Tag Archives: Najma Hush

Writing, Headlining Restless Bones, 16 Days of Activism and a Proof


This week I have mainly focused on my writing again, missing some open mic events and other performances. Mr G and I have also started sorting the house *for Christmas, we still have a lot of things boxed up from the move and have rooms that are practically inaccessible because of this.

This week also saw ‘Black Friday’ SALES coming to the UK – and although I didn’t really take part, I did happen to be in town buying a few birthday gifts. I spent an hour in a clothes shop trying on various items and finally picked 2 things, calculated my 30% discount, got a bit excited by the bargain of a winter micro-fleece and a pair of jeans, got to the till – none of the items I bought were in the BF SALE! Typical!

I am working on current submissions with several deadlines early December as well as compiling a 15 minute set for next weekend’s gig.

© 2014 KGC

© 2014 KGC

On Tuesday 25th a group of featured poets from the Restless Bones Poetry Anthology Headlined at Jacqui Rowe’s event. I had a fantastic night and met several poets who then came and performed for Sound Bites this weekend. The anthology continues to sell well and will now be on Sale by Silhouette Press at the next Inzine event in Coventry. Performers included; Elaine Christie (creator of the collection), Tessa Lowe, Claire Walker, David Barber, myself- Nina Lewis, Jude Ashworth,

Poetry Bites: Restless Bones restless the book

“One of the top 10 venues for poetry in the UK” (Susan Richardson, Radio 4).

Tonight’s Poetry Bites will be devoted to contributors to ‘Restless Bones’, an anthology raising funds for the Born Free Foundation.


InZine Fest II

@ The Pod
1A Lamb Street, Coventry, CV1 4AE


Jacqui was at an awards evening, Poetry Bites was hosted by Chris Fewings and a grand job he did too!




1 6 days

My next event was yesterday at The Library of Birmingham, ‘Sound Bites’ as part of the 16 Days of Activism. The subject matter of this event was not pretty or entertaining but I was proud to be part of this event, organised for 16 poets by Najma Hush.

There were only about 10 performers who made it to the Bookbox yesterday, the quality of writing and performing was incredible. Moving first hand experiences and poetry to fit the Activism themes. I wrote 3 poems especially for the event – one of my poems focused on Slavery – last night they featured this issue on the evening news. Slavery was abolished in this Country in 1833 – but unbelievably it is still a huge (largely unseen) problem.

1 6 d ays

The rest of the women present were absolutely amazing, individuals who shared a piece of themselves, their experiences and private thoughts about life as a female upon earth. Thanks to Marcia Calame, Ddotti Bluebell, Jackie Smallridge, Leah Atherton, Nina Lewis, Sammy Joe, Abie Budgen, Carole Griffiths and Susan Philips – Nikki Bi and Shahida Choudhry who all helped to create Saturday Soundbites : Women Unplugged, spent at 16 Days of Activism Birmingham, UK .

– Najma Hush



Showcasing an eclectic mix of women performers from across the West Midlands. This event will be a unique gathering of our region’s most talented women, coming together to artistically express their passionate views for Human Rights, live through performance.
Whether you want to spin us a yarn, spit your bars, hit us with your punch line, or wax us lyrical with your prowess, join us at The Library of Birmingham.
Hosted by Najma Hush, poets reading include: Marcia Calame, Abie Budgen, Ddotti Bluebell, Jackie Smallridge, Nina Lewis, Leah Atherton & Sammy Joe. And the two poets who came from my plug at Poetry Bites, who due to dropping acts were able to perform Carole Griffiths and Susan Philips.
It was also good to see 4 men who had come to support the women in their lives at the event too.
  16 daysPhotos to follow.
Women Unplugged is just one of the event for Amnesty International’s, The Official 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign (29 Nov – 7 Dec 2014). With a fantastical array of creative events filled with vivacious activities, interactive shows and live performances for the people of Birmingham at the People’s Palace (organised by the Women’s Networking Hub).
It has been a brilliant week and the Caldmore writing Workshop, led by David Calcutt  which was due to happen this Tuesday has been rescheduled for early December, which means I can enjoy it without having to save energy for an evening performance too.
I have received my proof from Paragram, for the upcoming anthology ‘Remember’ AND in addition to all this excitement Christmas has arrived! The local towns have all had SWITCH on and the pretty lights are twinkling, the markets have arrived Victorian Christmas Market in Worcester and Frankfurt Market in Birmingham, although I wouldn’t recommend Saturday day time crush as experienced yesterday! I saw Christmas trees being delivered at school when I left on Thursday and we have our Advent Calendars ready to fill and I am getting excited about our 2nd Christmas together in our house. Before that we have 3 family birthdays to celebrate too! (And lots of Christmas Shopping!) deb alma xmas

