Tag Archives: Suz Winspear

Worcestershire Poet Laureate Final

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Towards the end of May I received the news that I had made it to the final of the Worcestershire Poet Laureate competition. There were three finalists, myself, Damon Lord and Louise Reeder.

WLF Holly Magill©2017

I spent the first few hours twirling around with excitement at being a finalist. ‘That’s a win, right there!’ commented a poet I know. She was right. This alone is an achievement and one we should all be proud of.

I decided not to make it public when I sent my entry earlier on in the year, the poetry network being what it is some people who know how to read me, guessed. I still didn’t go public. Once the finalists had been officially announced  https://worcslitfest.co.uk/2017/05/30/and-the-worcestershire-poet-laureate-finalists-are/ I went public – but the Nation as a whole was understandably focused on the Election by then, which continues as the main social media topic now.

The week I discovered the news was a fully booked one with Stourbridge Library – Jo Bell & Roy McFarlane, Uncorked with Charley Barnes, Spoz and Hannah Teasdale, Stanza on Friday and a workshop in Cheltenham on Saturday – Stoke Newington Literature Festival and Shabda Press reading had to be cancelled as I did not have enough hours to make the journey in time and the Sunday night was Yes, We Cant in Walsall with Jonny Fluffypunk – poetry heroes aplenty. I thoroughly enjoyed myself but in the back of my mind my competition poems were stirring. I decided to give myself the 2nd week of June off from poetry events and other writing to concentrate on the poems.

I missed Stirchley Speaks – the 2nd birthday and a good night – but I did spend that particularly evening enjoying the summer house clear out Mr. G. had worked his socks off on, got drenched in the downpour and read my poems through a few times. I learnt them by heart. I spent Election day waiting in for a fridge and reciting lines. I voted on my way back from work – don’t you worry!

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Tonight after a haircut (much needed), I headed to the Racecourse for the final. I arrived about 40 mins early – the Friday night traffic I had predicted came later. I am never early and with a tummy full of butterflies this was not easy.

The evening itself was the LAUNCH of Worcester LitFest – all the finalists had an informal interview with the 5 judges and then we watched/heard the talented competition winners. The Young Writers read their entries, followed by the winning Flash Fiction entries.

There were quality performances by Matt Windle – Birmingham Poet Laureate – who MCed the event, Oakley Flanagan – Young Poet Laureate and Suz Winspear – who has just completed her tenure as Worcestershire Poet Laureate. Matt performed followed by the finalists and Oakley and Suz performed after the judging and before the winner was announced.

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Damon Lord, Louise Reeder and I had all entered the competition  before. This doesn’t prevent nerves or anxiety. Everyone performed their poems well. This year there was no public vote so we hadn’t seen or heard each other’s poems before. Another addition this year was to give a brief outline of what you hoped to achieve as Poet Laureate should you be the fortunate winner. I really wish I had typed mine because the ill-ordered scribble was hard to deliver cohesively! It was also difficult not to have every politicians mucked up manifesto in my mind as I delivered my hopes.

My happy news is that I am the Worcestershire Poet Laureate for 2017/18!

My first official engagement is tomorrow night, The Night at The Museum III with Suz Winspear, Matt Windle and Chloe Clarke. It starts at 7:30 PM see the link for programme/ ticket information – £5 a festival fiver is what you pay.

https://worcslitfest.co.uk/programme-tickets-2017/

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Of course, I am off to National Writers Conference first, in about 7 hours! Matt Windle is performing there too.

 

 

Poetry Ballroom

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An exquisite event, the brainchild of the current Worcestershire Poet Laureate, Suz Winspear, who wanted to combine poetry with other agencies. She teamed up with DanceFest Worcester and a select group of poets to produce ‘Poetry Ballroom’.

In ancient times, the arts were as one – the words the bards created and recited merged with music, and the active expression of the human body gave them expression and physical form . . . .

As the current Worcestershire Poet Laureate, Suz Winspear wants to bring artists back together once again.

Dance and Poetry now seem like distant art forms, but both can speak to one another . . . .dancers and poets can interact . . . . word and dance can come together to create something new . . . .

Welcome to the Poetry Ballroom!

It was an incredible evening and I was delighted to be involved. As an ex-dancer it gave me so much joy to watch the choreography and to write on the theme of dance. I have a body of work associated with dance/dancers already but also set to write new poems for the event.

Worcestershire’s Poet Laureate, Suz Winspear, has brought together Dancefest and Worcestershire LitFest to create a very special evening of poetry and dance.

