems for the Farm event. I am actually quite staggered to report that children, adults, indeed poets from all over the place wrote a total of 87 poems since Easter. Some are on The Poetry Fence, some are in the Hut, lots are in blog posts, some were emailed from as far away as Canada, USA, India… This does make me happy.’ A Acton 10

This is Jean’s Poetry Hut before she made it home A Acton 12 Poetry shed and the wonderful inside once Jean had moved in!

© Lucy Carmel 2014

© Lucy Carmel 2014

My own input to this project/ residency started with a short poem on the Poetry Fence, which I performed on Saturday, published on Jean’s Farm website/ blog and displayed on the poetry fence, it was written about this little fella… the half and half pig, hybrid breeds aren’t usually so literally represented. george-and-halfhalf-pig-mr

40 poets came to share or listen to poetry inspired by the farm. It was a great event and we were able to indulge in some of the best cream teas – if you visit, don’t forget to go to the Old School, now a café for a cream tea of your own. We listened to each other’s farm poetry and watched a slideshow of Andrew’s animal shots whilst listening to Jean perform her poems in the dark. It was a really friendly atmosphere and a supportive audience too.

I literally got there just in time and the table of people I knew was already full, there were people I wanted to talk to on that table that I never really had a chance to talk to at length, but it meant that I met more people and Steve Harrison sat with me, he had just won the Ledbury Poetry Slam, pipping Catherine Crosswell to the post, he was very modest about it. It was his first slam, he is a great poet and I am always entertained watching him, he was joking about needing to learn his farm poem (the fence poems were 6 lines maximum) and obviously he had learnt his set for the slam.

Here are some photographs of the event © Jean Atkin & Nadia Kingsley 2014

A Acton 1

Adrian Perks reads: I sink into the hammock by the haystack./ This is the life.

 A Acton 2 Andrew Fusek Peters A Acton 3  A Acton 4 Colin Fletcher reads ‘Thomas Acton’s Winged Collar’.A Acton 5 A Acton 6 Nadia Kingsley reads: ‘He turns his head – a Shakespeare
mask: too large, too monstrous – his body is far, far, far too long, which makes me think, that it is his legs
that are short, all wrong,

  A Acton 9 Steve Harrison (who’s just won the Slam at Ledbury Poetry Festival!) and remembered all his words!reads:
Not plugged into cells,
nor stacked in towers.
Wireless chickens
pecking, preening, 
just solar-powered.

Poems A Acton half-half-pig-mr A Acton poems-for-the-farm-event-004

Here I am reading my two farm poems. The Cart poem has now been published on Jean Atkin’s blog along with Meg Cox’s Farm Poem.

A Acton 7

This shot also shows Andrew‘s very impressive piece of kit, he spent some time in the early hours with Jean taking photos – the animals thought they were being brought breakfast! The barn had an exhibition of photography by Andrew Fusek Peters and Jean’s poetry, they plan to exhibit them around the County – so if you get a chance go and see them, they are beautiful and very inspiring. Andrew is not only a talented writer but shoots fantastic (that doesn’t give it enough justice) photography, a real delight, a master of capturing the exact split second of motion or stillness. He was selling his artwork and I was very tempted, unfortunately I had only taken book money with me. I did manage to buy his book ‘Dip’ that I have been after since I met him at the Wenlock Poetry Festival, back in April. Wishes do come true, keep asking!

When my writing schedule has calmed down (I am currently working on poetry, a monologue and some short stories!) I plan to revisit Andrew’s photography and write some poems of my own. I also have several pages of notes from Jean’s workshop to develop into poems and shots of my own taken on my day at the farm, to create more poetry from.

Other poets involved in this event were; Mike turner – read his son’s poem – Oliver aged 15, Liz Roberts, Helen Paris, Meg Cox, Julia Dean Richards, Jacob, Frank, Peter Holliday, and Paul Francis.

