Tag Archives: Roz Goddard

Verve Poetry Festival: Day 3 Poetry Breakfast

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Verve Poetry Festival had nearly 40 events, I spent the whole day at the festival both Saturday and Sunday, missing only the children’s events some workshops and some performances (because of workshops).

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POETRY BREAKFAST

Saturday kicked off with Roz Goddard and Cynthia Miller treating us to a Poetry Breakfast. Free pastries and Philip Larkin Jazz – what is there not to like? Roz opened the event with her love poem to Birmingham.

Cynthia talked about the programme and how the festival evolved from an enthusiastic tweet. One the rest of the city is grateful she sent. They hoped for an accessible poetry festival and that is exactly what they created with Verve. They wanted to reflect the spirit of Birmingham, the passion and drive and they certainly accomplished that too.

Cynthia is one of the new Primers poets (Primers Vol. 2) from The Poetry School and Nine Arches Press and will see her poetry published soon. She shared ‘Anthem for a Nasty Woman’.

Roz talked candidly about falling out of love with poetry and then falling back in love for it with the help of this festival. We all lose confidence and fall out with poetry from time to time, for me it is a weekly occurrence. It always feels good to hear others talk about what you experience, as it answers that question – is it just me? – with a resounding NO!

I really enjoyed waking early and catching a bus into town to catch this FREE event, it was definitely worth it. Even though the decision not to do a writing activity stung (my brain was ready), instead we did Speed Dating (hold onto your hat Mr.G, not like that)! It was a genius idea as it got us mingling and talking to each other about the festival and the future of poetry. We swapped three times, discussing a cue question given to us by Cynthia and moved on at the sound of a Tibetan Singing Bowl (perfect for the early hours). It was fun watching Birmingham wake up behind the screen (festival marquee).

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A great way to greet a full on day of poetry and workshops.

And it was FULL ON. The team have realised that scheduled breaks are necessary, especially as they had certain hard-core participants (Dean Atta, I may be looking at you and Angi Holden) who did 3 back-to-back workshops, that is 6 hours of focus. That is beyond most of us.

 

RELATED LINKS

Reviews of the Dice Slam and reading from Friday Night, Outspoken and Nine Arches – read them here: http://createdtoread.com/poetic-delights-verve-poetry-festival/

https://burningeyebooks.wordpress.com/2017/02/22/verve-poetry-and-diversity/

 

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Verve Poetry Festival Opening Night

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Verve Poetry Festival Opening Night

Verve Poetry Festival

I cannot express how excited I am that Birmingham finally has a poetry festival. It was the brainchild of a renown collective and blends spoken word and page poetry perfectly, as it should be. Poetry is such a small part of the universe that to segregate it further has always seemed a little absurd to me. Candy Royalle is a firm believer that ‘poet’ covers it.

http://vervepoetryfestival.com/about/

They don’t actually name themselves: Stuart Bartholomew (the God of Waterstones), Cynthia Miller, Emma Wright of the Emma Press & Bohdan Piasecki.

I have been counting down since November when I attended the V.I.P Launch and saw the programme the following day. Before the end of the week I had bought my festival pass. Reimbursed with additional travel expenses by Mr G. for Christmas, my mum bought me my workshop tickets for Christmas too and doesn’t it always taste better when it is FREE?

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I am kicking myself that I didn’t keep up with the announcements beyond social media, as I discovered late Wednesday night some of the programme had to be changed.

We have made some changes to our programme for Sunday 19th Feb at Verve. Most notably, Melissa Lee-Houghton has had to pull out of the festival for personal reasons. This has left a hole in the programme, as Melissa was due to run a workshop in the afternoon as well as reading at the evening headline event alongside Penned In The Margins stable-mate and Birmingham based Luke Kennard, and excellent Bloodaxe poet Shazea Quraishi.

It is a hole we have been working hard these last few days to plug, and plug it we have. Shazea Quraishi was thrilled to be asked to run a workshop in Melissa’s place from 1-3 PM. While Melissa was going to be getting her workshoppers to focus on the idea of writing to, Shazea will instead focus on writing as.  

