Tag Archives: Spoz

Ash Dickinson Workshop & Licensed to Rhyme

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The perfect way to start any week is a Poetry Workshop and when that workshop is with Ash Dickinson, you know you have backed a winner!

I first met Ash back in April 2014 (I had to look that up), we were talking on Monday night about a particular gig in the Autumn of that year and I knew that was the 2nd time I caught his act but couldn’t remember when I actually first discovered his work. I have been a fan ever since of his surreal and sincere voice.

Having missed the opportunity to do a workshop in Burton last year I was delighted to discover that he was doing one before/for Licensed to Rhyme and because I had been at work all day, it was literally just down the road in the next village!

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So my poetry week started on a high! It was a fantastic workshop, a great group of poets (all of whom I knew) and what’s more – all of us managed to write poems, including Ash!

We worked from many lists of prompts (which leaves us with plenty to get stuck into post-workshop). Ash used various forms, including one new to all of us. I wrote my 2nd, 3rd and 4th ever Clerihew! I still feel wary of the poetry produced  but the genre falls into nonsensical as a technique so those question marks or perhaps exclamation marks appearing from my ears are allowed.

It was great to hear everyone’s responses to the prompts and some were even brave enough to share their raw work (including Ash) in their L2R sets later in the evening.

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Licensed to Rhyme, is always a great night, the brainchild of Maggie Doyle & Spoz. I haven’t been available to get to one for a while so I was looking forward to spending a sunny evening in Cafe Morso enjoying words.

Charley Barnes had the Guest Spot, Brenda Read-Brown tested new material, the workshop poets all had open mics and Ash Headlined.

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It was a fabulous evening of laughter and poetry and set me up for the week. If people could just pop round to my lounge every Monday and recreate this I could start every Tuesday on a high! (A new idea awakens.)

Thanks Ash, for poems that definitely wouldn’t now be existence if it wasn’t for your workshop.

Discover his world for yourself here.

https://burningeye.bigcartel.com/product/slinky-espadrilles-by-ash-dickinson

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https://burningeye.bigcartel.com/product/strange-keys

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RELATED LINKS:

http://ashdickinson.com/

https://burningeyebooks.wordpress.com/2016/04/12/guest-blog-ash-dickinson-from-slinky-to-strange/

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Ten Letters

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Amazing Poetry Theatre created by the minds of Spoz (Giovanni Esposito) and Lorna Meehan. Fascinating, a should NOT be missed show. Which so far has been performed twice at the MAC and hopefully will continue to develop and grow.

The Concept

Ten Letters is a new piece of intergenerational poetry theatre about Birmingham starring the best in local poetry talent. Produced by Giovanni Spoz Esposito and Lorna Meehan and incorporating multi media and live music, Ten Letters celebrates, procrastinates and immortalises this city we live in through a group of unique voices aged sixteen to sixty.

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A cross generational show from 16 to 60 bringing together poets who all know Birmingham in their lives. Poems about the great and grime of the place, of memories and hopes.

Incredibly powerful and moving – I did not expect to be reduced to tears or goose-bumps, but with every voice I felt connection, my own memories resurfaced of trips to the Science Museum, the life-size dinosaur, suburban streets, black and white photos taken by grandparents in front gardens. It was all there buried away inside.

Particular highlights was watching the audience reaction to Maggie Doyle’s letter to Birmingham, the generational memories and Mexican wave recognition going on amongst the middle seats of the auditorium.

Lorna Meehan who wants to stab at your emotion buttons with her letter recalling divorce and the role of the city in her dual living experience, cut deep with parallels and reduced me to teary eyes – thank goodness I was sitting amongst poets.

The passion of Spoz’s letter that was uncensored and raw.

 

On the Night

This is what I wrote when I got home;

Ten Letters… Has to be summed up in 17 letters…

Absolutely awesome!

A Birmingham for everyone! Great show/ media content and live music. Performances that have emotional bite, I ran the whole gauntlet – tears of parallel hurts, tears from laughter, goosebumps! Everything and some unexpected memories came flooding back. Birmingham you are amazing in the skins you have given our lives! Amazing – as were Spoz & Lorna in conceiving this project. Take it to the nation, Birmingham – because you’re bloody brilliant!