Setting up Poems for the Farm 3

We have all been lucky to know Jean and for her to have involved so many people in her 3 month residency is impressive. Taking poetry to the people on the farm. Poet’s are lucky to be given a residency, it is wonderful when the setting suits the poet as well as it did here. Jean loved her time on the farm and the impact she and her poetry residency have made will continue to linger I am sure.

I will finish the post with a collection of Jean’s photos from the farm and one of the cutest poems written by a visiting child, Huxley aged 3.A Acton poem-charlie-by-huxley

A Acton Lucy on a shire aged 4  A Acton dusty-by-freya-8y

 

A link to A Acton Poet on the farm Jean Atkin’s Farm Poetry Blog and write up of the event here

June Review

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 __________            June            _______________

Such a busy wonderful month filled with glorious opportunities!

Blogs and Projects

I signed up for Writing 101 Blogging University Daily Post challenge this month, it stretched ideas with writing and lead to some interesting blog posts – I struggled to post daily as I have been offline busy, but I did manage to complete each task for the first half. After which I became heavily involved in performances and events in the WLF LitFest.

I continued to write poems for 52.

I applied to be part of a collaborative project with Naked Lungs for BLF Birmingham Literature Festival. I had an interview mid-month.

The blog now has 765 followers, an extra 23 people joined in June.

The most popular post this month continues to be;

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Writing Short Stories – Tips on Planning and Structure More stats 367
 

Submission and Publishing

I submitted poems and was published by Hark.

My poem Clench – will appear in the July issue of Hark, an online magazine.

I also worked on an epic submission for Offa’s Press

and entered a poem for GBWO – Great British Write Off.

 

Performing Poetry

I took a 12 day break from performing poetry at the end of May/June and enjoyed watching others at events instead.

It felt strange to get back up on stage at Mouth and Music – but I was armed with some freshly written -on theme – poems and a great audience who laughed in all the right places.

It was also good to back to Birmingham- performing at York’s Bakery.

It was 10 days of WLF this month – Worcester Litfest, I was asked to take part in a few events that clashed with other plans, including a guest spot for the Decadent Diva gig – Divas and Football, it was my friend’s Woodstock themed party which I was going to (a 50th birthday) and I had already turned down Foxy and Wild – Droitwich Arts Network/ Festival poetry event.

I did perform as a POP UP POET at an event I was asked to take part in.

I managed to get to Tim Cranmore’s Book Launch the week before WLF started and booked to be at the Guildhall for the announcement of the new Poet Laureate (4 of whom I knew) – I gave up a night performing to be part of the first event of the festival.

I was asked to have a guest spot at the Special Festival SpeakEasy (which I could do) and I asked to be on the 42 stage (1 of 8 performers) in addition to this I booked to watch Jonny Fluffypunk Man Up – show and was asked to perform at this event too.

I missed several workshops I wanted to do – because I was also working full time this week – with Summer being so close!

It was my first WLF – but the city’s 4th – I was aware of both this and the Droitwich Festival last year, it was before I started poetry writing again and at the time I was resigning from work after quite a struggle and wasn’t really submerged in the writing world as I am now.

Confab Cabaret – Olivers: Hollie McNish

Writing West Midlands/ Assistant Writer  – Creative Writing Group: Ian MacLeod

Mouth & Music – BHG: Adjectives

Writing West Midlands/ Assistant Writer  – Creative Writing Group: Jean Atkin (cover)

Writing West Midlands This month not only did I have a chance to use my drama background to help support material for the Worcester group with Ian MacaLeod, I also had a chance to cover as an Assistant Writer for the group in Kidderminster – run by Jean Atkin. It is great to experience working with Young Adults – teenagers were slightly older than my group and a different Lead Writer, Jonathan Davidson recommended we swapped groups once in a while to get a better breadth and understanding. For a writer who hopes to become a Lead Writer in 2016 it is great to take on board different approaches and ideas. I thoroughly enjoyed the group and look forward to going back next month.

