Tag Archives: Poetry Bites

May Review 2018

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May was a huge month for editing and writing and marked my final full month as Worcestershire Poet Laureate, a position I have loved. Who wouldn’t want to be an ambassador for poetry? I was also juggling working full time with a full schedule.

Week 1: 

Still learning how to balance full time work with a writing career, I found a lack of energy and time were enemies to my To Do list.

My final Worcestershire Poet Laureate submission windows opened. One for Scientific/Mathematical poetry in honour of Stephen Hawking and the other for the final edition of Contour WPL Magazine, Issue 4 Celebration & End of an Era.

 

 

I spent most of the week working on A Tale Of Two Cities Special Edition Contour Magazine.

I received news of a recent submission being successful. One of my Jinney Ring Sculpture Workshop poems is to be published in Domestic Cherry Issue 6. I join many poetry friends in this issue and what is more we get to read our poems at an event in the Swindon Poetry Festival, which is great. This will be my 4th year attending Swindon Poetry Festival and it is always amazing. Last year I was booked as a V. Press poet in V. Formation, reading alongside Stephen Daniels and Gram Joels. This year I knew I was heading down after National Poetry Day (I have a booked gig), now I know I will get to read too. Wonderful.

My role as Reader in Residence for West Midlands Reader’s Network was wrapped up in an evaluation which took an incredible amount of time to write, but future funding depends on such things and I was able to use some of it in a public review for Warwickshire Libraries too. I sent reviews of Book Review Workshops and the Poetry on Demand event for the Rugby Library website.

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https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2018/05/12/a-word-from-nina/

I received finalist poems for the Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe Poet Laureate Competition. I have a fortnight to judge these poems. I am looking forward to discovering who the finalists are on the 10th June. This year the finals will be held at The Angel Centre – which is the 4th venue for the WPL finals.

Over the weekend I secured an interview with Kate Garrett on her recent charity venture ‘Bonnie’s Crew’, took some poems for a polish and prepared for the final WPL event at Hanbury Church.

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Week 2:

Started with a Bank Holiday and sunshine. I hosted the final WPL event, a reading at Hanbury Church of our Sculpture Trail poems from the Jinney Ring workshop. A full review of the event will be posted soon. To my delight this event has also lead to future work.

 

 

It seemed strange that this was it, as far as WPLaureating goes.

I had tight deadlines for copy, reviews, interviews and editing this week. Promotion has started for Australia – Western Australia Poetry Festival. Scott-Patrick Mitchell is responsible for a lot of the streaming online. He has sent interview questions to use as part of the Marketing & Promotion of the festival. I completed the bulk of an interview on time but had a few questions that needed a more considered response. Everything is in place for the marketing machine now though.

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I spent some time prepping Q&A for the ‘In Conversation’ event at the BMI.

I was fortunate enough to get to PTS (Permission to Speak) which featured the Poets, Prattlers & Pandemonialists taking over the hosting for the evening and featuring artists from The Black Country Broadsheet project. It was a great night of high energy hosted by Dave Pitt featuring: R.M Francis, Mogs, Steve Pottinger & Casey Bailey. I shared my NaPo poems (not all 30)! A full review can be found here

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2018/05/10/mighty-force-poets-prattlers-pandemonialists/

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The following night I headed over to Birmingham to the BMI (Birmingham & Midland Institute) for an In Conversation & Reading of Fragile Houses. Another fabulous night in the John Lee Theatre. Read the full review here. https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2018/05/12/open-conversation-bmi/

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This was a great opportunity to reach a new audience and was booked last Winter, I had been looking forward to it for a while.

I am delighted Roy McFarlane is the Poet in Residence there and look forward to his programme of events and get more involved in Birmingham again.

I planned to spend the weekend editing, I mainly slept – being a busy poet and working full-time is not easy. I did manage a good shift on ATOTC and got the main frame of the magazine complete – overcoming lots of horrendous formatting issues. Sadly I realised I had missing Bios and so put a call out for those.

I am hoping that before the end of the month we will have the special edition ready for upload.

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Week 3:

What is a perfect way to start the week? A workshop with the exuberant Ash Dickinson of course! Having missed the opportunity to do one in Burton last year I was delighted to discover that he was doing one before/for Licensed to Rhyme!

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Read the full review here https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2018/05/16/ash-dickinson-workshop-licensed-to-rhyme/

It was a fabulous evening of laughter and poetry and set me up for the week.

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Lorna Meehan headlines next month – so I need to get my diary free *although I think it falls during Worcestershire LitFest.

On Thursday I had intended to hit Birmingham at the Twisted Tongues event (usually held in Derby), however after a long day at work and with a weekend of events scheduled I did the sensible thing (very unlike me) and spent the night in the garden enjoying the end of the sun before having a relatively early night.

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I spent a lot of the week compiling the Special Edition Contour Magazine and chasing poets for photos.

On Friday I whizzed from work straight to The Hive in Worcester for a Book Launch. Cutting the Green Ribbon – debut poetry collection for Katy Wareham Morris, published by Hesterglock Press.

ctgr-poster-as-jpeg Katy was joined by Guest Readers Holly Magill, Kathy Gee and Claire Walker – it was a superb night of poetry. Full review coming soon.

