Tag Archives: Poetry for Lunch

The First Day of 18


I have broken up from work for the Easter break and am looking forward to 18 glorious days in my writing skin. partytime

There is already a lot of news to share.

Firstly, Mouth & Music which was a fabulous night that I am still on a high from, sent exciting news today.

Slap Magazine slap magazine (supporting local arts and performers) want to publish the photo Mary Davis took of Tim and I performing and much as it makes me want to get an instant body wrap, attach myself to a zumba DVD and pray for instant weight loss, I am still stoked with this news.

Secondly, I attended my first meeting tonight as an Assistant Writer for WWM Writing West Midlands. It was a buzzing atmosphere and great to be in a room with so many writers, many of whom I have already met; William Gallagher, Stephen, Roz Goddard, Hayley Frances, Ian MacLeod, Brenda-Read Brown, & Garrie Fletcher.

My writing diary is packed and my ideas file grew this evening.

1) Write the 14 lost missing NaPoWriMo poems (file issues last Sunday)

2) Write the new 52 prompt poems and catch up on a few gaps I have

3) Write a poem for our WWM Creative Writing group tomorrow – requested by Ian MacLeod

4) email Jonathan/ Hayley/

5) Catch up with Camp NaNoWriMo – some major words lost already (non- existent) camp_11_postcard1_detail It is ironic that this year (my 3rd camp) I FINALLY get an active cabin and I am not there to see it.

6) Write Strong Women poems and as a result decide whether to do Najma Hush’s exhibition opening.female force I really want to go to this event but am due in a city more than 45 miles away at lunchtime. I would love to be able to stay until 1:30 when it finishes. I am in two minds, I have mentally checked all possible solutions.  Train, buses etc, need to check them properly tomorrow (later on today) but if I do go I will only have an hour there before I have to whizz back for my meeting.


I have a whole selection box of Spoken Word events over the next week too;

This evening – Poetry and Place – Ledbury Poetry Festival, to see poetryandplace


poetry and place It is the first of three events which see Ledbury Poetry Festival linking up with Worcester Literature Festival (WLF) with performance events at The Hive. I am involved in performing at Poetry and Pollination in May, organised by Ruth Stacey and headlined by Ruth and Sarah Leavesley (who have both performed at Ledbury in the past) – very much looking forward to this event. Tonight will also give me a chance to catch up with some poetry friends.

I have submissions to work on, including poems, on Thursday I have Poetry for Lunch (booked for the next 3), followed by the special ticket holders Hit the Ode and then on Friday I will be performing at The Ort – the first ‘Friday night’ one. On Saturday I hope to attend a camp Nano meet / write in, followed by a writing group run by Apples & Snakes, Poet’s Place. They started the most recent group meetings in January and I have been unable to attend any yet.


My Poetry Day Thursday 20th February


Today started with Poetry for Lunch, the wonderful lunchtime feast of words, organised by Jan Watts every week. I was at the first few, including the launch on January 9th and now I have to work Thursdays and can only make the school holiday dates… so my next Poetry For Lunch won’t be until Easter – at least it may have stopped raining by then! lit7

Today was ‘suitable for children’ as we hoped lots would be around the library – I took public transport into the city and wrote my poem on the way in!

A lovely children’s poem about Baby Owls.

It was sunny all morning and still blue skies as I walked to the library in my winter coat…. no sooner had I got ready to perform than the heavens opened and I had to put my coat back on – I was worried about my hair going frizzy before the evening performance.

It was lovely to see Jan again and I had fun, even though there was only time to perform one poem this week.

William Gallagher has also been trying to make one of these performances and today he had a meeting at the library and was able to stay and watch the performances. great to speak to him after and catch up briefly.

imagesCA11997Y I was then lucky enough to spend the entire afternoon with new(ish) poetry friends. I feel a little bad, as I was mostly a bag of nerves (as I had attempted to learn my poems off by heart and was thinking about the performance, not drinking, attached to the time, fanatical about checking the time, panicking about being late etc. etc.)

It was good to sit and chat – so often all that is confined to the interval!

