Tag Archives: Poet Laureate

St. George & The Poets

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flagI gathered a collection of poems for St. George’s Day including historical information and poetry from some of our Nation’s Poet Laureates, seems a shame not to share it with you.

Poet Laureate

rose-red-love-dew-40502.jpegHappy St. George’s Day!

To celebrate I have gathered a fine collection of English poets and example poems. 

Sit down with a cup of tea & enjoy!

Jane Austen 

Ode to Pity by Jane Austen
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Ever musing I delight to tread
The Paths of honour and the Myrtle Grove
Whilst the pale Moon her beams doth shed
On disappointed Love.
While Philomel on airy hawthorn Bush
Sings sweet and Melancholy, And the thrush
Converses with the Dove.

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Gently brawling down the turnpike road,
Sweetly noisy falls the Silent Stream–
The Moon emerges from behind a Cloud
And darts upon the Myrtle Grove her beam.
Ah! then what Lovely Scenes appear,
The hut, the Cot, the Grot, and Chapel queer,
And eke the Abbey too a mouldering heap,
Cnceal’d by aged pines her head doth rear
And quite invisible doth take a peep.

©/sourcedhttp://famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/jane_austen/poems/3462

Thomas Hardy

The Tree:…

View original post 2,696 more words

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Elgar Poetry Event

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In September Peter Sutton asked me to be a poet at his Elgar Poetry Event and I jumped at the chance. He then invited Lesley Ingram and Michael W. Thomas to complete the line up for the evening. 

lesley-ingram cinnamon press © Cinnamon Press

Lesley Ingram’s first poetry collection Scumbled was printed in 2015 and was highly commended in the Fledgling prize for first collections for poets over 40. She won first prize in the Ludlow Poetry Competition 2013 and has been published in print and on line for the last seven years. She has a Masters in Poetry and Poetics from Gloucestershire University, with a particular interest in ‘Ekphrasis as Translation’. She has been involved in the Ludlow Arts trail through an ekphrastic collaboration with photographer Suzanne Boak. Her background is in IT Business Systems Analysis, and she has lived and worked as an Analyst and Consultant in many places from Doncaster to York via Bristol, Bracknell, Long Island, London, Philadelphia, Dallas, and Scunthorpe – before moving to the Charente-Maritime in France to teach English and run a gite for 12 years. She is now settled in Ledbury and working on her second collection. She runs the Herefordshire Poetry Society Stanza and has initiated poetry projects on the Alleys and Yards of Ledbury, and on John Masefield. She is involved with the Ledbury Poetry Festival as a volunteer manager and steward. Her interests are poetry, archaeology, ‘whodunnits’ and language, and she loves flat lands and proper Pontefract liquorice.

michael-thomas oversteps books

© Oversteps Books

Michael W. Thomas’s novels include The Mercury Annual and Pilgrims at the White Horizon. His poetry collections include Port Winston Mulberry (Littlejohn and Bray, 2009), Batman’s Hill, South Staffs (Flipped Eye, 2013), The Girl From Midfoxfields (Black Pear, 2014) and Come to Pass (Oversteps, 2015). He has recorded two CDs of poetry and music, Seventeen Poems and a Bit of A Song and Angels in the Telegraph Room. His work has appeared in such magazines as The Antioch Review, Critical Survey, The Explicator, Irish Studies Review, The London Magazine, Magazine Six (US), Pennine Platform and Stand Magazine; and he reviews regularly for the Times Literary Supplement. In 2015, his novella, ‘Esp’, was shortlisted for the UK Novella Award. He is currently working on Nowherian, the memoir of a Grenadian traveller. His latest poetry collection, Early and Late, is appearing in 2018, along with a collection of short stories.
Twitter: @thomasmichaelw
Blog: ‘The Swan Village Reporter’, swansreport.blogspot.co.uk/ 