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I surprised myself on Saturday by firstly forgetting there was a Royal Wedding (I was reading poetry books and working on a submission) and secondly by writing about it. I had not planned to and I know many poets balk at this sort of sentimentality – but important events during one’s Laureateship ought to be marked and so I found myself with laptop on lap, catching up with images from the BBC whilst watching the ceremony from the point of the Bishop’s Address onward and I did manage to write something.

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https://worcestershirepoetlaureateninalewis.wordpress.com/2018/05/19/the-royal-wedding/

I finished the week being a Poetry Judge at Sarah Leavesley’s Book Launch at Parks Cafe.  Sarah celebrated the launch of her new novella Always Another Twist and latest poetry collection How to Grow Matches. It was a charity event in aid of St Paul’s Hostel in Worcester and a fantastic evening (even if I did want to run away with the prizes)! A full review will be posted soon.

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Sarah was joined by Guest Readers: Holly Magill, Jenny Hope & Liz Kershaw and the night was MCed by Charley Barnes.

https://droitwichstandard.co.uk/news/award-winning-droitwich-author-to-hold-special-book-launch-at-charity-evening/

 

Week 4

The week started with a well earned day off work to fill with Poetry work. This year I was invited to be part of the Living Library event at Blessed Edward Oldcorne Catholic College in Worcester. The event is organised annually by Librarian Linda Bromyard and enables several classes from Year 7 to come and meet real writers and talk to them about their work. Again, I will be writing full reviews of work from May soon and this event will certainly be given one. It was as inspiring for the adults as the students, I would have loved something like this when I was studying English.

 

http://www.worcesternews.co.uk/news/14543190.Authors_bring_school_library_alive/

The deadline for judging this year’s WPL finalist poems came around fast. I enjoyed reading this year’s entries, I am not so much enjoying sitting in judgement at the finals, but will part of a team of 5 judges and it is part of the WPL remit accepted last year. My hat goes off to poets who judge competitions with 100s of entries, it is a tough job.

I FINALLY gained access to the Arts Council portal (being trying since 27th April) only to find the decision was a no. Ironically the new system is more suited to individual bids, I used the British Council funding scheme a joint venture with the Arts Council. I rushed to get mine in before 1st March deadline and may have been better to wait for the new batch and changes in the system.

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Still, I took on the full time teaching role to pay for it and now I have the freedom to enjoy it evaluation free. The bid was to cover my travel to Australia for the Perth Festival and some workshops back in the UK after the event. At least I learnt how to apply for funding and also had the pleasure of analysing statistical data which shows my work this year has impacted on over 360 individuals.  Lots to celebrate.

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On the same day I discovered this failure I was also Headlining at Poetry Bites. It has been a while since I headlined a gig and it was a pleasure. Again full review waiting in a queue.

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I had to plan my Australian workshop and send a 200 marketing blurb this week. It is based on themes pulled from Fragile Houses and is going to be great. I am really looking forward to this experience and have scheduled time when term finishes to get prepared. The review of July will be simpler – it will just say…

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Preparing for Australia!

I have also been working on the final three WPL projects:

  • Contour Issue 4 WPL Digital Poetry Magazine
  • Twin Town European Poetry Exchange
  • Every Word Counts – Science/Maths Anthology

Contour Issue 4 the Celebration issue is still open for submissions until my final day as Laureate 10.6.18, I have been busy catching up with the Headliners of SpeakEasy for the interview section and have an article or two to add (new feature).

Twin Town 

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Most of the poets involved managed their poetry exchanges before the deadline, I stepped in and wrote a response poem and a Town poem in case the final poet didn’t manage it. We are now just waiting on a final response poem from a poet who received it over 2 weeks late, a June deadline has been negotiated and I have secured my good friend Nathalie Brooker to work on my French translations. This should be live in June, publication is planned for 10th June, the day I end my Laureateship.

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I spent time long listing poems from the 30 day submission window.

 

Extra Bit 

A much needed break from work, 9 days in my poetry skin.

DAY 1 of 9

I planned my penultimate WWM Spark Writers group – they are sad to see me go, they are not the only ones. My sensitive poet’s heart could crack with all these changes!

I spent some time organising the first of the UK ATOTC readings. A collaborative of 11 who will read call/response poems during the 2nd part of the evening as part of Artsfest 2018.

I made the final promo pushes for the last 2 WPL submissions. Had a lovely night at Waterstones celebrating the Launch of Deborah Alma’s new Nine Arches Press collection ‘Dirty Laundry’ a full blog post owed for that night too!

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I made it to 42 and the newly refurbished Drummonds for a night that was pure entertainment.

I finish the month with mild exhaustion and the hope that the few submissions I have managed to make this month will find themselves a home amongst pages. Fingers crossed.

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June

June sees the 8th Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe Festival, the crowning of a new Poet Laureate, the finalists in the running are Sarah Leavesley, Betti Moretti & Peter Sutton. The Launch takes place on the 10th June 2:30 pm at the Angel Centre, Worcester and sadly will mark my last day as Worcestershire Poet Laureate.

