Tag Archives: Sarah L Dixon

Manchester – Quiet, Quiet Loud Headline

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Last year Sarah Dixon contacted me about headlining in Manchester, originally the booking was set for April/May- but due to Sarah relocating my spot was brought forward to March.

I booked time off work and made arrangements. I was originally going to do an overnight and what I learnt from this experience is how to be sensible… gigging further afield, it is probably best to stay overnight. Fortunately, Rick Saunders (a.k.a Willis the Poet), signed up for the open mic and offered to drive. Unfortunately his car broke down the week before and we ended up hiring a nifty little number to get us Northbound.

Manchester isn’t all that far away, but after a day of work and with butterfly nerves I did not fancy driving. Plus I have an inherent fear of the M6! That pesky Toll road…

Our journey out there was easy, didn’t take long. We found the venue and headed off for some tea before going to the The Llyod’s Hotel. Our journey back was horrendous with motorway closures, traffic jams and a satnav that was convinced the signs suggesting junction closures were wrong.

BUT – it was all worth it!

Quiet, Quiet Loud is an incredible event that Sarah has been running for two and a half years now. I can imagine the loss to the local poetry community (having just experienced the end of PTS at the Scary Canary).

March 14th Quiet, Quiet Loud

qql

Guests Mark Pajak and Becky Cherriman and Nina Lewis

Mark Pajak was born in Merseyside. His work has been published in Magma, The North and The Rialto (among others), been highly commended in the Cheltenham Poetry Competition and National Poetry Competition and won first place in the 2016 Bridport Prize. He has received a Northern Writer’s Award from New Writing North and was 2016’s Apprentice Poet in Residence at Ilkley Literature Festival. His first pamphlet, Spitting Distance, was selected as a Laureate’s Choice and is published with smith|doorstop.

Becky Cherriman is a writer, workshop leader and performer based in Leeds. Published by Mslexia, New Walk, Envoi, Mother’s Milk, Bloodaxe, Well Versed and in Poets For Corbyn, she was resident poet for Morley Literature Festival in 2013 and lead artist for Altofts Festival In A Day 2016. Becky is a co-writer and performer of Haunt, a site-specific theatre commission for Imove, a project about homelessness. She is currently working on her one woman show with voices, Corseted. Her first poetry pamphlet Echolocation and first collection Empires of Clay were published in 2016 by Mother’s Milk and Cinnamon Press respectively. www.beckycherriman.com

Nina Lewis is widely published in poetry journals and anthologies, including Abridged, Fat Damsel, Take Ten, Hark, Here Comes Everyone (HCE), I am Not a Silent Poet, New Ulster Poetry, Nutshells and Nuggets, Under the Radar and Visual Verse. Worcestershire Poet Laureate Competition 2015/2016 runner-up, Nina often performs at spoken word events and literary festivals. She was commissioned to write and perform poetry on ‘ecology and the city’ at the Birmingham Literature Festival in 2014. Her haiku have appeared in an art installation at the Midlands Art Centre, on the Poetry Fence at Acton Scott Historic Working Farm and in Municipal Bank Vaults for an International Dance Festival. Nina’s work also formed part of the poetry trail for Wenlock Poetry Festival 2014. Fragile Houses, published by V. Press autumn 2016, is her first pamphlet.

I was really excited to meet Becky and see Mark again (who I first saw perform at Waterstones last Autumn with the Poetry Business).
It was a thrill to stand in a room I had seen on social media for years! The standard of poetry was really high and there were plenty of open mic spots. An appreciative, poetry loving audience and bundles of talent. It was lovely to see Sarah again and hear her poems, many from her pamphlet collection (fingers crossed for this to make publication soon). I had the pleasure of reading through a draft copy for her last year. She chose some strong poems to share with us.

becky cherriman

Becky Cherriman was the first Guest Poet to take to the floor. I love it when I do not know a poet and have no idea what to expect.
I was moved by Becky’s set and need to buy her book, she was a wonderful performer and her poetry ran a gauntlet of emotions. An incredibly powerful set. It was good to meet her.