 

peter sutton 2 © Peter Sutton

Peter Sutton spent fifteen years working in adult education before becoming Head of Publications at the Unesco Institute for Education in Hamburg for seven years, In 1994 he returned to the UK and became a freelance translator and editor for cultural institutions, lawyers and international organisations. He also trained as a professional actor and started writing plays. Elgar and Alice was first produced in 2007 and has been revived twice since, and The Prebumptious Mr Punch was premiered in 2013. His modern verse translation of William Langland’s great medieval poem Piers Plowman was published by McFarland of North Carolina in 2014, and he has given readings from the work at conferences and festivals including Ilkley, Ledbury, South Downs, Stamford and Worcester. His own poetry has begun to appear in journals, and he is a regular reader at local poetry events. He has written textbooks and articles on languages and education, Elgar and Langland, and he has been a visiting lecturer on translation, English language and education at universities in Armenia, Germany, Russia and the UK.
Website: www.petersutton.eu

bio paul stringer

© Paul Stringer

Nina Lewis is a poet from Worcestershire. She returned to the world of poetry in 2013 after a 15 year break. She founded INKSPILL an annual online writing retreat with national and international guests. Her poetry is published in a range of anthologies including Paper Swans Press, Fair Acre Press, Three Drops From a Cauldron, Paragram and Shabda Press, in magazines including Abridged, Under the Radar and Here Comes Everyone and online. Nina’s poems appeared on the Poetry Trail at Wenlock Poetry Festival and BIG Lit Festival, and 21 Haiku were used in an Art Installation at the MAC. She is a headline poet and in 2014 was commissioned to perform at Birmingham Literature Festival. Since 2015, Nina has worked as a Lead Writer for Sparks Young Writers Group, Worcester for WWM. Her début pamphlet Fragile Houses was published by V. Press in 2016. This year Nina was accepted onto the Room 204 Writer Development programme run by Writing West Midlands and was appointed Worcestershire Poet Laureate. Nina is also a Reader in Residence at Rugby Library for West Midlands Readers’ Network.

Blogs: https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/NinaWriter/

@Neens07

https://worcestershirepoetlaureateninalewis.wordpress.com/

 

In October we all worked on our sets and Peter masterfully pulled the entire script together. I thoroughly enjoyed researching Elgar and relating my memories of him in poetry. I wrote 14 new poems for this commission and the remaining poems were recently written for the Unremembered Collection published by Black Pear Press and produced by Polly Stretton for The Living Memory Project.

Peter added poems from Elgar’s contemporaries and tied the performance together with facts and insights. 

The event was held to raise funds for the Elgar Festival 2018 and took place at The Elgar School of Music in Worcester. 

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It was an evening of incredibly powerful poetry. A delight to hear the work of others and to see a good turn out for the well organised event. It was a privilege to be part of such a project and great to work with Peter. 

RELATED LINKS:

http://petersutton.eu/author.html

National Poetry Day Light & Shade Event at Kidderminster Carpet Museum

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National Poetry Day is a great day for poets. There are always plenty of things to get involved with. Every year I get ‘Christmas excitement’ when I find out all the wonderful things that people have been up to and social media is flooded with poets sharing their events, stories and of course, these wonderful posters.

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This year my preparation for NPD started in the summer when Heather Wastie, Worcestershire’s Poet Laureate approached Suz Winspear and myself (as runners up of the PL competition) to work on a special commission. Part of Heather’s remit for winning PL was to organise a NPD event and she did a wonderful job, it was a great evening of celebration and poetry.

Nina Lewis © 2015

Nina Lewis © 2015

Suz and I met Heather at the Carpet Museum in Kidderminster (where Heather had been a Poet in Residence) and she talked us through the vision for ‘Light & Shade’. We had an opportunity for research (I had already visited the museum on August 15th to research for the NPD WLF (Worcester LitFest) competition, which was also organised by Heather as part of the NPD event.

Then Suz and I went away with our remits and worked on crafting a poem each. The next rehearsal we discussed how to blend these into a performance. Heather had organised readings before and after this element and was clear she wanted it to be theatrical/dramatic, a little different – as it was billed as ‘a touch of theatre’. We all worked well together and soon crafted a performance, dividing the poems as you would a script and working on the character of the piece.

Heather was so happy with it that she decided we wouldn’t need another run through until the 8th October. light shade NPD

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On NPD I was forced to do the day job and infiltrated as much poetry as possible and Heather herself was drastically busy promoting poetry in person and on the radio, whizzing from one event to another. So there was a frazzled energy about us to begin with. The staff had set the venue up and were organised and ‘swanlike’ – they had had a busy day ‘one of those days’ as well, you would never have guessed. They busily got our event ready as well as hosting a regular group downstairs.

Suz and I rehearsed and took some last minute directorial advice from Heather and then drooled over the refreshment buffet and got ready.

NPD LIVE

Costume wise we had decided to represent Light (morning) and Dark (shade/night) by wearing white and black, this may not have been picked up by the audience, it was a good idea as it made us feel a little in character. Especially as Suz is famous for her wonderfully high, wedged, gothic black boots and had the most pretty kitten heels on. (This is why Liam took a photo of her feet).