Local poets Polly Stretton, Kevin Brooke, Holly Magill, Nina Lewis, alongside London-based Math Jones, will be joined by over 30 dancers of all ages from Dancefest’s Chance to Dance Company, DFA (Dancefest Adults) and Elevate Junior Youth Dance Company, who have created new dances inspired by poems.

Suz will be compering the evening and sharing some of the poems she’s written during her time as the county’s Poet Laureate. DanceFest © 2017

Poetry Ballroom

https://worcslitfest.co.uk/2017/02/25/welcome-to-the-poetry-ballroom/

It was the sort of evening which totally absorbs you. From start to finish.

Suz had the idea of poets performing from different parts of the venue, the dancers were delighted to discover that the poetry was dance related and talking to members of DanceFest afterwards, I know they enjoyed the show as much as we did.

The space inside the Angel Centre, is gorgeous, I can see why it is home to dance. The lighting was magical, fairy-lights and blackout curtains contained the large audience in an other worldly place for the night. A night, I for one, did not want to end. It was spectacular.

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Suz opened the event,

pb followed by Polly Stretton, who brought some instrumental percussion to proceedings

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before Elevate Junior Dance Company took to the floor to perform The Ballroom of Squid. The inspiration behind this dance, (choreographed by Janene Wyatt & Company), came from a poem written by Suz Winspear, which she performed alongside the dancers.

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Kevin Brooke was the next poet to perform, high up on the balcony. Followed by the most beautiful dance ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ performed by DFA (DanceFest Adults) who equalled professional companies in there execution of the awe inspiring choreography (Clare Wood). A dance based on a Maya Angelou poem is a sure fire winner in my book and I was mesmerised.

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It was incredibly moving, so much so I was not really emotionally ready to take to the floor for my spot.

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I performed The Fourth wall – a poem I wrote back in 2013, one of the first poems in my book when I started back along the poetry road. It explores the feelings of an ex-dancer watching dance, exactly how I felt after watching the DFA Company.

2/4, 3/4, 4/4 – a poem I wrote especially for the Ballroom event explores 8 different ballroom styles.

Underwater Gothic – a poem I had written a month or so before, before I heard Suz perform The Ballroom of Squid, at 42 to tease us prior to the Poetry Ballroom event. It was inspired by nature films and is based under the sea, much the same as Elevate’s dance.

I completed my set with Tango – a poem I have written for an upcoming poetry anthology as a tribute to Leonard Cohen.

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I thoroughly enjoyed performing, despite the nerves and cramp in my calf muscle, which was ironic as all I wanted to be able to do was dance once more.

After the interval we were treated to Math Jones’ dynamic, theatrical performance. He made almost as much use of the space as the dancers!

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Followed by Holly McGill who performed wonderfully. Then the final dance treat Ghost of Castle Street From Sonnet to Sestina. This was performed by the Chance to Dance Company (choreographed by Marie Oldaker with the dancers). It was inspired by a poem of the same title written by Stephen Murphy in 2004 about the then-deserted Worcester Royal Infirmary.

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This captivating dance incorporated sound and word as fragments of communication. Copies of the poem and definitions of the form were handed out along with the programme.

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Finally Suz completed this enchanting evening with a poem and farewell.

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With kind permission from DanceFest/ Worcester LitFest

Photography Clare Wood/DanceFest © 2017


The poets

Polly Stretton

Polly follows many writerly pursuits in her hometown of Worcester. Her poetry has been displayed at Croome Court and in many anthologies. She’s a coordinator and judge of various writing competitions and works with Black Pear Press, Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe, and OU Poetry Society. Polly’s writing includes a collection of poetry, a series of poems about the tragic young poet Thomas Chatterton, and a pamphlet of children’s poetry. She’ll go into ecstasies about her puppy: Mabel.

Nina Lewis

Nina Lewis has poetry published in anthologies and magazines, her début pamphlet Fragile Houses is published by V. Press. Nina’s poetry has featured in an Art Installation, on Poetry Trails and at a Dance Festival. In 2014 she was commissioned to perform at Birmingham Literature Festival. She organises an annual writing retreat at https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com

Holly Magill

Holly Magill is from Worcestershire. She has a BA in Creative Writing from University Of Birmingham and has had poems in various publications, including Clear Poetry, Ink Sweat & Tears and The Emma Press’ anthology of Mildly Erotic Verse. She is fond of cats and strong tea above most things.

Kevin Brooke

Kevin writes a bit of poetry and is also known to try out a few steps of ballroom. Currently studying Creative Writing and English Literature at the University of Worcester, he is hoping to increase his repertoire in both. A writer of children’s fiction, his YA novel Jimmy Cricket was published by Black Pear Press in 2014 

Math Jones 

Math Jones has been sweet on his pins since childhood, He’s cut many a caper, promenaded and do-ci-do’ed, waltzed and polka’ed, stamped heels in traditional Indian, Galliarded, and Cell-block Tango’ed. Now, of course, he’s more likely to be dancing with his eyes.