I would have bought her book on the night but with hire charges and petrol/drinks etc. my cash was a little light. I will catch her again and you should too. A gifted poet who deals with all shades of life. I still have her poetry in my head a fortnight later.

http://www.beckycherriman.com/

Mark Pajak took us into his world after the interval. I was looking forward to hearing his work again and thoroughly enjoyed his set. It was good to hear more from him. He is talented performer and an engaging poet. He writes about some seemingly bizarre incidents and is not afraid to share them, despite being advised not to. I appreciate that rebellious side. His work is like nothing I have read or heard from anybody else, unique. Prizewinning and extra special.

Mark Pajak

I was nervous having watched these masters at work and really wanted to change my set – but having timed it I didn’t think it was appropriate to cast last minute changes. I find my pamphlet fairly difficult to share as I want to give the audience enough of the sizzle and taste but don’t want to take them on the whole chronological journey or indeed read all the poems in the book. I have seen other headliners (with pamphlets) sharing several newer poems too, this may be the way forward – but I am not entirely sure. It may be like when you see a band and want them to play the albums and they slip in several B sides… I have always been a fan of the B side.

me qql

It was a pleasure to be invited to the final Quiet, Quiet Loud and read in Manchester. It was an inspiring evening filled with poetry buzz.

If you want to read a review of my set, check out Rick’s blogpost below.

RELATED LINKS:

https://willisthepoet.wordpress.com/2017/03/15/quietly-does-it/

A Week of Writing & Medical Themed Quiet Compere Open Mic

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I have already started planning my writing for 2015 and have made the important decision to focus on the writing rather than performing poetry. This year has been great fun and I have indeed been prolific in the local and surrounding area, I have achieved what I set out to achieve and have spent a year at the mic. People know me, some of my poems are widely known, I have made lots of friends and contacts and have enjoyed sharing my work this way. I will continue to do so, but in a more realistic and balanced way. People (who didn’t know me well 12 months ago) said I wouldn’t be able to keep it up… I knew I would and I did, I have a learnt a lot by watching others and I would continue supporting all the great events if I could. However, I am going to be selective and make sure I get an annual or bi-annual appearance at these events, whilst continuing to look for unique opportunities, commissions and paid work (as I have done this year) and using the rest of my time (extra time freed up from not attending 4 events a week) to write. Plus it costs a fortune in travel – a sum I am unlikely to recoup any time soon.

Writing diary

So this week – as I was busy with many projects – I thought I would give it a go and start and I am surprised how good it feels. I do miss having 3 events to attend, but it is lovely to take a back seat and I feel less stressed, which has helped create better writing space and time.

I spent the first part of the week working with the day-job, I booked Friday off as was performing in Cheltenham and I ended up having Thursday as a writing day too. I am currently working on phase 2 of the big project, I have embarked on two new projects one involving promotion and the other one something special for the New Year, I am writing & editing my Hanbury Hall/Art Network Poetry, sets for next weekend and the weekend after, some work from David Calcutt’s Wild Fire Workshop that I attended over half term in October, some work that came from the Stratford workshop with Angela France, historical research and several current submissions, as well as email/admin tasks. You can now see why I have cut events from my schedule!

I spent time reading writing articles and poetry books (I still have a bookshelf full of books I have bought in support of others over the past year) as well as writing and editing.

write1 I started writing in the 2015 diary and planning things for the rest of the month.

I missed an Open Mic in Digbeth, Poet’s Place a the library of Birmingham and on Friday there were 4 events that clashed – Word Up, Spoken Word at the Ort and Confab Cabaret.

Having a 9 day break from performing meant that I was ready for my set at Cheltenham on Friday. It was a great night. Sarah L Dixon a.k.a The Quiet Compere spends most of her year organising events around the North and Midlands areas of the country, she is now expanding events up and down the Country. I met her earlier when Sarah James, Jenny Hope, Ruth Stacey and others performed at the Birmingham Quiet Compere Tour.

