Tag Archives: Poetry Lounge

Poetry Lounge in the Sitting Room -July 7th

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Nadia Kingsley & Keith Chandler at The Poetry Lounge in the Sitting Room with Jean Atkin, Ludlow – 7th July

Still catching up with blog posts for events in time past – so a couple of weeks ago (7th July) I went to Ludlow to see Nadia Kingsley and Keith Chandler headline at The Poetry Lounge – with Jean Atkin, in the new home – still in the Sitting Room – it was quite funny imagining the venue with legs trundling across town.

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A lovely new venue it is too and as we have the upstairs room we have less ambient noise to contend with than before. The Blue Boar was fairly easy to find, central and is a lovely pub.

blue boar© 2015 Shropshire Star

Nadia Kingsley was headlining back in January and sadly wasn’t well enough back then. She was on top form on Tuesday night though. I was invited to headline in her place, back in January (my first headline slot) with Bert Flitcroft, so I was doubly glad I managed to catch Nadia’s performance.

It was also great to discover Keith Chandler, I am almost certain I have come across him on this Poetry Odyssey at some point. I bought his pamphlet, ‘The Grandpa Years’, published by Fair Acre, a gorgeous little publication that Nadia said reminded her of the sort of pocket size books some granddad’s carry around with them. I had a brief conversation about Poetry with Keith and I was grateful because there were a lot of people who wanted to talk to him.

Bootie july I bought the latest copy of Robert Harper’s brilliant magazine BARE FICTION too.

It was a great night! Shropshire oozes talent and I hadn’t been able to get back up to see people for so long that on a social level alone it was a phenomenal night and the following evening Jean and I were both going to Ledbury Poetry Festival too. I always get that ‘Christmas Eve’ feeling when there are back to back events with the same poetry friends, almost like the pre- sleep-over excitement of a child. Guess I am still a child!

Here’s what Jean Atkin said about the Guest Poets;

We’re so pleased that Nadia Kingsley will be reading for us as a Guest Poet. Nadia has performed at Wenlock Poetry Festival in 2011, 2012, and 2014 – and is published in the anthologies of each of these years. Her poetry has been published in Orbis magazine, Poetry Cornwall, the environmental anthology We’re all in this together (Offa’s Press), and Ink, Sweat and Tears. She managed and wrote poems for the fabulous show ‘Expanding the Universe’ which has been touring the West Midlands this spring.

She’s won prizes for her flash fiction and short stories and her photography, textile art and brick sculpture have been exhibited in the Cotswolds, Birmingham, Brighton and London.

Nadia also runs the very successful Fair Acre Press.

© 2015 Jean Atkin

Nadia is a gem of the poetry world and I always enjoy hearing and reading her work. This set took us through the seasons and plants which play an important role at throughout the year. Segments from a bigger artistic collaboration she has been working on.

Our other Guest Poet for July will be Keith Chandler, who has many awards, accolades and publications to his name, not least being 4th in the National Poetry Competition a couple of years ago. His most recent book is the very well received ‘The Grandpa Years’ from Fair Acre Press. Keith is a very modest poet, so if you haven’t heard him, you’re really in for a treat. It’s fine work, brimming with humanity. And then there is that bone-dry, self-deprecating humour.

© 2015 Jean Atkin

It was a wonderful reading and there was not a person in the room really who couldn’t associate with the resonating emotion and family connections he explored in his pamphlet.

As always there was also abundant talent from the open mic slots shared by;

 graham rob

Graham Attenborough

Adrian Perks adrian rob

Gaia-Rose Harper Gaia-Rose Harper

Nina Lewis (me)me rob 

We managed to convince Jean Atkin to share one with us too.

jean robJean Atkin

Steve Harrisonsteve h rob

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Photography © 2015 Robert Harper

Steve Griffithsjean steve G

jean  Miriam Crane Obrey

Miriam Crane Obrey

Photography © 2015 Jean Atkin

Robert Harper Robert adrian

Photography © 2015 Adrian Perks

 plus a short slot for Helen Barratt, read by John Barratt,

jean audience keith rob

Keith Chandler Photography © 2015 Robert Harper Nadia Adrian Perks

Nadia Kingsley Photography © 2015 Adrian Perksnadia robert

Photography © 2015 Robert Harper

jean keith

Photography © 2015 Jean Atkin

jean Nadia

Photography © 2015 Jean Atkin

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A superb evening – and of course now I have time to look forward to the next one – where I will (once again) be seeing John Hegley – who I believe has transformed into some sort of bus – having not seen him for 18 years and then 3 times in 4 months!

First Gig of the Year – Guest Poet at The Poetry Lounge

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poetry lounge I booked a spot for The Poetry Lounge before Christmas and was looking forward to the first gig of the year, the Guest Poets were Bert Flitcroft and Nadia Kingsley, I enjoy reading and listening to both these poets.

Then the first miracle of 2015 happened! Jean Atkin asked me to Guest Poet as Nadia was ill (she is going to have her Guest Spot in a few months time, catch her in July), hope you feel better soon Nadia and thanks once again Jean for the opportunity.

This is my 2nd Guest Poet slot and I loved it. I wish I had rehearsed and prepared more but with work and tutoring had little time to extend my set with preparation.

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I think I chose a good selection of poems and entertained the crowd. It was lovely chatting to people and receiving positive and personal feedback on poems that had resonated with them.

It wasn’t easy to follow Gaia Harper, an incredibly talented young poet who should definitely run for Shropshire’s next Young Poet Laureate (16th January deadline, I think), she will have the best of luck in the future and is a name to watch out for. Her love of language and words was obvious and her delivery was confident and self assured – and I had to follow that with my books brimming with post-its!

I always enjoy these nights in Ludlow, the atmosphere is always soothing and friendly. It was great to see people again, all ready for a new year of Poetry.

