Tag Archives: Roy McFarlane

INKSPILL Guest Writer Roy McFarlane Workshop ‘Physical, tangible & unforgettable’

Standard

gw

Welcome back to another Roy McFarlane workshop, get your pens and hearts ready as we explore the ‘Physical, tangible & unforgettable’ – you can almost taste the poems you are about to write already!

If possible you will need a large sheet of paper (A3)

In this workshop Roy uses Stretch Marks from Her Birth by Rebecca Goss and his own poem The Map of your Leg

workshop-1

roy-smokestack-books

© 2011 Smokestack Books

Physical, tangible and unforgettable

Physical markers that connect us to those we’ve lost; the way we might look like an individual or the spitting image, the sayings and proverbs that we promised we would never repeat, the marks we wished we had that would remind of us them.

Stretch Marks from Her Birth by Rebecca Goss

My swims kept those scars at bay,

Two thousand lengths it took, to form

My mapless globe. No trace she was here,

Her travels around me refused to surface

As she divided between poles, lapped

That black belly ocean. Once born, meridian

Of my achievements, she went off course.

I followed her divergent route, but this was not

Her geography. I have wished for them,

A record of her tracks, all snowed over, gone.

Read an extract from Rebecca Goss of the journey for putting this poem together from poetry archive; ‘I did an awful lot of swimming through both my pregnancies to keep fit…and I didn’t get any stretch marks – but after Ella died, I really wished I had some stretch marks…physical branding to prove that I had her…’ please read the rest of this introduction.

roy-rebecca-goss-guardian

© Guardian

My poem The map of your leg begins with;

In hospital your legs are unusually dry

after a weekend lying in bed,

The scene is set for an intimate mother and son moment, where the son creams her mother’s legs and notice her scars, all with their different story to tell.

There’s a survey of marks across your legs

Mapping time and continents,

The basin of scar on your shin bone

That carries you back to the teenager

Daring to backchat your mother…

And the stories that are told, until we’re brought back to the present moment, especially the blemishes of darkness where the most important thing to be said is the most difficult thing to be said.

And you ask me

What have they done to me?

The chemotherapy? The radiation?

they’ve told me that these are the signs

of the cancer returning again.

I continue creaming your skin

But I can’t tell you yet.


writing

Exercise

The easiest way to do this, is to possibly draw the outline of a body on A3 paper and mark the scars on the body you remember, describe how they look, be inventive, and then tell the story.

Remember, think big, we’re looking at stretch marks, scars, beauty marks, (lets stretch this further), have a look at parts of the body as in Elaine Feinstein Hands, or the lack of certain body parts go for it make it unforgettable.

Hands by Elaine Feinstein can be read here

 

RELATED LINKS:

Her Birth is available to buy and is currently on offer (10%) discount. Her Birth Carcanet

roy-rg

Listen to the poem here http://www.poetryarchive.org/poet/rebecca-goss

https://rebeccagoss.wordpress.com/

 

INKSPILL: Guest Writer Workshop Roy McFarlane ‘Writing their presence…’

Standard

gw

Are you ready for more from Roy McFarlane? Today we will be sharing the remaining Workshops he has generously prepared for us. In this workshop Roy uses ‘Hands’ a poem by Elaine Feinstein from ‘Talking to the Dead’.

roy-smokestack-books

© 2011 Smokestack Books

workshop-1

Writing their presence rather than the grief of loss

Talking to the Dead opens with a death in winter, and closes with a grandchild ‘as tender as blossom’. In poems which are moving but never dispiriting, Elaine Feinstein evokes her husband as he was – now affectionate, now querulous. It is his presence, rather than the grief of loss, which is the centre of the book. The next bit I love the truth of poetry, their willingness to be naked; theirs was not an easy relationship. Feinstein registers the difference between them, the ambivalence of a long marriage, and the intimacy of their last month together, this is what you’re going to do but we’ll read a few extracts before we start writing.

roy-talking-to-the-dead

Hands

We first recognized each other as if we were siblings,

And when we held hands your touch

Made me stupidly happy.

Hold my hand, you said in hospital.

You had big hands, strong hands, gentle

As those of a Mediterranean father

Caressing the head of a child.

Hold my hand, you said. I feel

I won’t die while you are here.

You took my hand on our first aeroplane

And in opera houses, or watching

A video you wanted me to share.