Performing at Dave’s 50th Woodstock Party including a poem written especially for him! My first Private Function too!

Pop up Poets – WLF

Poets With Passion – Birmingham

With Jonny Fluffypunk – WLF

Meeting Naked Lungs – Project BLF

Special WLF 42 – WLF Lou Morgan

Special SpeakEasy – WLF – Old Recifying House: Emma Purhouse & Scott Tyrrell

Carol Ann Duffy – National Poet Laureate in a joint venture between Ledbury Poetry festival & WLF

The Tea Project – Tara and Lynsey – MAC Atys Centre

Poetry Workshop – Jean Atkin, Acton Scott farm.

 

Mr G and I also saw the Voodoo Rooms (Hendrix/ Cream), celebrated Dave’s 50th Woodstock style, mum’s birthday and he continued to re-landscape the garden, building a pond.

Next month I am looking forward to a workshop and some Literature Festivals, my performance with BrainFruit, Special weekend groups associated with writing I have been involved with this year, Book launches – Restless Bones and seeing my work in print in Hark Magazine.

Roll on the sunshine! Morning-Sun-mit

 

June – Week 1 – Teaser

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WritingIcon21I have been busy actually WRITING this week, hence my effort to stay offline, I have managed to produce and submit some new work and am currently writing as a result of the Workshop with Jean Atkin and the Tea Project with Tara Buckley. I have also spent some time researching websites and preparing to write more material for submission, now a week away from deadline. c69c85988308231c4c0be770a1011a33

I have also enjoyed some time off from performing Spoken Word, my first gig is next week that will be after nearly a fortnight away from the mic.

I have blog posts to write (which I hope to post tomorrow) – especially reviewing the Tea Project and meeting Carol Ann Duffy, last Thursday.

Mr G and I spent last night out watching Voodoo Rooms, Jimi Hendrix Experience/ Cream cover band. It was a good night out.

I have also recently organised to review Sarah Hymas and her latest Poetry Pamphlet which I have read several times, need time to format a proper review. WATCH THIS SPACE!

Jean Atkin- Workshop at Acton Scott Historic Farm

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After having three days off from all events and writing, I was really looking forward to this workshop. I had quite an early start (for a Sunday) and a lovely drive across to Shropshire. It is a beautiful motorway-less journey, lanes, greenery and pretty villages. My SATNAV helped me find the right car park and I could see the others waiting at Reception.

I knew all of the course participants apart from Deb and Paul, having met the others at events over the past year or so. I no longer feel nervous about workshops, which is good because they should be a pleasure.

It was a great workshop, lots of writing achieved and a great tour of the farm. I have taken lots of photos and videos and hope to complete a collection of poems from this.

It was great to see the Poetry Fence and Poet’s Hut for real.

Jean Atkin is organising a celebration of the farm poetry and her residency there next month, I hope to go and share some of the poems which get written from this workshop.

Poetry Workshop best mr

RELATED LINKS:

Workshop

Writing West Midlands – Writing Groups

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WWM

I started my role as Assistant Writer to Ian MacLeod back in February, this month I was asked to cover another group too, which gave me an opportunity to visit another town/ group/ writer. This was something we were told at the meeting, that seeing other groups could be beneficial for us.

Ian and I had a great session with our young writers, using drama and character building activities to start writing that could really go somewhere.
It was a treat to work as an assistant writer twice in as many weekends, back to back.

I was supporting Jean Atkin,

© 2014 Jean Atkin

© 2014 Jean Atkin

a fantastic poet who I first came across when she was on a panel at the Writers Toolkit last November.
Her group are the next age up to most of our group and incredibly creative and talented teen writers. We used photographic stimuli and composed Cinquains, (fortunately I wrote some last month, so it wasn’t too much to revise). Write-On-2013-300x287

It was a great experience, I have another session with Jean and her group next month!