Abstract Elements Photographic Exhibition – Photogiraffe


abstract najma

A great night at Najma Hush’s, a.k.a. Photogiraffe, exhibition. As with her other shows she invited performers and created a spectacle to match the amazing artistic talent hanging on the wall!

As with her other work the photographs exhibited were thought provoking. The Abstract Elements collection was compiled by just 5 pictures, Some Kind of Blue was exhibited too, which I was excited about as this was the 1st in the present exhibitions and it made a full circle back to the start. I hadn’t seen these in real life, I had only just started back on my creative poetry path back in the Autumn, when she launched this exhibition and knew nothing of Najma or her talent.

Najma invited other performers to write material based on the same theme as her exhibition. This was the first one I have taken part in where I didn’t use the actual photos to write from. I used the elements themselves.

There was so much talent and a mix of storytelling, poetry, music, performance art and humour, mostly performers stuck to the brief and wrote thematic material exploring the 5 elements.









We were in the Warehouse Cafe in Digbeth, Birmingham, a friendly atmosphere & superb food! For a small charge we were all treated to a buffet of vegan / vegetarian cuisine, the food was good and the atmosphere relaxed.


Abstract Elements A beautiful video Najma has created showing her latest collection on the 5 elements. Read her own review of the exhibition here PhotogiraffeLive Opening

I had great fun performing my set with Tim Scarborough on percussion, people were positive with their feedback and many thought it was a well established collaboration. This was only the 2nd time we have performed together, although we have more in the pipeline. I am only performing twice next week (from choice, I need a bit of balance), both performances will be with Tim, one new set and one we have performed before (2nd time around).



Female Force – PhotoGiraffe Exhibition Launch Event


Saturday 12th April was a day of events. WWMThere was the Independent Book Fair at the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham. This event was organised by Writing West Midlands, who I was working for in Worcester the same day. I toyed with the idea of getting into the city early for an hour and leaving to journey across the county. I decided I would only have an hour and it wasn’t worth the early start and extra journey. I have read reviews and I know I wouldn’t have managed much in just an hour.

dividercolleen mullaney

Then I found out that Najma Hush’s event was also in the morning. It was touch and go and I really appreciate her squeezing me in on the line up as I couldn’t confirm until the morning of her opening event. Now an hour of poetry was something that I was willing to make a journey for!

female force

The Diverse Dancers exhibition was such a great event to be part of. I knew I would have a great morning and was sad that I couldn’t stay for the whole event as I had to travel back for my Assistant Writers job.


Female Force is the title given to a selection of photographs taken of statues by Najma Hush. These images been manipulated by the process of multi-layering, to modernise and re-present, a few and various neoclassical and classical sculptures, from the fresh perspective of a digital age. Currently exhibiting at Urban Coffee Co (Church Street Birmingham, from April 6th – May 3rd 2014).
With the exhibition open day held last Saturday 12th April, Hush hosted her very own launch event inviting Poets and Musicians to platform their own skills and celebrate her latest exhibition. You can see all the photographs of the beautiful people who came to support this event on the PhotoGiraffe official page. The theme was ‘Women’ and all performers prepared work to coincide with this exhibition. After all, these open exhibition events aren’t titled, ‘Exhibition for Exhibitionists’ for nothing you know.
photogiraffe bernard davis

Copyright Bernard Davis

I met new poets and had the chance to see some of them perform, it seemed like ages since I had made it into the city to see my Birmingham based poetry friends and reconnecting at this event was lovely! And I had a cupcake for breakfast! Well it would have been rude not to, I was in the Urban Coffee House, ‘where magic happens’ and it is filled with sweet treats.

I read some very personal material. The theme ‘Female Force’ gave us a platform that was safe to share such things and I wasn’t the only performing exposing the edge of realities. Strength and vulnerability meet somewhere on that circle.

