Tag Archives: National Poetry Day

Review September 2018

Standard
autumn autumn colours autumn leaves beautiful

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

September – that rolled around quickly!

This has definitely been a month of admin tasks and preparation, also finding my feet again since coming home to UK soil. It took a while for my head to leave Australia after my incredible summer trip to Perth Poetry Festival. It has also been a month filled by projects, book launches and celebrating successes – other people’s as well as my own.

Week 1 

Kicked off with being the Half-ender at YES WE CANT in Walsall. The gig I returned to the UK for! It was a cracking night and a pleasure to have been asked to perform.

PPP Perf

rob barratt YWC

It was great meeting Rob Barratt and on top of that I had a winning Lotto ticket (£1 – before you all get too excited) and an order for a fab new Poetry T-shirt… looks like Mr. G will have to get me something else for Christmas this year!

Read a full review here YES WE CANT

I had 3 poems published in a new project – which you can read more about in Week 4 of this review. One of the poems was a piece I wrote in Australia, so it is exciting for me to see it already out there.

typewriter-3550384_1920

I arranged meetings and made festival bids for ATOTC and 30-40-60. I was invited to a European Arts Festival in France. I looked at several applications, which I subsequently decided against for now.

I was busy managing INKSPILL, working with our Guest Writers. INKSPILL is our FREE online annual writing retreat which always takes place on the last weekend of October.

inkspill banner

Look out for more NEWS on this coming soon!

I had a meeting about Poetry Projects for October and performances in November. I have been asked to take part in two Remembrance events this year, which is an honour.

I went to a Workshop delivered by Emily Wilkinson who is working on The Ring, 21 Miles project. It was a wonderfully creative afternoon which gave me inspiration for poems, so far I have managed to create a poetry film of 9 Haiku which is currently entered in the 21 competition.

 

A new project LitWorld2 Journal – Pic a Pocket Poems and Flashes is underway. Created by Sarah Leavesley it will feature a weekly poem which has been produced with an image, photo poetry and flash fiction. I am curating the Facebook side of the social media campaign. I created the Facebook group ready and Sarah has worked on a publication schedule. It launches before the end of the month and posts will appear on Fridays.

P1080039 lit world image for twitterresized smaller  © Sarah Leavesley

I am very excited about the overall project and delighted to be able to support Sarah on it.

Unfortunately by the end of the week I was quite unwell but I did manage to get to Birmingham for Helen’s Book Launch.

Unable Mother Calcutt 978-1-9998444-0-0

Friday saw the first of this month’s Book Launches. Unable Mother By Helen Calcutt – published by V. Press was launched at Waterstones, Birmingham. It was a deeply moving experience, one you can read all about here UNABLE MOTHER

I had a well deserved (and needed – ill) rest over the weekend with Mr. G. Although I was still at the desk proofing an article and dealing with another which had gone to print. I also worked on some poetry for a project which has been simmering away for a while and needs to be sent next week.

Week 2: 

person holding red hot compress

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

I was still ill – so much so that I visited the Drs. & got meds. It meant I was not well enough to go to Licensed to Rhyme who were celebrating a 2nd Birthday, I didn’t make it over to Brum Stanza for Jacqui Rowe or PTS for Nellie Cole or SpeakEasy for Kevin Brooke or Hereford for H.Arts Gallery and new exhibition by Molly Bythell (my Ledbury PoArtry partner). Failed on five fronts but was successful at getting better. I spent some time in bed, in lots of pain but resting (which is unusually sensible for me). It was a shame to miss so much poetry but I couldn’t have managed any of the journeys getting across to any of these events so had no choice.

laptop-notebook-working-internet.jpg

Some exciting news hit my inbox, something starting in November and something else that I am in awe of and still grinning from.

Saturday saw the launch of ‘Don’t Oil The Hinges’ the new WPL collection from Heather Wastie. It was a great night and having missed 4 poetry events really made up for my week out in ill-health limbo! You can read all about it here Don’t Oil The Hinges

dont oil

On Sunday I attended a workshop in Birmingham Waterstones, The Accidental Memoir. It was interesting and gave me two new poems, one new technique and another book for the bookshelf/reading pile.

accidental

The Accidental Memoir workshop was taken by Anthony Cropper and we worked through several exercises in the book he co-produced with Eve Makis.