Photos by Liam Cortintias suz shoes

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Suz Winspear & Nina Lewis Post Performance  ‘A little touch of theatre’

The museum took photographs throughout the night and I hope to be able to share some in the future.

Heather shared some of her poems from her new book, ‘Weaving Yarns’ – launching in November published by Black Pear Press. black pear

Then came the NPD competition poets, Charley Barnes, who won the people’s vote online from the four shortlisted poems, mine was also shortlisted. Her prize was a poetry book, Todd Swift (Eyewear Publishing) generously provided books for the winners.

Then the finalists Brian Comber, Jenny Shaw & Claire Walker performed their NPD poems, which were a delight to hear.

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Next the audience made their way upstairs to an area not usually open to the public where you can look down on the looms and machines.

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Then it was our turn to perform Reading Threads and Carpet Days and Nights. The audience enjoyed the experience of our performance and we hope to repeat it again next year at one of Heather’s events. It seemed a shame to do all that work for just one performance and other people want to see it – so hopefully those busy poets who were elsewhere on NPD will get a chance to see it in 2016.

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After the interval (in which many great conversations were had, but no Lemon slices were left) we returned back downstairs to the gift shop to hear the winner of the competition announced and Maggie Doyle (Poet Laureate Emeritus) and Chloe Clarke (Young Poet Laureate) performed sets, the night was drawn to a close by more poems from Heather.

The winner of the NPD Competition was Claire Walker, who won free entry for a YEAR to SpeakEasy & Mouth & Music, a poetry book and I believe free entry to 2016/17 Poet Laureate competition, where she will be a firm favourite.

Brian and Jenny also won books thanks to Todd Swift, Eyewear Publishing.

charley barnes gift shopsuz and me me and suz

PHOTO CREDIT© Sarah Gillam 2015, Museum of Carpet

It was a wonderful evening and I was filled with Poetry happiness.

Well done to Heather! DSC06830

RELATED LINKS

http://www.worcesternews.co.uk/news/13797213.Two_nights_of_poetry_will_celebrate_National_Poetry_Day/

http://worcslitfest.co.uk/worcestershire-poet-laureate/heathers-wpl-blog-october-2015/

Happy National Poetry Day!

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I love celebrating National Poetry Day and always enjoy reading how other people have spent theirs. Today is the first day of Birmingham Literature Festival, I booked my tickets when they were released in the summer, which means as I have already paid, it feels free.

BLFest

Tonight I will be at Kidderminster Carpet Museum to celebrate NPD with Heather Wastie (Worcestershire Poet Laureate), Suz Winspear, Chloe Clarke (Young Poet Laureate) and Maggie Doyle (Poet Laureate Emeritus) as well as the poetry competition finalists;

Winner competition shortlist public vote

Charley Barnes – Greener On The Other Square

Competition finalists in alphabetical order

Brian Comber – Sally-my-handsome

Jenny Shaw – The Colour Of The Wind

Claire Walker – Learning To Make A Rag Rug

It is going to be a great night of poetry.

light shade NPD

I also LOVE this posters for NPD 2015 – Save and share

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ENJOY and don’t forget to tell us how you are spending yours.

NPD LIVE

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I Never Expected Floor Covering – The World of Carpet NPD

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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.

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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.

June – Review of the Month

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June – what a busy month,  brimming with challenges, competition, festivals and longer term projects, as well as taking stock half way through the year.

My MOOC course How Writers Write Poetry with the University of Iowa finished and I enjoyed an incredibly busy month of performing, writing and getting published. The sparkly, golden bits most people get to see instead of being aware of all the hard work and ground work that caused the success in the first place! CN-1780-logo-uofiowa