Back in the Spring I was asked to be one of the poets on the 2015 Tour on the 10th July at The Hive in Worcester.

In Cheltenham they have an annual conference called Medicine Unboxed conference and Sarah L Dixon runs an open mic for this weekend, so it had a medical theme. I wrote my poems a few months ago, they went down well, people particularly responded to Moth Face and Dodgy Stomach. It was a great night with varied performances, subject matter and lots of ’52’ Poets.

The line up for the evening;

Nina Lewis
Ruth Stacey
Peter Wyton
Nick Lovell
Chris Hemingway
Sarah Snell-Pymm
Rick Vick
Avril Staple
Brenda Read-Brown
Kathy Gee-Wordstring
Maggie Doyle
Claire Walker
Colin Waterman
Sarah James
***
Brenda Read-Brown, Chris Hemingway & Claire Walker
med Brenda Read Brown med chris hemingway med claire walker
Kathy Gee, Maggie Doyle & Nick Lovell
med kathy Gee med maggie doyle med nick lovell
Peter Wyton, Sarah James, Sarah Snell-Pym & me Nina Lewis
med peter wyton med sarah james
med Sarah Snell-Pym med
Photographs – Sarah L Dixon © 2014
Here is a picture of all the 52er poets in attendance
52 cheltenham

Since then I have been busy finalising my Hanbury Hall Poems which have now been sent to the Droitwich Arts Network, fingers crossed they will be used somehow. I wrote 6 poems on the first picture – recognised instantly as Paris. ‘April in Paris’ By Sue Black. I also wrote 4 poems inspired by ‘Beach Slut’ by Wendy Swann. I wrote about several of the other pictures too, in the end I just submitted two poems; ‘Not Yet Home’ & ‘Little Blue Hut’.

By the end of the weekend I hope to finish my Wild Fire Poetry and some other work too.

The Quiet Compere (21/3/14)

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What an event, this one…macwhatshappeningcouk
I only knew Sarah L Dixon through 52, Jo Bell’s challenge (which I have blogged about before – 52 poems in a year – one a week) there must be many poets meeting or at least making connections virtually. I hope to ask Sarah L Dixon to tell us more about her Quiet Compere idea, when she is less busy.
Basically she runs an open mic night in Manchester, the difference from other event is the format. To allow the poet more time to share work she books 10 acts and gives them 10 minutes each.

She had the idea of taking this format on the road regionally, got Arts Council Funding for her idea (I slip that in as if it were easy – but I am fairly sure that was a process on its own!) then starting taking herself on tour. Each venue hosts 10 local poets who are pre-booked and they each delight the audience for 10 minutes. She has ‘toured the North with a jaunt into Birmingham’ – luckily enough.

I saw the line up in late January/February and recognised many of the names. We heard the Manchester night sold out so we made sure (my poetry friends Claire Walker and Maggie Doyle) we had our tickets well in advance.
You would expect to pay more than a fiver to go and see many of these names. The tickets were an ASTONISHING £3.00! Entry to some open mic events is more than that!

The Birmingham night took place at the MAC – Midlands Arts Centre – recently reopened after a 15million pound facelift! It has been closed for a while. There is so much that has been built up around it since I went over 10 years ago! It sits nestled in Cannon Hill Park and is a great venue and just a few miles out of the city.

Gary Longden was one of the 10 performers and although I knew him, from other poetry friends and his wonderful blog (to which there is a link), I had never met him. He runs Poetry Alight – the night in Lichfield where Michelle Crosbie performed last month. Another great night I missed…. so frustrating when there is so much on and I still have to work!
I finally got to meet him, it was brief as he didn’t know who I am.

I hope to make it over to Lichfield soon, Andrea Shorrick (Swingerella) thinks they would like my poems!

The Performers were QC banner

In the 6 months I have been back on the performance circuit I have been lucky enough to perform alongside 7 out of 10 of these poets. I met Sarah James at her book launch for Beyond beyond – the same evening I watched Jenny Hope perform and met Ruth Stacey. These are the first poets I met in Worcestershire (on this set list) and they have all given so much to me over the past 6 months, including welcoming me to their celebratory curry meal – where I met lots more poets.