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The dancers

Dancefest Elevate Junior Youth Dance Company

A company for Herefordshire-based creative dancers aged 10 to 13 to develop creative and technical skills, with performance opportunities throughout the year. Auditions to join the company take place on Monday 17 July at Hereford College of Arts.

Chance to Dance Company

Dancefest’s Chance to Dance Company is for experienced dancers aged 50 and over, who like to create, experiment and have a passion to perform.

DFA (Dancefest Adults)

DFA is for experienced dancers with a sense of adventure who enjoy the creative process and want to perform in outdoor and unusual spaces.

The choreographers

Janene Wyatt

Janene has been leading contemporary and creative dance classes across Herefordshire over the past 14 years, working extensively with children, young people and adults of all ages and abilities in community settings and in education. Janene’s main passion and focus is the development and teaching of dance for children and young people [more]

Marie Oldaker

Marie is a freelance choreographer, creative dance practitioner and arts project coordinator with over twenty five years’ experience working in community and education contexts. Her artistic focus is predominantly about working creatively with local communities and their histories, across generations, inclusively and to promote health [more]

Clare Wood

Clare has worked for Dancefest for 14 years devising and delivering dance projects and teaching regular classes. In her various roles at Dancefest Clare has led work for all ages and abilities including GCSE Dance, GP referred adults, Parents and Wobblers, visually impaired and learning disabled participants [more] 

DanceFest © 2017

The Poetry Ballroom took place on April 2nd, I wanted access to the photography before I posted and by then it was May and I was wrapped up in working on our show 30-40-60 for Worcester LitFest.

I wish I had had time to complete the review months ago when this wondrous night was crystal clear but hopefully I have captured the essence of this spellbinding evening of pleasure.

 

Review April 2017

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As always NaPoWriMo takes over April and makes it challenging to keep other blog posts up to date. I have made an effort to keep the blog NaPo intentionally this month with a few posts breaking the thread. I have had some amazing experiences this month which deserve a dedicated blogging. I plan to pepper them in throughout May.

 

WEEK 1:

I was asked to co-ordinate an event for a Festival I am already involved with – this task took the best part of a fortnight. But I am happy that it is all now booked and in place for this summer. I spent further weeks this month planning and organising the events for an Arts Festival in July.

I went to an editing workshop. Taking with me a poem from 2014 that has never fully worked. I can safely say it has the treatment now and just in time because it formed part of the set I performed at The Poetry Ballroom.

Poetry Ballroom

I experienced the Poetry Ballroom. Suz Winspear (this year’s Worcestershire Poet Laureate) organised this event in partnership with DanceFest. It was an amazing night. I will be blogging a full write up in May, I was honoured to be an invited performer at the event and had great fun writing some dance poems especially for it. The evening was a sound success and the dancers appreciated the theme of our poetry – not realising that we would focus on dance. As an ex-dancer, it was a pleasure.

I was asked to endorse a book (my 2nd one). The first book I endorsed is due to launch in May, more on that next month too. I am currently reading this manuscript and am delighted that the publishers thought of me.

I was asked to read at a Book Launch next month. I have spent some time this month penning new poems for this occasion. To be honest the poems were also part of NaPoWriMo, but why not make your projects work hard for you. Lots of prompts leant themselves to current project pies I have my thumbs in, so given half a chance…napo2017button1

I went to a reading at The Hive with Sarah Leavesley & Melissa Lee-Houghton. I was really excited by this. Ruth Stacey had arranged it for her students at university and just gave a bit of a quiet shout out. thehiveworcsorg

Being part of an audience of students, listening to their woes made me glad this wasn’t my life anymore. It is all to easy to glamorize the undergraduate/post grad life… but really… as much pressure as the real world.

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I loved hearing Sarah read from Magnetic Diaries again after all this time and it was a real treat to hear Melissa Lee-Houghton, as she sadly couldn’t make Verve festival in the end. It was a great evening and I am glad I managed the post work rush to get there. Had to drive a hire car too – as my window decided to malfunction and I spent over an hour finding a garage willing to help me so late on in the day. The window was stuck in the down position. My lesson: using air con is cheaper in the long run!

I spent time writing the brief for a 2nd poetry festival event, involving the other two poets. It is amazing how many days it can take 3 poets to come up with less than 3 lines!