WEEK 1

  • Voting closed for Worcestershire’s Poet Laureate poems. I reached the final along with 5 other talented poets.
  • I did a workshop with David Calcutt and the Caldmore Garden Poets, they were scheduled to perform a group poem at the carnival day on the 13th, which I couldn’t attend as I was working the final Writing Group for Writing West Midlands. Due to the weather this performance has been rescheduled and I can now take part on the 21st July!
  • A recent poem of mine from the workshop where e.e. cummings was our starting point – ‘Late Spring’ has been published on David’s blog you can read other poems there too. http://naturalhistoriesblog.com/others-writing/
  • My term ‘poeting’ coined last year is becoming widely used by many poets! Hoping to get it into OED next year!
  • Jess Davies had her opening night of a new spoken word event in Stirchley at the P Café, it was packed and well attended. Stirchley Speaks – and it certainly did!
  • Scary Canary hosted another Permission to Speak, Rob Francis’s fantastic night – NOW FREE!! This month saw Brenda Read-Brown and PTR Williams headline.
  • I went to Debbie Aldous’s Spoken Word at The Ort and shared a lovely meal and some Tennis with Tessa Lowe beforehand.
  • I spent a very enjoyable Sunday afternoon at Cannon Hill Park, The Mac (Birmingham) with a collective of poets – we took over the storytelling tent whilst they all went for lunch and performed to some greatly enthusiastic children. We are also hoping to get some of our poems hung on trees down by the lake, later this year. We had a special guided tour to this secret location. MAC With Frankie Ryan, Tony Fox, Syrac Citam, Timothy Scotson, Callum Bate and Nina Lewis at Cannon Hill Park.

© Jasmine Gardosi 2015

All of these events can be read in further detail in my Poetry Wrap post. Enjoy!

Poetry Wrap 5 (A Brief Introduction on Exhaustion)

 

WEEK 2

  • The 2nd week of June saw a performance at HOWL and a great packed night of poetry, hosted by Leon Priestnall. Fantastic headliners and I met two poets who I have only seen around and never spoken to before, Luci Hammans and Sipho Eric Dubepart, A.K.A ‘Unhindered Reign’ – one of three headliners, the others being Glyn Phillips and Jess Davies. I met with Sipho a week later at workshop with Candy Royalle.

I spent most of this week on tender hooks and full of nerves and butterflies as it was the WPL final and the Launch of this year’s Worcester Lit Fest. I spent most of the week preparing for it and missed some previous diary entries for open mics due to energy levels, it was a full on week of work, work for me too.

  • Friday 12th June was the Poet Laureate Finals, the winner this year was Heather Wastie.

WLF Heather WPL

Heather receiving her engraved award with Maggie Doyle at Worcester’s SpeakEasy Lit Fest Special.

© WLF Team 2015

Suz Winspear was the runner up and I came in 3rd position.  WPL

© Betti Moretti 2015

Read all about the experience here WLF 2015 The Launch & Poet Laureate Final even typing this has my heart set on edge again!

  • The WLF took over my life for the next 10 days, this week I saw Ben Parker, Todd Swift and Chloe Clarke (Young Poet Laureate) performing at the Royal Porcelain Museum, where Ben has just finished his residency and Todd is taking over.

BP Chloe Chloe

BP Dr Todd Swift Todd

BP Ben Ben

© WLF Team 2015

It was a super night of poetry. I treated myself to Ben’s collection, I love his work. Ben Parker From Porcelein

  • I had my final session at The Hive as Assistant Writer to Ian MacLeod, from September I take over the senior writing group as Lead Writer for Writing West Midlands. We invited the parents to come and take part with the end of the session, it was great fun!

 

WEEK 3  

  • The week started well with news that my poem ‘Beyond Gas Street Basin’ is to be published in an upcoming anthology of city poems called ‘Birmingham Bound’. It was a poem I was commissioned to write last year by Naked Lungs for Birmingham Literature Festival. I am delighted to be in a book all about Birmingham as it is a city that has opened it’s poetry doors for me since the tail end of 2013.
  • WLF continued and I had the delight of watching John Hegley at Confab Cabaret, Malvern. A SELL OUT Fringe event.
  • WLF I performed at the 42 WLF Special and met Adam Millard for the first time.
  • WLF I performed at WLF SpeakEasy Special and thoroughly enjoyed Brenda Read-Brown‘s set.
  • WLF I watched the Offa Press Poets, Bert Flitcroft & David Bingham at the Institute before seeing Jonny Fluffypunk return from his Austerity March experience in London to perform for us again. A highlight for me.
  • WLF Bert and Jonny joined us on the Summer Solstice Walk up the River Severn, where we all performed poetry at locations along the walk. A super, magical experience.
  • I was asked to perform at a fundraiser next month for Arts All Over the Place.
  • I attended a workshop with Candy Royalle, the international act at this month’s HTO (Hit the Ode) – which I missed as I was performing at the WLF Special SpeakEasy. It was amazing, she is a forceful spirit, driven and dazzling in her buoyant enthusiasm. Great to meet her, gutted I missed her set. I created 3 poems, in the 3 hours as well as picking up some great performance tips. Mainly driving home some things I already know. It was lovely to work alongside friends too!
  • I was invited to be a featured poet, but was unable to accept as I will be at Ledbury Poetry Festival, I am hoping this booking may happen later this year instead. Something else to look forward to!

