Tag Archives: Ledbury Poetry Festival

Review of July

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Week 1: 

Workshop/National Trust Project

Room 204 is involved in the Croome Court project Adam Speaks. We met Chris Alton, the Lead Artist at a workshop at Writing West Midlands Headquarters in the Custard Factory on Saturday 1st July.

1431782527872-adam-speaks-wwm-170701-19-rfw-credit-peter-young  © 2017 Peter Young

This was an epic 6 hr workshop. Chris is working with 4 groups Kimichi School, The Birmingham Institute of Theatre Arts, Writing West Midlands and St Barnabas First and Middle School. It was exciting to know that these workshops will feed Chris’s art.

Adam Speaks has been set up by Rachel Sharpe and Kiki Claxton for the National Trust, following Plumlines last year.

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/croome/features/adam-speaks

Chris Alton Rachel Hill

© 2017 Rachel Hill

Chris Alton, from Croydon, is a multidisciplinary artist, whose practice brings together distant, yet connected cultural phenomena. Whether deploying disco music against fascism or playing table tennis in competition with aggressive architecture, he utilises seemingly incongruous juxtapositions to address the multi-layered nature of prevailing social and political conditions. 

© National Trust Croome Court Adam Speaks

Literature Festival

Sunday saw my 3rd official WPL appearance on the Poetry Walk for Evesham Festival of Words. This event had a great turn out and beautiful Sunday morning sunshine for the poetry walk, a gentle stroll across the green park around the Bell Tower in Evesham.

I performed some Evesham poems written especially for the event and enjoyed listening to poetry and prose. It was good to see some people who happened upon our merry group, stay and listen.

It was good to reconnect with Sue Johnson and I booked another event later for this year.

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This festival always has a great programme. They are already booked up for next year.

Radio

On Monday I had my first Radio slot with Tammy Gooding BBC Radio Hereford & Worcester. This was something Maggie Doyle instigated during her WPL tenure (2013/14). It is a tradition picked up by other Laureates and I am happy to continue with it.

I read ‘Gander’ one of the poems written for Evesham Festival of Words. Tammy is amazing at putting you at ease. She was also impressed with an interview which needed no editing! It has been decades since I stepped foot inside a studio. I was nervous, but had such a great time! I am already booked in for August.

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Performances

During the evening I took a guest slot at Licensed to Rhyme, Maggie Doyle & Spoz’s monthly poetry event at the Artrix.

Headlining this month was former WPL Suz Winspear, Claire Walker was the other guest poet and there were a plethora of open mic-ers. It was a fabulous evening.

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And before I start sounding like the Hungry Caterpillar… on Tuesday I took a rest. There were events I would have liked to attend but I was attempting to conserve energy for my Headline slot at Uncorked.

Having pencilled in Ledbury Poetry Festival, Lichfield and Shropshire – we arrive at Thursday.

Headline

I was booked for Uncorked at Bottles a while ago (before WPL), originally scheduled for June, I swapped into July so Charley would have a chance to sell her recently published books. I on the other hand have had my final 5 copies of Fragile Houses for months… this is the way it goes sometimes. I didn’t sell any books but I had a great evening.

Sean Colletti created a masterpiece idea for the introductory sets so instead of the traditional 5 minute teaser from each of the Headline poets we worked together on Sean’s concept of a waiting room & the result was an interesting concoction , especially considering it was unrehearsed.

uncorked-july

Clive Oseman, Jake Scott & Sean Colletti were all wonderful headliners and we had a good range of open floor spots too. Holly has created something magic here, helped by a sensational venue Bottles Wine Bar in Worcester.

Workshop

Up early the next morning (hard to sleep on post-performance adrenaline), I drove to Shrewsbury for a workshop with Helen Ivory and Martin Figura. I would have paid just to meet these two poets who have been on my radar for a long time. So having the bonus of a workshop was superb.

Unfortunately, I missed the performance the night before as I was at Uncorked. It wasn’t a prerequisite to the workshop though. The workshop was based on epistolary poetry. Which is something I have only tried to a few times. Strange because I used to love writing letters, I had 33 international penfriends by 12 years old. I also started writing to an old, re-united friend during my deepest depression. These letters are now even more special to me as she sadly passed away.

The workshop was brilliant and I got some ideas from it, as well as books. Love their work and cannot wait to spend time with the pages.

I recently (28th June) re-wrote one of my workshop poems and took it to stanza. I will do something with it in the future. I am pleased with the result and know I would never have written it without this workshop.

It was at the Severn Theatre in a huge room, necessary as it was a large group. It was lovely to reconnect with the Shropshire crew. I have been busy lately and it has cut me off from many out of county events. I cannot remember the last time I made it to perform in Birmingham beyond Waterstones events. I know how quickly the poetry scene moves there, so it will be full of people I don’t know – which is exciting.

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I was booked in for my first Cathedral Poets Workshop in Worcester the following morning and an action packed day in Ledbury on the Sunday. Reason and experience told me Mr. G and I needed some time and I needed to rest. So regrettably I cancelled the workshop and now have to wait until October. October is an incredibly busy month with Swindon Poetry Festival, Birmingham Literature Festival and school workshops, so I may not get to the Cathedral again.