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Back in February (my month of applications), I applied for Room 204 Writer Development Programme run by WWM. They had over 130 applicants this year for 15 places. I am delighted to announce the embargo has lifted and I can share this news. We had our first cohort meeting – what a great year to be in, so much talent. We had a photo shoot (one I wanted a haircut and weight-loss for) – neither happened in the days beforehand, but Paul Stringer is a talented photographer. It was a fun morning, we were all so excited to be part of the 2017/18 cohort and already good things have happened as a result. There is a whole year of mentoring and career development ahead, over £1000 worth. Priceless if you ask me.

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I am extremely excited to be part of Room 204, I discovered it back in 2013 and have been biding my time and developing my writing to the point I thought I was able to qualify for a place on the scheme. I am grateful my application was successful. That my writing stood up to the scrutiny and competition. Here’s the rest of this year’s cohort

https://www.writingwestmidlands.org/room-204-participants-201718/

I also reconnected with a good friend of mine afterwards and we plan to exchange books and do lunch next time I am back in the area. I used to spend more time in Birmingham than I do at the moment. I am spending less time on the road this year and more time at the desk, the natural pattern of a writer. It was good catching up.

WEEK 2

Went to an incredibly exciting meeting at the Custard Factory for this year’s Room 204 programme, which we were embargoed about. The news was finally released on the 11/12th. Rm-204-logo-final-solo-600x328

Started typing NaPo poems, I decided to write longhand this year, which gave me that workshop feeling as much of my writing is straight to screen nowadays. It meant I successfully completed the challenge with 97 poems by the end of the month, however I have typed about 10 to edit so far.

Made a promotional Easter video for Fragile Houses. I was reading advice on marketing and promotion and find it hard to detail what my pamphlet with give you beyond shared experience, memory and space to work through mirrored realities. Which all seems a high promise or at the worst an abstract manifesto. Then I thought about chocolate, the calories (personally delighted this year to have so many eggs and treats). easter Had another 3 eggs after this photo was taken!

I spent half a day making the video. Poetry – less calories than chocolate. Maybe I should have offered a free egg with every book sold.

I booked onto a Room 204 event for later in the month.

Started writing a book review and went to see Kate Bush tribute Cloudbusting with Mr G. katebush

I missed License to Rhyme again as the next day I was going to Swindon. Rick Saunders aka Willis the Poet was headlining and he was happy to take me on the road trip. It was a cracking night at Oooh Beehive – a night that Clive Oseman and Nick Lovell started a while ago. Swindon is quite a way on a school night and it was the early hours by the time I was home, but it was the Easter holidays and I am glad I managed it. Lovely to see Sam Loveless and Edward, who I met at the Poetry Festival last year.

I went to HOWL and watched amazing headline sets from Charley Barnes, Tom McCann and Rhythmical Mike. It was a great night and I was happy I made an open mic spot. It was fabulous to see everyone again. HOWL

I went to SpeakEasy where Gareth Owens was headlining. That was a good night too – rare these days that I manage 3 nights on the hoof like this. I spent the day beforehand making media for an upcoming festival shoe and dealing with programme copy.

It was nice to escape for a few hours and immerse myself in poetry.

The Beltane Anthology for 2017 was published by Three Drops from a Cauldron, which has my Rag Tree poem in it. I know you should never judge a book by the cover – but with this stunning design, who wouldn’t want to see their poetry inside!

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Featuring poetry and flash fiction by Jane Burn, Rhiannon Hooson, Alison Stone, Denise Blake, Abigail Elizabeth Ottley Wyatt, Eleanor Penny, Tom Moody, Bee Smith, Rebecca Buchanan, Rebecca Gethin, Nina Lewis, Wendy Mannis Scher, Ceinwen E. Cariad Haydon, Sarah Hart, Raquel Vasquez Gilliland, Kitty Coles, Donald Illich, Dennis Trujillo, Lesley Burt, Cynthia June Long, Vivien Jones, Moyra Donaldson, Maggie Mackay, Bethany Rivers, Lewis Buxton, Carmina Masoliver, Nico Solheim-Davidson, R.M. Francis, Linda Goulden, Ilse Pedler, and Joanna Swan.

Edited by Kate Garrett, with the Three Drops from a Cauldron editorial team: Becca Goodin, Loma Jones, Amy Kinsman, Holly Magill, Penny Sharman, Grant Tarbard, and Claire Walker.

http://www.lulu.com/shop/kate-garrett/three-drops-from-a-cauldron-beltane-2017/paperback/product-23143262.html

It is now also available in digital copy.

https://threedropspoetry.co.uk/2017/04/14/three-drops-from-a-cauldron-beltane-2017/

Week 3

I had a free writing webinar with The Writers Academy & Penguin Random House, it was an interesting few hours, although I wrote copious notes not realising they were sending follow up information via email.