The Accidental Memoir truly is for all: writers and non-writers, teachers and students, the perfect book for anyone seeking inspiration or imaginative ways to explore their own life story.

This innovative concept was developed as an Arts Council project to help people tap into their own lives. Working with diverse groups from refugees to the elderly and prisoners, it has been a resounding success in unearthing stories that otherwise may never have been told.

Harper Collins © 2018

https://www.harpercollins.ca/9780008302030/the-accidental-memoir/

 

Week 3

This week I missed several Book Launches and Free Verse (London Book Fair), which I read at last year with Stephen Daniels for V. Press.

A lot of groundwork for INKSPILL started this week. I had an invitation to be part of a panel which I really wanted to do but the date in October is already booked up, I am hoping to be considered for the next one. I still feel angst when dates clash, October is an exceptionally busy month in the poetry calendar and there are several overlapping events.

AT read promo

I worked on promotion for the American A Tale of Two Cities reading, happening at the Sprinkler Factory, Massachusetts on Friday 28th. Very excited to hear how it all goes and hopefully by next year there will be some bigger plans in progress for this project.

I had several project poems to complete and managed to meet deadlines on these. We have all seen the workings of the next part of this project and I will be sharing it with you when I can.

paper-3160167_1920

I also did a lot of editing and FINALLY made some submissions. I made the first of several films creating a montage of the Perth Poetry Festival, which will go live before INKSPILL (27th/28th October).

PPF 2018

This week also saw my Jinney Ring Sculpture Trail Workshop. This is the 2nd year I have facilitated poetry on the Trail and with some exceptional sculptures our inspiration was easily tapped.

WP_20180831_235

Unicorn – Priscilla Ham

It was a great morning and the techniques/forms I chose to explore were enjoyed by participants. We are now working on our poems for two months and the next stage will be preparing an exhibition at the Jinney Ring which will be up by December.

WP_20180831_009

An invite to perform next month dropped into my Inbox.

I spent the weekend writing to deadlines and working on the next new project for October.

Week 4:

Another week of preparation for INKSPILL and other writing deadlines and missed events like Poetry Bites. I started to promote National Poetry Day (4th October), I am sad to miss an event in Birmingham with Liz Berry, Roy McFarlane & Jane Commane.

npd blfest

This event is also the night the new Birmingham Poet Laureate will be appointed. Still cannot believe Matt Windle has finished this two year role, but we all know how time like this flies! Birmingham Literature Festival National Poetry Day

I am delighted to be booked to perform alongside former and current Worcestershire Poets Laureate, as part of the Autumn Malvern Festival for National Poetry Day.

AIMF

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2018/09/24/national-poetry-day-2018-change/

livres

Back in July I had an invite to read at Livres à vous – A Festival of the Arts in Voiron, France. I wasn’t sure it would be possible and it took a while to make the decisions about travel. Coach and train is fairly cheap but takes a long time and I have to be available for work most days. Today I booked my tickets to fly.

When I was Worcestershire Poet Laureate I completed a project called Twin Town between Droitwich and Voiron and some of the poets involved in that will hopefully be there. I am looking forward to it.

voiron 2018

My poetry film entry for The Ring was found and several poems Unlocked and .. submitted for the competition. You can see all the entries here https://thering21miles.wordpress.com/.

WP_20180905_299

A last minute booking came in to work with Year 7 pupils at Blessed Edwards in October,  fortunately I was free to accept. This will involve 4 poets looking at 4 elements and group writing with the pupils. I am doubly excited as I got FIRE! My Leo-heart burns!

blessed-edward-oldcorne-college birmingham mail

The first week of October is looking packed. A week of several double bookings another event I was invited to do A Night with… panel interview/performance/ relaxed Q & A which looks really good – I hope to make it on a different date. This in turn clashed with a book launch and that isn’t viable either. I have an open mic with an amazing headline/line up and the NPD and Swindon Poetry Festival to look forward to.

