When I discovered Diverse Verse it had already been produced, so when I saw a call for submissions for Diverse Verse 2, I jumped on it. Charity is a big thing for most people and I love giving art for good causes. I like to try to get involved when I can. So earlier this year, I submitted some work to Richard Archer and was delighted to find myself sharing pages with other great poets from the Midlands.
The proceeds raise money for Cancer Research U.K, a cause close to my heart.
I was delighted when I found out the Book Launch was on 27th May, as I knew I could make it and if the motorways had allowed it – I would have… I was a little late but fortunately after the drag of a 30 m.p.h traffic quilt managed to miss none of the actual reading!
It was great to see old friends there and put faces to names I knew. Scott and Amy hosted the Launch at Southcart Books and it was lovely to see them in their new shop.
Unfortunately, due to my delayed arrival and forgetting to reserve a copy, the anthology had sold out before I arrived. I have since ordered and received my copy and look forward to indulging a read (sometime in July, I think I am free)!
You can buy a copy here
It was a fantastic afternoon of poetry, Scott and Amy had laid on a buffet and the interval was time enough to mingle AND buy books.
I never leave the place empty handed but the treat was on them really. I bought a Rupert Brooke collection and they gifted me a historical hardback that I already have ideas on and a canvas ‘Books are my bag’ bag! What a sweet deal that was.
There were 20 poets reading and a good number of audience too, even some customers lingered.
Elaine Christie and Scott Carter snapped the photos, I have some of Elaine reading but need to get the mobile talking to the internet to upload them. I will add one of Elaine.
All these poets AND MORE are published in Diverse Verse 2, as I listened I noted poems from their sets I was inspired by – buy the book to discover them for yourselves amongst the pages.
Richard Archer kicked off proceedings, seconds after I sat down. I met Richard at Permission to Speak but also know him from David Calcutt’s Arboretum Poetry events. His poetry is sometimes hard-hitting, powerful, social commentary and sometimes full out fun. He is the Chairman of Walsall Poetry Society and a truly supportive advocate of poetry in the Midlands.
Paul Elwell runs a writing workshop group that I recently became involved with, it was good to meet him and put a face to the name. On the back of what he heard from short set and the fact that I had mentioned Worcester, he extended the invite – funny how the universe works like that, isn’t it? I particularly enjoyed his very clever Latin Poem.
I know Carole Howard from David Calcutt’s Arboretum poetry events. I enjoyed hearing her poem about secrets, which she has performed before at the Arboretum.
Rick Saunders delighted us with his brilliant poem, ‘Goldilocks’. I also enjoyed ‘Cannabis Anarchist’, which I had heard before. Rick is everywhere (I have passed on the ubiquitous mantle to him), but I will never tire of hearing his poems, they make me smile. Rick burst onto the scene late 2016 and I met him at Permission to Speak, where he cut his teeth on spoken word (well, it can be sharp), where he created Willis the Poet – and the story behind that is heartwarming!
Ian Henery is a poet I have not seen for a while. I liked his poem ‘Walsall Bus Driver’s Prayer’.
Al Lane, is a new poet to me. I thoroughly enjoyed his set. His nature poem was great and the Disappointment of Parenting was a real treat too.
Samatee read her poem about Mauritius and the Dodo. It was great to see her delight in having poems published. I met Samatee at Stirchley Speaks and have watched her become more confident with her writing and sharing of work. She is a regular at Spoken Trend now too.
Janet Jenkins gave us a wonderful set, I particularly liked her Umbrella poem. I first met Janet properly when I started the Caldmore Garden workshops with David Calcutt. Our paths had passed prior to this and our poetry can be found in the same collections.
Scarlett Ward is a poet I do not know, her work is delicately laced but inside are iron fast ideas. Her poem ‘Wordless’ is incredible. Moving. She reminded me what it was to be young once. The concentrated force of emotions we carry.
Jon Jack Neil was a poet I discovered just 5 days before in Lichfield, at Poetry Alight. I enjoyed hearing more from him. Particularly his poem ‘The World and His Wife’.
Amanda Glover is another poet I know through Open Poetry at the Arboretum, her bus poem was great to listen to.
Jan Hedger had travelled some distance to be at the launch with her sister, both of whom grew up around the area. Jan is a new to me poet and I enjoyed her set. She writes lots about animals (so I knew she would enjoy Elaine’s work). I enjoyed the poem exploring her Birmingham/West Midland roots.
Ian Ward is someone I have known on the poetry circuit since 2014, we are often at the same events. He shared some poems he performed at Poetry Alight, it was good to hear them a second time. Poets should worry less about repeating their work. I particularly enjoyed his poem ‘What is a Map?’
Steve Harrison is a poet I met in 2014 somewhere over Shropshire way, I am delighted that he ventures across to share his poems in Birmingham and it is always a pleasure to watch his performance. An entertaining and well written poem is guaranteed – although he does serious too. I enjoyed his Classified Ad poem, which I had heard but not for a while and I live in hope of a day when we can be found in the classified ads amongst the plumbers.
Ian Davies is a poet I have seen in Walsall before, I enjoyed his poem ‘Gwyn Ap Nudd’. I didn’t get a chance to talk to him in the interval, next time.
Pauline Faulkner had travelled up to support her sister (Jan) and is not a poet I know. She shared a poem about the Mason’s yard which I enjoyed.
Calvin Allen is a poet I do not know, he had great delivery and his poem ‘Black Friday’ and his Newsreader poems were highlights of his set. I shall look out for him again in the future.
Elaine Christie wowed the audience with ‘The Lion King’ a brilliant poem of us concerning animal welfare and it packs punches. I met Elaine at the end of 2013 and her poetry speaks to the heart, she has a lot of love for the animal kingdom and it was simply a pleasure to see her again. I have been a little absent from the Birmingham scene recently.
Well done, Richard for a great Book Launch.