Tag Archives: John Hegley

Cheltenham Poetry Festival

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This year’s programme was fantastic and I wish I had managed more events than I did. I however, managed a full dose of Hegley – which makes up for missing the rest of the long list of performances and events I wanted to attend.

John Hegley is one of the few poets that I discovered in my Young Writer years – back when he was touring with his band, Popticians. In fact one of the few university birthdays I remember was watching them at the Phoenix Arts Centre and meeting him.

There was a Hegley shaped hole for a while – he seemed to have disappeared – possibly into fatherhood – for the past few years he has been back on the radar. Or on my radar at least. Some of you will remember my posts from his performances and workshops back in 2015.

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I was delighted to see New and Selected Potatoes as an error in reading dates on a flyer meant I missed him at the MAC. It was an enjoyable show, thoroughly entertaining as one would expect – but the magic treat was bestowed on Cheltenham that night in the Playhouse. We were privy to a new poem, something he is working on for the Roundhouse. I always feel privileged when my ears get an inside like this.

I finally bought John’s book and had a lovely chat about the show, because he is a very kind man who always spends time with each person queuing for a signature. Someone in the line behind me nearly bought a book that wasn’t one of his – I am sure he would have signed it anyway, he has a big heart like that.

nspot Bloodaxe © 2013

I made a night of it by going for an Italian meal with friends who had been to see the show too.

The following day, (I know I should have booked a B&B) I was back in Cheltenham to enjoy my second Hegley workshop. It was great fun, a good group and lots of people I did not know, which is always exciting for me. We had taken a poem and some art and most of our activities were based around these.

John had us all write about Potatoes too (of course) and crowd sourced a fantastic poem for Anna Saunders *Director of the festival – I will have to go and see if she has had time to use it anywhere.

It was a fabulous morning and finishing slightly before time I headed down to Waterstones with John and Anna, chatting and narrowly missing lampposts along the way! Once at Waterstones, I mingled with the poets from the Open Mic event which had finished and caught up with friends. Then John started his impromptu take over of the floor. (Photos to follow.)

We all joined in with a choral poem and had a great time before he was whisked away to that place festival poets go and I was left to retrace steps and try to find my car before the ticket ran out!

Next year, I have to plan work better to be released for this poetry festival.

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Review May 2017

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May was a busy month which included a mid-point glitch when we found ourselves offline and for a while lost all our resources from the laptop!

Week 1:

Sent some submissions, organised festival events and promoted Cheltenham Poetry Festival for Anna Saunders. There were several open mic events in Birmingham and Coventry that I didn’t make and a headline gig that was cancelled due to venue closure.

The team met for work on our show, 30-40-60. This was accepted in March for the Worcester LitFest and takes place next month on Sunday June 11th, 7pm at The Hive, Worcester.

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I was looking forward to Cheltenham Poetry Festival but due to work commitments was not able to make as much of the programme as hoped. I did, however, have a run of 9-10 days of events. Unless I am immersed in a festival, I try not to make bookings like this anymore as I appreciate the energy it requires.

My mini-tour started in Malvern with Carol Ann Duffy, I am so glad that I bought a ticket for this, it was a wonderful night of emotive, uplifting and hard hitting poetry. Last time I saw her, I bought books and although I love what the book co-operative are achieving I was fund poor, I had taken a copy off the shelf at home and hoped she’d be happy to sign. Carol Ann was and she didn’t mention nearly taking me out with the stage door at all!

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John Sampson was his wonderful self too. Loved his music this evening. Glad the Queen gave him away!

The following day I went to Stratford-Upon-Avon for a workshop with Angela France. It was lovely to reconnect with poets I have not seen for a while and the writing was fun. There are some nuts and bolts in my notebook ready to work on. I am finding writing hard at the moment. Maybe it is post-NaPoWriMo or just because I am busy that my mind has no time to settle.