This week I wrote 4 new poems based on Masks and performed them at 42.

I took another 2 bookings for December. Wrote lots. Edited lots. AND…became the newest Director of Worcestershire LitFest! WLF Welcomes a New Director

LitWorld2 Journal was also released. This is Sarah Leavesley’s Photography/Art/Poetry Project and the first poem to be published is by Kathy Gee.

I followed up the USA performance of A Tale of Two Cities – there was certainly a lot of pre-event news coverage and it seems to have gone really well.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2018/09/30/a-tale-of-two-cities-worcester-usa-uk-a-poetry-event-at-sprinkler-factory/

BOB GILL ATOTC2

I also got organised for Swindon Poetry Festival next week! Whoop! Ready to run at October full pelt now!

Poetry-Swindon-1-300x300-300x300

National Poetry Day 2018 ~ Change

Standard

npd logo

It’s nearly here!

This year I have been invited to perform on National Poetry Day as part of the Autumn Malvern Festival.

autumn-in-malvern-festival-logo

AIMF

I performed as part of Credo last year at Elmslie House and it is a lovely venue. This year five Poets Laureate, including this year’s Worcestershire Poet Laureate Betti Moretti, will be performing on 4th October. This event was organised by Tim Cranmore.

Autumn In Malvern Festival

The Autumn in Malvern Festival is a renowned series of artistic events & exhibitions held annually in the surroundings of the glorious Malvern Hills. Some of the most prestigious musicians, poets, writers, film makers and other artists perform during Autumn every year.

More information on Autumn Malvern Festival.

This video is from 2009 and includes Peter Smith – Artistic Director & Founder.

NPD-logo-2018

This year’s beautiful design is the work of Chie Hosaka.

https://nationalpoetryday.co.uk/education/free-education-resource-downloads/

This year’s NPD anthology can be bought here. https://www.otterbarrybooks.com/poetr-for-a-change

NPD4

Voices of 1919

Standard

Our Worcestershire Event for NPD.
Voices of 1919.

Poet Laureate

mike alma voicesCelebrate National Poetry Day in Worcestershire.

Voices of 1919

Autumn in Malvern Festival 

Elmslie House, 8 Avenue Road, Malvern, WR14 3AG

Tickets £8.00 available from Malvern Theatres 

The Box Office, Malvern Theatres, Grange Road, Malvern WR14 3HB – telephone 01684 892 277

http://www.malvern-theatres.co.uk/whats-on/voices-of-1919/

VOICES OF 1919
 
The Great War is over. In the Spring of 1919 the village of Oakby awaits the return of survivors. Each household has its own story. Through the words of 20 contemporary poets, we hear the voices of villagers struggling to recall their past, to understand the present and to imagine the future.

The Armistice, signed on 11th November 1918, signalled the end of The Great War, but most involved in the fighting would not be returning for months.

This poetry is not about the trenches and battles but is, in the main, the thoughts of those who didn’t go to war –…

View original post 337 more words

National Poetry Day – The Lowdown

Gallery

WANTED: Your FREEDOM Poems for NPD

Standard

Send your Freedom poems my way.

Poet Laureate

NPDTo celebrate NPD email your Freedom poems to worcspl@gmail.com 

I will then blog a collection of NPD poems on this site.


Send 20 – 25 line poem on the theme of Freedom.

Please send poems in the body of an email.

You may send up to 3 poems.

Poems should not be previously published.

Write a short 3 sentence bio to appear alongside your poem. 

NPD3

View original post

Review of October

Standard

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.

fh-sarah-3

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.

national-poetry-day-messages

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.

almshousesnpd

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!

swindon

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.

roy-gregory-leadbetter-nine-arches

© 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.

inkspill-2016-share-button

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.

magneticdiaries-f

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.

42-oct            42-hal

42-hal2

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.