It was really hard having to leave in the interval, I am glad I managed to catch Charlie Jordan and Julie Boden before I left.


Copyright Photogiraffe



I missed the second half and it sounds like it was a great day. I am linking Photo Giraffe’s review for you all to enjoy the full scale of this event.



Diverse Dancers Exhibition – Najma Hush – Performance Event



Diverse Dancers Part I:   An Exhibition for Exhibitionists, with Art, Poetry and Music.

I had a great night at the Diverse Dancers Exhibition/ opening night at The Ort in Birmingham.

I found out about this event in January and excitedly signed up. Najma was looking for artists and performers to come to the opening of the event (although the gallery exhibit opened on 19th February), it was such a lovely gesture to get the wider community involved and there were plenty of audience there tonight too.

Diverse Dancers

^^^ See Najma’s photography!

The exhibition is there until the 4th March.

It gave me an opportunity to meet and watch new (to me) talent and I always love events at the Ort because it is such a hippy vibe place to be that I feel totally at home in the café.

1 birm ort

A superb night, I really enjoy having the opportunity to share my poetry in events other than Open Mic nights, there is something rather special about performing for other reasons. Plus I love the challenge of writing for specific reasons/ events/ venues…. I may not think this when I get commissions.

Najma is a fantastically talented photographer who captures moments of dance through her magic lens. Being an ex-dancer I LOVE her work and feel so much when I look at the images she has shot. Her work speaks to me on a personal level, tonight she passed comment that my poetry spoke to her in the same way. Great synchronicity!

I adore the way (in this 3D crazed world) that she can captured such movement in a 2D form. It was a delight to write poetry especially for this event. It was in my writing diary as a task to do mid-February, a week ago, a bit like last minute homework assignments, I ended up writing two of them at 4:30 am after my Hit the Ode gig and then another one around 3pm which I hurriedly emailed to Mr G for printing! My final poem in the set was written for one of the challenges and appears in some form somewhere on this blog, I will try to find it and link it up here. I don’t tend to ‘publish’ my work on this blog as I am hoping it will appear elsewhere.

Here’s the link – cannot believe it has been a year since I wrote it – retitled –

The Fourth Wall

Writing these poems brought all sorts of memories back to me, from Martha Graham to learning Labanotation, from being taught choreography by a Japanese speaker to the pain of pointe shoes and all of it was wrapped up in a neat bundle of 3 new poems.

Rather like Thursday night, when I got back from the city – I am now working the adrenaline out of my system. Honestly tonight was soooooooooo good it may take a while to come down!

It was lovely to receive such positive feedback after my set – especially after last night’s fiasco and it has helped boost my confidence again. The thing is my set may not be as dramatic or as well presented / polished as people who have been doing it for the past 6-10 years… but I am nearly 5 months in and my poetry can speak for itself, there is a lot of meat on my words, people can already enjoy a feast – and one day maybe silver service!

I shouldn’t beat myself up less and need to stop comparing myself to other artists. We are all unique and talented in our own ways and how I feel, what I think is not what the audience experiences. I can compare myself to myself and each time there is a good night – keep that one and know that being human involves making mistakes sometimes. At least I can’t hurt myself with mistakes, not like athletes or medics or something, nothing catastrophic will happen as a result.

Najma Hush Najma Hush

The night started with the wonderfully talented Andrew Clayton playing music on the keyboard, he also accompanied Carys Matic Jones later in the second half with improvised music which worked fabulously alongside her words.