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Other events to look forward to are: Meet the Authors, Stanza in the Forest of Dean for a Forestry/Poetry project, the rest of the WLF Programme, I am performing on Tuesday at Night at the Museum, Wednesday at 42 Special with the Anti-Poet, Thursday at SpeakEasy Festival Special and Saturday as part of The Ring Project.

I am performing as part of Ludlow Fringe Festival, have my final ever WWM Spark Young Writer Group, attending the Stratford Poetry Festival for the schools project with Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, attending and performing at a few book launches and finishing the month with Ledbury Poetry Festival.

At the desk I am working on a current manuscript, prep for Perth Poetry Festival (Australia, not Scotland), Contour Issue 4 Digital poetry magazine, The Twin Town Poetry Anthology & a collection to mark the passing of Stephen Hawking featuring Science/Mathematical poetry Every Word Counts.

Plenty of work to absorb the extraction of my Laureateship! And who knows in between I may even get to write and sleep!

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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Headlining Poetry Bites

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Delighted to announce I will be Headlining Poetry Bites this month alongside Richard Archer. It is sure to be a great evening, so join us if you can.

http://livebrum.co.uk/kitchen-garden-cafe/2018/05/22/poetry-bites

 

 

January in Review

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typewriter-1227357_1280 2017 started well with lots of diary dates, events and writing time. Of course it was also back to work after a fortnight (unpaid) break. Much needed. I made it back to Ludlow to support Claire Walker who was one of the Headline poets alongside Matt Black. A little like not realising two years had passed since I last watched Ash Dickinson perform, I cannot believe a year has passed since I last went to the Poetry Lounge in the Sitting Room! This time warp has to do with working for 18 months on Fragile Houses I think. Months slip by fast and the first thing that has to go when you shackle yourself to the desk to write is faraway events.

Week 1:

Poetry Lounge in the Sitting Room with Jean Atkin in Ludlow, it was lovely to see everybody again and I hope to make it back before 2018. Matt Black (who I first years ago at a special event we both performed at The Ort in Birmingham  (2014), more recently we shared the floor in Birmingham at Stirchley Speaks (my Headline, back in October). headline-stirchley-speaks-oct

He was entertaining and as we had all had a conversation about vegetarianism on the journey over, apt poems in his set made us giggle.

Claire Walker was amazing, I do not think I will ever tire of hearing her perform from The Girl Who Grew into a Crocodile. She also treated us to some new poems from her next pamphlet collection.sitting room

I completed a lot of research for current writing projects and groups. I also completed a collaborative project set up in December and worked hard on submitting poetry. I had fun writing about Leonard Cohen and am keeping my fingers crossed that the editors will enjoy the results.

I missed Buzzwords in Cheltenham.

Week 2:

In December I submitted to 7 places and the rejections rolled in from 3 of them this week. We all learn to handle this but one publication in particular was dealing with a subject close to my heart and it made me a little glum that they hadn’t taken my work. They did send feedback including details of the process that the poem they nearly took went through. I will not be perturbed. Another rejection cited that the pieces weren’t best fit this time but encouraged resubmission.

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Back in 2015 I had three poems accepted for an anthology by Shabda Press on Nuclear Impact. We all signed contracts in 2016 and it has been a real labour of love for Teresa Mei Chuc who has now got the project to final proof stages. All proof read and returned and I cannot wait to see the result. The readings are all taking place in the States but I am currently looking at the logistics of video performance.

The cover has been revealed featuring the Artwork of John Sokol. Cover Art: “On the Road to Perilous” nuclear-impact-front-cover-final-cover-art-on-the-road-to-perilous-by-john-sokol I could write more poems just from a glance. This book will hopefully be in our hands later this year.

I went to SpeakEasy – where Brenda Read-Brown was headlining and what a set she treated us to. New work, powerful work, emotive (I nearly cried twice), honest and filled with passion. I was really glad that I was able to make it and witness such a performance.

I shared some new poems and gave Fragile Houses a rest, most of Worcester have bought it already and as I headlined last month and read most of it and as the last poem in there was written in 2015, I fancied sharing something newer.

I went to Stanza although I was so tired I was not much use to others and the poem I had written half an hour before leaving didn’t quite work. I do not see the point of taking perfectly polished work to groups – unless perhaps it’s a poem that has been unsuccessfully submitted a few times, in which case new eyes are good. However, I need to give my writing a chance to sit and simmer for a bit so perhaps I should try this year to get a poem ready the week before. Give it some breathing space. It is hard when you feel so attached to something, too vulnerable.

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Sadly at the weekend I said goodbye to Sally Grainger who has been my Assistant Writer for WWM Spark Writers group for the past 9 months. We had a full house for her final session and ran a great group on Scriptwriting. It was fun. I am sad to see her go.

I received exciting news about a new Literature Festival which I am currently organising a showcase/event for.

Week 3:

I spent my time mainly at work, in spare hours I was organising the festival event, missing deadlines, proof reading and writing comic poetry.

Last year I was invited to take part in a one off (now to be repeated as it was so successful) Baldy Poems presents Kings and Queens of Comedy in association with WLF (Worcester LitFest). I love the idea that WLF are fundraising via event charge at one off events throughout the year to help fund/pay for the summer festival. It is a great idea and I have loved the events that have popped up so far.