For the evening headline event, we decided to ask to excellent Ruby Robinson to read for us in Melissa’s place, and we have to say we were thrilled to bits when she agreed. Ruby has had an glorious year on the back of having her first collection, Every Little Sound, published by Pavillion Poetry – being short-listed for the Felix Dennis Prize for best first collection and the T.S. Eliot Prize. Collette Bryce wrote, ‘Every Little Sound is an extraordinary first collection from a very gifted young poet.’ We are so excited to hear Ruby read and feel she has added something to our evening headline event that it didn’t possess before. It will be a wonderful reading.

© 2017 Verve Blog

I am really excited about meeting Ruby, who I discovered through INKSPILL 2016 (our online writing retreat right here on this blog).

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This morning I found out Robert Harper/ Bare Fiction is doing Poetry surgeries for FREE over the weekend. All 8 slots are fully booked now of course.

http://vervepoetryfestival.com/poetrysurgeries/

Speaking of surgeries, I was diagnosed with Sciatica years ago and rarely suffer. Yesterday as I arrived at work my back went and I was in agony all day. Driving, getting the train and then sitting for 4 hours has not helped. After a soak, a massage and a hot water bottle I only managed about 3 hours sleep. I am now dosed with pain killers and trying not to sit for too long! It is the only thing that will ruin this weekend for me. I saw from last night’s sneezy front row that nothing is keeping any of us away! I am packing a cushion and a mini hot water bottle for tonight and probably catching the bus so I won’t need to drive.


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Last night was as incredible as I knew it would be and it was fabulous to share it with an array of poetry friends. I love festivals for catching up with everyone and spending time amongst the throngs of poets. It was great to see that there was audience present as well as writers amongst the festival goers – a great treat for anyone and EVERYONE!

I arrived about an hour early as I know better than to trust city train services. This gave me a chance to chat to friends and relax before the night unfurled. It was lovely to see Daljit Nagra again and I really appreciated the chat we managed before he was whisked away to the Green Room! The Barista helped, having put our coffees on the same tray it would have been awkward for either one of us to refuse the other’s company. I was delighted, of course. I think Daljit has a genuine interest in other people and their poetry/lives. I took his Masterclass in Swindon last year at the Festival and am delighted that he will be Poet in Residence this year.

The opening night combined two events that happen regularly in Birmingham. The Poetry Parlour is hosted at Waterstones and features a poet and an Open Mic format and Hit the Ode, probably needs no introduction. One of the biggest poetry nights organised by Apples and Snakes and hosted by Bohdan Piasecki. This was a Thursday night guaranteed to ROAR!

Poetry Parlour

The Festival Stage was fully decorated, fairy lights, bunting, the famous green chairs and Roz Goddard was our glamorous host.

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© 2017 Emma Wright

Jane Commane interviewed Daljit with quality questions and he talked about several collections. After that he read and we were spellbound. Pin drop audience moments.

Then an interval followed by the open mic section. I had pre-booked a slot for one poem, I think that was a great idea to maximise the usual 8-9 poets to 12. Actually Roz made the decision to invite an extra 3 readings, treated to 15 poets/poems. A great range of voice. I performed ‘Your Gift’ from Fragile Houses.

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Then to complete the evening the winner of the Verve Poetry Competition performed an incredible set. I didn’t enter this competition and I am regretting not being organised enough to make the deadline because Saturday and Sunday will be filled by the anthology that was published from the entries, including an opportunity for work to be read. I know many/most/probably all the poets who are bound in this collection and it is on my must buy list. Which is so incredibly long that I have already marked out the books to buy later in the year. Waterstones have a eye-catching display right by the front door of all the books from festival poets.

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© 2017 Waterstones

Hit The Ode

As I have mentioned many times on this blog is an amazing night! Full of passion, spoken word and laughter. They always have 3 Headline acts, one local, one national and one international and this evening was no exception.

