Tag Archives: Performance Poetry

An Evening of Catching Up & Writing Haikus


Tonight there was an open mic in Coventry where I would have had the opportunity to watch Stephen Morrison-Burke (Poet Laureate of Birmingham 2012-13) perform again. I decided that I was too tired to manage the drive and the late night – I am already out tomorrow performing at an open mic and Friday at the MAC watching The Quiet Compere – which features many of my poetry friends, I am also hoping to make it back to Hit The Ode in Birmingham on Thursday night to support my friend who is making her debut! It will go better than mine at least she knows the words.
So instead of going out I have caught up with my writing diary –planner planned and scheduled the next fortnight of writing.
My goal after tea is to write Haiku poetry for MAC ‘What’s the Agenda’.

The next Mouth & Music (in April) is themed ‘Dualogue’ we have been encouraged to buddy up with another artist and work out a 10 minute set. I am delighted that the person I asked accepted AND that our raw ideas seem to match. We are having a rehearsal brain storm this Monday morning and possibly the Monday after that – we have 3 weeks until we perform! pooling ideas

The Disorganised Muddle: My Life


imagesCAWTNYTO Today my writing day has been reduced to a morning (one which included fraught calls to estate agents and management companies, as the tale of selling my apartment takes another twist!) and also a search for my lost purse, which along with some cash and bankcards has my driving license which needs to be sent to the DVLA for renewal! Life! It’s never easy – I envy the organisers amongst you – try as I might, I am a messy, muddle, piles of things kind of person. A difficult mould to break.

Yesterday afternoon I spent some time in solitude in my sunny garden (with new summerhouse roof – the reason I accepted work on my writing days this week) catching up with reading my writing magazines. I made notes in my writing diary and a list of things to do in the next 24hours, which included looking at websites of upcoming submissions.

One of the opportunities I found earlier this year which I hoped to try was an application to be a festival poet at Glastonbury. This year I am really learning when you find out – apply and submit – don’t sit on it for months and wait for the deadline inked in the writing diary!
Well the deadline was the 7th! I thought it was the 17th… must screw my head on better next year. They have 100s of applicants and it wouldn’t have necessarily led to anything – I have friends on the circuit who have poetry personas and are SLAM champions and I think this is probably more the sort of style they are looking for to entertain the masses, not that fringe tents get masses. It is something I would like to do – will get my material prepared before Christmas ready to send in the New Year!

I feel so deflated when I miss opportunities, but as I have said before it would be impossible for me to hit all the targets I pen out in the diary, unless I win the lottery and have the pleasure of writing full time. Now where is that Lottery Scratch card Mr G bought me…only joking, I may be disorganised but I know where that is!

AWF circleOne thing I HAVE started organising is this year’s writing retreat. In February I asked some writers to be involved, fully preparing myself for rejection… and to my delight everyone responded within a day or two confirming their involvement. 2013 was a pretty awesome online retreat, but 2014 looks to be even better! Pencil it in your diary, the last weekend of OCTOBER.


Packing It All In! (And I don’t mean giving up!)


For several months now my schedules have been daunting and I have been pushing myself to fit everything in and along the way I have lost both the time and energy to produce new writing. Reading time is pushed into that small window of time before I fall asleep and creativity is snatched in short notes in my ‘to be written’ pad.

People have warned me, poet friends, people who know – that at some point I will burn out. That doing 2 gigs a week is a lot for anyone, let alone someone who is now working 90% of the week as well.
Although the sensible side of me agrees, I know I could go on and on… but there comes a time when I should listen to the wisdom within and what people are telling me.

1 birm 5

There are always so many events on at the same time as well.

Today there is a workshop at the Arts Centre which I really wanted to attend, linked to a festival taking place there next weekend. I have already got a note in my writing diary to submit Haikus for this festival but I only found out about the workshop on Monday! It is an Arts Council/ Community Project so the workshop is FREE! Music to my ears…. and it looked so good and tasty – exploring loneliness and heritage. Sadly the Ideastap website is refusing to acknowledge that I am not a spambot – it is not accepting any of the codes I put in and I have no idea whether there are tickets left.
I have attempted to email an artist involved and the non-working website – but have heard nothing back off either and it is a long way to go on the off chance they will let a ticketless poet in!

Maybe there is a higher force going on here – rest and write your own work… it is now too late to attend this workshop as it starts in 10 minutes and I live too far away.

The other opportunity I found out this weekend involves a film student attending a local university. He has put a shout out to all poets to come and be filmed for FREE – in return he gets his assignment done and we get a short film clip of ourselves to use however we wish plus the added bonus of an arts company having permission to use the material in promotion or however they want to!
He did a 3 hour open house session yesterday, which I couldn’t attend as I was working as an Assistant Writer for WWM. Today he is half way in and I have about 30mins to make up my mind about this and journey over.
I may give it a miss this time and ask him to let me know if he does it again.