Hold my hand, you said. I’ll fall asleep

And won’t even know you’re not there.

roy-feinstein-alma-books

© Alma Books

writing

Exercise

This is where you go crazy, write down, quirks, infuriating actions, sayings, proverbs, habits, things that you pissed you off (be careful), things you loved, something they said that takes you back to a moment, or something said that has echoed over time or generations. Go for it, spend (15mins) just writing as many things as you can.

Ok, step back and see if you can find a refrain, an outstanding statement or action to repeat and build a poem. Here’s something extra see if you can find two strong lines and try to create a villanelle, I suggest the two lines that you’re using should be different, maybe opposites, or complimentary to each other, like;

Do not go gentle into that good night

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

The greatest villanelle of all is by Dylan Thomas.


 

 

typewriter-1227357_1280

For those who need it find out how to write a villanelle here.

http://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-Villanelle

 

 

RELATED LINKS:

http://www.elainefeinstein.com/

Talking to the Dead is available to buy here

Read the full poem – a preview page showing ‘Hands’ can be read here Roy used the full poem in this post, other poems are available to read in this book preview, should you wish for more from Elaine Feinstein.

 

INKSPILL: Guest Writer Roy McFarlane Workshop ‘Letters, Phone calls and Texting’

Standard

gw

Following on from the earlier workshop ‘Objects to hang our words on’, Roy takes us deeper into exercises and writing in the next session ‘Letters, Phone Calls and Texting’.

This workshop focuses on poetry from Pascale Petit and Roy McFarlane. You are invited to extend on your earlier writing. So take a deep breath and dive in.


workshop-1

Letters, phone calls and texting

Arrival of the Electric Eel from Fauverie by Pascale Petit

Each time I open it I feel like a Matses girl

handed a parcel at the end of her seclusion,

my face pierced by jaguar whiskers

to make me brave.

I know what’s inside – that I must

unwrap the envelope of leaves

until all that’s left

squirming in my hands

is an electric eel.

The positive head, the negative tail,

the rows of batteries under the skin,

the smell, almost blind eyes,

The day turns murky again,

I’m wading through the bottom of my life

when my father’s letter arrives. And keeps on arriving.

The charged fibres of paper

against my shaking fingers,

the thin electroplates of ink.

The messenger drags me up to the surface

to gulp air then flicks its anal fin.

Never before has a letter been so heavy,

growing to two metres in my room,

the address, the phone number, then the numbness

I know you must be surprised, it says,

but I will die soon and want to make contact.

Pascale captures the dread of opening a correspondence, there’s that association with an indigenous girl from the Amazon, a brave Matses girl, the knowledge of knowing and then we have the electric eel. The letter is alive; charged fibres of paper, thin electroplates of ink. Now feel the weight of the letter watch it grow two metres and then the last two lines leave us in turmoil.

The next one is Leaves are falling from my collection Beginning with your last breath. Autumn plays a big part here, the way I guess things slow down when you hear bad news, like leaves falling but for me a storm is coming and you pray that the weather forecasters have got it wrong.

I didn’t notice the leaves falling

the day they told me it would be

weeks more than months.

The rest of their words

fell softly on deaf ground.

I remembered in the morning

they had forecast an oncoming storm,

the tail end of a hurricane

from the Caribbean seas.

What do they know?

They never get things right,

it will never ever reach here.


writing

Exercise

Take yourself back to the moment you received news about a terminal illness, the passing away of a loved one, somebody moving on or a message via letter, email, friends, or searching through your beloved belongings and you find a message addressed to you. Hold that moment, imagine the feeling, numb, shock, surprised, scared, angry, start writing those feelings, just the feelings, get a thesaurus and explore the feelings, look at its root meaning, the etymology of the word you’re playing with. (15 mins writing) Now think of an animal, weather, or nature inhabit their essence, their very being, imagine every nuance you can think of, don’t link the two together yet, just keep writing (15 mins) Now you should have two A4 writing of notes, (I’m joking, a few lines are just as good). Now put the two together, hopefully you’ve been bursting to correlate the two things to make your poem.