I had my first Room 204 1 to 1 session, we get 3 over the course of the year. It was useful and I have already started working on decisions.Rm-204-logo-WITH-WORDS

I spent an entire day co-ordinating and planning for festival events.

Holly Daffurn has started a new venture – at Bottles Wine Bar, ‘Uncorked’ an evening of Spoken Word, there were over 50 tickets sold and the night was divided into 3 parts with 5 headliners and open mic. Ambitious scheduling, beautiful venue and a stellar line up made for a perfect evening. uncorked

I performed on the open mic. Brilliant Headliners: Jasmine Gardosi, Casey Bailey, Holly Daffurn, Leon Priestnall & Joe Cooke

The Spring edition of Birmingham Literature Festival happened and despite a fantastic programme (all well received), I was unable to make it across to the city for any events. I even missed Cynthia Miller’s Primers Launch.

BLF Spring

I had my WWM group which meant I couldn’t attend some of the events/workshops on Saturday. The group went really well, we made our own magazines. I have since planned the final two session, so feel ahead of the game.

Week 4

I booked tickets to go and see Carol Ann Duffy in May, continued to organise festival events. The Stourbridge Literature Festival started. I went to see Emma Purshouse headline at Spoken Trend, saw Carla Rickets headline too. It was a great night, I even went home with 3 daffodils, now that is a good night.

I took a Napowrimo poem to Stanza and it was approved. I have written 97 in total this month as I have followed 2 main prompts, the main site napwrimo.net and joined Carrie Etter’s group where she provided us with 30 optional prompts. Beyond the poems, I have researched and stumbled into new project territory which is most exciting. Carrie’s group was amazing for comradery and support. Jo Bell spent the entire month posting poems for us to read as it is as important as writing and a sure way to learn/ learn about poetry. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the poems and discussions on her blog and will miss this daily ritual and ponder more than I will miss the onslaught of daily poetry writing.

imgID54935282.jpg.gallery I went to the first talk organised by Room 204 and now have a notebook full of information and ideas.

And the month finished with a flurry of PR for VOICES FROM THE MIDDLE at Stourbridge Literature Festival.

The first of 3 events I have been organising. A combined reading with: vpress sb I will blog about the festival/event over the coming days. Within 24 hours I will be promoting Cheltenham Poetry Festival and over the next 5 days working towards 30-40-60 the collaborative performance booked into this year’s Worcester Literature Festival.

I will not have time to be sad about the end of NaPoWriMo, but I hope to have time to type edit some of the work produced during April.

This was a GREAT month!

 

 

Worcester LitFest 2016

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Here is a round up of this year’s WLF (Worcester LitFest) 10th – 19th June. I was not able to make as many events as I had hoped and heard lots of good things about those events I missed.

WLF&F logo conceptsThe festival was five days in before I made it to the city this year.

42 Worcester LitFest Special – 15th June

Many of us wrote pieces to perform at this event based on the theme of the ‘Last Stop on the Worcester Night Train’. It was a pleasure to perform and the atmosphere was brilliant.

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SpeakEasy LitFest Special – 16th June

The following evening saw Angela France feature at SpeakEasy.

Angela France

Featured artist Angela France has had poems published in many of the leading journals and has been anthologised a number of times. Her publications include ‘Occupation’ (Ragged Raven Press, 2009), Lessons in Mallemaroking (Nine Arches Press, 2011) and Hide (Nine Arches Press 2013). Angela teaches creative writing at the University of Gloucestershire and in various community settings as well as working for a local charity. She runs a reading series in Cheltenham, ‘Buzzwords’. © 2016 WLF

My set included a Fox poem, as Myfanwy Fox was the guest MC and ‘Awumbuk’, a poem I wrote in response to workshop writing with Angela.

It was a great night and good to be back at the original venue opposite the river.

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The Quiet Compere

After the success of the Quiet Compere Tour last year, Sarah Dixon was back with us at The Hive for a full on night of poetry.

Sarah L Dixon runs regular Quiet Compere events in Chorlton, Manchester. She hosted a medical-themed poetry event at Cheltenham Poetry Festival in 2014. Sarah has toured The Quiet Compere format (ten poets x ten minutes each) nationally in 2015 and in the North of England in 2014. Quiet Compere events enlist great, established poets and emerging voices. The Quiet Compere introduces them with little fanfare so the poems (and not the poet’s track record) tell you all you need to know. © 2016 WLF

QC tour

I was looking forward to seeing Adam Horovitz, as I missed him at Swindon and am currently missing him at Ledbury too. I must book the week off next year!