I look shattered – so I wouldn’t be happy with the result even if artistically it was fabulous!

There is also an EmmaPress book launch today in the city at the Urban Coffeehouse, I fancy that – some local ‘real poets’ are in it like Deborah Alma and Liz Berry, to name a few. It was an anthology I submitted work to on the theme of Motherhood – I have submitted to Emmapress several times now and have always been rejected. It is interesting to see / hear the material that makes it – but one thing I have begun to realise is publishing – as with all things in life – is based on a catch 22…. editors like to choose KNOWN names, who in turn guarantee a certain amount of sales, these are often people who already have their own collections or a proper (by this I mean no alternative day job) career built up. I live in hope that this will be me in the future, it is early days and this kind of kudos and recognition doesn’t appear as easily as a cup of coffee in the morning.

There are no over-night success stories.

You have to work at being a writer.

And actually WRITE…

So the catch 22…. I am not yet (despite being accomplished and published often as a young writer) a known name…. I am achieving success though and that hasn’t been lost on me. Time will come. You have to be in it to win it – as they say…

I am sure I would have enjoyed the launch immensely but my decision to stay homebound has been made.

It is a beautiful sun shiny day and Ben has been here all morning fixing the Summer house roof – which was patchy anyway in places and with the deluge of rain and wind we experienced December- March it had flown off and water was going in. We patched up the inside and planted allotment potatoes in huge buckets to take the water if it rained through the roof, but obviously didn’t want to damage the timber.

The roof is now new, tidy and watertight and will probably last longer than the rest of the structure. So maybe I will go and sit outside with a writing magazine for a bit and have my own creative workshop. Besides I have just realised the St Patrick’s Day Parade is also happening in the city – the roads are bound to be a bit busy!

This weekend I also have a few submissions to complete and competitions (fingers crossed) to enter, would be great to win some prize money as my current financial record shows that I am approaching £1.5K on this past 15months of being a writer.
(That does include equipment, travel, tickets, festivals, books, etc. as well as all my work.)

This year I need to learn that all important SWITCH OFF and CHOICE lesson and know that I cannot do everything I want to do.

I am working all of next week and so far have events on every night of the week apart from Monday (which was booked as my writing day) and now has half a day of work attached to it! I may need to save my Sunday energy for next week.

It is so hard trying to be sensible!

It is also the Black Pear Press Anthology Launch this afternoon, I went to the first event in Worcester, so I don’t feel guilty missing this one! Time for solitude and creativity.

SpeakEasy – A Set Well Received and a New Poetry Dress


Last night I had a 2nd chance to see The Very Grimm Brothers as they performed at SpeakEasy along with Bobbie Parker.
The sets and open mics were of a high standard and I enjoyed hearing poetry that I hadn’t heard before and catching up with poetry friends.

SE  My set was received well and I wore the first of 2 new poetry dresses I bought in the Sales at the end of last week when I made the mistake of popping into town for one thing!
It was a great night and I thoroughly enjoyed myself, arriving home on a high, safe in the knowledge that I was blocked off from work and could have a lie in, I attempted to stay up, but fell asleep!

© 2014 Andy Kirk

© 2014 Andy Kirk, The Very Grimm Brothers

Andy Kirk took some great shots of the night, they give you a bit of flavour.

© 2014 Andy Kirk,

© 2014 Andy Kirk, Nina Lewis

© 2014 Andy Kirk

© 2014 Andy Kirk – Amanda Bonnick

© 2014 Andy Kirk, Neil Laurenson

© 2014 Andy Kirk, Neil Laurenson

© 2014 Andy Kirk

© 2014 Andy Kirk, Bobby Parker

© 2014 Andy Kirk

© 2014 Andy Kirk – Kathy Wordstring

© 2014 Andy Kirk

© 2014 Andy Kirk – Mike Alma

I have not included all the acts in these pictures, apologies to those who have not been included.

Unfortunately I can’t make next month’s SpeakEasy as Writing West Midlands are holding a meeting of all the writers in the city and I am already involved in that. There have been so many clashes in the writing diary this year. This event clashed with another event in Digbeth, which proved to be a great night and ‘Unplugged’ at The Ort, also a great success.

SpeakEasy acts are booked well in advance and although tempted by the other gigs there was no way I could do more than one and was looking forward to it (as Mr G banned poetry events on his birthday last month, bless him! He puts up with me not being around much as I am always performing/ writing etc. He is very supportive of these steps I have taken in my dreamtime and knows that I will succeed.)


As it was I had a heck of a work week, culminating in a school inspection, leaving late – arriving for lessons late – rushing to get ready and still being a tad late for the event!