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© 2017 Waterstones

HEADLINERS:

From the Midlands, Soweto Kinch: the man who embodies the Brummie renaissance, a lyricist, playwright, poet, rapper and saxophone virtuoso in one tight package. http://www.soweto-kinch.com/

From outside the Midlands, Jemima Foxtrot: writer, theatre-maker, performer and musician, Jemima’s makes the distinction between song and poetry irrelevant. https://jemimafoxtrot.co.uk/

From beyond these Isles, Dizzylez: rapper, poet, percussionist, loop-pedal master, this French jack-of-all-trades creates layered narratives in front of your very eyes. http://www.dizzylez.com/

© 2017 Verve Programme

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I regret not signing up for an open mic slot in advance – I didn’t think it through, I was upstairs in the Parlour and the event finished in time for the next one to begin. I snuck out a little early to sign up but was already too late. I was a little hesitant at performing at both events and this prevented me from sending an email. Silly really. I had surprised myself earlier in the day by realising that I now know some of the lighter poems in my pamphlet off by heart and last week wrote an amusing poem about lists which I could have shared. In another way it is great to attend, watch, enjoy… although I did have to move to the back after the first half to grab a comfy green chair as my back was in spasm by this point.

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I thoroughly enjoyed HTO and was sad to leave before the end of Soweto Kinch’s set. I missed my train and couldn’t risk missing the last one as my car was parked in the suburbs and it would have been expensive to reach it. It has happened before, funnily enough at my first HTO I attended in 2014.

It was a great night, I was mesmerised by Dizzylez and his set, mostly in French. It reminded me of my time in Montreal, which is probably the last time I saw performance work in French for any length of time. I used to speak fluently, but not been to France now for over a decade and don’t use the language much (other than teaching) so I am no longer fluent.

Jemima Foxtrot was mesmerising. I really hope to catch her again. It was good to have music at HTO too – all three Headliners are musicians/musical.

It may be the excellent Waterstone’s Americano or adrenaline – or lack of sleep or a combination of all three, I feel like I am on top of the world. Welcome to my life during a poetry festival! WHOOOAAHHHOOOO

pitm-blog-bannerTonight I have the pleasure of Kim Moore, Mona Arshi & Katrina Naomi. Kim and Mona I met at Swindon last year and Katrina has always been performing in clashing events on the festival circuit. I look forward to discovering her.

Followed by the Dice Slam (Apples and Snakes) and the last bus home. Fingers crossed the service runs smoothly. I may have to find some space under a bookcase if not!

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Readers’ Network Event – 7 Minute Stories

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This was a fab evening out and I am so glad I went! It was such a relaxing event, and Roz was not joking about the fairy lights, it all looked so pretty, shame I was right at the back with a limited view. read

Roz Goddard interviewed each writer and at the end the reading groups who created all the ideas, had a chance to feedback and question, they each received a copy of the anthology and will have the writers’ return to their groups in the New Year to tie the whole project up.

read1 Fascinating how the original ideas peeped through the excerpts of the works the writers’ read. And it was interesting to hear the writers’ talking about the process. For many this was their first commission. I look forward to reading their full stories in my own copy. book 1
I have a whole pile of books to read now and can’t wait for a relaxing Christmas holiday day to enjoy them. I will create some blog posts about all the material I have discovered and bought this year.

The Six Writers were;

Gaynor Arnold linked with Solihull Reading Group Gaynor has written a story featuring a vulnerable child that’s full of poignancy with a surprising twist.

Garrie Fletcher linked to a reading and writing group at Coleshill Library. An exploration of how a character’s past impacts on the present.

Ian McCleod linked with a Writing West Midlands young writer’s squad based at Stourport Library. The story packs a strong emotional punch, peppered with terrific period details, in the form of a letter.

A L Pietroni linked with an independent reading group in Stone in Staffordshire. (Where I used to live!) The discussion in this group focussed on what was distinctive about the town of Stone including its historical connections with silk, glass and brewing. Anna’s story incorporates all these elements with an added measure of drama.

Rochi Rampal (who I saw and listened to on a panel at the Writers’ Toolkit a fortnight ago and is a playwright) worked with an independent reading group in Bearwood. The group expressed an interest in neighbourhood and how you can live alongside someone and not really know them.

Amanda Smyth worked with an independent reading group in Perton. he She wasn’t able to make the evening event.