Read about these events on fine detail here Poetry Wrap 6 & WLF – Worcester Lit Fest & Fringe 2015 – A Wrap! which includes links to individual WLF posts I created throughout the festival.

 

Week 4

  • I had 2 writing days at the beginning of the week, it has been a while since I have been able to dedicate time to actually writing. I did a lot of market research too and drew up a list of submissions to hit before the end of the month – as I realise I have hardly sent any work out there this year.
  • I took part in an open mic as part of my town’s current Festival.
  • I went to the Two Towers Brewery to perform as part of Debbie Aldous’s new night Spoken Word and More.
  • Droitwich Summer Festival invited 9 performers to entertain with poetry and music at a magical Live Lit event hosted at Park’s Café and organised by Malcolm Wakeman and MC-ed by Fergus McGonigal (everything he touches, turns to gold)! Performers included;

Fergus McGonnigall (previous Worcestershire’s poet laureate) & MC

Heather Wastie (Worcestershire Poet Laureate )

Jenny Hope

Math Jones

Mike Alma

Bridget & Malcolm Wakeman

John & Pauline Franks

Nina Lewis

Polly Robinson

Ruth Stacey

Holly Magill

Sarah James (runs the Poetry Society’s Worcestershire Stanza) & Val.

It was lovely to go for a meal with people afterwards too and chat away the night. I finally got to bed at 2:30 a.m after I had worked off the adrenalin! I have been looking forward to this event since Sarah James launched her new book The Magnetic Diaries, KFS Press. Since then she has had Hearth published, a collaborative book (Mother Milk Books) and is about to have PlentyFish – her new collection published with Nine Arches Press.

  • New opportunities for training presented themselves and I was fortunate to be online at the time. Looking forward to telling you all about this latest venture in September.
  • I also continued work on my own collection.
  • I had a poem published on Visual Verse – ‘Shame in the City’.
  • News of the 52 ANTHOLOGY published by Nine Arches Press – Out soon!
  • I performed at Sunday Xpress just before coming home to pack my suitcase! They have found a new home at The edge Artspace, Foundation Arts, a great venue in Digbeth. The room was as crowded as outside (it was a hot day – the beginning of this heat-wave, just in time for my holiday! Loved performing this afternoon, it is the first time I have felt this great after Sunday Xpress, fabulous venue, great people, new faces, abundant talent – just a marvellous mix. Unfortunately I missed the bands this time as I have to make some submissions and pack a suitcase. I will be back over there over the summer though. Fabulous success, deserved after years in the pubs of Digbeth. (There are some gems of bars in Digbeth, just noisy and full of local life that is great for a pint but not so accommodating for a poem!)

All this and more can be found in Poetry Wrap 7

inkspill holidayAnd now I am going on holiday for a much deserved rest!

 

THE WRITE YEAR WILL BE UPDATED ON MY RETURN

WLF 2015 The Launch & Poet Laureate Final

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WLF Last night was the Launch of Worcester Lit Fest at The Guildhall. It was such a rainy, muggy day, the only thing missing was the forecast storm. I had my hair cut* in the morning and by the afternoon it was ruined with the humidity and had been straightened 3x by the time I left for the city! Strangely no-one mentioned the metre I had chopped off!

* I have a phobia when it comes to Hair Salons! My last cut was so long ago, you have seen photos, the condition of my hair wasn’t brilliant and let’s face it when you’re entering some major competition you need to be armed with every confidence boosting trick.

It hasn’t stopped raining since, it was so torrential last night we heard things coming down the chimney, things that sounded like falling bits of chimney and I didn’t think the conservatory roof was going to take the constant pressure.

It was a rainy evening which is not good for attracting audiences or poets, what a shame all brollied and waterproofed up, at least I had bought a new ‘holiday mac’ so I looked fresh in the rain. Mum came as my +1 and kindly drove as I was not in any fit state with nerves, it gave me a chance to just sit, cool down and chat, almost took my mind off the night. I had spent the day with raging butterflies, despite trying all sorts of calming techniques my heart was racing. In the end (and due to a late night) I decided sleep was the best avoidance technique and had a siesta.