Ledbury Poetry Festival 

I always want to attend the complete festival, I dream of pitching up a tent and staying. It is like a massive holiday for poets with a daily celebration of words. However, knowing I could only manage one day this year – I chose a day with an action packed programme.

It was amazing. Read the full 21 Years of Gold

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Week 2

After work I was too tired to get to watch Beyond the Water’s Edge at the Artrix and I am very disappointed to miss it. I also missed the WLF Committee meeting (as I was meant to be at the theatre). Where was I? Asleep! Although having read Week 1, I am not surprised. I was also working on an application and some poetry which I used most of my post-Ledbury adrenaline to fuel.

I booked in WPL work and wrote commissioned poetry for Buildings Talk Hospital Histories (a project I spent 3 weeks working on) and got my set for Chapel Lates organised and set some promo for an event in August.

I gave myself some downtime knowing the end of the week was another hectic schedule.

Performance/ Cheltenham Music Festival

Chapel arts

Chapel Lates in Cheltenham, an amazing night of poetry and prose as part of Cheltenham Music Festival curated by Anna Saunders (Founder Cheltenham Poetry Festival). Read all about it here  Chapel Lates Cheltenham-Music-Festival-1

 

This event clashed with HOWL and Outspoken. It is always the way. It has taken 4 years, but I am beginning to come to terms with the fact that I cannot be everywhere at once.

Commission/Performance/Project 

Buildings Talk: Hospital Histories

Charley Barnes asked me to participate in a Medical Museum Project at the end of June. We had access to historical archives (photographs) which are not on general display to the public and from these we created a 10 minute set of poetry.

Buildings Talk

It was a great project to be involved in, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Louise Price had the creative vision to intersperse the medical talks with poetry. We performed our poems with the images projected behind us.

The next stage of this project is displaying a selection of our poems alongside archived footage.

Read a full review here Buildings Talk: Hospital Histories


I took a poetry break for a couple of days to work and to reunite with college friends, our two yearly reunions, epic fun! Just imagine Drama students 20 years on!


Performance

I attended Open Poetry which this month was a charity event to raise funds for PIPKA – refugees in Lesvos, Greece.

I performed my refugee poem, now written 4 years ago, this world of ours remains in crisis. Read the full review here

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2017/07/24/open-poetry-for-pipka/

EC This event was organised by Helen Calcutt and David Calcutt and featured Guest Spots from Christina Thatcher, she read from her recent collection ‘More Than You Were’.  more_than_you_were_large

Week 3

Writing

I needed some time at the desk to complete work from the Spring (another book endorsement) and read material that I am reviewing. I also needed lots of Admin time to complete arrangements for Artsfest (working on this since February), future bookings and promotion of other events.

I had as yet not re-awoken my creative muse – not to give a spoiler… but this was the month!

This was also the last week of work before the summer, my contract had finished and although I wasn’t expecting any work I had to remain on call. This meant several bleary-eyed mornings on the computer, just in case.

I had events and meetings to attend this week which did not involve me performing. A welcome treat/break from pressure and nerves. It also gave me some time to gather energy before the Artsfest Day (22nd).

Readings

Summer Party – Nine Arches Press

I thoroughly enjoyed this event with Jane Commane and…9 arches 3

The readings were superb and the atmosphere was definitely set to ‘PARTY’! Read all about it here https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2017/07/25/nine-arches-press-summer-party/

Meetings

The following morning I had an early start and a meeting in Birmingham at the Custard Factory with Jonathan Davidson and the other writers involved in Spark Young Writers groups. As ever it was interesting sharing ideas and great to spend some time with other writers/poets.

Book Launch

In the evening I drove to Cheltenham to finally catch a Book Launch from Angela France. DFH4x-NVoAAzcZ2 I was excited to see the multi-media element that I had heard so much about and to listen to Angela read more from this collection I have been following for the past couple of years. Read the full review of this special evening https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2017/07/25/the-hill-angela-france-book-launch/

angela france the hill 1

The launch shook my muse awake and for the first time in months, I was writing. For about two hours straight!

Meetings

I had a meeting with the Events Manager at the Jinney Ring to put plans into action for my September workshop using the Sculpture Trail. It was exciting, my list of 8 pointers were all achieved and it is shaping up to be a great WPL project.

Monday 18th September 10:30- 12:30 p.m glass tree

The Sculpture Trail at The Jinney Ring Craft Centre, Hanbury, Worcestershire.

The morning will start with a tour of the trail and some time to write using the sculptures for ekphrastic poetry or initial stimuli. Followed by a writing workshop in the marquee. 
Tea/Coffee and cake is provided as part of the ticket.

There will be opportunities to share writing and participants will be able to send polished work for at exhibition at the Jinney Ring in October.

In addition to all this, there will also be the opportunity to share your work at a reading in November.

For more information please contact me: worcspl[at]gmail.com

Official poster with all booking details out soon. Just awaiting the new trail photograph. 
10:15 meet at the marquee for a 10:30 Tour. 
Tickets £7.00

Festival Artsfest

droitwich artsfest

I need to write a complete blog post for Artsfest – which finishes on the 5th August. I will link back here afterwards.

It was a brilliant day with Poetry in the Square and an evening event Poetry Extravaganza at Park’s Cafe.