It wasn’t the easiest journey over to the city and I was panicking most of the way, especially when I got held up in road works. I panicked because I knew I was going to be late! My heart was racing by the time I got there and had to pretend to really calm once behind the mic…. managed to pull it off! Those years training as an actress have helped!

Mouth & Music: Current Affairs


Tuesday 11th March was Mouth & Music, an event I like to attend monthly since I finally got there. It is the most local to where I live and also a great atmosphere, venue, hosted by Heather Wastie and Sarah Tamar.
Brenda Read-Brown was the guest poet (having caught her set in Birmingham and Worcester) I was looking forward to seeing her again.
She did not disappoint!

© 2014 BBC

© 2014 BBC

There were so many open mics – all of them top standard and enjoyable.native monster com open mic
The final headline act was the Very Grimm Brothers – sold as a Gilbert and George of the poetry world. I like Gilbert & George, so I was looking forward to it. Always good to meet new artists and come across acts that I enjoy. They were superb. the very grimm bros

My set went well, I read my poem written last summer about the serious/light mix of news and a new poem I wrote especially for the event about the missing Malaysian air flight that has disappeared.
Next month is Dualogue and we need to find another performer to work with. I have yet to send my hopeful email. More about this next challenge later!

Off to the Sahara!


On Sunday the 9th March, I was lucky enough to be part of Poets With Passion, an event which has happened three times since November and I have been able to get to everyone. This one was more challenging than the others to get to as Saturday night was a masked ball themed party for my cousins 30th and although I only arrived home as tipsy, I carried on drinking and …. well after a night in heels I woke up with huge pain in my back *not to mention my head, I slept until the early afternoon and woke up with an hour to get out of the house and over to the city.

There was a change of venue this month to a Moroccan Restaurant ‘Sahara’, which was a great venue and also a warm atmosphere to perform in.
It was a lovely way to spend an afternoon and evening, nice to have a chat with everyone afterwards.
I took some photos but on the camera so they hasn’t been uploaded yet. I have borrowed Najma Hush’s photos for this post, credits to PhotoGiraffe.

© 2014 Photogiraffe

© 2014 Photogiraffe

Sahara 2 Photogiraffe

© 2014 Photogiraffe

Poets With Passion is a lovely relaxed event, which attracts a core of regular supporters and new faces every time, hosted by Tessa Lowe. We gather and share our own poetry on a theme and can read the poetry of others too.

I look forward to the next one.

Spoken Word at The Ort – 6th March


Last Thursday I went to the Spoken Word event at the1 birm ort1 it was a great night! By the time I made it home I was too tired to blog about it and went to bed with my book!

It was a wonderful evening, a great mix of performers and a variety of new faces both behind the mic and in the audience, which is always a good sign.

My set went well and I received lots of positive feedback.

I was also delighted to catch The Night Watch, a duo who play traditional instruments and music from the 1400s. It is surprising how many songs I recognised. Some from my dancing days. English folk music at its roots. They were superb. They are on tour in the Midlands at the moment, catch them if you can. You will NOT be disappointed!

http://www.the-night-watch.org.uk/ Check out their website.

I have missed many of the Ort spoken word nights as they have clashed with other events in the city. Thursday night clashed with 2 other events – but I had already promised a set at the Ort in March. I am delighted they have changed the night to Friday from next month, I shouldn’t have to leave it so long before the next one.


SOLC Slice of Life Challenge – March – The 2nd Week of Mayhem


I should be writing a daily slice for SOLC March, where bloggers are increasing their weekly slices to daily entries.
I haven’t spent much time on the internet this week so my slice covers the past 6 days.
slice I spent all of Monday completing paperwork for solicitors (I have sold my apartment) on Tuesday I had work and after that I collated the remaining paperwork and completed my 3 forms. I had a free evening and hoped to get some writing done, but I was too tired to be inspired.

Wednesday after work I drove over to the solicitors to drop all my paperwork in and make sure they had everything they needed. Now keeping my fingers crossed that the sale will go through smoothly and quickly!

I also popped in on family on my way home and spent the evening attempting to write and catch up with some TV programmes. I also had to sort out a costume for World Book Day, the theme was fairytales but I had been told people were dressing as fairies.

In the end on Thursday I just about made it to work on time – turns out dressing as a Flower Fairy with flowers and stars in your hair takes time!

After work I went into the city to a Spoken Word event at The Ort, where I performed a set of 3 poems and watched some great acts including The Night Watch – a duo currently on tour, who play medieval music!

I had work on Friday, but it was cancelled – in the end I slept until Midday, was very tired, managed to get some writing done before appointments in the afternoon.

Mr G and I spent some time in the garden, he replanted all the strawberry plants in the new tower we bought last year.

I spent the evening writing. I had 2 poems to submit to an anthology – a charity project to help support the Born Free Foundation. I managed to submit them before midnight.