 

 

RELATED LINKS:

Beginning with your last Breath by Roy McFarlane – buy a copy here

http://ninearchespress.com/publications/poetry-collections/beginning%20with%20your%20last%20breath.html

Fauverie by Pascale Petit – buy a copy here

https://www.serenbooks.com/productdisplay/fauverie

http://www.pascalepetit.co.uk/

INKSPILL: Workshop with Roy McFarlane ‘Objects to hang our words on’

Standard

gw

Objects to hang our words on – Roy McFarlane

There are no fast rules, the only rule is to write, write it your way the best way that you can. I only ask that you write the truth, bare as much of you as you can on the page – beinroy-3g true to yourself. There’s going to be tears, but I hope and pray that there’ll be smiles and laughter.

… be imaginative and throw the net out and let’s see what we catch.

workshop-1

In this workshop Roy uses the poetry of;

Gregory Leadbetter

roy-gregory-leadbetter-nine-arches

© 2016 Nine Arches

Hannah Lowe

roy-hannah-lowe-bloodaxe-books

© Bloodaxe

Ruby Robinson

roy-ruby-robinson-poetry-out-loud

© Poetry Out Loud

 

roy-cad-guardian

© 2016

Carol Ann Duffy.

Details on buying copies of the cited publications can be found in RELATED LINKS at the end of the workshop post.

ENJOY!


Objects to hang our words on – Roy McFarlane Workshop

 

 

My Father’s Orrery from The Fetch by Gregory Leadbetter touches on an object that ties father and son together;

My Father’s Orrery

Is without end.

What a beautiful beginning, the title and straight into the poem is without end, the memories of our loved ones, their name goes on; but there’s a warning

The solar system on the fireplace

spins only one planet around it’s sun –

Mercury, as if now the limit

of what we know, hints at the missing

planets to come: the ache in the equation

their absence makes,

Something’s not right, an incompleteness, and the line the ache in the equation their absence makes. No mention of death but we’re feeling the oncoming pain. A poem about an unfinished orrery draws a picture of the man, the relationship between the father and the poet.

And what an ending about this mathematician, astrologist who has probably taught his son about the universe;

With the planet in his hands, he felt

the weight of his loss, knew he had forgotten

how to put the universe together.

Not only a reference to his father’s dementia but an echo of the weight of loss and the falling apart of the universe when we lose our loved ones. Read the whole of My Father’s Orrey and the book.

roy-the-fetch

© 2016 Nine Arches Press

 

Hook your poems around the idea of an action, cooking, fishing, knitting, game of chess, let’s have a look at A Man Can Cook from Chick by Hannah Lowe.

You at the stove, the air spiced up with ginger,

nutmeg, clove. I know you won’t turn round

but I can stand here can’t I watch the fire

flaring blue below your pans, your hands

cajoling dumpling, knifing up red snapper,

crushing star anise? You can’t turn around,

too busy with your strange colonial mixtures,

mango roly poly, cocoa bread.

My aunty said ‘Now there’s a man can cook!

I should have let you teach me, long before

you couldn’t eat, before they sliced a moon

of flesh away from you. Now you’re blurred

by steam. These smells will linger in my hair.

I leave you here then, humming as you stir.

roy-chick-hannah-lowe

© 2013 Bloodaxe

 

Or maybe a memorable day throwing Frisbees, a ride at an amusement park, or cornflake cake, as you’ll see in My Mother from Every Little Sound by Ruby Robinson

She said the cornflake cake made her day,

she said a man cannot be blamed for being

unfaithful: his heart is not in tune with his

extremities and it’s just the way his body

chemistry is. She said all sorts of things.

And here begins a conversation starting with a cornflake cake as an item that means so much for this memorable day. Loss can be so many things; in this poem similar to other poems within this collection, the poet is looking at the loss of her mother to mental health or the wider implication of being caught up in the system.

In the park, stopped for a cup of tea in a café

where we had the cornflake cake cut into halves

with the handle of a plastic fork. We saw yellow

crocuses growing a ring around a naked tree

These are the memories, the conversation that are universal as well as being personal, giving us minute details, speaking so many things between the line, memorable unforgettable, poems need to be unforgettable to the poet as well as the reader. She tells us more about their day and ends.

She said she’d been talking to Jesus and God

because she didn’t want to go to hell, although,

she said, correctly, we’ve been through hell

already, haven’t we. She said a woman should

know her place, should wait. She lit a cigarette.

roy-every-little-sound-liverpool-uni-press

© 2016 Liverpool University Press

 

And finally Cold from The Bees by Carol Ann Duffy

It felt so cold, the snowball which wept in my hands,

and when I rolled it along in the snow, it grew

till I could sit on it, looking back at home

Snowball weeping in my hands sets us up for what is to come, the cold and snow becomes the vehicle to transport us from good times to bad times, so we’re back at home. Windows blind with ice, breath undressing itself on the air, Carol’s having fun with beautiful descriptions. Have fun with, don’t settle for the old clichés, sit for a while and find something fresh and different. Carol’s feeling cold my toes, burning, cold in my winter boots and she switches to her mother, her hands were cold from peeling and finishing with such beauty.

her daughter’s face, a kiss for both cold cheeks, my cold nose.