Watch Out Worcester! 

watch out worcs

I performed at St. Swithun’s Church at an event created by Suz Winspear. It was a great experience and I loved the building and atmosphere. I will write a blog about this event and link it back to here.

st swithins dancefest

http://www.worcesternews.co.uk/NEWs/15437699.Dancing_in_the_streets_of_Worcester/

Week 4

Writing

I spent a few days chained to the desk with writing and admin. I missed Poetry Bites as I was too pushed for time to get to King’s Heath and extremely tired after the busy weekend.

I researched new material and wrote 3 new poems for 42.

Workshop

I attended a workshop led by Angela France in Stratford, I always enjoy these sessions and listening to the work that is created.

Performance

I performed at Drummonds, 42 in the evening. The theme was Curiosities and I had fun exploring this theme. I wrote about an underground library in Seattle, the hanging coffins of China and fossilised skeletons. I left the Cabinet of… for others.

It was a great night, very entertaining with a Guest Host – Kevin Brooke – who did a sterling job, he made it look easy and we all know, it isn’t!

I missed Caffe Grande Slam for another month, as I needed to conserve energy.

ArtsFest Poet in Residence

On 28th July I was at the library in Droitwich as one of the Artists in Residence for Artsfest. I had a smashing morning talking all things poetry and tested out my Poetry Kit idea. This is something I will make more of at another point.

I took this booking as a poet, but decided as I am WPL it was a good opportunity to raise awareness of this role and promote WLF at the same time as DAN – Network.

DAN Lib

It was a lot of fun and has given me ideas for future events. It was the first outing for my new WPL t-shirt and the tablecloth, bought after the workshop on Wednesday.

DAN Lib 2 Children making Poetry Kits – we were competing with the Summer Reading Challenge who had a sock puppet workshop, or as I saw it, we had a captive audience to come and make Poetry Kits for FREE after.

DAN Rhys  © 2017 Rhys Jones

Poetry

I dropped in two poems to be displayed on the table and wall at The Canal Side Studio. There are more events this summer from there. So watch this space.

DAN Lib3

I finished the month with a Stanza meeting, which was a lovely evening and had some useful editing tips for my Dear Sky – Ivory/Figura workshop poem.

July has been exceptional!

 

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A Quick Update 1/4 of the Way into July!

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The beginning of this month has been scheduled to full capacity. Starting with a meeting at the Medical Museum, Charley Barnes asked me to write and perform (along with Mike Alma & Polly Stretton) at ‘Buildings Talk – Hospital Histories’ on the 13th July.

Buildings Talk

 

The George Marshall Medical Museum is a hidden gem, an archive of 250 years of healthcare and hospital history and it will be open on the evening of the event and I am incredibly excited to get inside and have a look at all the history. We are currently working with photographs that Louise Price (Curator) has provided, we all selected the images that talked to us and have been busily writing poetry.

I am looking forward to this performance, having seen the space and the projection area. I am currently editing my writing for this Thursday. https://medicalmuseum.org.uk/

I missed Stanza as my body hit sleep mode!

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It was also the beginning of Ledbury Poetry Festival – I have been drooling over the programme for months but can only manage tomorrow (the final day). I am looking forward to that! http://www.poetry-festival.co.uk/

On Saturday (the real beginning of July), I went to the Custard Factory – Writing West Midlands for a Room 204 project. Adam Speaks has been set up by Rachel Sharpe and Kiki Claxton for the National Trust, following Plumlines last year. We are one of 4 groups creating the outcome along with Chris Alton the Lead Artist on the project. Participating groups are: Kimichi School, The Birmingham Institute of Theatre Arts, Writing West Midlands and St Barnabas First and Middle School.

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© Peter Young 2017

Worcester News

They had a huge number of applicants for this position, including international applications. 13 were shortlisted and in April, Chris was chosen from this group.

 

Chris Alton, from Croydon, is a multidisciplinary artist, whose practice brings together distant, yet connected cultural phenomena. Whether deploying disco music against fascism or playing table tennis in competition with aggressive architecture, he utilises seemingly incongruous juxtapositions to address the multi-layered nature of prevailing social and political conditions. © National Trust Croome Court Adam Speaks

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/croome/features/adam-speaks

http://www.chrisalton.com/

The workshop was an intensive thought process in a relaxed atmosphere. Lasting for 6 hours, Chris went away with a massive amount of writing by the end. I look forward to being a part of Adam Speaks. https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/croome/projects/adam-speaks

1431782527872-adam-speaks-wwm-170701-19-rfw-credit-peter-young

© Peter Young 2017

Sunday saw Evesham Festival of Words and my third official appearance as Worcestershire Poet Laureate, as we took to the green of the town on the Poetry Walk. The programme for this festival was strong and again, there was much I wanted to go and see, but with work and bookings and the In tray of writing tasks currently being shuffled (I mean written), I had no spare time.

Evesham-Festival-of-Words-Image-1

https://eveshamfestivalofwords.org/programme/

 

I was looking forward to this as previous years have been really successful. This year it was all centred in the park around the Bell Tower and I performed under the Cloisters, some poems I wrote especially for the event which were Evesham based. It was a good turn out and I took lots of pictures, which I still need to upload!

 

 

Monday I had my first official slot as WPL on BBC Radio Hereford & Worcester with Tammy Gooding. The interview itself was incredibly short, but it will be a regular monthly slot that I am stepping into. Previous Laureates have done this for years, it is good to keep up the media side. Suz Winspear (WPL 2016-17) continues to write her column for SLAP (Supporting Local Arts & Performers) Magazine. I saw we had a mention in there too – another photo to upload.

