Tag Archives: Poet in Residence

Review of July

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Week 1: 

Workshop/National Trust Project

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

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

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

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

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

Chris Alton Rachel Hill

© 2017 Rachel Hill

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

© National Trust Croome Court Adam Speaks

Literature Festival

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

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

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

Evesham-Festival-of-Words-Image-1

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

Radio

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

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

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Performances

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

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

licensed-to-rhyme-new (1)

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

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

Headline

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

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

uncorked-july

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

Workshop

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ledbury Poetry Festival 

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

It was amazing. Read the full 21 Years of Gold

LedburyPoertyFestivalLogo2017updatedimagesize-20013269807

Week 2

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

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

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

Performance/ Cheltenham Music Festival

Chapel arts

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

 

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

Commission/Performance/Project 

Buildings Talk: Hospital Histories

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

Buildings Talk

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

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

Read a full review here Buildings Talk: Hospital Histories


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


Performance

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

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

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

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

Week 3

Writing

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

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

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

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

Readings

Summer Party – Nine Arches Press

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

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

Meetings

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

Book Launch

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

angela france the hill 1

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

Meetings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Festival Artsfest

droitwich artsfest

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

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

Watch Out Worcester! 

watch out worcs

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

st swithins dancefest

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

Week 4

Writing

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

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

Workshop

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

Performance

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

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

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

ArtsFest Poet in Residence

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

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

DAN Lib

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

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

DAN Rhys  © 2017 Rhys Jones

Poetry

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

DAN Lib3

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

July has been exceptional!

 

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Poems for the Farm Event – Jean Atkin at Acton Scott Museum

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A Acton 8 Richard Beaumont played us in.

On Saturday 19th July, Jean Atkin organised the Poem for the Farm Event at Acton Scott Farm to mark the end of her residency. I was lucky enough to manage to get to a workshop she facilitated there earlier in the year (June) and was delighted to be invited back to read my farm poems.

If Acton Scott Historic Farm sounds familiar, you may have been watching Victorian Farm, the programme was made there.

The long drive up to Shropshire was worth every minute and the journey wasn’t too bad (considering the summer sunshine disappeared for a day and we had rain and even a storm once we had all settled in the barn) – as I have just mentioned we were all undercover.

Before the event Jean reflected on her residency at the farm, this is what she had to say;

© Lucy Carmel 2014

© Lucy Carmel 2014

‘Just been counting up, nostalgically, how many poems people really did write for Acton Scott Museum during my residency. Which finishes this Saturday with its Last Hurrah, our cream-tea-fuelled Poems for the Farm event. I am actually quite staggered to report that children, adults, indeed poets from all over the place wrote a total of 87 poems since Easter. Some are on The Poetry Fence, some are in the Hut, lots are in blog posts, some were emailed from as far away as Canada, USA, India… This does make me happy.’ A Acton 10

This is Jean’s Poetry Hut before she made it home A Acton 12 Poetry shed and the wonderful inside once Jean had moved in!

© Lucy Carmel 2014

© Lucy Carmel 2014

My own input to this project/ residency started with a short poem on the Poetry Fence, which I performed on Saturday, published on Jean’s Farm website/ blog and displayed on the poetry fence, it was written about this little fella… the half and half pig, hybrid breeds aren’t usually so literally represented. george-and-halfhalf-pig-mr

40 poets came to share or listen to poetry inspired by the farm. It was a great event and we were able to indulge in some of the best cream teas – if you visit, don’t forget to go to the Old School, now a café for a cream tea of your own. We listened to each other’s farm poetry and watched a slideshow of Andrew’s animal shots whilst listening to Jean perform her poems in the dark. It was a really friendly atmosphere and a supportive audience too.

I literally got there just in time and the table of people I knew was already full, there were people I wanted to talk to on that table that I never really had a chance to talk to at length, but it meant that I met more people and Steve Harrison sat with me, he had just won the Ledbury Poetry Slam, pipping Catherine Crosswell to the post, he was very modest about it. It was his first slam, he is a great poet and I am always entertained watching him, he was joking about needing to learn his farm poem (the fence poems were 6 lines maximum) and obviously he had learnt his set for the slam.

Here are some photographs of the event © Jean Atkin & Nadia Kingsley 2014

A Acton 1

Adrian Perks reads: I sink into the hammock by the haystack./ This is the life.