There were stunning performances from the entire cast and the whole show was an amazing feat for Birmingham, a love letter, letters of thanks, hidden praise until twisted recollections – a triumph for poetry theatre and the city.

I am SO GLAD I didn’t miss it.

There are plans to move further with it, it was a crowd funded project and incredibly well produced.

Photography by Nigal Goodship © 2015

Kraze Kasey Bailey Nigal Goodship

Maggie Doyle Nigal Goodship

Joe Cook Nigal Goodship

aliyah denton aliyah holder

lorna

jasmine

unhindered reign sipho eric dube luci hammans

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carl

emma purshouse

callum and melissa bate prime poetry

Top to bottom Performers: Casey Bailey, Maggie Doyle, Joe Cook, Aliyah Denton & Aliyah Holder (A Squared), Lorna Meehan, Jasmine Gardosi, Luci Hammans & Sipho Eric Dube (Unhindered Reign), Spoz, Carl Sealeaf, Emma Purshouse, Callum & Melissa Bate (Prime Poetry)

WLF – SpeakEasy with SPOZ & Brenda-Read Brown

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I am so happy with the programme for WLF this year, they made the right decision to have a small selection of brilliant events and not to overcrowd or overstretch the team (as far as committees go, they are small), no-one yet seems too exhausted and so the energy and buzz surrounding each event is electrifying – and that’s before you settle down to watch and listen to the abundant talent this County offers.

It was a real treat to have SPOZ MC the event, especially as it clashed with HTO – HIT THE ODE, Birmingham, it was also lovely to see Maggie Doyle have a well deserved night off and enjoy the entertainment, of course Maggie still had an important role to play, as Heather Wastie – Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2015-2016 officially received her engraved PL trophy.

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Heather Wastie presented with her poet laureate trophy at Worcester Speakeasy by Maggie Doyle. WLF Team © 2015

The venue was packed and the list of open mic-ers extended for the LITFEST. The booked performers included;

Leena Bachelor (who is loving the Lit Fest and reminds me of myself last year, when I was taking part for the first time too. A certain familiar Cheshire Cat grin).

Mogs (who was booked as King Mogs after winning the Rubber Sword Play Award on Tuesday evening at WLF).

Kathy Gee (who delighted us all with her character set and a requested performance of her crotch watching poem).

Alan Durham (who moved me with his prayer poem at the end of the set and was a delight to watch as always – another voice I could listen to forever).

Heather Wastie – of course, invited in her official role as WPL (who treated us to some of her new work, including a new commission).

Amanda Bonnick (whose poetry I ADORE, it is always a pleasure to listen to her and now has to write a new poem after her ‘Door introduction’ I think).

Mike Alma (who treated us to snippets from chapters of a much longer work which I think was never finished, it was different to hear his words chopped up this way – I enjoyed letting the sentences seep over me. As his set was 6 minutes he couldn’t treat us to chapter and verse).

Neil Laurenson (who entertained us with his usual dry humour, short poems with a punch-line delivered in a confident, straight manner).

And myself, I changed my set at the last minute – only 1 poem remained from the 3 I had prepared. Andrew Owens greeted me with a gift, he and his wife were shopping for a family camping trip, when he came across a polar cup that made him think of me…

WLF Polar cup

There is a ‘Moustache Poem with Fact Bombs’ that I perform, originally part of the set Tim Scarborough and I presented at Mouth & Music for the ‘Body Hair’ theme. It is far more fun to perform it with Tim and use the fake moustaches etc. but as I researched and wrote it I have been known to perform it solo.

Anyway – I hadn’t performed it for about 4 months, but found I had it on my phone so as a thank you I performed it and then embarrassingly remembered I performed it last year for the WLF SPeakEasy special (back when I still had print outs of all the moustaches)!

I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and all the open mic-ers were fabulous as well, people keep telling me my performance is getting stronger – I think that goes for everyone in Worcester! (Something in the water?!)