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It was lovely meeting Tammy and see her passion for poetry. She made me feel at ease and the interview (pre-recorded) needed no editing. Impressive for my first time.

You can listen in http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p055z30x

 

In the evening I had a Guest Spot at Licensed to Rhyme, hosted by Maggie Doyle & Spoz. Suz Winspear was headlining. It was good to see some new faces and it was a wonderful night of poetry. Claire Walker took the other Guest Spot and I also got to re-meet my High School English Teacher who has started volunteering at the Arts Centre, she retires this year – I have to say, I recognised her straight away but was convinced it couldn’t be her as she looked NO DIFFERENT! I bet she was a little proud to watch a former pupil do something with her subject.

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There were many events Tuesday and Wednesday, but I was working and felt the need to rest and see Mr. G. before headlining Thursday.

 

Thursday night saw me Headline at Uncorked along with Clive Oseman, Jake Scott and Sean Colletti. This wonderful (new) night hosted by Holly Daffurn is always a pleasure to experience, the venue Bottles Wine Bar is brilliant and they love these events as much as we do.

bottles

Everyone produced incredible sets and Sean had spent some time (few weeks) organising us through messenger. Holly allows the headline acts to provide a taster of 5 minutes at the beginning of the evening.

Sean devised a theatrical element – a Dr./patient interview, with light and shade in the script, my favourite line was Jake’s ~ referring to Sean qualifying as a Doctor (in Creative Writing) “What are you going to do? Prescribe Poetry?” We all performed a poem and one of mine ‘Humans’ was divided up so all 4 of us took part.

It was a first for Uncorked and it worked effectively. Great impact for a taster. It was an enjoyable evening, big thanks to Kieran Davis for coming and being my support.

helen ivory martin figura

 

On Friday I had to get up early and head to Shrewsbury for a totally wonderful workshop with Helen Ivory and Martin Figura – who I almost had the chance to meet in 2015, possibly perform on the same night but failed to meet the deadline. It was great to finally meet them both and I thoroughly enjoyed the 2 hour workshop at the Theatre Severn.

It was worth every minute of journey (my SATNAV took me via Bridgnorth and up some incredibly steep hills)!

I came home laden with books and ideas. Unfortunately I was too tired to do anything other than add the books to the poetry shelf/bookcase and curl up in a ball and sleep.

Today I was planning on another writing group/workshop but with a full day in Ledbury and a still rather full (possibly over-flowing) In Tray – I have given it a miss.

The thing I am missing at the moment is writing time, other than the commissions. I have read articles where poets say they struggle to write anything other than commission… I really hope that doesn’t happen to me. I will give myself some space soon and see if I get my voice back.

Ledbury Poetry Festival – The Launch of ‘Queen, Jewel, Mistress’ by Ruth Stacey

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I made it to Ledbury Poetry Festival this year for Poetry and Cider with Ruth Stacey, Lesley Ingram and Sarah James

ledbury PF

From the brochure;

Three poets based in the West Midlands celebrate the launch their new collections. Ruth Stacey’s  Queen, Jewel, Mistress gives voice to every English/British queen from Anglo-Saxon times to Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. Lesley Ingram’s Scumbled is ‘A haunting collection (which) explores the brackishness of human relations, the kinship we crave with the non-human, and our desire to trade flesh for something less encumbering’ (Damian Walford-Davies). Sarah James’s The Magnetic Diaries takes the form of a narrative in poems, loosely based on the characters and storyline of Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary. Sarah James also has a collection plenty-fish with Nine Arches Press.

Ledbury Poetry Festival Programme © 2015

It was a wonderful evening in Burgage Hall, which was packed out with poets supporting these three great women. A great atmosphere and touching readings. What was particularly special was the gratitude Ruth showed Ledbury Festival, over the years she has gained lots from being involved in the programme and appreciated the input from workshops and coaching she has had, as well as previous opportunities to perform at the Festival. It is lovely and authentic when poets take a moment to acknowledge and thank people, for what they have done and how they have influenced and helped.

Diane Perry © 2015

Diane Perry © 2015

There is no greater feeling for the poet than to know you are supported and mentoring and guides are priceless treasures.

The event was a great success, it was lovely to hear Lesley perform her poetry and Sarah James too. I enjoyed sharing the moment with Ruth Stacey and her glee was mesmerising and contagious! I don’t think I have ever seen her look so happy. A magical night in Ledbury.

queen book

You can buy your own copy of this great collection from the following places;

BUY IT

RELATED LINKS

http://www.worcester.ac.uk/discover/worcester-graduate-launches-new-work-at-countrys-biggest-poetry-festival.html

www.ruthstacey.com

http://ruthstacey.com/all-the-long-gone-queens/

Now it is my turn to thank Ruth for one of the sweetest messages I have received at a signing. Thank you.

July Review

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At the end of June’s review I wrote;

Roll on the sunshine! Morning-Sun-mit

I was looking forward to the Summer holidays. Well, sunshine happened  – lots of it and the sunburn from the 52 Event formed a base tan that other people commented on when I was out Tuesday night. I have very fair skin and usually just freckles darken and I get a golden glow, my legs remain blue! This year – thanks to outdoor events and our lovely garden (that Mr G is constantly tending and creating) I have a tan – for the first time in my life and even my legs have some colour!