Excellent open mic-ers; Steve Harrison, Gaia Harper, Robert Harper, Graham Attenborough, Steve Griffiths, Deborah Alma, Bethany Rivers and David Harley. I particularly enjoyed hearing Deborah sharing her own poetry with us. She is famous in her Emergency Poet role, and it’s well worth a visit for her special poetry treatments, she is an equally a brilliant writer and I felt privileged to hear her set.

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‘A wonderful, warm, funny, transporting Poetry Lounge in The Sitting Room. Thank you wonderful guest poets Nina Lewis (fantastic rant about her car tax Incident) and Bert Flitcroft – we kept recognising ourselves Bert  and great reads from all our open mic slots, with special mention for the astonishing Gaia Harper  who was just fab. Great to hear Deborah Alma read, she should do it more often… Thank you everyone!’

– Jean Atkin

Poetry Lounge in The Sitting Room

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Sometimes your mind is just in the right place, or the room has the perfect mix of people or the atmosphere is calm and pleasing… whatever it was last night – a combination of all three perhaps, Poetry Lounge was magic!

I was excited to hear the featured poets Angela France and Andrew Fusek Peters and was delighted they were both on the bill together. I also had a pre-booked open mic spot (although I changed my mind on the set I delivered once I got to the venue). I shared some of my Maya Angelou poems, as well as a political one and a natural world and Restless Bones poem, gave the anthology a plug too.

Jean Atkin hosted the event this evening on her own and Jean’s calm presence and knowing the order of readers helped evoke the atmosphere beyond friendly, into homely territory, it felt like a very special night to be a part of.

It was also lovely to see the Shropshire poets again. Definitely worth the drive – although I wish I felt more like Angela about night drives.

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I love learning about the real lives of poets, with the same awe as children discovering us teachers don’t live in our stock cupboards and that we have a mum and dad too! Touched by new knowledge I wanted to buy one of Andrew’s older publications, ‘May the Angels be With Us’, now out of print, it wasn’t one of the titles he had brought with him to sell, but he sold me the copy he had read from. I know that I could have bought a second hand copy cheaper, but I am all for supporting poets – as I hope to be in the book selling position in the future and would rather see the (small) profit, there was a made-up statistic on TV about only being 10 people in the world making a living from being a poet, I reckon there are a few more, not many though, every little helps.

I enjoyed a great evening of poetry and came home with a scribbled palm of ideas, I do usually pack my notebook for when ideas strike, as they often do listening to poetry. I hadn’t even got my own pen!

It was a great mix of people and work and as a big fan of both Angela and Andrew (can you tell – gush) it was bound to be a fantastic night.

Claire Leavey’s performance was as exceptional as the last one I saw, it was great catching up with her again. I was delighted to meet and discover the poetry of Ted Eames, listen to Steve Griffiths again, both of whom also had books on sale (oh, to be a millionaire…. said the poet)! Martha was a bonus, she had turned up with a book and a notebook of her paternal grandfather and her husband’s grandfather and poetry from the war. As Jean said it was incredible to hear their words 100 years later.

Andrew was so relaxed he performed from the sofa! He was using his photography in slides throughout his performance and didn’t want to stand in front of the images. What wonderful images they were too. He is currently absorbed by the natural world and is discovering new talents. I had no idea he had only been shooting for a year or so, (I just figured, as with myself and many Creatives, he had fingers in many artistic pies), I think this makes his work even more spectacular. He is also entered for a National Award and treated us to that image too.

I guess it comes from his training as a poet – he is incredibly capable of catching the exact moment – akin to choosing the specific word, rather than those that will do. Andrew drew an analogy between poetry verse and a single moment caught in a shot. It was such a touching set.

He peppered it with older poems from his former life writing for children and talked about his brother. The years he was talking about were right back at the beginning of my poetry odyssey, I don’t think I had stepped up to a mic back then, although I was published (and still in school).

Angela France was equally a pleasure to hear / watch again, I have bought her books at previous events already, but there is nothing to beat a poet reading their own poem. She told her story about Laurie Lee and I love that by chance meeting that she had. Being told stories and holding them in her head for years before she could get them down on paper, in a poem. It was lovely to see Angela again, she always inspires me, her writing is so tight, so perfectly fixed together, seamless. I look forward to reading her collections again. She ended with her wonderful poem about night driving and although I understand all the imagery and drove home thinking up her words, I sadly have to admit that the glaring headlights and sharp, fast bends of my own lane journey home, were not so welcomed by me.

I was very tired and trying to concentrate hard with a head full of poetry and ideas is hard work!

Angela france

Here is Jean Atkin summing up the evening;

Just back from a great night of poetry at The Poetry Lounge! Guest poets Angela France and Andrew Fusek Peters gave us great sets, with names for herons, 18th century women who gave birth to small furry souterkins, the pursuit of buzzards and reward of hares, and the benedictions of country lanes at night. Also great readings from our open mic slots – Steve Griffiths, Nina Lewis, Claire Leavey, Ted Eames and Martha, who read the poetry of her pacifist grandfather who wrote about WWI, 100 years ago.

9th Performance Event of the Month – The Poetry Lounge in The Sitting Room

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A great event, a good trek out to it plus an hours worth of de-touring and touring (the town centre) looking for the venue. If you live in Shropshire, well worth checking out! Deborah and Jean’s plan is to make it bi-monthly, although there are some Much Wenlock Literature Festival events happening soon too, in the same venue. The next Poetry Lounge in The Sitting Room.

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Great to listen to such a mix of poetic voices, we had 9 treats of a set to listen too. My set went well, despite a traumatic journey (where I forgot even the poems I had chosen!)

Deborah Alma and Jean Atkins, perfect hosts who both made me feel very welcome.

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