I practised my poems, I was up against stiff competition and decided to go for it 100%. To be honest I hadn’t envisaged going for Poet Laureate yet and with such well known and talented poets in the back of my mind I never won it, despite all my positive thinking. The one thing I did want to do was my best. Apart from mixing a couple of words up, I did.

We had the air con on and when I stepped out of the car the heat hit me. I had already struggled with flustering getting ready so by the time I arrived at the Guildhall I was a mess (physically). Mum is a great calming influence as I don’t recognise the ‘hyper’ bit myself.

WLF PL

It was lovely to see everyone, especially Tessa Lowe who stuck around before catching her train to wish me luck and will be very glad that she didn’t stay as it was a late finish!

The rest of this review is how it honestly felt as a participant, it is no reflection on the WLF team who work incredibly hard programming and organising events for the festival. Every volunteer and committee member did their best, it is just the nature of an evening where so much is packed in before the final of the poets.

I found it difficult to cope with friends in judging roles – who all had to be very distant with us, but were relaxed (thank goodness) after the results. Proceedings were started at times different to advertised, which when you are sitting in a hot room with fully charged adrenaline, nerves and a stadium’s worth of butterflies is not good.

Finally we started and some of the evening was brilliant, like the Children’s Story Writing Competition, they all performed their stories brilliantly. The Mayors and Town Council Reps were all in attendance – there was a certain element of ceremony about proceedings. Flash Fiction Prize winners were announced and some awards for local students at Worcester University, none whom could attend as they were all sitting exams. Finally, at I didn’t even look at the time – it was the 6 Finalists for WPL, our turn.

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Names had been drawn from a hat and I was to perform last, which scared me so much I verbalised my disappointment. I quite liked getting to see all the other performances first but I felt by the time my turn came the audience were wiped out. Hot, tired and poeted out on the previous 10 poems! So I kept my introductions very short and possibly lost some scores for this. But it was difficult performing to a group of people who appeared so tired. Let’s not blame the audience – it was difficult full stop. I was a wreck, attempting to remember 2 poems I hadn’t practised for over 4 hours and had only managed to get perfected the day before.

I don’t think the outcome would have been different no matter what I did and the person I thought would win, did. So afterwards I felt silly for having all that nervous energy, for taking the day off work in an attempt to remain calm etc. etc. but the flipside of all that mental preparation and rehearsing was I DID DO my best.

The judges took forever with the tough decision, which order to place the top 3. I think at one point we probably each sat in poll position in the discussion. A page width apart – which is a sliver. They meant the edge of the paper not the width of the sheet!

I am delighted to share the news that I came 3rd place! When my name was called I didn’t know if I was meant to go up to the stage or not. On the way up the steps, one of my new pink shoes came off (MY TRUE CINDERELLA MOMENT) – the people on stage congratulating and presenting awards couldn’t see my shoe on the step and wondered why I was running away so soon! Unfortunately, my mum couldn’t see me, once I was on the stage for the LITFEST banner on stage. I never got to see her face.

2nd place went to Suz Winspear and the winner this year was Heather Wastie, who will be a great Poet Laureate.

All six finalists were brilliant and competition was tough, especially for non-competitive poetry types. Looking back it was a fun night, I can honestly say I didn’t start enjoying it until the judges had disappeared for their ruling, which was about 3.5hrs after we started. Even then there was a edge of a flurry of butterflies constantly raving as we had no firm idea of the results. It was exciting.

It was the most highly anxious occasion I have ever attended. I have not felt such tension since waiting for graduation/ degree results and that is done from the comfort of your own home and you know the day and rough time so you don’t rinse yourself out for 24 hours beforehand! My heart was younger then too!

I need to give it some recovery time (my heart). It has 3 hours before I am off out for the final WWM session of this year. Actually it has a 5 day break before I perform again! It was almost as if I have booked a holiday!

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Finally – The Final is Here – Worcestershire Poet Laureate

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WLF&F logo concepts Tonight is the opening of Worcester LitFest & Fringe, my local Lit. Festival. I am looking forward to it. I have tickets for several events over the next 10 days and am performing at events too.

It seems I have been waiting ages for the 12th June, something to do with being a finalist in Worcestershire Poet Laureate Competition. There are six finalists, two of us have never entered before. I wonder if everyone has butterflies already, or is that just me!

The finalists are;

Tony Shadforth

Heather Wastie

Suz Winspear

Damon Lord

Betti Moretti

& myself, Nina Lewis

It is the first time for myself and Tony Shadforth. It should be a fun night. I am busy preparing and trying to stop my knees from knocking.