This sunshine is wonderful – but it has kept me away from the laptop – which I could use in the garden, but find that scribbling in my notebooks and catching on up reading a far more appropriate garden relaxing activity!

I have also had an exceptionally busy time offline and Mr G took a week off – which is a week I barely logged on at all.

 __________            July         _______________

Brought me abundant opportunities, some fabulous events and wonderful experiences.

Blogs and Projectslaptop

I continued to write poems for 52 and got behind on my MOOC course (due to real paid work), I hope to re-enrol next time this course is offered. It is a shame but I don’t think I could deal with the stress and pressure of catching up.

I didn’t hear back from Naked Lungs and presume they have invited other artists to collaborate on the pop up event for Birmingham Literature Festival. I also missed there open mic event this month but have already booked a slot for the one at the end of August.

The blog now has 778 followers, an extra 13 people joined in July. I am grateful to you all and hope you enjoy splashing in the Fountain.

Last month the most popular post was;

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

It continues to gain popularity with over 300 reads once again:

Writing Short Stories – Tips on Planning and Structure More stats 306

I am delighted – because many of them may have been 52ers that the most popular post in this last week of July was…

52 Meet and Perform for the Stratford Poetry Festival More stats 146

Followed closely by Tips on Planning & Structure.

Submission and Publishing type

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

I had another poem ‘Fallacy‘, a 52 poem from the weather week accepted for print publication, the anthology will be out later this year. This was as a result of entering GBWO – Great British Write Off.

Jean Atkin kindly published my 2nd farm poem on her blog for Acton Scott Farm, it was called ‘Combine Harvester’ but it has been re-titled ‘The Cart’ because that is the subject of the poem.

 

I submitted work to the Mental Health Festival Scotland

HCE – Here Comes Everyone for the Girl/Boy Issue

Popshots – Time Issue

I also worked on several short stories – unfortunately I didn’t have the time to get them up to scratch before the deadline, after finding out about them a month too late.

 

Offa Press rejected my mini sample manuscript, I have yet to find out which 2 lucky poets have been taken on by them this year.

Popshots rejected my submission for the Time issue.

motivation secret

I have read many articles about not taking rejection personally, I didn’t seek these articles out, I did spend a weekend catching up on reading my writing magazines, but I am also a firm believer in the universe responding (even when you didn’t think you called) – I needed to read the wisdom and toughen up. Rejection is just part of the course.

 

 

 

Performing Poetry

The month started with a 9 day break from performing, although during this time the Ledbury Poetry Festival had started and I did attend some events. At the beginning of the month I drifted into auto-recovery after an exceptionally busy week working full time and supporting many events at WLF – Worcester LitFest. Later on in the month I took another 9 day break – so the performances and events this month have taken place over less than a 2 week period.

I need these sorts of breaks more regularly now after 10months of flurried activity. I enjoy events more if I am not too tired to stand up and besides I knew with work and writing as well, I wouldn’t have the energy to keep the relentless touring up. That was never my intention.

Stratford -Upon -Avon Poetry Festival and Ledbury happened this month.

There were as always events which I missed and open mics I had no energy to attend, my hope is that before the end of the year I may get to attend them all at least once.

I am gutted that I lost my opportunity to send audition video in to support Hollie McNish on her Birmingham Tour in October. Scheduling and technical equipment were against me, couldn’t even use my mobile as it broke! I guess also part of me felt I wasn’t ready for this, despite talking to her after ConFab in Malvern and her telling me how much she enjoyed CakeMan…. if the Offa experience is anything to go by – the poet can love and adore you and your work – it won’t necessarily lead to the powers that be, publishing house, agents or Performance Companies agreeing!

When things should happen I will be ready to jump – I did get my 2nd exciting booking for paid work this month and a new role for me to try on for size to boot. Both BIG opportunities I have had this year I have grasped with a quick and confident YES! Both will lead to more things and both are beyond what I imagined I would achieve 10 months into my poetry journey / 20 months into my writing journey.

143551349motivation worth it

 

 

 

 

Mouth and Music Summer mm

Speakeasy Poetry

Spoken Word at The Ort This was a pre-book launch set by some of the contributors to the Born Free Anthology Restless Bones

Poetry on the Farm – celebrating the end of Jean Atkin’s poet residency by performing in the Old Barn, inspirational day! Setting up Poems for the Farm 10 best

The Event

Performing at The Shakespeare Centre, Stratford Upon Avon as part of the 52 Event 52

The week following this I was fairly exhausted by the 4 day run and 300+ miles of driving on top of some work. I was also writing for submission and Mr G had taken the week off to spend time together in lieu of a holiday. I missed 5 events this week, but had a lovely week with Mr G in the beautiful garden making it even more special.

42 – Dark Fears and Desires Read about it

 

Events Celebrate the World

Ledbury Poetry Festival Ledbury PFLedbury

I also went on a crazy quest to meet my old English Teacher – the one who encouraged me that poetry was where my writing talent lay! He works with Carol-Ann Duffy and she performed at a secret gig in Worcester this month. Read all about the crazy here

The Poetry Army – who I was supposed to perform with at The Artrix, postponed until 2015 due to ticket sales. I was gutted, but will be involved next summer instead, with more confidence and hopefully I will love it all the same. This event was double booked with a wedding invitation we had already accepted, so at least we were both able to attend the wedding. Although I missed performing at The Black Country weekend because of a wedding head the next day!