Saturday we went to see my Mum for coffee and give her the mask I had bought, then we went to the Garden Centre for compost and plant tunnels. We spent more time in the garden and had Mr G’s godchildren round.

In the evening it was my cousin’s 30th Birthday Party – a masked ball theme. It was a great party and lovely to see the family again.

Unfortunately, I stayed up too late last night and today – Sunday, I woke up just in time to get into the city for Poets with Passion – a spoken word event which took place in a Moroccan restaurant.

It has been a good and busy week.

And my new Writing Magazine was delivered, I managed to read some articles and the opportunity pages, I am still reading the February issue.

I have also enjoyed some time reading this week too. Have a pile of books awaiting reading.


Catching Up With Myself!


I have been busy recently and cannot believe I haven’t even had time to blog! There are lots of posts I will catch up with over the next few days. I have events to write about and this week is another busy one – working and gigging on Tuesday and Thursday Night – and then working as Assistant Writer on Saturday.

Hope you are all well.

Eating Pancakes whilst Paperwork Eats Writing Time! SOLC


Happy Shrove Tuesday/ Pancake Day… we have just (I know it is a bit late) made, cooked and eaten the BEST pancakes EVER! And the first Mr G and I have had in our new home together! Awwwww! We have some batter mix left and look forward to an extra treat tomorrow night. We had 2 each but they were cooked in my big pan and proper crepe size!

I used to have pancake parties and invite friends over, create a table of fillings and have massive sugar rushes! We kept it simple this year – just plain sugar and lemon juice, eating standing up in our own lovely kitchen!
It is the little things! inkspill heart

I sold the apartment last week and instructed my solicitors – following several phone calls I received the paperwork over the weekend, I had a quick look, 3 forms and a letter all looked simple enough. paper-notesWe had plans for the weekend (plans which I messed up by sleeping through most of it!) after Friday night and post WORD UP adrenalin I climbed into bed at 2 a.m to be fair I was working on several submissions when I got in and in the end gave up and decided the 1st March deadlines could be met on Saturday! The lesson I carry forward is; ‘DO NOT put off for tomorrow what can be done today.’ NOT that I could have stayed up but I could have written and submitted some pieces weeks before the deadline instead of minutes before!

As it happened we had plans for the afternoon and I slept until 3PM (oppps) showing up several hours late to meet friends and start our Saturday eveningmorning write…. our first house guests and it was great (we had Amy to stay from Australia, days after we moved in – but of course that was different because we had just landed and the place wasn’t very homely and full of boxes) now there are still boxes but you can see the carpet. It isn’t really ready – but close family and friends come for us not creature comforts and high end style (good job really) – we had a great evening.

I didn’t make the 1st March deadlines. But there will be others.

On Sunday I planned to crack on with the paperwork. Once again my plans were foiled by sleep! I hadn’t had any me time/ down time all weekend – so I did that instead with what was left of late afternoon Sunday and evening.

Yesterday was my only day off this week and I spent the ENTIRE day (almost) completing paperwork for the solicitors. Some of the form filling is straight forward but I have missing paperwork…. plannerit took yesterday afternoon and all of today chasing emails, phone calls and visiting branches of banks personally to collate all the evidence needed for the solicitors.

I need this sale to move swiftly and so far there has been a week between instructing them and completing my 1st batch of paperwork. The good news is things are moving on the other side too. Fingers crossed it will be as smooth and quick as possible!

That is the 2nd week I have lost my writing day – I had the good news of the SALE last Monday and then spent the day checking out legal firms etc.

This week there are a few things in the writing diary – that after my February experience I will NOT ignore. I may have to wait until tomorrow night and Friday to tackle them.

hearthouse ca open mic I have a booked slot (arranged in February) at the Ort on Thursday evening (Open Mic) and then another Poet’s for Passion event in the city on Sunday.

Schools are also celebrating WORLD BOOK DAY, I have an anthology deadline to hit BEFORE the weekend, a cousin’s 30th Birthday Party (a masked ball) at the weekend too. I managed to find a suitable dress and some masks yesterday whilst I was in town at the Bank – what luck!

There are several poetry events I am missing this week – The Poetry Lounge in The Sitting Room are meeting in Ludlow again (I will go back when the night’s are lighter!), The Grizzly Pear is on again this week (but it clashes with the Ort) – I missed last month’s Ort to clashes and have already had my slot booked.

I am also thinking about suitable plots for a short story.

My brain is well and truly full…. will literally be a weight off my mind when I have handed all my documents over to the solicitors.


I was merrily posting this as a SOLC when I realised that last year I discovered TWO WRITING TEACHERS blog from a month long slice challenge – it was March, it IS March and they are all 4 days in… going to play catch up and try it.