The full list of performers (including open mic)

Leena Bachelor 
Mogs
Bronwyn 
Kathy Gee
Alan Durham
Kevin Brooke
Heather Wastie
Amanda Bonnick
Tim Stavert
Mike Alma
Polly Robinson
Neil Laurenson
Nina Lewis
Damon Lord
Headlined by
Brenda Read-Brown

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Then the headline – Brenda Read-Brown, was delightful – a perfect mix of humour and touching sensitive poetry. I have always loved watching her perform since the 1st time I came across her in Birmingham (Literature Festival) October 2013, at the beginning of my Poetry Odyssey.

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A smashing night. Spoz made up unique rhymes for all the open mic slots to introduce them and filled Fergus McGonigal’s MC shoes right up, creating extra energy in an event which was already ‘on fire’!

Photo Credit WLF Team © 2015

WLF Mag WLF me WLF SpeakEasy WLF Spoz

Hit the Ode – Jasmine Gardosi, Rose Condo, MiKo Berry & Spoz

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Last week I went to Hit The Ode, it was amazing! I promised you a blog post about it and here it is.

Thursday 19th February – Birmingham hit

It was an incredible night. This event is hosted by Bohdan Piasecki, but he was in Poland, so Spoz (a.k.a Giovanni Esposito) took over as the compere. He was a superb host and entertained us to a frenzy, Bohdan left us all in very capable hands. Spoz is a pro!

I love the fact that every guest they book is always (without exception) mindblowingly brilliant and you know you will always have a great night! I have discovered so many talented performers through this Apple & Snakes event.

The evening was superb! I wanted to support Jasmine Gardosi, a great talent and main feature, what made it more special was this had been her dream from the start, booked to headline Hit the Ode. A rare opportunity to see another headlining set from Jasmine, twice in a month – spoilt!

Although, I have to confess that I contacted them for an open mic slot too. I was looking forward to ranting out ‘Taxing’ – I did realise that I lost many of the younger audience, who perhaps not yet owning vehicles have not experienced the joy of updating paperwork and paying vast sums of money annually to be allowed to use the pot-holed roads of this fine Island! Fortunately the audience can range from pre-18 up to 60 (possibly +) so I was understood by a few and the end of the poem should raise a smile or laugh or too, it did, I even got my first click!

It was an amazing night, the open mic-ers rocked the stage with stonkingly good performances and the headliners… well… WOW – it has been months since I managed to get to Hit the Ode and every headliner drummed in how much I had missed it. hit 1

Hit the Ode brings the most exciting poets from the region, the country and the world to the heart of Birmingham. Join us! We have poems. Poems which scratch that one spot you can never reach on your own; poems whose volume knob was broken off last time you had a party; poems you had better not leave unattended, or they will be taken away and disposed off. Good poems. Come and get them!

jasmine Rose Condo

Featuring: From Birmingham, Jasmine Gardosi Jasmine Gardosi is a spoken word poet, Poets’ Place coordinator, part of the team behind Opus Club, and Birmingham Poet Laureate 2014/15 finalist. In other words, a pillar of the Brummie poetry community. Come and discover her complex, entertaining, often surreal poetry.

From Yorkshire, Rose Condo A Canadian based in West Yorkshire, Rose Condo is a prolific performance poet and the winner of Newcastle’s Slamalgamate (pictured)  – coming to Birmingham for the first time to claim the prize, a featured slot at our own Hit the Ode. rose condo1

From Edinburgh, MiKo Berry All the way from exotic Scotland comes MiKo Berry – the Scottish Poetry Slam Champion, European poetry slam finalist, founder of the renowned Loud Poets, his flair for combining the finest literary technique with stage savvy distinguish him as a poet and a performer.

Miko The Thin Book of Poems launch party at Woodland Creatures in Leith.

MiKo Berry The Thin Book of Poems-launch party- Woodland Creatures in Leith

I was lucky enough to talk to Rose Condo during the interval, we had a great chat about performing and writing poetry. Now I will think of her every time I look at my bathmat. Go and see her and you will see why, it has nothing to do with bathing, bathrooms or personal hygiene and more to do with place.

MiKo Berry blew everyone’s socks off (almost literally), one of the most exciting performers I have seen… and you know how many I have seen. Get yourself up to Scotland, Edinburgh and go and see him.

Jasmine Gardosi performed a touching set, performing material that was brand new and fresh and deeper than deep, alongside crowd pleasing favourites and clever poetry that played with metaphor, reality and rhythm!