Come and join us at The Guildhall, Worcester, 6:30 pm Tickets £5

speakeasy speakeasy WLF PL

Full Lit Fest programme  can be found here WLF

https://worcslitfest.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/prog-litfest-2015-v31.pdf

WORCESTERSHIRE POET LAUREATE – The Final – I am a Finalist!

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I am delighted to announce this news! WLF&F logo concepts

Back in March, I entered the competition for this year’s Worcestershire Poet Laureate. I was over the moon to make the long-list. There was an interview with two of the team, at which you had a chance to read poetry as well as answer lots of questions. This idea is a good one, as you can tell a lot from people with a little informal chat and some interview questions.

From there I made it to the short-list with 6 other poets. We will compete for the title of Worcestershire Poet Laureate on the 12th June, at The Guildhall in Worcester, as part of the opening ceremony for WLF – Worcester LitFest & Fringe.

PLEASE VOTE

We all wrote two poems, our first of which have been published on the WLF website and are open for public votes.

http://worcslitfest.co.uk/worcestershire-poet-laureate-competition-2015/

I am not allowed to tell you which poem is mine, you have ONE VOTE – it’s FREE so please take some time to read the entries and cast your vote.

THE PROGRAMME

You can see the full programme  Prog LitFest 2015 v3.

TICKETS

Tickets can be downloaded or collected from the Tourist Information Centre at The Guildhall or from Worcester Live Box Office, Huntingdon Hall, CrownGate, Worcester WR1 3LD Tel: 01905 611427 or from a member of the LitFest team. Note: When you pay via PayPal your receipt is your ticket – please print a copy and bring it with you to the event.

THE LAUNCH

You can join us at the launch for just £5

June Event Venues Time Ticket Cost  PayPal
12 Friday Launch Poet Laureate Competition / Young Writer Winners / Flash Fiction Winners Guildhall 6pm for 6.30pm start £5.00 btn_buynowCC_LGbtn_buynowCC_LGbtn_buynowCC_LG

WORCESTER LITFEST & FRINGE

I will be performing at;

The Launch Of The Festival – Poet Laureate Competition
And Young Writers’ Awards
The Guildhall, High Street, Worcester WR1 2EY
Friday 12 June – 18:30 for a 19:00 start
Join us for the launch of the Festival and watch 6 poets go head to head as
they compete for the title of Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2015.
Judges include: current Worcestershire Poet Laureate Fergus McGonigal,
Poet Laureate Emeritus Maggie Doyle, County Arts Officer Steve Wilson,
Young Poet Laureate Chloe Clarke and the Secretary of LitFest.
To open the event, we will present the prizes for the Young Writer
competition and the winners of the Flash Fiction competition will be
announced.
Tickets can be purchased online by visiting www.worcslitfest.co.uk/2015-
programme-tickets.

 

Adam Millard
42 Worcester Festival Special
Drummonds Bar, The Swan With Two Nicks,
28 New Street, Worcester WR1 2DP
Wednesday 17 June – 19:00 for a 19:30 start
42 Worcester’s Festival Special this year sees the welcome return of Adam
Millard. A writer, mainly fantasy and horror, Adam’s whole life consists of
movies, books, and writing. He’s 31 and lives with his beautiful wife Zoe,
and son, Phoenix Justice. Adam has over fifty tattoos and smells of rich
Mahogany.
Who can resist?

 

SpeakEasy Festival Special
Thursday 18 June – 19:00 for a 19:30 start at The Old Rectifying House,
North Parade, Worcester WR1 3NN
Here’s your chance to read your short stories, poems, prose, try out your
performance poetry or music that tells a story. This evening is for you!
Please email curators Maggie and Fergus at speakeasy.litfest@gmail.com or
arrive early to claim an open mic slot.

 

LitFest Solstice Walk – a fabulous freebie
Starting around 10:30pm Saturday 20 June
Join us for a spookily fun walk around Worcester’s famous waterside for the
Summer Solstice – this year we’re keeping it local – the walk will be along
the banks of the River Severn. Starting outside Cripplegate Park gates on the
St John’s side of Worcester Bridge at 10:30(ish) Saturday 20 June, following
the Jonny Fluffypunk / Offa’s Poet gig. We’ll bear health and safety in mind
and ask everyone to bring a torch and wear stout shoes / boots and warm
clothing.
The route will be along the riverside to Diglis Lock and encompass the
Diglis basin marina area. There will be poetry and prose performances along
the route to entertain you.
Start time 10.30pm – finish anticipated just after midnight.
Anyone who wants can perform their poetry, short stories or flash fiction.
We’re allocating 5-minute performance slots for those interested.
Bring a torch, warm clothing and wear stout walking shoes.
Contact secretary@worcslitfest.co.uk

 

PERFORMANCES/ EVENTS 

These are the events I will going to – there are lots more, check the full programme.