The QC event was a night of powerhouse poetry. Featured poets included;

Adam Horovitz, Jess Davies, Jasmine Gardosi, Leon Priestnall, Ken Evans and Holly Magill. Pre-booked open mic slots myself, Polly Stretton, Leena Batchelor and Neil Laurenson. Other open mic spots were Kathy Gee, Anne Milton (reading publically for the first time) and Kieran Davis.

Who better to tell you all about it but the Quiet Compere herself. Read Sarah’s review here. http://thequietcompere.co.uk/robin-williams-apple-sorrow-and-elephants-in-every-corner-the-blog-of-quiet-compere-at-worcs-litfest-2016/

This was my final dip into WLF 2016 and what a way to go out with the QC!

 

Congratulations to Suz Winspear – Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2016-2017 AND the new Poet in Residence at the Museum of Royal Worcester.

Follow these links to delve into the magically gothic world of Suz Winspear.

 

Buy her poetry here

https://www.amazon.co.uk/not-need-new-Obsession/dp/1291592547

Read about her residency here

Poet Laureate

For the full festival listing of all events follow this link https://worcslitfest.co.uk/programme-tickets-2016/

National Poetry Day Light & Shade Event at Kidderminster Carpet Museum

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National Poetry Day is a great day for poets. There are always plenty of things to get involved with. Every year I get ‘Christmas excitement’ when I find out all the wonderful things that people have been up to and social media is flooded with poets sharing their events, stories and of course, these wonderful posters.

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This year my preparation for NPD started in the summer when Heather Wastie, Worcestershire’s Poet Laureate approached Suz Winspear and myself (as runners up of the PL competition) to work on a special commission. Part of Heather’s remit for winning PL was to organise a NPD event and she did a wonderful job, it was a great evening of celebration and poetry.

Nina Lewis © 2015

Nina Lewis © 2015

Suz and I met Heather at the Carpet Museum in Kidderminster (where Heather had been a Poet in Residence) and she talked us through the vision for ‘Light & Shade’. We had an opportunity for research (I had already visited the museum on August 15th to research for the NPD WLF (Worcester LitFest) competition, which was also organised by Heather as part of the NPD event.

Then Suz and I went away with our remits and worked on crafting a poem each. The next rehearsal we discussed how to blend these into a performance. Heather had organised readings before and after this element and was clear she wanted it to be theatrical/dramatic, a little different – as it was billed as ‘a touch of theatre’. We all worked well together and soon crafted a performance, dividing the poems as you would a script and working on the character of the piece.

Heather was so happy with it that she decided we wouldn’t need another run through until the 8th October. light shade NPD

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On NPD I was forced to do the day job and infiltrated as much poetry as possible and Heather herself was drastically busy promoting poetry in person and on the radio, whizzing from one event to another. So there was a frazzled energy about us to begin with. The staff had set the venue up and were organised and ‘swanlike’ – they had had a busy day ‘one of those days’ as well, you would never have guessed. They busily got our event ready as well as hosting a regular group downstairs.

Suz and I rehearsed and took some last minute directorial advice from Heather and then drooled over the refreshment buffet and got ready.

NPD LIVE

Costume wise we had decided to represent Light (morning) and Dark (shade/night) by wearing white and black, this may not have been picked up by the audience, it was a good idea as it made us feel a little in character. Especially as Suz is famous for her wonderfully high, wedged, gothic black boots and had the most pretty kitten heels on. (This is why Liam took a photo of her feet).

Photos by Liam Cortintias suz shoes

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Suz Winspear & Nina Lewis Post Performance  ‘A little touch of theatre’

The museum took photographs throughout the night and I hope to be able to share some in the future.

Heather shared some of her poems from her new book, ‘Weaving Yarns’ – launching in November published by Black Pear Press. black pear

Then came the NPD competition poets, Charley Barnes, who won the people’s vote online from the four shortlisted poems, mine was also shortlisted. Her prize was a poetry book, Todd Swift (Eyewear Publishing) generously provided books for the winners.

Then the finalists Brian Comber, Jenny Shaw & Claire Walker performed their NPD poems, which were a delight to hear.

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Next the audience made their way upstairs to an area not usually open to the public where you can look down on the looms and machines.

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Then it was our turn to perform Reading Threads and Carpet Days and Nights. The audience enjoyed the experience of our performance and we hope to repeat it again next year at one of Heather’s events. It seemed a shame to do all that work for just one performance and other people want to see it – so hopefully those busy poets who were elsewhere on NPD will get a chance to see it in 2016.