I was honoured to be one of the 6 performers (we had 8 on the night with Kieran Davis and a Special Surprise Guest joining us). I have only written about 5 funny poems and the two I had ready for this event have not seen the light of day since 2015, so I decided to emulate BaldyPoems style and kick out 6 new ones. That and I needed the material to cover a 10 minute set. More on this later.

I missed David Calcutt at Smokey Joes in Cheltenham – Poetry Refreshed and sadly I missed Clive Osman’s Waterstones book launch for his debut collection ‘Happy’. Both nights looked to be good. I had taken on extra work and with a gig Thursday night and Friday needed to sleep.

After almost 2 weeks of working full-time, I finally finished on Thursday at 5:30 and then headed over to Birmingham with Mr G and a friend, in birthday celebration mode. We went to see THE BLUE AEROPLANES at the Hare and Hounds (where UB40 played their first gig) and it was exceptional. I am so glad that I was filled with the charm of performance because it set me up for the following evening for Kings and Queens of Comedy.

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I was so nervous – worried that the audience wouldn’t find the dusted off material funny, But I forgot the universal appeal of my moustache poem, the magic of proto-type props and the delight of people who have never heard this one before. It was also funny because people who know me know that I am funny, I just do things that amuse people as I have no logical bone in my body and I have a quick, dry, wordy wit… in fact there was a turning point once upon a time between poet and comedian. The world breathes a sigh of relief.

Anyway because a lot of people now on the scene weren’t back in 2014 when I played the clown a little more, they didn’t see me as a funny poet and were quite shocked at the billing. There are now at least two people who will never take me seriously again!

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To read a full review of the evening click here

And then I had a well deserved weekend off to catch up with Mr G and writing.

Week 4:

Saw happy news and my first acceptance of 2017. That collaborative project I mentioned earlier was with Claire Walker. The result was a meeting about prompts, shared ideas, word lists and after writing editing together. After a few weeks we had a poem written by each of us from working with the other and a joint poem written line by line. The acceptance was a the poem Claire Walker wrote called ‘The Puzzle of an Ending’, a beautiful title and a hard hitting poem. It was the strongest of the collaboration.

It delights me that it exists because of an opportunity I found and a risk I took (asking another poet to partner me and risk rejection, that lack of self-belief/inner critic we all have to deal with). Fortunately, Claire was only too happy and we enjoyed this rather intense poetry pocket in our otherwise Christmassy/family orientated holidays. There will be more to come. And I am doing something here I first dreamed of in 2014. Happy.

I spent the night, along with many poetry friends at the Kitchen Garden Café, Birmingham for Jacqui Rowe’s ‘Poetry Bites’. The featured poets were David Calcutt & Claire Walker (fellow V. Press poets) and Jacqui announced (which most of us already knew) that they are going to publish her first collection this year too. Her ‘Ransom Notes’ was the first pamphlet of the run in 2015 from the round I applied successfully for in 2014.

ransom Poetry Bites was a packed out night, it is so sad that this is Jacqui’s final year, but it is a phenomenal achievement to have hosted and supported such an abundant amount of poets over the years. The atmosphere was great and there were some top class floor spots as well as a V. Press collective, Kathy Gee was also reading from her collection Book of Bones.

I really enjoyed reconnecting with Brumside poets I had not seen in a while, as well as listening to some inspiring and thought provoking sets.

Maybe it was the double dose of Americano coffee, or the Kitchen Garden cake… I came away buzzing and refuelled with an extra layer of poet-y energy!

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I wrote new poems for Burn’s Night, which was celebrated at 42, in Worcester on the 25th. I even made a badge – Lewis tartan, of course. I have thoroughly enjoyed finding out more about this 18th Century rascal. It was a great night, intimate and full of heart – but not lungs or liver (haggis pun)!

I missed a workshop with Ash Dickinson, that had I not been performing in the Quiet Compere/ Wolverhampton Literature Festival the following night, I may have tried to get to. It was just a little out of range geographically and no way I could have got myself there on time after work without the help of a helicopter and pilot… neither of which I have. Oh, to be a rich girl! So I just have to brush away the disappointment and hope for another opportunity in the future.

This brings us to the finale of the poeting week – the first literature festival to be held in Wolverhampton and a great line up of events across all genres. I was lucky enough to be one of the ten poets on the bill for Sarah Dixon’s Quiet Compere Event at the Art Gallery on Friday evening.

What an evening it was. Fabulous line-up, including two poets who are new to me (always a pleasure), Tom McColl & Gerry Potter. What a venue, the room was majestic and had one of the best backdrops to poetry I have ever seen. The setting was incredible. It was a wonderful night and I was still buzzing the next day. You can read the full review of the event and find out more about the performers here https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2017/01/28/quiet-compere-wolverhampton-literature-festival/

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I got home to find emails about up and coming books and spent a while chatting to the other buzzing poets online. A fine night.

walsall-arboretum I finished my weekend at Open Poetry at Walsall Arboretum with David Calcutt and an amazing number of poets on Sunday. Despite the horrible rain, bad driving conditions and leaving a ton of work on the To Do List, I headed out for some poeting fun.