Sarah has her next event this Tuesday for Poetry Bites and has headlined at SpeakEasy (she has done a million other things but these are the connections to me). We also all went to The Writers’ Toolkit together in the Autumn. Jenny Hope is a lead writer for Writing West Midlands and Ruth Stacey works alongside her as an Assistant Writer. I had already arranged to work for Writing West Midlands as an Assistant Writer, the same day I met them. They have all performed at SpeakEasy and also attend Stanza meetings, Sarah is the Poetry Society leader in our region.

As well as SpeakEasy, Ruth, along with Bobby Parker performed with me at the Kidderminster Creatives re-launch, BHG Gallery event. Bobby has also headlined SpeakEasy and I have also performed at the same Mouth & Music events – the open Mic in Kidderminster.

Charlie Jordan I met through events we attended at Birmingham Literature Festival in October. We first performed at the same event in October, at Jan Watts Phenomenal Women at Birmingham University for the Books of the Future UOB Festival. Since then we were at a Twilight Poetry Event at The Rep, organised by Joanna Skelt *Birmingham’s current poet laureate. We have been in the arena together at the amphitheatre at the Library of Birmingham performing for Jan Watt’s Poetry For Lunch. Charlie is also in the Decadent Divas although due to a top secret mission she was unable to make the latest Confab Cabaret event, this means the Decadent Divas have to come back and entertain us as the full 4 piece another time.

Laura Yates, one quarter of the Decadent Divas headlined at Mouth & Music, as well as performing at Confab Cabaret as a Decadent Diva.

Ddotti Bluebell runs Word Up at York’s Bakery and also performed at Najma Hush’s Dance Exhibition Gallery opening, which is where I met her and performed newly written Dance poems. I have seen her perform at Word Up too. She is another encourager on the scene and having only recently met her, feels like I have known her a lot longer.

There were 3 new to me poets to enjoy; Gary Longden, Matt Man Windle and Ian Bowkett. Sarah L Dixon treated us to some of her poems too. When you are an active poet you often hear the same poems being performed by people in different venues so it is great to come across new poets who have 100% unknown material. That’s not to say that I dislike hearing great poetry being repeated.

Everyone was incredible and the audience were blown away in quick succession by each performer.

The evening was kicked off by Sarah L Dixon – I enjoyed her poems, observations of her three old and the world children inhabit, touching and entertaining. She introduces each poet simply by name and lets their poetry speak for itself.

Sarah L Dixon © 2014 Gary Longden

Sarah L Dixon © 2014 Gary Longden

 

Ruth Stacey was the first to step up to the mic. I love Ruth’s poems and I know she doesn’t often perform. She is currently having great success in print and I look forward to reading her Foxboy collection when it comes out later this year.

It was a real treat to hear Ruth and she shared poetry I hadn’t heard before alongside some of my favourites of hers that I have heard before.

Ruth Stacey  © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

Ruth Stacey © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

 

Laura Yates performed next and treated us to her Birmingham poem which I will never tire of. She is such a confident performer and we all enjoyed her work. Another poet that I could have spent all night listening to.

Laura Yates © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

Laura Yates © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

 

Sarah James performed next, I haven’t heard her for a while – as I missed her headline at SpeakEasy due to Mr G’s birthday. I love listening to anything she reads her play on words and intelligent understanding of linguistics makes much more sense when it comes from her voice.

sarah james © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

Sarah James © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

 

Gary Longden performed next and treated us to some cheeky poems, none of which I had heard as this was the first time I met him, I liked what I heard and hope to listen to some more of his witty poetry soon.

Gary Longden © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

Gary Longden © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

 

Bobby Parker in complete contrast took us all deep inside of him and shared some extremely raw poems which he performed confidently and then he shared one of my favourite poems about a friend who encouraged him to go to a special event, I won’t say more – you will have to buy his books or hear him perform.