This evening I took the biggest leap in performance terms and learnt a lot at my first ever Hit the Ode event! hit 1

My attempt to perform from memory went wrong and the words I had practised and managed for the past 24 hours, fell out of my head, flustered I came off stage to grab my paper and read the poems…. I completely messed up, I was mortified and have never felt so bad about a performance, not since I was a child… but I was able to save the set – and got positive feedback on the poems and my recovery.

Fortunately (for me) it is no longer the vogue to perform from heart and many headline acts still read – or at least have the text in front of them somewhere to use. I knew I should have used my hands as prompts… a few ink reminders.

It was also lovely to see Julie Boden again and meet Ann Porro and Paula Varjack, they each lit up the night with fabulous headline sets!

I bought Ann Porro’s book, with free doggy! Mingled and chatted after the great night and then headed home – or to the bus stop at least – having bought my return ticket.

I had 15 minutes, I got to the stop – double checked timetable I had already checked earlier and there in the FAINTEST print it had a little 1 and the footnote FRIDAY only *(in reference to the last bus home 11:20pm which I guess has been cut because there is never anyone on it until the weekend!)

I had to run to the train station and make a snap decision on the platform – the train went to 2 different stations near (a taxi) home…. I chose the 1st one, thinking there was more likelihood of taxis or a rank. There were neither. I walked to a local hotel and asked them to phone me a taxi – by now the battery in my phone is dead – because I have also spent some time on the phone with estate agents and they may have sold my house. (A week after we went in and kicked up a fuss, funnily enough!)

The taxi was called – someone else jumped into it – the firm was called again – eventually half an hour after we called – the place I was is small enough to drive end to end in 10 minutes my taxi appeared, then I was charged more than the suggested fee as it was after midnight – I wanted to argue against this but I was too tired and just wanted to get in at the time! And it wasn’t a massive amount compared to the total expense of the day – it is NOT cheaper than driving and parking and tomorrow’s gig I will be driving to. Tomorrow is actually later on today and I still have to write the poems for the event!

Lessons I learnt today; imagesCAH8TZHF
1) Drive to ALL gigs
2) Read my poetry – I am not yet ready to perform from heart
3) DON’T tell taxi drivers you have had a drink they will charge more!!
4) I am overweight but when a wonderful poet performs a set about Nutella – I will inevitably end up eating it on toast
5) Nutella is a bit messy for typing!
6) Read …the small print on bus timetables that state in a tiny faded 1 – only on Fridays!
7) Buy single tickets – the likelihood is you will not return (at least not the same way)
8) I need help!
9) The journey is part of the adventure…
10) That none of the above matters when you have had a fantastic day out with great people! inkspill gal at desk

Desk Day – Writing Poetry, Learning Poems and Calming Butterflies!


I have spent time today learning my set for tomorrow night. No new material being written for my first set at Hit The Ode, but all of it to be performed by heart. Watching the YouTube videos I see a range of styles and some people taking printed word onto the stage (as is the norm for most spoken word/ open mic nights) – they are all poems I have performed before in Cheltenham and Worcester. I have in the past 5 months of performing attempted different material at each event, aware that the poetry world is a small one and the audience is often shared.

However, if I am going to hone and polish my performance this would be a very tall order every time. Besides I have come to realise that some people like to hear material being repeated.

I have learnt half my set, the other half I am a little shaky on – sounds impressive in a morning – but it is only 3 poems long!

I am spending a lot of time addressing the butterflies in my tummy and working through household chores by way of avoiding the reality of my day before the big one.

Hit the Ode is a major event, international acts are booked each month and Julie Boden is one of the big names on stage tomorrow. Which is great because she inspires me, but I also know she is watching…. it was her night in Leamington, last October when I picked up the mic again after 15 years away from spoken word events. 17 weeks later she will hear how I have been getting on as well as tales of unconditional commitment, cakes and the Tube!

In addition to all this preparation, I am also attempting to write new material for the Poetry for Lunch event which (being half term) need to be child friendly or child centred!

I am leaving Friday poetry until Friday – a little risky but Najma now has 15 performers so we only get a 5 minute slot, that’s 2 poems possibly 3 and I already have The Fourth Wall to perform.

hit 1 Hit the Ode is a night many ‘proper poets’ (published, successful, no ‘day job’ poets) have been loudly encouraging me to go and do! I am hoping that the audience is a kind one and that I have prepared a wide enough range of poems to suit the tastes of many….