Antony Owens & Joseph Horgan– Book Launch at the Inspire Bar, Coventry the-year-i-loved-england Reviewed here

Jo Bell and 52 – Picnic/ Performance Event Stratford-Upon-Avon Poetry Festival 52

Poetry Party – my first one and it was wonderful, well worth the journey and a great night spent entertaining each other together. Not to mention some delicious food, thanks to Saleha Begum.

 

The Poet Within Quotes-On-The-Craft-of-Writing-bilo-gde

I lost complete confidence this month, I know again this is a normal status/ state to experience – but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. Losing faith in your ability, in your words is like being trapped in a box with no air. Absolutely terrifying. Fortunately I pulled myself out of the 2 week slump by posting about it and within a few days of enjoying events my thoughts shifted back to believing in the magic.

I have had a crazy 10 months, I am constantly learning and experiencing, opening new doors, facing new challenges. The strength of the writing community keeps me going, people are supportive and always there to offer advice or critique should you want it.

Even my worse writing days are 100 times better than the decade I forgot to pick up the pen.

A month of writing and opportunities.

summer 3 Here’s to AUGUST! bf bd

How has your month been?

Adventures in July – Ledbury, Open Mics and Submissions

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I am aware that I haven’t been present on the blog this month – I have been very busy out in reality and have not had as much online access. I have also started to write often and that is where the time priority has to be. I love blogging, but I have to admit I haven’t made it out into the blogging community so far this year, I still want to maintain my blog and see it as an important part of the writing adventure – but now my own adventures have taken off, I need to prioritise writing time.

I have been busy doing delightful things – thought I would share them with you. Tonight I have been inspired by a book launch, but that definitely deserves a post of its own.

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Ledbury Poetry Festival started on the 4th July, I have known about this festival for decades and had never been, considering it is closer than other festivals I have attended and is POETRY based, well established and included many of my poetry friends in the programme, I had to make sure I didn’t miss it this year. Unfortunately many of the performances and workshops I fancied were on during the week and I wasn’t able to attend due to work. Ledbury PF

On Saturday the 5th I went to Shell House Gallery to watch Ruth Stacey and Carrie Etter perform their new pamphlets by Dancing Girl Press. Dancing Girl is a Chicago based press ‘Homecoming’ by Carrie Etter and ‘Fox Boy’ by Ruth Stacey. Cooke and Dom Hale, to name a few. I was so glad I made it to Ledbury for this event.

Foxboy Click covers to buy a copies  Carrie Etter

 

I had hoped to make it to Cheltenham and Buzzwords the next day, but after a jolly to Ledbury was too tired to spend another evening driving. I hope to make it back to Cheltenham soon.

A few days later (8th) I found out Carol Ann Duffy was due to perform in a pub in Worcester, The Lamb and Flag, unfortunately the date clashed with an event I had already booked, also it has only been a month since I saw her at The Hive. Whilst I was chatting to her and getting my book signed I told her that I remembered seeing her as a teenager at my school and she asked the name of my teacher – who is nowadays very connected to Carol Ann, I rushed off to go and find him … I was too late. So when I discovered this semi-secret event and saw that Michael Woods was also performing I decided to act crazy.

 

Acting Crazy HALLOWEEN 2011 081

I thought he would remember me because he influenced and inspired/supported me as a English student to get my work published. Lots of success followed and he never knew because he left teaching and went into publishing. I don’t know why I expected him to remember 20 years ago – I barely remember students I taught a year or so ago.

I also made the mistake of using SatNav directions and got taken right round the rigging! I had worked all day and had about an hour to get my set ready and get across to the city first. I did find the pub and I did manage to get in to see Michael before the show, despite not having a ticket. He was very surprised and I spent all of 5 minutes with him, trying to put his mind at rest that I wasn’t a stalker and he did really teach me. As a teacher I think it is lovely when you get to tell these great people what an influence they have had over you. I do not regret this 60 minute detour before an open mic night of my own to re-discover my old English Teacher. imagesCANYEEWSWho will hopefully now remember me when our paths next cross!

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I managed to make it to Mouth & Music on time to sign up, I had written a new poem on theme (Summer) and was glad to make it. It was a great night, Jan Watts was reading from Benches, her latest novel (official Launch in August) which I bought, can’t wait to read it – but it is piled on the shelf of all the books I have bought this year to read. jan benches Click to buy.

It was a great night packed full of talented performers, including a scene from a play (a first for this event) – it was great to see people I had not seen for ages and to find out about the summer festival.

On Wednesday the 9th there was an event I was invited to but sadly was unable to attend (due to energy levels).

Birmingham Readers’ Map  

Pigeon Park Press decided to map all the stories that take place around Birmingham and then organise events for these writers to read their work.

SpeakEasy

It was only a few weeks since the LitFest special, I was lucky enough to be able to perform again and had some fresh poems, one written on the day (Thursday 10th) it wasn’t as well attended as it is usually, but a good night all the same. Headlined by Andrew ‘Mulletproof’ Graves- a poet from Nottingham.