But nothing so cold as the February night I opened the door

in the Chapel of Rest where my mother lay, neither young, nor old,

where my lips, returning her kiss to her brow, knew the meaning of cold.

roy-the-bees-gutter

© 2011 Gutter Magazine


writing

Exercise

 

Like a snowball weeping, a cup holding grief, a bible with gold-edged leaves whispering, and I know you’re already thinking of an object that means so much to you and your loved one, but let’s just begin with stretching this object, imbuing it with life, let this object be the vehicle that draws us into your narrative, and then run with it.

typewriter-671413_1280

 

 

 


RELATED LINKS

The Fetch – Gregory Leadbetter (which was launched at Waterstones last week as part of Birmingham Literature Festival) is available here http://ninearchespress.com/publications/poetry-collections/the%20fetch.html

http://gregoryleadbetter.blogspot.co.uk/

Chick Hannah Lowe available here http://www.bloodaxebooks.com/ecs/product/chick-1055

https://hannahlowe.org/

Every Little Sound Ruby Robinson available here http://liverpooluniversitypress.co.uk/products/73653

The Bees Carol Ann Duffy available here https://www.panmacmillan.com/authors/carol-ann-duffy/the-bees

 

INKSPILL – Introducing Roy McFarlane

Standard

inkspill-2016-share-button

roy-launch

Photograph: Roy’s Book Launch – Beginning with your last breath Published by Nine Arches Press 2016

gw

Roy McFarlane is one of our three Guest Writers. He has worked really hard on producing a workshop programme for INKSPILL 2016, we are grateful for all his time and effort. We are also happy that through the process of writing for us, we have inspired Roy to create his own series of writing posts which he will be releasing at the end of 2016/2017. We will keep our followers posted on those, so if you haven’t already, please follow the blog. One click, done – easy!


Roy McFarlane can be found online here http://roymcfarlane.com/

Roy was born in Birmingham and now living in the Black Country. He has held the role of Birmingham Poet Laureate and Starbuck Poet in Residence.
His writing has appeared in magazines, Under the Radar, The Reader, The Cannon’s Mouth and The Undertow Review. His poems have been included in anthologies, Out of Bounds (Bloodaxe 2012) and he’s the co-editor and writer for Celebrate Wha? (Smokestack 2011).

roy-m-celebrate

He’s presently performer in residence for Warwickshire Poetry Voices and his debut collection Beginning with your last breath is published by Nine Arches Press.

About

Roy has several years’ experience within the world of poetry; crossing over and collaborating with the world of theatre, working along with musicians and dancers, running workshops, projects and training in many different settings, giving young people and adults the knowledge and skills to be the poets and performers of today and tomorrow.

Roy has developed Mentoring/ Arts scheme helping young people to be inspired, to promote confidence and give opportunities for qualifications and future employment. Roy has also developed numerous arts and education packages and tailored workshops to be used in schools, communities and events.

roy-beg-last-breath

Writing

I remember being introduced to Langston Hughes The Negro Speaks of Rivers which blew my mind, inspired me to write words that spoke of my world, my journey, my being but more importantly the profound possibilities of sculpturing or painting with words.

I’m constantly in conversation with any format of art, past and present. Art which proposes a truth through what is seen and what is lived; often leading to truths that reflect on the micro and macro aspects of the world around us.
I write for the joy and love of it, the spark that troubles you in the midnight hour, the thought that follows you in a dream, the ache that wakes you up, the inspiration that makes you write on the margins of a newspaper; it’s all part of the reason for writing poetry.

© 2016 roymcfarlane.com


RELATED LINKS:

2009 – Roy McFarlane BBC Interview

Roy McFarlane talks performance poetry Arts & Culture Performance Poetry

http://ninearchespress.com/publications/poetry-collections/beginning%20with%20your%20last%20breath.html

INKSPILL 2016 Guest Writers

Standard

inkspill-2016-share-button

We are delighted to announce our Guest Writers for this year’s online writing retreat, INKSPILL. We are now in the 4th year and cannot wait to bring you an action packed programme this weekend.