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After the interval (in which many great conversations were had, but no Lemon slices were left) we returned back downstairs to the gift shop to hear the winner of the competition announced and Maggie Doyle (Poet Laureate Emeritus) and Chloe Clarke (Young Poet Laureate) performed sets, the night was drawn to a close by more poems from Heather.

The winner of the NPD Competition was Claire Walker, who won free entry for a YEAR to SpeakEasy & Mouth & Music, a poetry book and I believe free entry to 2016/17 Poet Laureate competition, where she will be a firm favourite.

Brian and Jenny also won books thanks to Todd Swift, Eyewear Publishing.

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PHOTO CREDIT© Sarah Gillam 2015, Museum of Carpet

It was a wonderful evening and I was filled with Poetry happiness.

Well done to Heather! DSC06830

RELATED LINKS

http://www.worcesternews.co.uk/news/13797213.Two_nights_of_poetry_will_celebrate_National_Poetry_Day/

http://worcslitfest.co.uk/worcestershire-poet-laureate/heathers-wpl-blog-october-2015/

Poeting, Training & Performing – September

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I am currently working against end of month deadlines for a few projects as well as working the proper job to make up for lack of summer funds. I am really too busy to be blogging and in three days time will be reviewing September anyway… but I also believe my poeting needs a mention, after all that is why this blog was created and some of you are following the journey.

 

Business Meetings, Plans & Poetry On Loan Training

This month I have taken on board training – which is something I haven’t done for a while. I had a great business meeting, which was a spin off from the laureateship competition exposure and this guided me through the end of year ideals well. Including some possible job applications, which have now been openly shared across social media increasing my known competition, which is terrifying but hasn’t put me off going for it anyway. This meeting helped me come home and set some clear goals for myself rather than just wavering between writing the manuscript, performing poems and getting involved in projects (like Caldmore Gardens with David Calcutt’s residency, NPD with Heather Wastie, organising the next INKSPILL – AWF’s very own FREE online writing retreat, supporting and promoting Arts All Over the Place Festival in support of Mental Health).

I did ‘Poetry on Loan’ training with Brenda Read-Brown and Jon Seagrave (Jonny Fluffypunk). It was a great session with librarians and poets sharing experiences and evaluating from our roles. I hope one day soon I will be able to provide the service of Poet on Loan. Ready now. Sadly I missed this year’s competition, remembering the deadline as the end of the month rather than the beginning!

 

Rehearsals

I have been rehearsing for Caldmore Carnival (26th)

Janet Jenkins © 2015

and NPD Light & Shade (on National Poetry Day – 8th October). Caldmore was brilliant, a group from the Calcutt/Caldmore workshops sent poems which David then edited into a   CHORAL poem to be performed by Andy Summers, Jimm Rennie, Janet Jenkins and myself, unfortunately after making the rehearsal Jimmie wasn’t well enough to perform this past Saturday and David took his place.

LIGHT and shade 

light shade NPD

Suz Winspear and I met with Heather Wastie for our first ‘Light and Shade’ rehearsal and ideas flowed extremely well. The whole spectacle is now blocked and there will just need to be a few run throughs before the night. We have sorted costume and now all we have to do is get to know the final performance draft of our poems, practise and enjoy! It is a great collaboration to be part of.

 

Caldmore Carnival – Choral Poetry Performance

It was a pleasure to see the garden caldmore being used in full summer (September) glory and I am glad we performed before they had all the talented dance and music groups on, the talent of local young people.

caldmore 3 caldmore2

Carnival Photography Nina Lewis © 2015

We had a great weather day too!

 

Swingerella – Wrecking Ball Tour – Birmingham

I really feel this show deserves a blog post of its own. I may have to do a feature of some sort as Andrea Smith/Shorrick is taking the world by storm as Swingerella and her show was amazingly powerful with messages that need to be exposed. I booked my tickets to see her show at the Mockingbird Theatre, Custard Factory, pre-Edinburgh – Swing did the fringe and went down a storm there and then came back to perform a swansong on home soil.

When I have some more time next month, I will blog about her fabulous journey and the show, which has reached the end of its run. She may even give us a sneak preview of her next venture.

Jimmy Riddle © 2015

Jimmy Riddle © 2015

 

Poetry Bites with Jacqui Rowe, Featuring Liz Berry & Jane Commane

It was a pleasure to be at this event, not only to watch the headliners Liz Berry and Jane Commane but also for so many reasons.

It has been ages since I have been able to get to Poetry Bites, there were so many poets I hadn’t seen for a while who also managed to attend and it was great catching up. I got to sit and chat with Jonathan Davidson and Jane Commane AND some poetry friends from elsewhere came to check it out and perform. I think I may have converted several new fans.