The Weekend – Writing, Weddings and Missed Mics

Was meant to be my performance with the Poetry Army – but that got postponed until next year due to a lack of ticket sales at the venue. This did mean that I was able to attend the final WWM Writing West Midlands session in Worcester and my friends wedding!

It was a great last Creative Writing session – our students have really got their heads screwed on when it comes to the world of writing.

And Carly and Russ’s wedding party was A M A Z I N G! I bought a new dress the day before (one that looks a lot more expensive than it was) and had plenty of time to get ready as there was no theatre performance.

I missed the next Open Mic opportunity – part of Black Country Day weekend celebrations at The Cone. As the wedding wine was still in my system on Sunday morning and signing up to the event would have meant leaving at 10 am and I woke up at 10:30 AM

TIP: Don’t arrange or agree to any performance the day after a wedding! coffee lounge 5

SUBMISSIONS:
And on top of all of this (and working) I have tried to knuckle down with submissions this month. I have entered 1 competition and entered several poems to online publications, fingers crossed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Story so Far – July

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It has always been a crazy few days. I have written new work for submission and performance, sent a poem into the Gladstone’s Library Competition and planned events to attend and perform at this weekend.

After the WLF Festival I needed some time to rest, I have been sleeping a lot, crashing out in the evening after work, sleeping through the alarm…. roll on the freedom of the summer holidays. And of course by now you know, I like to do a lot, all the time. So just added an extra element into the mix.

Last year I did a lot of re-training having been away from the world of writing for so long, I saw it as a worthwhile investment and it was. One of the courses I did online was Rhetorical Writing and I wished back then that I would find a MOOC that was more my cup of tea. I was delighted when I saw it advertised through the Writing University at the end of last month and have signed up. Just like last year, I am back pedalling as the course started on the 28th June. mooc

Ledbury Poetry Festival started today – I am hoping to make it to some events this weekend. I also hope to get back across to Cheltenham as I haven’t made it to Buzzwords since the beginning of the year.

Next week in addition to work I am going to break myself back in with Mouth & Music on Tuesday, I have written my Summer Poem already and SpeakEasy on Thursday – only a fortnight since the last one, but it doesn’t seem that long ago! I also hope to continue being productive with writing and to get stuck into my MOOC, as well as catching up with 52 poems and writing my poems for the farm in time to send them to Jean Atkin.

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On a sad note – I was supposed to be performing with the Poetry Army next weekend at the Artrix and the show has been cancelled – postponed  for next year. I am gutted as I was really looking forward to this, however it does mean that Mr G & I can attend an event together.

 

Have a good week, happy writing!

 

Resting, Writing and Working

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I have decided after all the buzz of WLF (Literature Festival) I would take some time off events this week. rest thai

We are close to Summer – just 3 weeks and a day, left at work and I am pretty much taking on work full time. I need the energy for the day job – can’t wait to get into the summer writing projects though and days and days of artistic freedom.

There are events all over this week but I am resting until the weekend. I also have swollen glands so best to keep voice use to the minimum – day job.

I have been busy writing since my writing day yesterday, typewriter admin is all up to date and I have the next week’s assignments all mapped out. Fitting in around everything else I have to achieve. I have written 4 new poems all for submission pieces. I have two more that are building up to being something (I have 3 weeks to work on those). I had to proof my poem for the latest edition of Hark Magazine, harkJuly issue.

I am getting excited about working with the Poetry Army poetryarmy in less than a fortnight and making it to Ledbury Poetry Festival before then. There was a tempting offer last night involving one of the late night events but I decided not to volunteer (despite the temptation of accommodation, travel expenses and tickets) as it was an event after midnight – it wasn’t facilitating the event which worried me – more organisation of the food and refreshments. Another time maybe. I am still hoping to make it and catch a few performances this weekend.

I am also trying to write one or two short stories, I have less than 2 weeks to complete – so I might save them for something else if they aren’t quite ready. My next writing day was Friday but I have accepted some more work so now I have just half a day to work through the projects.

I need to re-energise and work on my writing and find that I have plenty of time for both after work if I am not trying to make it to events as well!

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And on that note – bed calls! Be gentle on yourselves – seek balance – inspiration doesn’t work on an empty tank.

 

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

 

Poetry and Pollination at The Hive – Gig 10 in the run of 10

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MAY 9th

Ledbury PFLedbury Poetry Festival and Worcester Lit Fest WLF&F logo concepts

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© 2013 thehiveworcs.org

have collaborated on a series of 3 poetry events leading up to the Ledbury Poetry Festival. Ruth Stacey has worked with Ledbury Poetry Festival organisers to bring these events into the heart of Worcester, the new library, The Hive.

 

I really enjoyed the first event in the Studio, Poetry and Place, an evening of listening to 3 amazing poets. Click the link in related articles to read about it.

I have already reblogged Claire Walker’s detailed review of Poetry and Pollination (related links) if you want more information on the acts and performances it is a great read!

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Poetry and Pollination was booked in advance and I had been counting down to the next Ledbury/Litfest/Hive event with excitement, as the run up was during my insane 10 gigs in 11 days (never again!) period, – in fact Poetry & Pollination was gig 10. I hadn’t managed to write to the theme, Bees – well we were at The Hive! I have written 1000’s 0f poems and not one about bees. New material was needed.