This year our Guest Writers are all poets, the INKSPILL programme (as in previous years) will cover a range of genres.

gw

Guest Writers:

This year we are joined by three incredible writers they are:

Robert Harper

Robert Harper is the founding editor of Bare Fiction Magazine and artistic director of Bare Fiction Theatre Company. Robert is a poet and runs the Shrewsbury Poetry Stanza.

Gaia-Rose Harper

Gaia-Rose Harper was shortlisted for the Shropshire Young Poet Laureate in 2015, and in October 2015 was named one of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year.

Roy McFarlane

Roy McFarlane is a former Birmingham Poet Laureate. Roy’s debut collection ‘Beginning With Your Last Breath’ is published by Nine Arches Press.


 

 

INKSPILL is a non-profit venture, so we are hugely grateful to Robert, Gaia and Roy who have all given their time freely to Guest this year.

thank-you-1606941_1280

Beginning With Your Last Breath By Roy McFarlane

Standard

BOOK LAUNCH Wednesday 14th September

Beginning With Your Last Breath

By Roy McFarlane

PUBLISHED: Nine Arches Press

roy-beg-last-breath

Roy McFarlane is a gentle man of poetry. He is really supportive of work other people are doing and loves to collaborate. This year has been a busy one for him. He is currently the Poet in Residence at Shakespeare’s Birthplace and has just released his debut collection with Nine Arches Press, ‘Beginning With Your Last Breath’. I was fortunate enough to be at his book launch in Wolverhampton Arena Theatre last Wednesday *thanks to Kathy Gee for the lift.

roy-3 Richard O’Brien © 2016

It was an amazing night, that filled me with inspiring thoughts. I often scribble away at events, comfortable in the fact that people think I am making notes for the blog. I filled 6 post-it notes, which doesn’t sound a lot, but as I was attempting to be 100% present in the moment – is quite a lot.

Roy filled the evening with so many talented friends and collaborators, all neatly hosted by Chester Morrison. It was a pleasure to be there and feel part of the magic in the room.

Reis Taylor Dixon started events, an exceptional Pianist and composer. Denzil Fletcher has kindly granted permission for us to use the video, unfortunately WordPress have changed video policy and I need to upgrade to include it. Here is a link to the video on Roy’s social media, scroll down to find it.

Reis Taylor Dixon

Reis was joined on stage by Phil Simpson Poet. Later on we watched Steve Tromans Pianist & composer & Lydia Gianville Percussionist have a total blast accompanying Roy’s poetry and discussing the finer points, which was a real treat. Serena Arthur, Birmingham Young Poet Laureate (who will have to hang up her hat next Month, which is well timed as she is off to study at Oxford University), gave us a confident performance and wowed everyone who hadn’t had the pleasure of seeing her before and those of us who had.

roy-launch Richard O’Brien © 2016

The beautiful evening of Jazz and Poetry was topped by Roy performing a set from his collection, accompanied by a soundtrack. This was not just poetry, this was theatre.

This book comes from a deep place and some of the poetry is still raw for Roy, despite this he was brave enough to perform one of those pieces for us. Connections were made.

As if all this wasn’t enough… we even saw Roy dance!

I have yet to find the space to sit and read the collection, but I would recommend it without hesitation.

BUY YOUR COPY

This debut collection of poems by former Birmingham Poet Laureate Roy McFarlane explores love, loss, adoption and identity in powerful, precise and emotionally-charged poetry. From bereavement comes forth a life story in poems; the journey of sons, friends, lovers and parents, and all the moments of growing-up, discovery, falling in and out of love and learning to say goodbye that come along the way.

Themes of place, music, history, and race interweave personal narratives, with poems that touch on everything from the ‘Tebbitt Test’ and Marvin Gaye to the Black Country, that ‘place just off the M6’. Distinct and memorable, McFarlane’s poems are beautifully crafted, intricately focused, moving their readers between both the spiritual and the sensual worlds with graceful, rapturous hymns to the transformative power of love.