I then went to Birmingham to see Rob Gee at The MAC. Rob and I were friends in Leicester, back when I was at university and discovering the Spoken Word scene for the first time. I have not seen him for nearly 20 years, (how did we get that old?). I met up with him before and after the show and it was as if there had been a gap of days not years.

I thoroughly enjoyed the concept of his show and the delivery. Enjoyed is a strong word as it deals with end of life/people in care. A dramatic framework that works so well and Rob (Pro) shows us how easy it can be to create multi-characters in one space.

ROB GEE

He first  produced this show a long time ago and has toured it internationally – I was so happy to catch it – and the best news for you? He is doing it again for Ledbury Poetry Festival. Go and catch it if you can – book tickets here 3rd July

Read all about it here FORGET ME NOT

As a student nurse, Rob spent three months on a Challenging Behaviour ward for people with late stage Alzheimer’s. Largely based on Rob’s experiences, many of the stories depicted in the show are true. Except the murders, obviously.

The show’s director Tara Gatherer has recently directed three acclaimed short films, Cafe des Fils de Putes, Self Portrait and The Group, the latter of which explored the theme of self-empowerment for older people. Forget Me Not is her first theatre show. © Forget Me Not

I was so wired after the evening. We are not leaving it 20 years until next time!

On Sunday 7th it was the much awaited Book Launch of C.S Barnes, for ‘The Women You Were Warned About’. It was an amazing afternoon of words and cake, stories and poems.

Charley Barnes Book

I was lucky enough to read it a while ago, as Luke Kennard and I were asked to endorse the book. It was still magical to hear Charley read her own words and I didn’t revisit these women on purpose before getting a copy at the launch.

Charley asked Claire Walker, Alan Durham, Polly Stretton and myself to share poetry on women at her launch. I had fun writing a few poems specifically for the event and reworked some NaPoWriMo poems from April that featured women and worked well. I was stupidly nervous about this performance. the pressure not to mess the launch up.

I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon and so did everyone else. You can read about it and buy your copy here.

Black Pear 

The Women You Were Warned About: Answers to Absent Questions,
is Barnes’s first full-length publication and, after having so much
fun with the women contained within these stories, she sincerely
looks forward to the possibility of working with such hideous
women again in the future. © Black Pear Press

cs barnes

Week 2

I booked tickets for the National Writer’s Conference. I attended in 2014 and decided that I needed to be further into my career to truly benefit. Tickets for this event are not cheap, but with lots of keynote speakers and a choice of seminars to attend it IS worth every penny. One major pull/benefit of being in Room 204 is you are gifted a ticket to the conference, so I knew back in the Spring that I would be going. So excited. Delighted they have released the information too, I am bad enough with menus and always at these things want to go to absolutely everything – the NWC is set up so you only take 3/9 sessions. Maybe I can bribe some of the cohort to swap notes.

I also spent my writing day working on the multimedia element of our show, 30-40-60. I spent the writing time tidying – I told you I have writers block!

In the evening, I finally made it back to Licensed to Rhyme, my most local poetry night which I have not managed since last year. Steve Pottinger was headlining and Brenda Read-Brown came back for a guest spot. The other guest spots and open mics were all top quality and it was lovely to share a night of fine words. Also fabulous to have Fergus McGonigal back on the scene. Plus it is light enough for me to walk there now so I was able to sample the bar. I also shared my NaPowriMo Bop written about the EDL in Birmingham. I was unsure of this poem, but it went down well – next stop, performing it in Birmingham.

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The next day I had hoped to make it to Cheltenham for Compound Poets with Gram Joel Davies  and Hannah Linden, it seems a large amount of poetry friends made it over. Work had left me sadly lacking in time and energy so I headed over to Kidderminster instead for the final bow to Mouth & Music. Sarah Tamar organised a one off event to raise money for the People in Motion Charity (helping refugees) and it was a chance for a reunion with Peter Williams (PTR), Tim and Pam Scarborough, Coz and Sarah herself.

