Tag Archives: Matt Windle

SpeakEasy with Matt Man Windle

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Matt is Birmingham’s current Poet Laureate, and was once upon a time Birmingham’s Young Poet Laureate as well. A professional boxer and much-loved poet, Matt’s Poet-with-a-Punch routine is coming to Worcester this February as our featured artist and he is certainly worth coming along to see.

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I was really looking forward to finishing a busy poetry week in Worcester at Café Bliss with the SpeakEasy crew. Not to mention it has been ages since I caught Matt Windle in action and I am a big fan of his performances. He is Headlining next week at the Artrix for Licensed to Rhyme, which I miss as it is Mr G’s birthday. (We started celebrations this evening with a curry out with friends.)

I had a 3 minute slot on Thursday and as I was on just before Matt, was able to enjoy the whole night of performers without any worry or nerves. It was an exceptional night. One of those rare times when the magic of live performance is pitched just right. The room was carried along with this energy and by the end of the night we were ready for the power of Matt Windle – Poet with Punch.

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Matt’s performance was certainly emotive (I had tears in my eyes at one point), packed with gentle energy, pacey and entertaining. It was great to see him in action again. Loved him sharing his story, realising that the room was split between people who knew him and had seen him in action and those that hadn’t.

For me it as magic as watching him for the first time all over again. Enjoy this recent film, one of the poems Matt performed in his set.

Other performers included: Neil Richards, Charley Barnes, Ruth Stacey, Tim Stavert, Dray Zera, Mogs, Willis the Poet, Steve Soden, Miguel Lourenco, Kieran Davis, Chris Hemmingway, Mike Alma, Leena Batchelor & myself, Nina Lewis.

Review of October

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Review of October

Week 1

Following advice I was trying to not be too busy pre-book launch but after a week off events I took my writing group for Writing West Midlands, watched all the poetry coverage on BBC2, missed another writing deadline and decided that I would drive to Cheltenham to Buzzwords and catch David Clarke and Cliff Yates (another new-to-me poet).

Buzzwords was great, I realised I hadn’t been for over a year. I had a fabulous evening and do not regret it, despite it being the night before my launch. I read my latest poem – a work on tribal philosophy and have some poetry drafts from the workshop to work on when I get a chance (Christmas holidays maybe).

I had imagined I would spend Monday getting ready for the evening – but in reality I missed writing deadlines, overslept, did everything I could to reduce the nervous anxiety of what if no-one turns up and finally at about 2pm started to get organised.

I am going to write a full post about the launch and some follow up posts about the organisation aspects, as there is a gap of relevant information in this area.

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Waterstones Book Launch for Fragile Houses in Birmingham with Guest Readers – Roy McFarlane, Antony Owen and Claire Walker. It was a cracking night, the next morning I woke up to go to work and it felt like a dream.

The following evening I headlined at Stirchley Speaks. I have been headlining since Autumn 2014 but this is the first time I had a book to sell. I did leave home without them and had to turn back to grab the bag, I knew there was something I had forgotten. Since this night I have started using a large event handbag and always carry a couple of copies.

Stirchley Speaks was a great night and I sold lots of books, I realised at this point I had underestimated how many I should order. Taking advice from Jane Commane back in 2014 who said that audience doesn’t necessarily convert to readership. I was aware not everyone I know will buy the book. I have a list of people who want a copy next time I see them too.

It was good to catch up with everybody in the P Café and it was an incredible night of poetry.

The next day I contacted my publishers and ordered another box.

I hadn’t submitted any poetry for a while and had news of one of my poems being published in the USA. More on that when it happens.

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I treated myself to an evening off and a little rest before National Poetry Day, which is fast becoming one of my favourite dates on the calendar.

I collected my new batch of books and went to Suz Winspear’s NPD event in Worcester. As Worcestershire Poet Laureate, Suz is working hard this year in the city and found a brand new venue for the NPD Event. Berkeley Almshouses was the venue and some of the residents came to enjoy the event. It was a great evening and the old chapel had fabulous acoustics and suited Suz very well.

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This year’s theme was messages and I certainly sent a few texts whilst trying to track down the entrance to the venue. Great sets from everyone and I got to catch up with Math Jones (up from London) and Ruth Stacey. I even sold a book!

I spent the weekend Fri- Sun at Swindon Poetry Festival, it was 2nd year there and much as I loved it last year, this year was EVEN better! It deserves a full post and as I pretty much did everything on the programme, will certainly need one. A great way to finish an exhausting, fantastic week in my poetryskin!