It was a great couple of hours, lots of moving and humorous work was shared. I met some new poets and saw John Mills, who had battled the unnavigable roads of Walsall to experience David’s event for the first time. walsall-arb © 2016 Walsall Arboretum

Then I spent a horrendous amount of time sorting out unread and unmanaged emails instead of completing applications which I now need to do tomorrow after work. There are lots of deadlines in the next 72 hours and I plan to hit them all.

Wolverhampton Literature Festival finished with a Poetry Slam that Nick Lovell won and Willis – a.k.a Rick Sanders came 2nd and Rob Francis, 3rd. Well done, boys! An all male sweep. I was sad not to be able to go to the festival this year. Other plans had already been made. Hopefully they will do another one next year.

The Extra Few (Writing) Days

Mainly spent Monday night at the computer pulling a 6 hour shift (after a day at work), writing new material, researching, organising events, writing applications and submitting. There are so many end of month submissions and I have been busy enjoying myself and thinking the end of the month was a while away yet and here we are. I am pleased that I have managed a few more submissions as I have not been keeping the resolution of weekly output, as advised by another poet.

Obviously there is a certain amount of selectivity both in terms of material, feel, attitude, time etc. My aim is for monthly submissions, which should be entirely achievable – as the months missed last year were to do with the final editing process of the pamphlet.

I will spend the final day of the month (in the evening, after work) getting productive with my next To Do List and making final submissions too.

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There are so many exciting things planned for February already, I can hardly believe we have reached the end of January!

I hope you had a good one, filled with spirit and joy …. oh and writing!

 

Poeting, Training & Performing – September

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I am currently working against end of month deadlines for a few projects as well as working the proper job to make up for lack of summer funds. I am really too busy to be blogging and in three days time will be reviewing September anyway… but I also believe my poeting needs a mention, after all that is why this blog was created and some of you are following the journey.

 

Business Meetings, Plans & Poetry On Loan Training

This month I have taken on board training – which is something I haven’t done for a while. I had a great business meeting, which was a spin off from the laureateship competition exposure and this guided me through the end of year ideals well. Including some possible job applications, which have now been openly shared across social media increasing my known competition, which is terrifying but hasn’t put me off going for it anyway. This meeting helped me come home and set some clear goals for myself rather than just wavering between writing the manuscript, performing poems and getting involved in projects (like Caldmore Gardens with David Calcutt’s residency, NPD with Heather Wastie, organising the next INKSPILL – AWF’s very own FREE online writing retreat, supporting and promoting Arts All Over the Place Festival in support of Mental Health).

I did ‘Poetry on Loan’ training with Brenda Read-Brown and Jon Seagrave (Jonny Fluffypunk). It was a great session with librarians and poets sharing experiences and evaluating from our roles. I hope one day soon I will be able to provide the service of Poet on Loan. Ready now. Sadly I missed this year’s competition, remembering the deadline as the end of the month rather than the beginning!

 

Rehearsals

I have been rehearsing for Caldmore Carnival (26th)

Janet Jenkins © 2015

and NPD Light & Shade (on National Poetry Day – 8th October). Caldmore was brilliant, a group from the Calcutt/Caldmore workshops sent poems which David then edited into a   CHORAL poem to be performed by Andy Summers, Jimm Rennie, Janet Jenkins and myself, unfortunately after making the rehearsal Jimmie wasn’t well enough to perform this past Saturday and David took his place.

LIGHT and shade 

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Suz Winspear and I met with Heather Wastie for our first ‘Light and Shade’ rehearsal and ideas flowed extremely well. The whole spectacle is now blocked and there will just need to be a few run throughs before the night. We have sorted costume and now all we have to do is get to know the final performance draft of our poems, practise and enjoy! It is a great collaboration to be part of.

 

Caldmore Carnival – Choral Poetry Performance

It was a pleasure to see the garden caldmore being used in full summer (September) glory and I am glad we performed before they had all the talented dance and music groups on, the talent of local young people.

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Carnival Photography Nina Lewis © 2015

We had a great weather day too!

 

Swingerella – Wrecking Ball Tour – Birmingham

I really feel this show deserves a blog post of its own. I may have to do a feature of some sort as Andrea Smith/Shorrick is taking the world by storm as Swingerella and her show was amazingly powerful with messages that need to be exposed. I booked my tickets to see her show at the Mockingbird Theatre, Custard Factory, pre-Edinburgh – Swing did the fringe and went down a storm there and then came back to perform a swansong on home soil.

When I have some more time next month, I will blog about her fabulous journey and the show, which has reached the end of its run. She may even give us a sneak preview of her next venture.

Jimmy Riddle © 2015

Jimmy Riddle © 2015

 

Poetry Bites with Jacqui Rowe, Featuring Liz Berry & Jane Commane

It was a pleasure to be at this event, not only to watch the headliners Liz Berry and Jane Commane but also for so many reasons.

It has been ages since I have been able to get to Poetry Bites, there were so many poets I hadn’t seen for a while who also managed to attend and it was great catching up. I got to sit and chat with Jonathan Davidson and Jane Commane AND some poetry friends from elsewhere came to check it out and perform. I think I may have converted several new fans.