It was attended by a writing group Sarah works with and there were a diverse range of performances. It was good to share some work that is harder to hear. I often feel guilty reading social/political poetry at events where people have gone to be entertained. I shared some activist poetry written for events back in 2014/15 and work from my pamphlet, ‘Fragile Houses‘ as it was MHAW (Mental Health Awareness Week).

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I had news about a project I hoped to be part of (Room 204). Last year Croome Court produced Plum Lines an exhibition/project involving many poets I knew. At the time I had a yearning to do something with the National Trust too… you know the universe picks up on this stuff, right? I saw a call out for poets to get involved in the next project ‘Adam Speakes’ which involves writers from 4 key places and an artist, previously accepted.

I am delighted to be part of the Writing West Midlands team working on this. Unfortunately, a pinnacle workshop has landed on a day I should be elsewhere. You know how much I hate not being able to do everything simultaneously. Things will be re-arranged.

I have also booked my day to Croome Court to start the exploration. This project will last until November, there will be a special event on the 25th. I cannot wait to get stuck in and I am sure I will keep you all updated.

I missed HOWL – which was legendary and a great, regrettable shame. Featuring Anthony Anaxagorou (who I missed at Verve), Casey Bailey and Anne Gill. I needed some downtime in amongst all this busy and work really was zapping me of strength and time.

I finally made it to Grizzly Pear – Sean Colleti/ UoB (University of Birmingham) Spoken Word event. this event clashes with SpeakEasy and has yet never fallen on a day I could manage. I wanted to see Inua Ellams, who I had missed at BLF Spring Edition. I was sad to miss Sue Johnson at SpeakEasy, but until I invent that cloning machine, had no choice. I also missed the Indigo Dreams showcase at Cheltenham Festival featuring Jennie Farley, Mab Jones, Bethany Pope and Anna Saunders, which was an event I had hoped to make it across for. Again work had not left enough of a margin to make the road trip viable.

I was glad that I managed to see Inua and his brave acceptance of audience offering key words. His set was then built up from poems linking to that context. Tukaiisloveletter – I had seen at Verve and it was terrifying (in a good way) to see his dynamic, highly emotive, actioned performance. It was good to talk to him about it afterwards too.

I shared my EDL poem, which was responded to well.

The following morning I was not bright eyed or bushy tailed (after the late night gig, I had forgotten how this time frame does not affect the student population) for our 30-40-60 meeting, in fact I was still eating breakfast when we set to work.

It was exciting to see the programme in print for the first time. It was released earlier in the week and since Tuesday had seen lots of teasing photos like this one! WLF © Holly Magill

We worked on our scripting and rehearsed the show. Later on our laptop died after an automated update and took all our files with it. Friday night’s plans changed as we desperately ranted to Microsoft support via the Kindle and attempted to back up everything off our computer. We entered OfflineLife.

The next day I was working for Writing West Midlands, Spark Young Writers group in Worcester with our new Assistant Writer, Rick Saunders. It was a great session on journalism and was embraced well by the group. I got my hands on Worcester LitFest programmes and started distributing.

Following this I went to Cheltenham for John Hegley ‘New and Selected Potatoes‘, which I missed at The MAC last year. It was great to see him live again and another master showing me in this age of ‘you have to do more with your poems’ that actually just being on stage with them should be enough. He had us in stitches and was a joy to watch.

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LINK TO FOLLOW

The following day I was back over in Cheltenham for my 2nd Hegley Workshop, completely brilliant. Followed by walking to Waterstones in conversation and watching a delighted public as he hit the shop floor with poetry and his mandolin, *Steve, as fans will know.

It was a superb day.

I also had poems Anchored and Hallmarks up for MHAW on Sarah James’s website. They are now archived in the 2015/17 ‘With You In Mind’ Anthology. Read more about this project here. https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2017/05/21/mental-health-awareness-week-with-you-in-mind-anthology/

sl © Sarah Leavesley 

Week 3: 

I joined a Screenwriting course online, with UEA and Future Learn. It has been brilliant, although somewhat challenging completing most of it on the Kindle. I have discovered that I know more than I thought I did. I have also been playing with a few ideas banked for the future.