I have added some photos of the evening taken by Bernard Davis © 2014

Adele kicked off the poetry – Stage name Ddotti Bluebell, she hosts Word Up at Yorks Bakery, where I will be performing next week, it was great to meet her and hear her lively and amusing set.
Adam Laws was extremely brave, his first approach to the Open Mic and unless he had said, I don’t think many of us would have guessed, he was nervous and still gave a stellar performance! I hope he will do more now, I encouraged him to keep going and I am sure others did too!
adam bernard davis
Al Barz, who runs Purple Penumbra which I went to before Christmas amazed me with his dance poem, complete with backing music and audience participation dance moves, a great warm up for performers in the first half and fun too! Al Barz - bernard davis
Jude Ashworth, who I met a few times last year, at Jane Commane’s workshop and Jan Watts – Books to the Future festival – Phenomenal Women event read two poems which had depth and vision.
Andrea Shorrick was brilliant! A Cinderella who certainly managed to go to her ball – what a performance! Drama, monologue, a Fairy Godmother tick list, a broom, a ‘brave’ (I say gorgeous) dress and a poem! A real treat. Andrea bernard Davis
Ian Henery, Walsall’s first ever Poet Laureate in (2011), performed his poetry and likened the talent of the first half to that beyond the Nation’s favourite, Kipling!
Olufemi Abidogun  femi
Fami mesmerised me with his words, a gentle, fantastic poet, who I regret I ran out of time to talk to, I tried as much mingling as I could manage.
Tessa Lowe, who hosts Poets with Passion events and when she is not writing, performing or being lovely, travels. Was brilliant as always and described how completely happy she is about her decision to relocate to this part of the city, with vibrant descriptions of the location and obvious love for the event itself, her words carried us all to the interval.
1 birm ort1
Carys Matic Jones kicked off the 2nd half and she ‘kicked’ it, performing poetry and have an impromptu improv. with Andrew Clayton, before producing her new toy and drumming us right up to my set, she was dynamic and the injection of music livened up the atmosphere!
carys andy
  • I nervously took to the mic and had a moment of clarity when I suddenly realised my words stand up for themselves! nina
Kate Walton katewalton bernard davis was absolutely amazing, I really enjoyed talking to her afterwards as well, known as the ‘Storytramp’ and a nominee for some amazing storyteller award, kw she wowed us with her physical and spoken performance – the sheer joy was obvious in her face and was infectious!
Lorna Meehan, one quarter of the Decadent Divas, recently back from her 1st Poetry Tour under Apple and Snakes and someone who I have seen 3 times in 2 weeks performing at the same events was amazing as always. Her poise and performance ability blow me away!
Simon Pitt – Birmingham’s Poet Laureate 1999- 2000 performed a random set it has to be said, amusing though his outbursts were, he also treated us to the first poem he ever declared in public!
Najma Hush treated us to two poems, her second poem spoke to me and was a treat of words.
Max Jalil M performed a great poem and really had no need to be nervous, it was a supportive atmosphere and his poem stood up for itself.
Then I was treated to the artful jazzwork of Roy Mcfarlane, Birmingham’s Poet Laureate 2010- 2011 a brilliant poet from what I heard this evening and a dreamy, narrative, sometimes baritone voice which leant itself to the content of his poem too. A timeline through Jazz, politics, rights and history. A joy to listen to.
frugal cafe creative commons champers
I hope I have not missed anyone out, the whole night is whirling around in my head! Some of the performers sadly couldn’t make it and some people had to leave after the 1st half. This did not dampen the atmosphere of the evening, wonderfully relaxed and all taking place with the inspirational backdrop of Najma Hush’s Exhibition ‘Diverse Dancers’.
And the best bit is there are 2 more events on the horizon in April and May. Can’t wait to write for them – hopefully not at 4a.m this time!

Diverse Dancers: I


I am performing (alongside many other local talents) tomorrow at the opening of this Gallery event – writing the poems at the moment… it will be my 2nd gallery opening and I am looking forward to it!

Photogiraffe Live Art

Najma Hush’s, Diverse Dancers is the title given to a  large and ever expanding compilation of photographs, primarily concerned with the multiplicity of varying dance traditions, unique to a variety of different cultures and subcultures.

This collection has been produced with a keen interest in the grace of dancer’s movements and seeks to reveal the eloquence of each pose, jump, spin and lift.  As this project expands and develops, Hush seeks to come closer to interpreting and presenting the exceptional language of bodies that never lie.

Diverse Dancers Part I:   An Exhibition for Exhibitionists, with Art, Poetry and Music. Diverse Dancers Part I:
An Exhibition for Exhibitionists, with Art, Poetry and Music.

Presently, a small and miscellaneous selection from this collection is exhibiting at ORT Cafe, Birmingham, UK (19th Feb-5th Mar 2014).

Look out for the next post on Diverse Dancers, where you can view the photographs from the open exhibition night and get better acquainted with all the amazing performers who will come…

View original post 69 more words