It was fantastic to hear Jane Commane’s poetry. She is a well established editor (Nine Arches Press) and so often my involvement with Jane (since 2013) has been when she is wearing her editing shoes. To hear her poetry was a delight.

Liz Berry, well like John Hegley, she is back in my world again, so soon. The upside of this is I remembered to take my book to be signed and as it hasn’t been that long since her KAF appearance, she remembered our conversation about the book.

Poetry Bites is un-mic-ed (without a mic) and Liz is softly spoken. It was a magical combination listening really hard and hanging onto the edge of the last sounds in words.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/09/23/kaf-liz-berry-and-blair-dunlop-13th-august/

 

In Other Poeting News

I was asked to guest poet next month at an event in Cheltenham and started working on some new submissions.

Last month I was booked for the next AAOTP Arts All Over the Place Fundraiser and spent a morning writing poetry about Alice in Wonderland and Lewis Carroll. Due to unforeseen circumstances I wasn’t able to attend this event until it was nearly over, I did manage to perform and the poems went down well and are also be suitable for the Festival display.

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I booked tickets for Swindon Poetry Festival and am delighted to be one of ten readers at;

Lunch with a celebration of ’52’ group and Anthology Fri 12:30 – 2 2/10/15 – Lower Shaw Farm: Come along and enjoy lunch at Lower Shaw Farm, after which we will have readings from the 52 group brought together last year by Jo Bell. This will be a celebration of this wonderful project. There will be readings from the book and from 52ers present.

Lunch with a celebration of ’52’ group and Anthology is happening this Friday 2nd October. So I am now rehearsing National Poetry Day Poetry, a headline set and poetry for 52, hard because we will be reading poems on behalf

Hilary Robinson © 2015

Hilary Robinson © 2015 52 Flash Bomb Poetry outside Shakespeare’s Birthplace 2014

of people who cannot be there and we all read poetry differently. Fortunately I have just found communication about organising the reading of other people’s poetry. Some of my original selection have already been chosen. We are reading one poem each from the anthology

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and one of our own from the 52 Project. I can’t wait – particularly excited as I missed the Stratford meet earlier this summer.

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Quite unbelievably it is the 50th 42 event this week – looking forward to a celebration and performance this Wednesday. Writing poetry for it over the next 48 hours, poetry that I am hoping will also work for a submission this month.

42

I have lots of great things to look forward to next month and then I think I will rest back a bit more and see the end of the year off behind a desk (that, I would like to believe… we will see)!

 

 

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

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

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

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

© 2014 KGC

© 2014 KGC

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

Poetry Bites: Restless Bones restless the book

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

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

BUY YOUR COPY HERE;

InZine Fest II

SATURDAY
12-5pm
6/12/2014
@ The Pod
1A Lamb Street, Coventry, CV1 4AE

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

RELATED LINKS:

http://silhouettepress.co.uk/events/inzine-fest

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/08/26/book-launch-restless-bones-poetry-anthology-for-born-free-foundation/

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

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

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

– Najma Hush

http://www.libraryofbirmingham.com/womenspeakout

http://www.libraryofbirmingham.com/event/Events/16days-womenunplugged

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

Week 4 September 22nd – 28th

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September has been an extremely busy month – this week was the 100% busy-no-time-to-breathe- week and is probably the last time I will EVER attempt the feat of working FULL TIME and managing 6 back to back events, 5 of which I performed at! start time

On Tuesday I enjoyed Jacqui Rowe’s Poetry Bites, I was really looking forward to the Headliners, Charlie Jordan (has been far too long since I saw her perform) and Jan Smith, who I have seen a few times before. I was also looking forward to soaking up the atmosphere and performing later in the evening. BL RH jACQUI

The atmosphere is always warming and despite my rush to get there after work I was offered seats at the front, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole event. They are currently selling 2nd hand poetry books to raise awareness for Eye Survive (think I need to try and organise an entire post to explain the cause) it is charity fundraising for someone with rare eye disease that needs money for medical treatment. I hadn’t got any spare cash the last time I made it to the Kitchen Garden. It is a lovely idea, terribly hard to part with poetry books though – have you ever tried it?kitchen_garden_cafe_logokitchengardencafecouk

On Wednesday night there were lots of events happening, the Launch of Barefiction Magazine, Cat Weatherill performing JamFace at the Kitchen Garden, I could have happily camped out under a table, with cake! However, before I discovered these two events I had already BOOKED my tickets for a Worcester Litfest Event at the Hive, watching (not to be missed) poet – Elvis McGonagall, who was supported by three good friends, Maggie Doyle – Poet Laureate Emeritus, Fergus McGonigal (no relation to Elvis) and current Worcester Poet Laureate – and runner up Claire Walker. The three of them delighted a full studio theatre with three very different styles of poetry. I would have paid just for that show – but as a bonus I was treated to the crazy poetry world Elvis McGonagall inhabits!