It was fantastic to hear Jane Commane’s poetry. She is a well established editor (Nine Arches Press) and so often my involvement with Jane (since 2013) has been when she is wearing her editing shoes. To hear her poetry was a delight.

Liz Berry, well like John Hegley, she is back in my world again, so soon. The upside of this is I remembered to take my book to be signed and as it hasn’t been that long since her KAF appearance, she remembered our conversation about the book.

Poetry Bites is un-mic-ed (without a mic) and Liz is softly spoken. It was a magical combination listening really hard and hanging onto the edge of the last sounds in words.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/09/23/kaf-liz-berry-and-blair-dunlop-13th-august/

 

In Other Poeting News

I was asked to guest poet next month at an event in Cheltenham and started working on some new submissions.

Last month I was booked for the next AAOTP Arts All Over the Place Fundraiser and spent a morning writing poetry about Alice in Wonderland and Lewis Carroll. Due to unforeseen circumstances I wasn’t able to attend this event until it was nearly over, I did manage to perform and the poems went down well and are also be suitable for the Festival display.

AAOTP2

I booked tickets for Swindon Poetry Festival and am delighted to be one of ten readers at;

Lunch with a celebration of ’52’ group and Anthology Fri 12:30 – 2 2/10/15 – Lower Shaw Farm: Come along and enjoy lunch at Lower Shaw Farm, after which we will have readings from the 52 group brought together last year by Jo Bell. This will be a celebration of this wonderful project. There will be readings from the book and from 52ers present.

Lunch with a celebration of ’52’ group and Anthology is happening this Friday 2nd October. So I am now rehearsing National Poetry Day Poetry, a headline set and poetry for 52, hard because we will be reading poems on behalf

Hilary Robinson © 2015

Hilary Robinson © 2015 52 Flash Bomb Poetry outside Shakespeare’s Birthplace 2014

of people who cannot be there and we all read poetry differently. Fortunately I have just found communication about organising the reading of other people’s poetry. Some of my original selection have already been chosen. We are reading one poem each from the anthology

52 the book

and one of our own from the 52 Project. I can’t wait – particularly excited as I missed the Stratford meet earlier this summer.

42

Quite unbelievably it is the 50th 42 event this week – looking forward to a celebration and performance this Wednesday. Writing poetry for it over the next 48 hours, poetry that I am hoping will also work for a submission this month.

42

I have lots of great things to look forward to next month and then I think I will rest back a bit more and see the end of the year off behind a desk (that, I would like to believe… we will see)!

 

 

I Never Expected Floor Covering – The World of Carpet NPD

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Some time ago (in secret) I was asked to take part in a performance for National Poetry Day. This year’s Poet Laureate for Worcestershire is Heather Wastie and as runner up poets, she invited both myself and Suz Winspear to take part. WLF say that there are opportunities even if you don’t win and I think this is ours. I was delighted to accept.

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Heather was the Poet in Residence at the Carpet Museum in Kidderminster (traditional trade in the town), an industry, like many that has left empty mills and legacy across the 21st century streets. Heather was also one of the three guest writers for last year’s INKSPILL (our very own online writing retreat).

Light and Shade is taking place in the carpet museum in conjunction with Worcester LITFEST.

light shade NPD

There was a poetry competition (closed 6th September), the 3 winners have been chosen and voting is open for a 4th poet. You can vote for free on a one click POLL here.

http://worcslitfest.co.uk/litfest-npd-competition-update-and-poll/

VOTING closes on the 1st October.

WLF Heather WPL

Saturday August 15th

In preparation for entering this competition there was a special open day at the Carpet Museum, which is an amazing place and so much more than I expected was discovered. It was a relaxing few hours walking around to the gentle hum of poet’s pens scribbling away.

I had a whole notebook of ideas.

Nina Lewis © 2015

Nina Lewis © 2015

Tuesday August 25th

A few weeks later Heather, Suz and I met to explore ideas for the writing and the performance space. I was able to use some of the audio resources to gather story. Heather also shared conversations she had had with weavers as part of her residency, these helped a lot with finding character.

Suz and I went away and wrote our poems.

Nina Lewis © 2015

Nina Lewis © 2015

Monday September 21st

We all met again to rehearse the project, it was great fun and I think it is a unique project to be part of. The event is free, the performance space has limited capacity so you will still need to book tickets.

Nina Lewis © 2015

Nina Lewis © 2015

I love being busy on NPD (National Poetry Day) and I look forward to being involved in the world of carpet for this one.