I worked on the film element of 30-40-60 and missed both events I had pencilled in. A book launch for Nigel Hutchinson at Waterstones and HIT THE ODE. Rather disappointed with myself but I came home from work on Thursday and hour later than I should have with barely time to make it to the city. By arrival time I had gone to bed and slept right through to Midnight! I needed the rest.

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I also spent a day online (now that I mended the internet) at the Hay House World Summit. Back in 2015 I took every seminar and film going. This year, I have been more selective and currently have a notebook filled with 12 of the programmes available. It is free to sign up and a real annual blessing as far as I am concerned.

I spent the weekend organising festival events and reading. It was beneficial to take a break from performing and recover from the busy schedule last week.

I felt re-energised ready for the final busy push of May.

Week 4

I booked a workshop with Helen Ivory and Martin Figura, completed the UEA Screen Writing course,

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and booked tickets for a book launch in July.

On Tuesday I went to Poetry Alight in a new venue in Lichfield to catch poetry from Roy Marshall and Jane Commane. It was a brilliant (if not extremely hot evening). The new venue is lovely. It was great to catch up with Roy and Jane.

Photography by Ben Macnair

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I missed Kathy Gee headlining at Poetry Bites – that was also a wonderful evening so I have heard.

On Thursday evening I missed a Book Launch, Ali Oxbury – we met on the Writing For Children course in 2013 has had her poetry collection published. I would have loved to have been there – I have also spent the past 4 years wishing for bookings. You can’t have it all.

I was booked to perform alongside Kevin Brooke, Holly Daffurn, Kieran Davis and Alan Durham for the Poetry Salon. This was my 2nd year for Worcester LitFest & Fringe, I have lost count of the Poetry Brothel/Salons I have participated in… I think it may be 5 or 6. It was an enjoyable evening, concluded with a wonderful open mic. A precious evening for poetry organised and hosted by Charley Barnes.

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We had our final editing meeting/rehearsal for our 30-40-60 show. It is going to be great. I have since finished cutting the film and Kathy has created a good looking program of the acts. We have all our open mic-ers signed up – a publisher, a Laureate, published poets and a festival poet! It is going to be fun and happens in just 11 days time!

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Over the Bank Holiday weekend I attended the Book Launch for Diverse Verse 2, an anthology compiled by Richard Archer. It was a fantastic turn out at Southcart Books and lovely to see the new shop. A good few hours of immersive poetry & a buffet. Sadly the M5 was crawling at 30 m.p.h and I was delayed. I got there in time for the start but missed coffee (much needed) and a chance to buy the book (I have since ordered it). Wonderful that they sold every copy and a lesson to myself to ask for a reserved copy in future. The proceeds are for Charity and it has already raised lots.

https://skaggythepoet.wordpress.com/2017/05/28/diverse-verse-2-is-launched-and-ready-to-buy/

https://willisthepoet.wordpress.com/2017/05/27/no-not-the-one-in-poland/

diverse verse 2

http://www.lulu.com/shop/richard-archer/diverse-verse-2/paperback/product-23201198.html

It was good to catch up with old friends and meet new ones.

The Extra Days

I organised to write a review for a topnotch poetry magazine, received news that I am one of three finalists for the Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2017/18 competition. Which happens next Friday, 9th June – the start of the LitFest. I am delighted by the news, excited and as nervous as can be!

https://worcslitfest.co.uk/2017/05/30/and-the-worcestershire-poet-laureate-finalists-are/

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Last night was one of the most clashing for events- Charley Barnes was headlining at Cafe Grande Slam, Matt Windle at Spoken Trend, 42 in Worcester (my regular Wednesday night feast) was also happening and way back in April, I booked tickets for Stourbridge Library to go and see Jo Bell & Roy McFarlane.