WLF&F logo concepts

What a show indeed – do NOT miss out on an opportunity to see this poet! I am still buzzing thinking about this evening! Truly brilliant! Elvis McGonagall Wenlock Edge

© 2014 Wenlock Edge

World Poetry Slam Champion 2006, UK Slam Champion 2006

UK All-comers’ Poetry Slam Champion 2004

‘funny, angry and tightly written…McGonagall combines anger, polish and carefully crafted verse in a way which recalls John Cooper Clarke’ 4-star The Scotsman

‘verses shot through with a moral umbrage and rhetorical power…a bracing throwback to the days when comedy made room for militant eccentrics with a knack for scansion and a bolshie hankering to change the world’ 4-star The Guardian

‘side-splittingly funny’ The Reading Rant

On Thursday night (don’t forget this is after a full day in the classroom and this week I worked with Year 6 as well as rest of KS1 & 2 and Early Years) I had my own set at Naked Lungs.

I had to open the event at Cherry Reds – which is always a hard/horrible spot to take, at least I was confident in my material/ chosen set. 1 nl 1 nl2

I got a positive reaction and funnily enough – despite basing the set on the lighter more entertaining poetry that seemed to go down well last month, people talked to me about my two serious poems.

NAKED_LUNGS_200x200px

It turned into a great night and there were some amazing performances from Jess Green, who was absolutely amazing and fresh back down from Edinburgh, you might know her Mr Gove Poetry. Andy Owen Cook, Kev Eadie, myself – Nina Lewis, and Tim Fletcher showed us all how a guitar should be played! WOW! Jaw dropping stuff!

The great thing about going first is that you can then sit back, relax and enjoy! Thanks to Joe Whitehouse and Chris Baker for this opportunity.

Naked Lungs

On Friday I unfortunately missed Kevin Brooke’s book launch of JIMMY CRICKET – which took place in the Hive library and I have heard nothing but great things about this event ever since. Check out this article Worcester News

However, I was working in the city and didn’t leave until gone 5pm. It took a long time at that time on a Friday to crawl towards the city centre. I needed to eat and had time to pull in and buy a burger – fed up of a week where it was work – perform and little time to rehearse beforehand, I decided to take some minutes out – sit and sort the set. I ran through it a few times to time it and only had to drive around a few times for a parking space.

Then I went to Word Up, Ddotti has changed venue and it has been so long since I have been that I hadn’t gone to the new venue for Word Up. I had been there – last year when I did Camp NaNoWriMo we had our meets there where everyone typed at the same time.

I did discover that the Coffee Lounge sells amazing strawberry milkshakes and I had a great time downstairs in Word Up.

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On Saturday, Clive Dee had invited me to join him at Carnival Records for his 100,000 Poets for Change event, which I was delighted and excited to be part of. I had spent most of September seeing international posts about 100,000 Poets for Change and wanted to participate somehow.

100 thou catherine Crosswell Catherine Crosswell 100 thou Karen Langley  Karen Langley

100 thou Lounge Toad Lounge Toad 100 tho

100 thou Myfanwy Fox MyFanwy Fox 100 thou shop 100 thou the brickshed The Brickshed

I did struggle to get up, my body begging to lie in after my busy week! Which was a shame because I missed some of the other performers I wanted to see. I did get to spend the last few hours soaking up the buzz at Carnival Records, the independent record store itself is worth a visit, in the pretty town of Malvern. In the Vinyl room I found a DOORS book I have never read and had to buy it! carnival records 100000 poets  carnival

I also managed to buy the PERFECT dress for my brother’s wedding, next weekend.

On Sunday there was a Scarecrow Festival in Belbroughton, which is an annual village event and always worth a visit. This year the theme was films and I loved finding minion after minion around the displays. I have photos to upload soon.

adameve After scarecrows I rushed across to the city to Sunday Xpress at the Adam and Eve – part of Birmingham Poetry Festival with headliner Ash Dickinson

A multiple slam champion- including Edinburgh and Cheltenham- Ash won the BBC Radio 4 Midlands Slam in 2009. In the previous BBC National Slam in 2007 he progressed through the Scottish heats, eventually finishing among the top 8 in the UK. Ash was runner-up in the 2011 UK All Stars Slam.

I missed Ash when he headlined at SpeakEasy earlier this year and although I arrived too late to catch most of the performers I was still allowed to perform, which was good because Ash said he enjoyed my set. One of my poems about Hairs linked with his poem about Body Image well. It was definitely worth the trip to go and see him.

1 Ash Dickinson

I was so tired by the time I reached home, I had hoped to catch Lorna Meehan in her One Woman Show at the MAC – but I couldn’t have managed to stay awake for an 8pm show.

It was a great weekend, the perfect end to a busy, productive, creative week.

I also received some great news about my current manuscript, I will spend October busily writing this.

There is also an Arts All Over the Place Festival taking place next week – starting National Poetry Day (2nd Oct) and finishing on 10th Mental Health Awareness Day – ‘Poetry, Performance (and Everything Else) Festival’. I sent an email to Rachel Green offering my services as workshop facilitator or performer. I spoke about a workshop, unfortunately I could not make the schedule as it is the one day I am contracted to teach music in a school.  Madhatter

 

Poetry Bites At The Kitchen Garden Cafe

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© 2014 gastrocard.co.uk

© 2014 gastrocard.co.uk

Poetry Bites was a superb start to a week in my poetry skin. I was delighted to see Tessa Lowe, Chris Fewings & David Calcutt there again, all performing. The main guests were Roy Marshall & James Sheard, who I recently discovered (before tonight) lectures in Creative Writing at Keele University. Roy and I talked about Leicester in the interval, as that is where I discovered performance poetry, creative writing courses & the spoken word.