 

I Never Expected Floor Covering – The World of Carpet NPD

Standard

Some time ago (in secret) I was asked to take part in a performance for National Poetry Day. This year’s Poet Laureate for Worcestershire is Heather Wastie and as runner up poets, she invited both myself and Suz Winspear to take part. WLF say that there are opportunities even if you don’t win and I think this is ours. I was delighted to accept.

nat1

Heather was the Poet in Residence at the Carpet Museum in Kidderminster (traditional trade in the town), an industry, like many that has left empty mills and legacy across the 21st century streets. Heather was also one of the three guest writers for last year’s INKSPILL (our very own online writing retreat).

Light and Shade is taking place in the carpet museum in conjunction with Worcester LITFEST.

light shade NPD

There was a poetry competition (closed 6th September), the 3 winners have been chosen and voting is open for a 4th poet. You can vote for free on a one click POLL here.

http://worcslitfest.co.uk/litfest-npd-competition-update-and-poll/

VOTING closes on the 1st October.

WLF Heather WPL

Saturday August 15th

In preparation for entering this competition there was a special open day at the Carpet Museum, which is an amazing place and so much more than I expected was discovered. It was a relaxing few hours walking around to the gentle hum of poet’s pens scribbling away.

I had a whole notebook of ideas.

Nina Lewis © 2015

Nina Lewis © 2015

Tuesday August 25th

A few weeks later Heather, Suz and I met to explore ideas for the writing and the performance space. I was able to use some of the audio resources to gather story. Heather also shared conversations she had had with weavers as part of her residency, these helped a lot with finding character.

Suz and I went away and wrote our poems.

Nina Lewis © 2015

Nina Lewis © 2015

Monday September 21st

We all met again to rehearse the project, it was great fun and I think it is a unique project to be part of. The event is free, the performance space has limited capacity so you will still need to book tickets.

Nina Lewis © 2015

Nina Lewis © 2015

I love being busy on NPD (National Poetry Day) and I look forward to being involved in the world of carpet for this one.

Review of October

Standard

The end of last month was so crazy busy I am only just tying up loose blog ends now, nearly midway through November!

October was a true turning point month, goals I have been working towards for a while came together and opportunities flowed one after another. It was a fab month I thoroughly enjoyed being busy. Half term was filled with writing events and I also managed (or was possibly forced by exhaustion) a couple of days off. Think I have had about a week so far this year because I love what I do – it doesn’t feel like work. blogging

I started reviewing my writing life in weekly chunks as it was becoming too much to blog in real time about my schedule.

OCTOBER highlights include;

National Poetry Day – I loved finding out how other people had marked this special day, some of the things people got up to were incredible.

I hosted the opening event of Arts All Over the Place – Poetry, Performance and Everything Else as the Poetry Princess, followed by a writing workshop with Jan Watts and Cathy Crossley, next I  performed at Roy McFarlane’s Soulful Poetry Event – all part of the AAOTP Festival. Then I hotfooted to the library in Birmingham to watch the new Poet Laureate being announced. Adrian Blackledge became the new Birmingham Poet Laureate for 2014-2015

This day also marked ONE YEAR since returning to the OPEN MIC circuit!

RELATED LINKS:

National Poetry Day

PP PPEEAAOTP_3Roy Mcfarlenme

BLFestbirm poet laureate 2014nat1nat 1

Literature Festivals including Birmingham Literature Festival, Poetry, Performance & Everything Else Festival and Book to the Future Festival.

I went to see the recording of Radio 4 Poetry Please with Roger McGough, followed by With Great Pleasure, also recorded for BBC Radio 4. Rich McMahon was playing guitar and singing in the foyer  before the evening show at the Rep Theatre of Tell Me on a Sunday, which was a storytelling event set up by Writing West Midlands and Cat Weatherill to share real life stories. Marking the end of 3 years on this project she had selected some of the top stories and tellers to perform and treated us a little to her own stories in between.

I then returned to the festival the following weekend to perform my own commissioned poetry about Urban Nature for Naked Lungs.

A spoken-word exploration of the intersection of urban and natural.