I was an incredible evening & a pleasant way to finish the month.

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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/

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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/

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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.

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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.

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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!

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!

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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/

June – Review of the Month

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June – what a busy month,  brimming with challenges, competition, festivals and longer term projects, as well as taking stock half way through the year.

My MOOC course How Writers Write Poetry with the University of Iowa finished and I enjoyed an incredibly busy month of performing, writing and getting published. The sparkly, golden bits most people get to see instead of being aware of all the hard work and ground work that caused the success in the first place! CN-1780-logo-uofiowa

WEEK 1

  • Voting closed for Worcestershire’s Poet Laureate poems. I reached the final along with 5 other talented poets.
  • I did a workshop with David Calcutt and the Caldmore Garden Poets, they were scheduled to perform a group poem at the carnival day on the 13th, which I couldn’t attend as I was working the final Writing Group for Writing West Midlands. Due to the weather this performance has been rescheduled and I can now take part on the 21st July!
  • A recent poem of mine from the workshop where e.e. cummings was our starting point – ‘Late Spring’ has been published on David’s blog you can read other poems there too. http://naturalhistoriesblog.com/others-writing/
  • My term ‘poeting’ coined last year is becoming widely used by many poets! Hoping to get it into OED next year!
  • Jess Davies had her opening night of a new spoken word event in Stirchley at the P Café, it was packed and well attended. Stirchley Speaks – and it certainly did!
  • Scary Canary hosted another Permission to Speak, Rob Francis’s fantastic night – NOW FREE!! This month saw Brenda Read-Brown and PTR Williams headline.
  • I went to Debbie Aldous’s Spoken Word at The Ort and shared a lovely meal and some Tennis with Tessa Lowe beforehand.
  • I spent a very enjoyable Sunday afternoon at Cannon Hill Park, The Mac (Birmingham) with a collective of poets – we took over the storytelling tent whilst they all went for lunch and performed to some greatly enthusiastic children. We are also hoping to get some of our poems hung on trees down by the lake, later this year. We had a special guided tour to this secret location. MAC With Frankie Ryan, Tony Fox, Syrac Citam, Timothy Scotson, Callum Bate and Nina Lewis at Cannon Hill Park.

© Jasmine Gardosi 2015

All of these events can be read in further detail in my Poetry Wrap post. Enjoy!

Poetry Wrap 5 (A Brief Introduction on Exhaustion)

 

WEEK 2

  • The 2nd week of June saw a performance at HOWL and a great packed night of poetry, hosted by Leon Priestnall. Fantastic headliners and I met two poets who I have only seen around and never spoken to before, Luci Hammans and Sipho Eric Dubepart, A.K.A ‘Unhindered Reign’ – one of three headliners, the others being Glyn Phillips and Jess Davies. I met with Sipho a week later at workshop with Candy Royalle.

I spent most of this week on tender hooks and full of nerves and butterflies as it was the WPL final and the Launch of this year’s Worcester Lit Fest. I spent most of the week preparing for it and missed some previous diary entries for open mics due to energy levels, it was a full on week of work, work for me too.

  • Friday 12th June was the Poet Laureate Finals, the winner this year was Heather Wastie.

WLF Heather WPL

Heather receiving her engraved award with Maggie Doyle at Worcester’s SpeakEasy Lit Fest Special.

© WLF Team 2015

Suz Winspear was the runner up and I came in 3rd position.  WPL

© Betti Moretti 2015

Read all about the experience here WLF 2015 The Launch & Poet Laureate Final even typing this has my heart set on edge again!

  • The WLF took over my life for the next 10 days, this week I saw Ben Parker, Todd Swift and Chloe Clarke (Young Poet Laureate) performing at the Royal Porcelain Museum, where Ben has just finished his residency and Todd is taking over.