 Nine Arches Press © 2016

Praise for Beginning With Your Last Breath

There’s something I need to tell you, says a voice in the first poem of Roy McFarlane’s Beginning with Your Last Breath, which opens with a deeply personal and moving account of the discovery of an adoption. But the need to tell resounds throughout this collection – moving through lost love and friendships, the politics of place, race and culture and the salvatory power of music. The writing is always evocative, with a great care for the detail. These are poems of great power.’ – Hannah Lowe

‘So many of these poems have a novelistic power to hold the reader through their tense interior domains. This is a riveting poetry about loss and recovery, about pride, about boxing, basketball, Norman Tebbit and sex, though not all at once. I love the tight yet welcoming lines of each poem and McFarlane’s ability to concentrate the image, my best was perhaps the reference to ‘a stomach filled with cage birds’. Disturbing yet uplifting verse!’ – Daljit Nagra

 Nine Arches Press © 2016

 

RELATED LINKS:
http://roymcfarlane.com/

 

Poets by the Lake

Standard

Last year David Calcutt was resident poet of Caldmore Community Garden, this year he is taking the Visitor Centre at Walsall’s Arboretum to a new level. Back in the summer, during Jimmie Rennie’s Walsall Festival workshop, David mentioned this idea during a conversation about how great the space is.

caldmore david-portrait-1

I was hoping to make his first event in December, but – well we know what the end of 2015 was like…

The first event was an open mic, the following month it is Poets by the Lake -pre-booked events and there will be some workshops too. I know the first one of these will happen on the 13th February, which is Mr G’s birthday, so I can’t make that either. swans

This is another reason I hoped to make the 16th January, but I had a very low energy day and I wasn’t convinced driving on motorways was a good idea. I was kindly given a lift by Mike Alma and we had an enjoyable evening of poetry and music. I saw lots of poetry friends there from Staffordshire and the Black Country.

Roy Mcfarlane, Bert Flitcroft (Staffordshire’s Poet Laureate) and Sarah James performed sets of poetry and the ‘Flaky Tarts’ a three piece played and sang and even made us sing! The atmosphere in the café was vibrant, we got to hear some poems from Roy’s new collection too, which will be published by Nine Arches Press later this year.

 

walsall lake

Happy NATIONAL POETRY DAY!

Standard

Nothing beats the excitement of penning (typing) a blog post whilst still high on adrenaline from the day’s events!

I know I said I would reduce blogging to weekly round ups this October until INKSPILL – Our FREE ONLINE writing retreat, but today is National Poetry Day and what kind of ambassador for poetry would I be if I let that one slip without posting?

Writing diary My gorgeous poetry diary.

What a crazy day…. I woke up to my 9:30 alarm (needed an ill me lie in) then fell asleep and promptly woke myself up with phone-in-the-face… good job too as I had left myself just short of a couple of hours to prepare for my first event.

As always (there is an organised woman in me trying desperately to get out), I planned to pack a bag and sort my costume before I went to bed. My chest infection resulted in an earlier evening than planned and me visualising costume possibilities instead of counting sheep. To be fair I had plenty of time this morning and was ready and out the door on time, my delay came when I hit Digbeth at lunch time and found all car parks full, all road spaces in use and many drivers who decided not to give way when the highway code would advise it… a couple of car sandwiches later I just pulled into The Bond and hoped.

Parked right outside the venue but in my post-nearly-had-my-car-written-off flap, discovered I hadn’t actually listened and headed back to reception.

I wasn’t late as I had planned to be over an hour early – I wasn’t over an hour though and poor Dan, who only met me today was greeted by a slightly deranged, manic lady talking about poetry and parking. He recognised the signs and I got costume ready and into character before sorting out the details of the OPENING EVENT – the buffet arrived, I think the caterer had probably struggled through tight lane traffic too, she presumed I was Rachel (Rachel Green – Programme director), I pointed Dan out to her and went on preparing a set of poems.

 

THE OPENING EVENT – ‘Meets, Greets, Eats and Poetry Beats’

I had originally decided to just do two, poignant to the event – but I was glad I reserved more because I ended up doing the whole show! One of the poet’s was there but in another venue, the wrong place, the other poets were on the Poetry Trail, which was the first event on the programme today – so it was just me – the ‘Poetry Princess’, the programme of events and my poetry book!

Feedback was all positive – people wouldn’t have known any different – my acting skills covering more than the cloaked character on stage! The buffet was a beautiful vegetarian feast and the pasta bake was delicious.