Our lives in the city are played out amongst the products of human endeavour, the frantic pace of the metropolis tending to obscure our innate intimacy with the natural environment. Yet nestled within the concrete and mirrors are jungles brimming with other lives. Birmingham has recently been declared a Biophillic city and is praised for its biodiversity. How does the city structure our experiences of the non-human? Is it valuable that we facilitate such experiences? A group of writers will be producing and performing work dealing with these questions.

It felt amazing to be part of the festival just one year after discovering it! My first commissioned performance project, I hope there are more opportunities in the future.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/10/13/birmingham-literature-festival-naked-lungs-urban-nature/

BLF With Great PleasureBLF Rich McMahonBLF Tell me on a sundayNAKED_LUNGS_200x200px

Full Story

I performed a set for Phenomenal Women organised by Jan Watts for the Book to the Future Festival at Birmingham University and Arts All Over the Place celebrated the end of the PPAEE Festival with a huge party, I was delighted to perform an amusing set for the them and have Swingerella share the stage with me.

book-to-the-future-2014Mad hatterme and swing 1

SpeakEasy also celebrated the 1st Anniversary, I was happy when they asked me to perform a set at this special event. More

Speakeasy OCTinkspill-pink2014

I also completed my biggest poetry project to date and organised INKSPILL for the 2nd Year – an online writing retreat hosted right here on this blog. There is a pinned post on the front page of this blog (homepage) with links to the main articles from our INKSPILL weekend, go check it out. This year I was joined by Writer William Gallagher and Poets Charlie Jordan and Heather Wastie who wrote and filmed some wonderful guest posts full of knowledge, advice and experience.

My brother’s Wedding at the beginning of the month was a non-writing highlight. I read a poem by Roy Croft during the service to the tear stained faces of the bride and groom – toughest of audiences. It was a truly magical day!

That is a lot of highlights for just over 4 weeks!

 

Blogs & Projects

I continue with 52, although I am behind in week 40 something. I regret not being able to take full advantage of the community of this group, my own writing schedule has taken off this year and I am busy working when I am not writing and some weeks cannot find the time I promised to carve out for 52. We are all getting reflective as the year draws to a close.

Naked Lungs – My 1st commission – 2 other poets and myself performed at Birmingham Literature Festival in a piece called Urban Nature, it was an amazing experience.

Hanbury Hall Art Exhibition – an opportunity through the Poetry Society Stanza group to write poetry inspired by art in the gallery. I enjoyed the exhibition and still need time to create, write and edit my submission.

henrace3

INKSPILL – kept me busy over the last week of October, writing and researching articles, communicating with Guest writers and organising the schedule of events. It was great fun and lots of people have accessed the posts.

 

Submission

I completed a poetry project and missed lots of end of month submissions.

Wrote poetry for my commissioned performance and received rejection from publications I submitted to over the summer.

 

Performing Poetry (which I attempted to cut back on to maximise writing time)

Events I performed at include;

Mouth & Music, Kidderminster, hosted by Heather Wastie, headlined by Jasmine Gardosi. Where I first performed my Halloween Set – to the theme of Ghosts and Ancestors, including two new poems written especially for the event.

Oct me saffron tomsmemouth-music-poster-oct14

 

worcs speakSpeakEasy, Worcester Hosted by Fergus McGonigal – Worcester Poet Laureate, headlined by Antony Owen and Spoz, I was lucky enough to be asked to perform and was delighted as this was the 1st Anniversary Special! There was CAKE!

 

Poetry For Lunch, The Library of Birmingham, hosted by Jan Watts.pfl me choosing poemspfl oct

Restless Bones Birmingham Promo with Born Free Film at The Ort. restless the bookborn free

42 Halloween Special

Mostly Halloween at the Ort – a 10 minute set.

 

Word Up, in Halloween Fancy Dress Birmingham, hosted by Ddotti Bluebell – a night of amazing poetry. Headlined by Daisy Edwards & Swingerella.

hallo1hallo2hallo3

 

Workshops & Events

Writing Workshop David Calcutt Community  Garden Walsall, WILD FIRE

Poetry Workshop Angela France in Stratford-Upon-Avon

AAOTP Award Evening – where I received a HERO AWARD for stepping in last minute to open the festival.