Bobby Parker © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

Bobby Parker © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

 

Charlie Jordan kicked off the second half with her wonderful performance. A true performance poet. She has been a Poet Laureate for Birmingham and the first poem she performed, I had heard before. The second one was new to me and absolutely adorable. She took us with us every step of the journey when she performed that.

Charlie Jordan © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

Charlie Jordan © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

 

Ian Bowkett came next with his PHD and humour – he would have helped me understand Maths if I had met him earlier in my life for sure, he makes numbers fun, very entertaining and for his final piece he performed from heart and completed a Rubix Cube at the same time! COMPLETED! WOW – WOW – WOW! The Brian Cox of poetry (I mean that as a huge compliment) he is much younger of course.

Ian Bowkett © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

Ian Bowkett © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

 

He said he didn’t want to follow Charlie, I have been there and it is a hard act to follow – he did brilliantly!

In fact that was something special about the Quiet Compere tour – these 10 Poets were all top class, there was no judgement on my part but you couldn’t have judged them apart if you’d had to… good job!

Jenny Hope and her beautifully quiet voice, soft and metred came next. Again I love hearing Jenny perform and it had been a while since I last saw her. I loved her set. Could have listened all night. She hooked me in and I didn’t want the bubble to burst.

Jenny Hope © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

Jenny Hope © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

 

Ddotti Bluebell came next sharing dynamic poetry, some I had the pleasure of catching at York’s Bakery, it was brilliant – she must have had to use at least 4 voices and entertained us all with memories of her childhood and her brothers and being the only girl. Something I can empathise with.

Ddotti Bluebell © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

Ddotti Bluebell © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

 

Matt Man Windle finished the night, great emotive performance he again was another natural born performer and I have since found out a boxer – well his poetry was certainly punchy!

Matt Man Windle © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

Matt Man Windle © 2014 Sarah L Dixon

It was an AWESOME evening (in the true – yes, wow at the universe and it’s awesome expanse) type way and my Birmingham poetry friends met and saw my Worcestershire friends perform. Everyone had time to mingle afterwards, it was great having so many friends at this event.

And the bit I can’t get my head around… Sarah L Dixon (coming from Manchester) had not seen these poets perform before – the evening was slick and each poet brought something special to the event.

Here are the shots from my seat – I really need to upgrade my mobile! © 2014 N Lewis

QCM IanQCM jennyQCM LauraQCM MattQCM RuthQCM Sarah JamesQCM BobbyQCM CharlieQCM GaryQCM ddottiQCM Sarah L Dixon

Check out Gary’s review – through the eyes of a performer.

http://garylongden.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/the-quiet-compere-mac-birmingham/

And Claire Walker’s review here

http://thegirlwhogrewintoacrocodile.wordpress.com/2014/03/23/the-joy-of-publication-and-an-evening-with-the-quiet-compere/

 

cheltenham fest

Sarah L Dixon’s next event can be seen as part of Cheltenham Poetry Festival which starts this week for a week.

A Matter of Life, Death and Poetry
Friday 28 March 2014 at 8:00pm

A touring poetry show.

The Quiet Compere presents A Matter of Life, Death and Poetry

The legendary Quiet Compere events enlist established poets and emerging voices.

The Quiet Compere introduces them with little fanfare, so that the poems (and not the poets’ track records)
tell you all you need to know.

This festival special features a stellar line-up – Rosie Garland, Samir
Guglani, Sarah Maxwell, Bethany W Pope, Stephanie Portersmith, Rod Tame, Avril Staple and
of course the compere herself, Sarah Dixon.

Let poetry show you what really matters! Join us for a selection of darkly funny, thought-provoking and life-changing poetry

Tickets are £5.00/ £4.00 and can be bought here

http://www.cheltenhampoetryfest.co.uk/eventdetail.php?ID=70

 

You can also catch Bobby Parker at the festival

bobby parker1