 A Acton 2 Andrew Fusek Peters A Acton 3  A Acton 4 Colin Fletcher reads ‘Thomas Acton’s Winged Collar’.A Acton 5 A Acton 6 Nadia Kingsley reads: ‘He turns his head – a Shakespeare
mask: too large, too monstrous – his body is far, far, far too long, which makes me think, that it is his legs
that are short, all wrong,

  A Acton 9 Steve Harrison (who’s just won the Slam at Ledbury Poetry Festival!) and remembered all his words!reads:
Not plugged into cells,
nor stacked in towers.
Wireless chickens
pecking, preening, 
just solar-powered.

Poems A Acton half-half-pig-mr A Acton poems-for-the-farm-event-004

Here I am reading my two farm poems. The Cart poem has now been published on Jean Atkin’s blog along with Meg Cox’s Farm Poem.

A Acton 7

This shot also shows Andrew‘s very impressive piece of kit, he spent some time in the early hours with Jean taking photos – the animals thought they were being brought breakfast! The barn had an exhibition of photography by Andrew Fusek Peters and Jean’s poetry, they plan to exhibit them around the County – so if you get a chance go and see them, they are beautiful and very inspiring. Andrew is not only a talented writer but shoots fantastic (that doesn’t give it enough justice) photography, a real delight, a master of capturing the exact split second of motion or stillness. He was selling his artwork and I was very tempted, unfortunately I had only taken book money with me. I did manage to buy his book ‘Dip’ that I have been after since I met him at the Wenlock Poetry Festival, back in April. Wishes do come true, keep asking!

When my writing schedule has calmed down (I am currently working on poetry, a monologue and some short stories!) I plan to revisit Andrew’s photography and write some poems of my own. I also have several pages of notes from Jean’s workshop to develop into poems and shots of my own taken on my day at the farm, to create more poetry from.

Other poets involved in this event were; Mike turner – read his son’s poem – Oliver aged 15, Liz Roberts, Helen Paris, Meg Cox, Julia Dean Richards, Jacob, Frank, Peter Holliday, and Paul Francis.

Setting up Poems for the Farm 3

We have all been lucky to know Jean and for her to have involved so many people in her 3 month residency is impressive. Taking poetry to the people on the farm. Poet’s are lucky to be given a residency, it is wonderful when the setting suits the poet as well as it did here. Jean loved her time on the farm and the impact she and her poetry residency have made will continue to linger I am sure.

I will finish the post with a collection of Jean’s photos from the farm and one of the cutest poems written by a visiting child, Huxley aged 3.A Acton poem-charlie-by-huxley

A Acton Lucy on a shire aged 4  A Acton dusty-by-freya-8y

 

A link to A Acton Poet on the farm Jean Atkin’s Farm Poetry Blog and write up of the event here

The Poetry Fence

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My Acton Scott Farm Poem

The Poetry Fence.

 

Jean Atkin is currently the Poet is Residence at Acton Scott Farm, she is currently asking for people to send short farm related poems 4- 6 lines and she is attaching them to the POETRY FENCE! I submitted and am delighted to see my work tagged on the fence alongside the other poems. I hope to see a photo of the whole fence at some point!

 

A Day of Writing, Submitting & Success

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Today is my first full writing day after the long Easter weekend. easter-eggs Last week – the first week in my writing skin, Mr G. took some half days and we celebrated the glorious weather together sitting in the garden and planting some more tubs up. Towards the end of the week I was performing at events and then came the Easter Weekend which ended with a marathon jungle/allotment expedition to get the next lot of crops in. All this activity resulted in a lack of writing.

I miraculously managed an early start today and was working away on To DO List tasks before 9a.m! My first mission this morning was to track back through my writing diary and drag up any websites I have neglected to take a look at. I had to make sure social media was OFF so I could get on with catching up with NaNoWriMo and NaPoWriMo challenges.

I also wanted to write and submit some farm poems to be displayed along the fence at Acton Scott Farm, Jean Atkin has recently taken up Poet in Residence there. A role she seems to be really enjoying.

I am also trying to arrange some collaborative performances (it was so fun the first time) – for events booked in May as well as editing a few poems for a friend. mnm tim

This morning I have found a new collaborative art performance opportunity for November in Walsall (UK) and I have received news from Jean Atkin that she has accepted the poem about the pig I sent this morning for the Poetry Fence at Acton Scott Farm. I saw her post on social media yesterday showing a cute half and half hybrid pig. Jean links the fence poetry on her blog so I will post a link for you all soon.

I have also been looking at the Wenlock Poetry Festival site and trying to organise myself for next weekend. My poem is one of the ‘croft originals’ mentioned, displayed in Croft Design and published on the website. wenlock

Wenlock Poetry Trail