If I am free on a Thursday I can be found at the Library doing Poetry For Lunch – but today the offer of hosting the opening event for Poetry, Performance and Everything Else Festival was too tempting. As it was National Poetry Day Jan Watt’s Poetry for Lunch was on for a whole hour (it is usually a half hour extraganza) – she had a good turn out, it meant Jan and Andrea missed out on the delight that was the Poetry Princess and her extended B side Performance, because rather than introducing acts she had to perform the whole event. I think they would have approved.

REMEMBER Poetry Workshop 2 -4

We then had Cathy Crossley and Jan Watts take us through a National Poetry Day themed workshop on remembrance – remembering. Including lots of musical stimuli – I thoroughly enjoyed it and the group were great – everyone sharing their work and loads of strong ideas and images being written down, talked about and shared.

I ended up with 2 pages of notes (I think Andrea has a photo of them), and a poem or the basis of a poem which I was fairly pleased with.

It was relaxed and I love the venue they have at The Bond for the festival – all the workshops take place in one big space, there was a clay workshop at the same time – some impressive Mad Hatter hats displayed on the table at the end of it.

ROY MCFARLANE (Poet Laureate) Soulful Poetry Event.

I have only caught a handful of Roy’s performances in this 1st year of poeting. It was great to see him up on stage, energy, positivity and heart wrenching/ warming poetry exudes from him. I met him officially, properly to talk to at Jacqui Rowe’s Poetry Bites, last Tuesday. He had to go before my set. Today was the first time he has EVER heard me, due to the nature of the festival and the event and knowing Andrea’s poetry was about her experiences I read my ‘Stone’ poem.

me It has been 10 years in my head, written about going back to where my life took a sharp turn downhill, I was visiting a nearby town to take part in a poetry event, this poem is as yet unedited and runs to 4 minutes, about double the time I usually take to perform. I had never performed it before. I shared other poems too and Roy gave me a great confidence boost at the end after discovering my voice.

Roy Mcfarlen

6 pm

Hotwheeling (not literally) over to the Library of Birmingham, for the first day at Birmingham Literature Festival and the announcement of the new Poet Laureate. I also wanted to support 2 of my poetry friends in the final; Jasmine Gardosi and Matt Man Windle.

Library

It was a great way to end the evening, watching the performances and seeing former poet Joanna Skelt read again. libraryofbirminghamdotcom joanna skeltbirm poet laureate 2014

Afterwards I spent some time chatting to people from Writing West Midlands. I picked up tickets from the Box Office for all the Birmingham Lit Fest events I can make. Last year (this was my first EVER Lit Festival) apart from a day at Hays, I practically lived in the city for the fortnight (10 days) this time I cannot attend so much. However, I am performing in the festival instead, on the 11th with Naked Lungs and the commissioned Urbanature project/ performance. So that trumps going to the library everyday and at least this way I still have time to work on my writing.

blf logo

In fact the only poetry between now and Sunday afternoon will be material written tonight and tomorrow afternoon, the Roy Croft poem, I am reading at my brother’s wedding and maybe a bit of bedtime reading. Sunday I am back in Birmingham for Roger McGough at the Literature Festival.

1 blf r

I have had such a great day! I am also enjoying what other people have done to celebrate National Poetry Day, I may have to produce some sort of montage of information, maybe as part of the weekly round up! nat 1

It was also this time last year, to the day that I had my 1st performance experience with the mic and poetry going public. Julie Boden’s Night in Leamington Spa. nat1

 

October – A Month of Writing

Standard

This month I have writing to do I am editing and writing some new poetry, I also have to write my first commission for a performance on the 11th at Birmingham Literature Festival, there is also another project in the pipeline involving displayed poetry.

Tomorrow I am hosting/ opening the Poetry, Performance and Everything Else Festival for Arts All Over the Place as well as taking part in some workshops, performing at Roy McFarlane’s Soulful Poetry Event and then hot footing to the Library of Birmingham for the announcement of the new Poet Laureate, both Matt Man Windle and Jasmine Gardosi are in this year’s finals!

Friday I am working and resting, relatives will be up for my brother’s wedding, this Saturday.

Saturday is obviously the wedding – I am reading a love poem and have been practising it without crying. On Sunday I am back at Library – Birmingham Literature Festival – Poetry Please and Tell me on a Sunday Events to watch.

I am cutting back on Poetry Events due to the time needed for writing this month and will blog weekly.

I am also hosting INKSPILL at the end of this month – right here on this blog! A FREE online writing retreat.