Hit the Ode brings the most exciting poets from the region, the country and the world to the heart of Birmingham. Join us! We have poems. Poems which vibrate when they have a message for you. Poems with cheese and gravy. Poems which may be slightly uncomfortable, but make you look great. Good poems. Come and get them!
Featuring Julie Boden.
A former teacher, and Creative Advisor, Julie Boden has for the last ten years worked full time as a poet. She is Midlands based and travels nationally and internationally delivering workshops, conducting readings, performing, lecturing and judging poetry competitions. Julie is a Birmingham Poet Laureate (2002-2003), Director of Poetry Central, Poet in Residence at Symphony Hall, a Director of Warwick Words festival.
Based in the Midlands, Julie travels nationally and internationally delivering workshops, conducting readings, performing, lecturing, mentoring and judging poetry competitions.
Ann Porro
Ann Porro writes deadly serious comic poetry, blues monologues and oblique observations on the outlandish nature of ordinary existence. She is Tyneside Cinema’s Open Slam Champion 2011, SLAMalgamate 2014 winner, and regularly performs at venues all over the North-East. Her first collection, ‘Letter From an Unknown Dog’, was released by Zebra Publishing in May 2013. “From the real to the surreal in the turn of a page!” Live Theatre Newcastle “Her poetry, like the public performances of her work is energising, sometimes humorous and always entertaining.” Jeff Price, Editor, Zebra Publishing
Paula Varjack
With her Berlin postcode, Ghanaian mother, British Father and dual nationality (British/American), it’s probably easiest to say Paula is from a lot of places, but particularly London, Washington Dc and Berlin. Trained as a filmmaker in London, she ran away from her career in television, to pursue documentary filmmaking in Berlin. Within months she emerged as a performance poet (she’s not quite sure how it happened either) She is as likely to perform at a gallery or cabaret night, as at a poetry slam. 

and… me! 🙂



‘Poetry For Lunch’ – With Charlie Jordan


16th January 2014

I had to cancel this event originally as I found myself double booked with work. I was getting up when the agency rang to cancel the job. At first I felt a little miffed, there is no cancellation fee… then I remembered it was Poetry For Lunch #3 and contacted Charlie. Delighted she could squeeze me back in to a very full line up, I headed into the city.


lib Keri yearwood 1

It was bitterly cold, I have several layers on under the coat, so we gathered in the Beat-box and took it in turns to run out and give the city some words to munch on.

Another enjoyable event, they will be great in the summer! A great thing about Jan Watt’s new venture is the number of different poets it is attracting. The line-up varies week by week and makes me wish I worked near the library so I could soak up this pleasant half hour feast each week!

This week saw; Myself, James Walpole, Mike Alma, Elisabeth Charis, Maggie Doyle – Worcester’s Emeritus, Elaine Christie and at least 5 others!




First Gig of the Year


1 jan The first gig of the year was amazing – I think lunch time adrenalin is even more powerful than after evening performances!

Today was the launch of Jan Watt’s new project POETRY FOR LUNCH 1birm9set in the city of Birmingham in the Amphitheatre in front of the new library – a great space with amazing theatrical acoustics.

I wasn’t expecting a PA system but Lozz hooked us up with a wireless mic – great for performing! We had a small audience in the amphitheatre with us and then passers by on street level – crowds formed at various points and listened to us, there were people in the secret garden (up in the Gods as Jan said) and they could hear us too!


It is a great idea and Jan is running these events weekly every Thursday for half an hour from 1pm if you are around. There are varied groups of performers taking part – so if you are out for lunch you can get to hear some great poetry for FREE every Thursday!

It was great to perform alongside others and good to meet some new poets and hear new work. The poets were Jan Watts, myself, Lloyd Scarsbrook, Gary Carr, Kate Faulkner and Simon Grenville and we spent a good half hour tag teaming poems.

We had to share the space with a large Christmas Tree, xmas 1 tree Lloyd was the only one brave enough to make his way around it. Keri from the library filmed the event and took photos which I believe are destined for Twitter.


It was great fun and I look forward to the next one I am performing at, mid month.