Information from http://www.wmreadersnetwork.co.uk/blog/ Copyright © 2013 Roz Goddard

 

Library

As I walked up to the library I was delighted by how Christmassy the lights were and how it really felt like Christmas. I decided to take some photographs before I left. Here is the Eye wheel 2wheel 1 (Wheel- First there in 2004-05 when I went on it with my mum just around the time I first moved back to the County).

I took some photos and rinkwatched people skating at the rink and then came home.

 

 

 

 

Excited! First Event of December – West Midlands Readers’ Network Short Story Commissions

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Excited! First Event of December –

West Midlands Readers’ Network Short Story Commissions

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This event has SOLD out, I was invited back in November – it has just take 10 minutes to find ticket confirmation.
Should have printed it out or pinned the email. Didn’t fancy driving all the way into the city and finding I had no seat! I was invited to be in the audience and am honoured that I have a seat, sadly many people don’t, including a couple who had a story written for them. What a shame.

Roz Goddard (who I met doing the Writing Picture Books course at the Custard factory in the summer) is the co-ordinator of the West Midlands Readers’ Network, part of her role with this commission was to link regional writers with readers’ groups across the Midlands with the aim of facilitating exciting new writing.

The short-story commissioning strand does just that. In the Spring of 2013, numerous reading groups around the region applied to have a bespoke short story written for them – and after a long selection process, six were chosen to work with a writer who I felt would be a good match for the group. At the first meeting readers and writers met to discuss a list of possible narrative ingredients – then over the long, hot summer the writers tapped, scribbled, crossed-out and eventually produced six excellent short-stories which will be showcased during a special event.

Roz’s most recent Twitter feed reads;

Fairy lights, baubles, gerberas, jazz and short-story anthologies all packed for a sell-out story event tonight.

bring on the Showcase Copyright © 2013 Roz Goddard.

AND I have just found out they are giving the anthology away for free.

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Looking forward to the first night of many this week with writers’ and readers’. Congratulations to all the writers who were commissioned to take part in this project.

I look forward to blogging about these talented writers.

 

West Midlands Readers' Network  Supported by Arts Council England

Postcard Poets – Birmingham Literature Festival

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Postcard Poets: Home-made, Home-grown

PostcardsTwenty poets were commissioned to write poems on the theme Home-made, home-grown. Six have been chosen to appear on specially-designed postcards, with thousands of copies in libraries throughout the West Midlands.

This year’s chosen poets, Fergus McGonigal, Roz Goddard, Emma Purshouse, Spoz (Giovanni Esposito), Jane Seabourne and Brenda Read-Brown will be appearing at the launch of the Poetry on Loan postcards – and they’ll all be performing their work for you.

© Birmingham Literature Festival 2013

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Having absorbed the Benjamin Zephaniah screening and filled myself with some food, I returned to the Library of Birmingham for Postcard Poets event. Sadly I took no pictures, it was a small room and other audience members were being well behaved!blf ikon 4

I was also enjoying the performances too much to peel my eyes from the stage, it was a great night, exceptionally entertaining!

Postcard Poets was a great event. 20 Poets were commissioned to write poems around the theme of homemade and home-grown. 6 of these poets had come to perform a selection of poetry and their postcard poems. The postcards are free and available at all public libraries in the region.

I really enjoyed this event and wished I wasn’t as tired as I was, I could barely stay awake and by the time I was home I was too tired to even talk!

The performing poets were;

Fergus McGonigal, Roz Goddard, Emma Purshouse, Spoz (Giovanni Esposito), Jane Seabourne and Brenda Read-Brown

Some of whom I’ve met. Roz was on the picture writing course I took earlier in the summer, Fergus popped into the Sarah James book launch and has also been chosen as the MC for an open night event (that I will also write about) that I attended last week, WLF’s SpeakEasy.

Spoz is regionally very famous, he lost his job (with many others) when the Rover car plant shut down (a major employer for generations in the region) he used his redundancy money to relaunch himself as a poet – a great slam poet who now works with lots of community based projects and has celebrated lots of success. I have seen tickets for his shows, but never managed to catch him. I was impressed by his energy.

I loved discovering all the other performance poets.

It was a fabulous evening and one of the best factors of this Literature Festival, is that many events were free, including this one – and it really was superb.

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