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Other great news was Matt Windle became Birmingham’s new Poet Laureate and by the end of the week I had sold over 50 copies of my book!

 

Week 2

Started with a recovery day. I started to create Poetry Films, something I have got hooked on. Last year Sarah Leavesley kindly tutored a group of us in the art of production and I was inspired by the Poetry Films I had seen at Swindon. There are several poems in my pamphlet that I will rarely perform. These are all now Poetry Films.

On my recovery day I spent some INKSPILL admin time and rehearsed a set for Licensed to Rhyme. Roy McFarlane was headlining. It was a great night and I was allowed to sell my pamphlets, they had a table and everything.

The next evening I went to Ledbury to the Poetry Salon where Deborah Alma was reading and finally got a copy of her book, ‘True Tales of the Countryside’, a beautiful Emma Press pamphlet. deb-alma2

I unexpectedly performed in the open mic section. Fragile Houses reached Ledbury. It has since reached Palestine, Malta, Holland and Australia to my knowledge. It was a wonderful, rich evening and great to see Ledbury folk again.

This week was also Birmingham Literature Festival and due to work commitments and events was the first time since coming back to writing (2013) that I missed it. The night after Ledbury Liz Berry and Benjamin Zephaniah were performing and also Gregory Leadbetter had his book launch for ‘Fetch’ (Nine Arches) at Waterstones, Birmingham with Angela France and Jo Bell reading.

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© 2016 Nine Arches

I was gutted to miss both these events but with working and poeting I had no energy and if I remember rightly was asleep as soon as I had finished tea.

The following night Luke Kennard was performing in Birmingham and I missed it because it clashed with SpeakEasy, where I was already performing. Roy McFarlane was the feature and it was a joy to listen to him twice in one week.

Fragile Houses received a Chez Nous Review which I was delighted to discover came from Gram Joel Davies. He actually chose some of my favourite foods – go and have a read.

http://vpresspoetry.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/chez-nous-recommendations-for-fragile.html

By the end of the week I was run down with illness and missed Holding Baby a play by Jan Watts and the rest of the Book to the Future Festival (again for the first time since 2013). I hope to catch the show another time, I have heard nothing but good things about it.

It was great to finish the week with a Madhatter Review http://www.madhatterreviews.co.uk/books–e-books.html

 

Week 3

Fragile Houses has positive reviews on Amazon and Good Reads.

I was asked to do something that I am really excited about, more on that next year. I spent days preparing for INKSPILL in shifts of 8 – 12 hours.

Mr G and I went to London to see Woven Hand.

I was too tired to manage Hit the Ode and Smokestack Poetry Evening event clash), both in Birmingham, both top nights. I also missed the Dylan Thomas Festival, running for the first year in Cheltenham. Unfortunately it clashed with INKSPILL this year.

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I signed up to an online course ‘Arts for Health’ and performed poetry for ‘She Speaks Her Mind’ Woo Feministas – alongside Suz Winspear, Charley Barnes, Claire Badsey & Holly Magill.

Then of course it was INKSPILL with Gaia Harper, Roy McFarlane and Deanne Gist. This was the 4th year for us and it was a success. I already have Guests and plans lined up for 2017.

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The Magnetic Diaries – which I saw in it’s infancy in Hereford last year was on at the MAC and although I couldn’t make the show I did make Sarah Leavesley’s workshop ‘Pain to Poetry’. I have some poetry notes and one poem so far from this and it was a challenging (emotionally) but not unpleasant experience. I also got time to reconnect with many poetry friends I have not seen in a while.

 

Week 4

I spent the early part of the week writing. I entered a few free poetry competitions. I took some bookings for next year and exchanged pamphlets with J.V Birch through the post. She is a childhood friend, now living in Australia and has also become a poet at the same time as me. It has been exciting to map and mirror each other’s journeys through this new world.

I dressed up for Halloween as a ‘Cereal Killer’ and went off to perform at the Halloween Special 42 in Worcester. Where (due to the wig) people didn’t recognise me. It was a fabulous night and a great excuse to dress up. Fantastic sets from everyone.

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photos by Liam Cortintias

The next day I had to do my best to get all the make up off and go to a workshop run by Angela France, the theme was Fairy Tales and I had a thoroughly enjoyable day and even sold a few books.