© 2014 KGC

© 2014 KGC

It was a warm atmosphere, jacqui Jacqui Rowe started the night with Larkin, I am a fan of Larkin and enjoyed dipping into the evening this way.

 

Anthony R Owens (who headlines next month along with Matt Windle) came to soak up some poetry and treat us to a taster and a poem hot off the ink of his pen. The floor spots were all filled and an enjoyable mix of work was read. I performed ‘Your Gift’ and ‘Touched’ and received positive feedback and encouragement to send one of them off to competition, I will pursue. Thanks Deborah Alma!

Seeing Roy Marshall perform a range of works, chatting to him & buying his book was great. You can buy it too! Click the link.

The Sun Bathers

sun bathers

James Sheard, with his dry wit, was a treat to hear at length too. He has shared one or two poems at The Poetry Lounge in the Sitting Room before, but to hear some from a collection he soon hopes will be published was a treat. James Sheard’s collection ‘Scattering Eva’ (Cape, 2005) was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for best first collection. His poems appear in the  anthology
‘Identity Parade’ (Bloodaxe, 2010)

I have had a superb night!

Poetry Bites – Guest Spots: Helen Calcutt and Sarah James

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Poetry Bites: Helen Calcutt, Sarah James

I have had my eye of this event for a while but have never managed to make it to a night. The Kitchen Garden Café is a fantastic venue and Jacqui Rowe hosts a superb night. For just £5/£3 you get to see TWO top guest spots and plenty of talent from the floor in 3 minute slots.

A few of us planned to go to support Sarah James, who performed a very strong set – complete with tulip! She looked as if she was enjoying the evening as much as the rest of us.

I knew there were floor spots but only decided last minute to join in.  I am glad I did, the audience was very warm.

It was the first time I had heard Helen Calcutt, although she is very involved in the scene our paths have not yet crossed. She has a dance background, so there is some common ground there and she looked incredible after recently becoming a new mum! Amazed that she is back to performing so soon afterwards.

Although I know of Jacqui Rowe I have missed all her workshops, surgeries and events up until now. It was lovely to finally meet her in person and a treat to hear her poems.

typer

Helen Calcutt

http://helencalcutt.org/about-2/

Sarah James

http://www.sarah-james.co.uk/

JacquiRowe

http://www.jacquirowe.com/

 

 

 

 

Poetry Bites;

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

My Writing Day Part 1

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inkspill just writeMy day of writing is going well – I am using my self disciplined invisible time-table! Today is a National Teacher Strike and my school is closed. I won’t get paid for supply, I havent had to do any – I welcome this day to write and catch up with my life (as a writer!), like I mentioned in a social media status – on one hand I don’t make any money today and on the other hand, well the other hand is the one I write with!

Mr G made sure I was up early – he forgot I wasn’t working today. After the post event adrenalin of last night – I went to Poetry Bites, an evening of fantastic poetry booked and hosted by Jacqui Rowe (Editor Flarestack Publishing) a group of us went to support Sarah James, who was one of the booked poets, I then found out you could book a floor spot and couldn’t resist sharing a couple of poems. It was a fantastic night and of course when I came home I found myself wide awake to begin with, it was about 1a.m when I rolled into bed, so I could have done with a bit of a lie in and my pink eyes tell that story!

I made a coffee, grabbed the 3 issues of my writing magazine that I am still attempting to find time to read and headed back off to bed to do my Admin.

3 hours later, I have emerged (still in PJs) but now online and upright. I had a diary full of writing tasks and now I have an A4 to do list in order and am about to hit the ground running with an edit and final re-write of the poems written especially for tonight’s 3rd Anniversary of Drummonds 42. The theme is Zombies and although I don’t do horror, I have enjoyed attending 42 each month since Halloween and sharing the darker thoughts of my mind which would never be shared in public without events like this. Tonight though – it is special (I feel I should be baking cakes, but I am definitely far too busy writing to do that or clean the kitchen (Mr G)…) in honour of the anniversary I am using the theme and have managed to write 2 post apocalyptic zombie poems… I enjoyed the challenge.

My writing diary, which has been littered with weekly post-it notes has now got extra pages paper-notestaped in and is looking fairly full until the summer. I have 8 writing tasks today – I think that is OVER AMBITIOUS to say in the least especially as I have to make it to the library before closing to collect my Art Network Poetry Display (which came down last week) and then get out to the 42 Gig…

My 1st writing task before editing the Zombie poems is to write a short Bio – for the Born Free Anthology – I struggle with these as I never know what to put and can feel my ego smugly pushing me out the way to get to the keyboard. Elaine needs it a.s.a.p so I promised her it would be my 1st online job of the day.

Better get some work done now then, the sun is shining – I am happy, have my 2nd coffee of the day – had I been working I would still be without a break and over 3 hours in! Bliss. I cannot wait for the flat sale to go through so I can afford at least a few of these writing days a month.

inkspill notebook