For a few weeks beforehand I had the time to write but not the inspiration, muse was looking at the flowers, rather than the bees. Then, whilst fleeting around social network sites I found 2 posts about bees. One about the pollination process, the other a Guiness Book of Record type tale of an elderly lady who covered herself in bees. Notes were scribbled in my carry-it-everywhere-you’re-a-writer notebook.

Weeks later I had still not managed to get the scribbles into a poem.

The night before The Hive I was at SpeakEasy, thinking I would still have time to write a bee poem or two when I got home – even if the title was ‘It was not to Bee!’ It was a fairly late night and I was exhausted when I got I, went straight to bed, with my carry-it-everywhere notebook, picked up the nearest pen (which was unfortunately a felt tip) don’t write in felt tip if you can help it, the ink blurs and the next day it is hard to see what has been written, even harder to perform from a felt-tipped script! As I found out.

The Pollination poem has still, as yet, not materialised, nor has the poem about the bee lady – I am hoping to write both before the summer! Instead I fell back on the wise words of every writing tutor – write from what you know – the result of which was two poems about my experiences with bees, both humorous (I don’t usually do funny, unless I am writing with Tim Scarborough – more on that in another post) I wrote about a teenage experience of getting a bee stuck in dreadlocked hair and another about evicting a huge bumble bee from a class of screaming 7 year olds!

I received lots of positive feedback on my performance – it was helped by stage lights and no PA system, I lost my inhibitions and started jumping around the space, acting out my poem, making full use of that dusty, old, drama degree. ‘Another level/ the next level’ in my performance poetry – a great compliment to hear – performance morphs and changes, just as poetry. We grow, change, develop. I am glad after 6 months of spoken word, my work is rising to the next level.

The audience enjoyed these poems, I wrote another one about endangered bees and read that along with a few of my favourite nature poems (another genre I don’t tend to write).

It was a great night with talent after talent, it was especially satisfying to hear Ian Glass and Ruth Stacey as they don’t tend to read their work often and both are wordsmiths with golden nibs, their poetry is amazing. Ruth has a collection coming out soon – Fox Boy – Dancing Girl Press, she will be performing at Ledbury Poetry Festival – can’t wait! More information soon.

It was also a treat to have a few new-to-me faces and a little audience too. Charlie Hammond, a great performance and very funny poem about a parker pen. Lesley Ingram, who mainly performs around Cheltenham area also treated us to her set of delightful poems. Duncan Forbes who read about the seasons.

Maggie Doyle (Worcester Poet Laureate Emeritus and recent KIDDERMINSTER CREATIVES SLAM WINNER!) opened the night.

Jenny Hope read some beautiful poetry, I love hearing her read, such a gentle soulful poet.

Timothy Stavert read about his daughter observing bees.

Suz Winspear treated us to a deliciously darker set,  I especially liked her poem about the Yellow House and hope to hear it again soon.

Claire Walker shared one of my favourite poems of hers ‘A Little Outing’, alongside her bee poems, one describing the fear her daughter has of the humming bees, which transported me back to my own fear, filled childhood.

The headline slots were filled by Ruth Stacey and Sarah James.

Sarah read from her second Be[yond] published last year by Knives, Forks and Spoons Press and her first Into the Yell – Circaidy Gregory Press

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It was a superb night, a great night was had by all – organisers, performers and audience.  To top it, a few of us rounded the night by going out for a few celebratory drinks!

 

Links to related articles:

Poetry and Place

Poetry and Pollination

Be[yond] Book Launch

Poetry & Place – The Hive – Ledbury Poetry Festival & Worcester LitFest

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Ledbury PF hive3 WLF&F logo concepts

Friday night (11th April) saw the first of 3 events hosted at The Hive (Worcester Library) organised as a joint venture between the Ledbury Poetry Festival and WLF – Worcester LitFest & Fringe.

These events are organised and promoted by Ruth Stacey.

QC Ruth Stacey Gary Longden

Copyright 2014 Gary Longden

 

 

For just £5.00 there were 4 poets on the bill.

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Unfortunately both Fiona Sampson and David Caddy were unable to make the event. Fiona Sampson arranged another poet from London to take her place. Alan Brownjohn.

The theme was Landscape and Place and we were treated to a wide range of poetry around this theme.

Martin Malone kicked the night off and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to his poems. Alan Brownjohn delighted us with his humour, his funny and enjoyable poetry often had serious tales behind it. I loved hearing more from Angela France again, she shared some brilliant poems and told us stories about how some of them were inspired.

It was a great night with poetry friends, very inspiring. I had completely forgotten to take book money though, at the end I said that I hoped to find secret money- and I did! (Often put a handbag away with money still inside it, good trick!) I found £20 of secret money in the pocket of my bag, felt rich for a moment and then spent it on poetry books! At least I didn’t have to decide between Martin’s and Angela’s. I already had a copy of Hide from the Launch in Birmingham last year.

Occupation Hide waiting_hillside_small

 

“It was a really lovely night and I appreciate all the people who came out to listen to poetry at the Hive.” © 2014 Ruth Stacey

Further Information and booking details for the next two events; poetry and place

Poetry and Pollination & Carol Ann Duffy can be found here

RELATED LINKS:

http://ruthstacey.com/2014/03/17/poetry-and-place-at-the-hive/

http://thegirlwhogrewintoacrocodile.wordpress.com/2014/04/13/mouth-and-music-poetry-and-place/