BP Chloe Chloe

BP Dr Todd Swift Todd

BP Ben Ben

© WLF Team 2015

It was a super night of poetry. I treated myself to Ben’s collection, I love his work. Ben Parker From Porcelein

  • I had my final session at The Hive as Assistant Writer to Ian MacLeod, from September I take over the senior writing group as Lead Writer for Writing West Midlands. We invited the parents to come and take part with the end of the session, it was great fun!

 

WEEK 3  

  • The week started well with news that my poem ‘Beyond Gas Street Basin’ is to be published in an upcoming anthology of city poems called ‘Birmingham Bound’. It was a poem I was commissioned to write last year by Naked Lungs for Birmingham Literature Festival. I am delighted to be in a book all about Birmingham as it is a city that has opened it’s poetry doors for me since the tail end of 2013.
  • WLF continued and I had the delight of watching John Hegley at Confab Cabaret, Malvern. A SELL OUT Fringe event.
  • WLF I performed at the 42 WLF Special and met Adam Millard for the first time.
  • WLF I performed at WLF SpeakEasy Special and thoroughly enjoyed Brenda Read-Brown‘s set.
  • WLF I watched the Offa Press Poets, Bert Flitcroft & David Bingham at the Institute before seeing Jonny Fluffypunk return from his Austerity March experience in London to perform for us again. A highlight for me.
  • WLF Bert and Jonny joined us on the Summer Solstice Walk up the River Severn, where we all performed poetry at locations along the walk. A super, magical experience.
  • I was asked to perform at a fundraiser next month for Arts All Over the Place.
  • I attended a workshop with Candy Royalle, the international act at this month’s HTO (Hit the Ode) – which I missed as I was performing at the WLF Special SpeakEasy. It was amazing, she is a forceful spirit, driven and dazzling in her buoyant enthusiasm. Great to meet her, gutted I missed her set. I created 3 poems, in the 3 hours as well as picking up some great performance tips. Mainly driving home some things I already know. It was lovely to work alongside friends too!
  • I was invited to be a featured poet, but was unable to accept as I will be at Ledbury Poetry Festival, I am hoping this booking may happen later this year instead. Something else to look forward to!

Read about these events on fine detail here Poetry Wrap 6 & WLF – Worcester Lit Fest & Fringe 2015 – A Wrap! which includes links to individual WLF posts I created throughout the festival.

 

Week 4

  • I had 2 writing days at the beginning of the week, it has been a while since I have been able to dedicate time to actually writing. I did a lot of market research too and drew up a list of submissions to hit before the end of the month – as I realise I have hardly sent any work out there this year.
  • I took part in an open mic as part of my town’s current Festival.
  • I went to the Two Towers Brewery to perform as part of Debbie Aldous’s new night Spoken Word and More.
  • Droitwich Summer Festival invited 9 performers to entertain with poetry and music at a magical Live Lit event hosted at Park’s Café and organised by Malcolm Wakeman and MC-ed by Fergus McGonigal (everything he touches, turns to gold)! Performers included;

Fergus McGonnigall (previous Worcestershire’s poet laureate) & MC

Heather Wastie (Worcestershire Poet Laureate )

Jenny Hope

Math Jones

Mike Alma

Bridget & Malcolm Wakeman

John & Pauline Franks

Nina Lewis

Polly Robinson

Ruth Stacey

Holly Magill

Sarah James (runs the Poetry Society’s Worcestershire Stanza) & Val.

It was lovely to go for a meal with people afterwards too and chat away the night. I finally got to bed at 2:30 a.m after I had worked off the adrenalin! I have been looking forward to this event since Sarah James launched her new book The Magnetic Diaries, KFS Press. Since then she has had Hearth published, a collaborative book (Mother Milk Books) and is about to have PlentyFish – her new collection published with Nine Arches Press.