‘A Night At The Museum’
Ben Parker & Todd Swift – Poetry Book Launch
The Museum of Royal Worcester, Severn Street, Worcester WR1 2ND
Saturday 13 June – 19:00 for a 19:30 start
Free Entry – refreshments available

This book launch marks the conclusion of Ben Parker’s tenure as poet-inresidence at The Museum of Royal Worcester. Ben Parker will be reading from a collection of poems produced during his residency, which will be available for purchase for the first time. This event also marks the beginning of Todd Swift’s residency at The Museum, and Todd will be reading from his highly acclaimed poetry.
Ben’s poetry has appeared in a number of magazines, including The White
Review, Under the Radar and Oxford Poetry, as well as Lung Jazz: Young
British Poets for Oxfam. His debut pamphlet, The Escape Artists, was
published by tall-lighthouse in October 2012 and shortlisted for the 2013
Michael Marks Award.

Todd is a British-Canadian poet, publisher, critic and editor. He is the editor
of numerous anthologies; and has published eight full poetry collections. His
poems have appeared widely, including in Poetry Review, and Poetry
(Chicago). In 2004 Todd was the Oxfam Poet-in-residence. He blogs at
Eyewear and runs the indie press Eyewear Publishing. Todd’s PhD in Creative
and Critical Writing is from The University of East Anglia (UEA). He was
born in Montreal, Quebec.

 

Festival Fringe Events with ‘ConFab Cabaret’
John Hegley
John Hegley – ConFab Cabaret Special
Monday 15th June 20.00-22.30 (Doors Open 19.30)
Tickets £10 online (address below) or £12 on the door
A fun packed variety night with lashings of Spoken Word.
John Hegley will be headlining an extra-special ConFab
Cabaret. John performed on the streets of London in the early eighties,
fronting the Popticians, with whom he also recorded two sessions for John
Peel, and has since been a frequent performer of his words, sung and
spoken, on both local and national radio and television.
Tip top support will be provided by luscious lovely local Malvern muses –
Adrian Mealing, Amy Rainbow, Catherine Crosswell, Clive Dee, Myfanwy
Fox and Sue Thompson. With a fabulous audience poem and
added merriment from international circus performer Steve Kaos!

Offa’s Poets And Jonny Fluffypunk
St Swithun’s Institute, The Trinity, Worcester WR1 2PN
Saturday 20 June – 19:00 for a 19:30 start
Offa’s Poets Bert Flitcroft and David Bingham
‘Thought-Apples’ is a collection of 25 poems by Staffordshire poet Bert
Flitcroft. They are philosophical, occasionally piquant, always accessible and
pleasing to the ear. Bert was born in 1946 and grew up in Lancashire.
Nowadays he lives near Lichfield, a retired English teacher.
David Bingham’s debut collection from Offa’s Press, ‘The Chatter of
Crows’, includes impressive Japanese-influenced haibun and haiku, which
amuse and intrigue in equal measure. David lives in Ironbridge, Telford, is a
retired Humanities teacher and has a Diploma in Creative Writing from
Birmingham University. He’s currently editor of Blithe Spirit magazine.
‘Good on the page and good on stage’ are Offa’s Poets’ watchwords.
Jonny Fluffypunk
And…the unforgettable ‘economic refugee’ from the Home Counties
returns to LitFest. Stand-up poet, sit-up storyteller and give-up musician
Jonny Fluffypunk has been dragging his art around the poetry, comedy and
alternative cabaret circuits for over 10 years. A multiple slam champion who
hates competition in the arts and an outspoken voice for anarchy, peace and
bicycles, Jonny’s a favourite with LitFest audiences. His ‘Sustainable
Nihilists’ Handbook’ is published by Burning Eye, and he is currently touring his no-fi stand-up spoken word show ‘Man Up, Jonny Fluffypunk –One Man’s Struggle with Late-Onset Responsibility’ to rousing acclaim.
An evening not to be missed!

WorcesterLitFest 2014

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