Great – all highly recommended!

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And in the words of the headline poets, hot from social media press, (well lukewarm, as I am a week and a day late posting)!

Had a cracking night at Hit The Ode. Spoz was the host with the most! Open mic was ace. The place pumped with energy and what a thrill to share the mic with the amazing Jasmine Gardosi  and MiKo Berry. Holy high on poetry batman!

Rose Condo

So many awesome poems and lovely people. On the train home now but still smiling 🙂 Thanks everyone for a brilliant night!

Miko Berry

Still picking up brainy pieces of my mind which was blown from two ridiculous sets from Rose Condo and MiKo Berry  and a splurge of quality open mics from Brum’s finest. Great job Spoz and Bohdan.

Jasmine Gardosi

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Rose Condo, MiKo Berry, Spoz & Jasmine Gardosi at Hit The Ode, Birmingham 19.2.15

A whole week later and I am STILL buzzing, was a splendid night of poetry!

2nd Week of October – A Birthday Event, An End of Festival Party and Performing at BLF

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I spent the beginning of the week with 2.5 writing days, I was working on the Naked Lungs commission as well as an on-going project for October. I am enjoying filling my new poetry book with poems.

WLF&F logo concepts On Thursday SpeakEasy celebrated its 1st anniversary/birthday, with cake, poetry and TWO Headline acts, Antony Owen and Spoz. I was delighted to perform at this special event too and took 3 new poems with me, including one I wrote especially for the SpeakEasy team, which went down well. It was an epic evening! Speakeasy OCT

 

Lots of talented poets took to the mic including; Heidi Murphy, Charley Barnes, Leena Bachelor, Mike Alma, Polly Robinson (who also did a special Birthday poem), Heather Wastie, Michelle Crosbie, John Lawrence, myself and Mogs. As well as 4 open mic-ers, there were some open mic-ers who hadn’t been before, both good poets who I am sure we will see again.

the-year-i-loved-england Antony Owen brought some poets from Coventry to read some of the poems from his latest book, ‘The Year I Loved England’ – it was a great set. I bought the book at his launch in Coventry earlier this year, but nothing beats watching him reading his own poetry. © 2014 Antony Owens

Spoz, as always was thoroughly entertaining, he did his Jeremy Clarkson poem which I love and also treated us to a special effects housefly poem from his book of kids poems. BL spoz RH

I left on a real high.

On Friday I went to Digbeth to celebrate the end of the Poetry, Performance (and Everything Else!) Festival, with the cosmic chill out party. It was a brilliant party upstairs in a pub, there was a proper stage and sound system/board and technician, like real bands get! I had to follow Swingerella and Kate Bush! Who were both brilliant and massive crowd pleasers with their entertaining acts. I was worried approaching the stage with just my book of poems – thank goodness I had planned to perform the Moustache Poem! It was the toughest crowd I have had – thank goodness for stage lights – I couldn’t see the audience – I could hear them all talking though!

The end of the festival landed on World Mental Health Day, which is the main reason for the festival – raising awareness and fighting against the stigma of Mental Health. I had rehearsed a set which included some poems about my own experience. I decided during Swingerella’s act not to perform these. I had 3 funny poems, but still they talked.

Half way through the ‘Adjective’ poem I felt the audience with me – as there was movement on the stage as well as funny words. They wanted props and SHOW and I am so glad I packed my moustaches! I won them round on this final poem – especially as I needed a volunteer to hold the mic – there was audience participation and Swingerella and I bantering back and forth when she came up to the stage to help with the props!

It felt great! It also gave birth to the idea that I may collaborate with Swingerella in the future.

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On Saturday I had to get my Writing Job covered and it was the first day of my new mentoring role as I was at the Library of Birmingham for the Birmingham Literature Festival performing a collaboration for Naked Lungs.

Last year I went to the festival and spent most of my days there, I had just re-embarked on a life as a poet. This year, I was not able to make much of the festival, but I was performing in it.

This was a busy weekend for poetry events and I missed a Slam at Malvern Cube, the 20th Anniversary/Leaving party of the Cheltenham Slam and Ledbury Poetry in the Orchard.

I have written a separate post about Saturday Birmingham Literature Festival