Alan Durham’s Hen Race Book Launch

 

Meetings and Projects

We had the annual meeting of writers with Writing West Midlands.

My 1 to 1 Mentoring Role for WWM was made official and planning started for these sessions.

I also managed to get to Stanza this month again, hosted by Sarah Kemp. stanza scrabble

 

Happy NATIONAL POETRY DAY!

Standard

Nothing beats the excitement of penning (typing) a blog post whilst still high on adrenaline from the day’s events!

I know I said I would reduce blogging to weekly round ups this October until INKSPILL – Our FREE ONLINE writing retreat, but today is National Poetry Day and what kind of ambassador for poetry would I be if I let that one slip without posting?

Writing diary My gorgeous poetry diary.

What a crazy day…. I woke up to my 9:30 alarm (needed an ill me lie in) then fell asleep and promptly woke myself up with phone-in-the-face… good job too as I had left myself just short of a couple of hours to prepare for my first event.

As always (there is an organised woman in me trying desperately to get out), I planned to pack a bag and sort my costume before I went to bed. My chest infection resulted in an earlier evening than planned and me visualising costume possibilities instead of counting sheep. To be fair I had plenty of time this morning and was ready and out the door on time, my delay came when I hit Digbeth at lunch time and found all car parks full, all road spaces in use and many drivers who decided not to give way when the highway code would advise it… a couple of car sandwiches later I just pulled into The Bond and hoped.

Parked right outside the venue but in my post-nearly-had-my-car-written-off flap, discovered I hadn’t actually listened and headed back to reception.

I wasn’t late as I had planned to be over an hour early – I wasn’t over an hour though and poor Dan, who only met me today was greeted by a slightly deranged, manic lady talking about poetry and parking. He recognised the signs and I got costume ready and into character before sorting out the details of the OPENING EVENT – the buffet arrived, I think the caterer had probably struggled through tight lane traffic too, she presumed I was Rachel (Rachel Green – Programme director), I pointed Dan out to her and went on preparing a set of poems.

 

THE OPENING EVENT – ‘Meets, Greets, Eats and Poetry Beats’

I had originally decided to just do two, poignant to the event – but I was glad I reserved more because I ended up doing the whole show! One of the poet’s was there but in another venue, the wrong place, the other poets were on the Poetry Trail, which was the first event on the programme today – so it was just me – the ‘Poetry Princess’, the programme of events and my poetry book!

Feedback was all positive – people wouldn’t have known any different – my acting skills covering more than the cloaked character on stage! The buffet was a beautiful vegetarian feast and the pasta bake was delicious.

If I am free on a Thursday I can be found at the Library doing Poetry For Lunch – but today the offer of hosting the opening event for Poetry, Performance and Everything Else Festival was too tempting. As it was National Poetry Day Jan Watt’s Poetry for Lunch was on for a whole hour (it is usually a half hour extraganza) – she had a good turn out, it meant Jan and Andrea missed out on the delight that was the Poetry Princess and her extended B side Performance, because rather than introducing acts she had to perform the whole event. I think they would have approved.

REMEMBER Poetry Workshop 2 -4

We then had Cathy Crossley and Jan Watts take us through a National Poetry Day themed workshop on remembrance – remembering. Including lots of musical stimuli – I thoroughly enjoyed it and the group were great – everyone sharing their work and loads of strong ideas and images being written down, talked about and shared.

I ended up with 2 pages of notes (I think Andrea has a photo of them), and a poem or the basis of a poem which I was fairly pleased with.

It was relaxed and I love the venue they have at The Bond for the festival – all the workshops take place in one big space, there was a clay workshop at the same time – some impressive Mad Hatter hats displayed on the table at the end of it.

ROY MCFARLANE (Poet Laureate) Soulful Poetry Event.