  • New opportunities for training presented themselves and I was fortunate to be online at the time. Looking forward to telling you all about this latest venture in September.
  • I also continued work on my own collection.
  • I had a poem published on Visual Verse – ‘Shame in the City’.
  • News of the 52 ANTHOLOGY published by Nine Arches Press – Out soon!
  • I performed at Sunday Xpress just before coming home to pack my suitcase! They have found a new home at The edge Artspace, Foundation Arts, a great venue in Digbeth. The room was as crowded as outside (it was a hot day – the beginning of this heat-wave, just in time for my holiday! Loved performing this afternoon, it is the first time I have felt this great after Sunday Xpress, fabulous venue, great people, new faces, abundant talent – just a marvellous mix. Unfortunately I missed the bands this time as I have to make some submissions and pack a suitcase. I will be back over there over the summer though. Fabulous success, deserved after years in the pubs of Digbeth. (There are some gems of bars in Digbeth, just noisy and full of local life that is great for a pint but not so accommodating for a poem!)

All this and more can be found in Poetry Wrap 7

inkspill holidayAnd now I am going on holiday for a much deserved rest!

 

THE WRITE YEAR WILL BE UPDATED ON MY RETURN

John Hegley at Confab Cabaret – WLF & Fringe

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I had not seen John Hegley perform since the 90s, when I lived as a poor student/writer/actor/poet/reluctant retailer. Earlier this year news was released that he would be performing and doing a workshop in Ludlow. I snapped at the chance and very much look forward to performing on the same bill later on this year and from what I hear of the workshop, creating an abundance of new material!

Then Amy Rainbow and Catherine Crosswell released the news that they had John Hegley headlining during Worcester LitFest – I hadn’t made it across to Malvern for months as Confab Cabaret kept falling on windows that just weren’t open. I have missed seeing the Malvern crowd – and after a 15 year drought – who can pass up the opportunity to watch their hero in action TWICE?! Not I! So I bought my ticket and have been counting down the days.

john hegley

I had a great night, on a par to the feelings you get from a great music gig, of course there was some great music, both from Catherine & Lindsey and later John Hegley, juggling, poetry & song. Photo credit: Myfanwy Fox © 2015

The open mic support was the best of Malvern Confab Talent including;

Amy Rainbow, CONFAB Amy

 

Clive Dee, CONFAB Clive

Myfanwy Fox  CONFAB Fran

Lindsey & Catherine, CONFAB Catherine Lindsay

Sue Thompson CONFAB Sue

Adrian Mealing CONFAB Adrian

With a fabulous audience poem and added merriment from international circus performer Steve Kaos!

CONFAB

John Hegley, Steve Kaos, Amy Rainbow & Catherine Crosswell

Elizabeth Crosswell © 2015

‘Poet, comic, singer, songwriter and glasses-wearer. John Hegley captivates audiences with travel tales and amusing anecdotes, blurring the line between profound description and fine comedy. A consistent favourite at the Edinburgh Festival and with over half a dozen bestselling books under his belt, he is not to be missed.’

‘Comedy’s Poet Laureate’ (The Independent)
‘Scandalously talented’ (Sunday Times)
‘Bl**ding marvellous’ (NME)
‘Marvellous, joyful fun’ (The Daily Telegraph)
‘An incurable entertainer’ (The Guardian)

CONFAB J

It was a SELL OUT gig! And despite incredible heat at a packed out venue, I had a ball. Even managed to catch a few words with John, very briefly at the end. (I will wear different glasses to Ludlow, so he doesn’t think I am a complete stalker!)

Sadly John had not taken any books to sell, hope he has them at Ludlow. He did gift one as a special raffle prize, which was generous! I laughed more than I did when I saw him before. He was amazing. I think even poetry friends who are not fans of the style and wit fell in love with him after the 1st 1/3 of his incredible show. I am so happy that I booked to see him as part of the Worcester Lit Fest, despite already having tickets for Ludlow. What a star SUPERSTAR!

CONFAB crowd

Many thanks to the Confab team – you were FABULOUS!

WLF&F logo concepts

This was a collaborative initiative as part of Worcestershire Litfest & Fringe Festival 2015.

For more events happening during the festival please go to www.worcslitfest.co.uk

Thcooy