I listened to poetry on Radio 4 and missed my Stanza meeting to take part in a Charity Quiz night. All teams of 8 and due to circumstances we ended up with just 4 in our team. We were going for the Booby Prize but decided it was hard to share a bottle of wine and so started to get answers right. We came in 5th not too shoddy, somewhere in the middle. Over £1000 was raised for MacMillan.

I hoped to go to Lania Knight’s workshop, having missed her last one due to a crash on the motorway, but this weekend we celebrated a special family birthday.

 

Mouth & Music – War & Peace – 12th August

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MM aug Peter Williams

© Peter Williams 2014

 

Thank goodness for Classic Mode – it is unusual when tech is improved to leave an option to use the previous format, glad WordPress have – as I have a lot of blog posts to catch up on.

Let’s go back in time… before my birthday there were many events I didn’t blog about and since then I have been busy with events… I have taken the past 48 hours offline – it is a Bank Holiday weekend and we have had the allotment to sort out and friends visiting from London. I would recommend a offline break to anyone – I didn’t even use my mobile phone, the only tech ipods and TVs.

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Kidderminster have a brilliant Arts Festival kaf festthroughout the summer and this month’s Mouth and Music was a festival special. We were all expecting it to be a heavy evening – due to the theme – and the nature of the subject… it wasn’t – it was (as always) a brilliant night!

Jasmine Gardosi – a poet friend from Birmingham and runner up in the recent OXJAM Poetry Slam, is head lining there in a few months time and she came to M&M on the 12th, was great to have her company.

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Matt Windle was the poetry headliner this month – love watching him perform – energy, talent and spirit. He is a boxer and is often billed as the Boxing Poet – I like the way he encourages others. Recently, at ‘A Night with Maya Angelou’ I saw Lauren Williams, a student at Birmingham Ormiston Academy & Birmingham Young Poet Laureate perform, having seen her get the acolade last year at the BLF (Birmingham Lit Fest) it was wonderful to see her perform. In conversation she told me that she was inspired by a poet who visited her school…. that poet? Matt Man Windle of course, who was himself a Young Poet Laureate a few years ago.

Matt doesn’t keep still during any performance and the lighting in the venue is a challenge for any photographer.

© Peter Williams 2014

© Peter Williams 2014

One of the reasons I like to blog about events in real time is because I still have the energy and enthusiasm for it in real time. Whereas at 9 (now 10) in the morning on Bank Holiday Monday trying to recall the night is somewhat harder.

I just remember uplifted feelings and some incredible poetry, music and dance. Sirkel – the music headliners brought DANCE to M&M for the first time.

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Scandinavian influenced folk duo – sax, flute, violin, accordion, guitar & mandola
plus guest appearance from clog dancer Ayliffe Edwards.

© Peter Williams 2014© Peter Williams 2014

© Peter Williams 2014

 

All photographs © Peter Williams 2014

The clog dancing was captivating!

© Peter Williams 2014

© Peter Williams 2014

Heather Wastie performing her War & Peace Poetry

© Peter Williams 2014

© Peter Williams 2014

Me performing mine.

A moving night and a fantastic audience of festival goers. A good time was had by all!

The most magical night.

Hosted this month by Sarah Tamar, congratulations on such a successful evening!

 

 

 

 

 

SpeakEasy with A. F Harrold

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Speakeasy was amazing, I was very tired by the time I got across to Worcester after working two jobs, I was hoping to get there in time for signing up to the open mic (4 free slots of 2 minutes) I didn’t manage it and they had put the parking up! I paid my entry and had a chance to mingle and catch up with everyone I knew, great to see new faces in the audience as well as getting up to the mic, this is one of my favourite spoken word nights and I missed it last month to go to the meeting with Writing West Midlands.

I was delighted to see that Matt Windle was performing and enjoyed his short set. It was great to watch new -to – us acts and also end up with 2 nice surprises. They managed to get through the first half quicker than normal. Which meant myself and Io had a chance to perform.

Hurrah! Unfortunately I hadn’t had time to set or rehearse, I just grabbed a bag of poems and when I was told there was no space, I didn’t bother looking at them, so on the spot, Fergus had to fill time whilst I went through my plastic file.

I wasn’t 100% happy with my performance but the feedback was good and the parts I had been unsure of no-one else seemed to notice.

The second surprise – I won the raffle! I chose Wreck this Journal, a great book by Penguin that I can fill in myself!

A great 2nd half and the headline A.F Harrold, I knew about him but had never seen him perform, very entertaining!

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