I have only caught a handful of Roy’s performances in this 1st year of poeting. It was great to see him up on stage, energy, positivity and heart wrenching/ warming poetry exudes from him. I met him officially, properly to talk to at Jacqui Rowe’s Poetry Bites, last Tuesday. He had to go before my set. Today was the first time he has EVER heard me, due to the nature of the festival and the event and knowing Andrea’s poetry was about her experiences I read my ‘Stone’ poem.

me It has been 10 years in my head, written about going back to where my life took a sharp turn downhill, I was visiting a nearby town to take part in a poetry event, this poem is as yet unedited and runs to 4 minutes, about double the time I usually take to perform. I had never performed it before. I shared other poems too and Roy gave me a great confidence boost at the end after discovering my voice.

Roy Mcfarlen

6 pm

Hotwheeling (not literally) over to the Library of Birmingham, for the first day at Birmingham Literature Festival and the announcement of the new Poet Laureate. I also wanted to support 2 of my poetry friends in the final; Jasmine Gardosi and Matt Man Windle.

Library

It was a great way to end the evening, watching the performances and seeing former poet Joanna Skelt read again. libraryofbirminghamdotcom joanna skeltbirm poet laureate 2014

Afterwards I spent some time chatting to people from Writing West Midlands. I picked up tickets from the Box Office for all the Birmingham Lit Fest events I can make. Last year (this was my first EVER Lit Festival) apart from a day at Hays, I practically lived in the city for the fortnight (10 days) this time I cannot attend so much. However, I am performing in the festival instead, on the 11th with Naked Lungs and the commissioned Urbanature project/ performance. So that trumps going to the library everyday and at least this way I still have time to work on my writing.

blf logo

In fact the only poetry between now and Sunday afternoon will be material written tonight and tomorrow afternoon, the Roy Croft poem, I am reading at my brother’s wedding and maybe a bit of bedtime reading. Sunday I am back in Birmingham for Roger McGough at the Literature Festival.

1 blf r

I have had such a great day! I am also enjoying what other people have done to celebrate National Poetry Day, I may have to produce some sort of montage of information, maybe as part of the weekly round up! nat 1

It was also this time last year, to the day that I had my 1st performance experience with the mic and poetry going public. Julie Boden’s Night in Leamington Spa. nat1

 

The Launch of the Literature Festival

Standard

If you have been reading the blog lately you will have realised that I have had a busy fortnight (10 days) with my first Literature Festival of the year! (Despite having noted Literature festivals on a calendar in the Spring.)

blf logo

I had hoped to post live the daily feed from the festival events and successes. The laptop mouse control put pay to that… but we are back online with a shiny new USB mouse, very well behaved balanced on the armchair arm for most of the time. (I keep trying to use the laptop one and then I remember the new one next to me! Shhhhh, don’t tell him, he might stop working as well!)

My photos were taken from a smart phone with intention of atmosphere rather than clarity and (as with the rest of the photos on the blog) I own the copyright.

lit7

The Launch

The launch night of the festival was a great atmosphere to revel in. I have missed most Literature Festivals I planned to go to this year, so I was happy not to miss one held so locally.

lit2 The launch night was also an opportunity to watch performances from the current Poet Laureate Stephen Morrison-Burke and find out who had won the coveted position of City Laureate for 2013/14. Congratulations to Joanna Skelt.lib9

They also announced the Young Poet Laureate – a title I wish they had awarded when I was younger. Congratulations to Lauren Williams. lit

I went alone, but as I have heard a few times in the past week… the poetry world is a small one and I soon bumped into people I had met at Sarah Leavesley’s book launch (back in September).

nat1

As it was National Poetry Day I was delighted to be at a poetry event and I hadn’t been to the new library since it opened, I treated myself to a tour and a browse. Loved it, so new, shiny and exciting… sometimes I have struggled with library modernisation, loved the lib5old system of tickets and stamps, but this new space is incredible and despite size and modern interior, still feels welcoming.

I spent time in the rivers and oceans book areas making a pictorial record for my National Poetry Day effort, the theme was ‘water’.

You can see my poem here

I had another adventure returning to my car, I tripped over on a cobbled street, falling face first onto all fours, trying to catch my glasses, I threw my handbag and all the papers to the floor… a nasty gash on my knee that still hurts and jarred shoulders.

Which was a great shame as I had an epically brilliant night!