Tag Archives: workshops

5th Annual Writing Retreat INKSPILL

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Copy of Event Flyer (1)

INKSPILL 2017 Coming Soon Celebrate Our 5th Year

Book yourself some time off and treat yourself to a FREE online writing retreat this Autumn. Join us in real time, or wander around the posts at your leisure.
Easy links to previous years will also be available.

SPECIAL GUESTS TO BE ANNOUNCED SOON!

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Review of July

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Week 1: 

Workshop/National Trust Project

Room 204 is involved in the Croome Court project Adam Speaks. We met Chris Alton, the Lead Artist at a workshop at Writing West Midlands Headquarters in the Custard Factory on Saturday 1st July.

1431782527872-adam-speaks-wwm-170701-19-rfw-credit-peter-young  © 2017 Peter Young

This was an epic 6 hr workshop. Chris is working with 4 groups Kimichi School, The Birmingham Institute of Theatre Arts, Writing West Midlands and St Barnabas First and Middle School. It was exciting to know that these workshops will feed Chris’s art.

Adam Speaks has been set up by Rachel Sharpe and Kiki Claxton for the National Trust, following Plumlines last year.

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/croome/features/adam-speaks

Chris Alton Rachel Hill

© 2017 Rachel Hill

Chris Alton, from Croydon, is a multidisciplinary artist, whose practice brings together distant, yet connected cultural phenomena. Whether deploying disco music against fascism or playing table tennis in competition with aggressive architecture, he utilises seemingly incongruous juxtapositions to address the multi-layered nature of prevailing social and political conditions. 

© National Trust Croome Court Adam Speaks

Literature Festival

Sunday saw my 3rd official WPL appearance on the Poetry Walk for Evesham Festival of Words. This event had a great turn out and beautiful Sunday morning sunshine for the poetry walk, a gentle stroll across the green park around the Bell Tower in Evesham.

I performed some Evesham poems written especially for the event and enjoyed listening to poetry and prose. It was good to see some people who happened upon our merry group, stay and listen.

It was good to reconnect with Sue Johnson and I booked another event later for this year.

Evesham-Festival-of-Words-Image-1

This festival always has a great programme. They are already booked up for next year.

Radio

On Monday I had my first Radio slot with Tammy Gooding BBC Radio Hereford & Worcester. This was something Maggie Doyle instigated during her WPL tenure (2013/14). It is a tradition picked up by other Laureates and I am happy to continue with it.

I read ‘Gander’ one of the poems written for Evesham Festival of Words. Tammy is amazing at putting you at ease. She was also impressed with an interview which needed no editing! It has been decades since I stepped foot inside a studio. I was nervous, but had such a great time! I am already booked in for August.

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Performances

During the evening I took a guest slot at Licensed to Rhyme, Maggie Doyle & Spoz’s monthly poetry event at the Artrix.

Headlining this month was former WPL Suz Winspear, Claire Walker was the other guest poet and there were a plethora of open mic-ers. It was a fabulous evening.

licensed-to-rhyme-new (1)

And before I start sounding like the Hungry Caterpillar… on Tuesday I took a rest. There were events I would have liked to attend but I was attempting to conserve energy for my Headline slot at Uncorked.

Having pencilled in Ledbury Poetry Festival, Lichfield and Shropshire – we arrive at Thursday.

Headline

I was booked for Uncorked at Bottles a while ago (before WPL), originally scheduled for June, I swapped into July so Charley would have a chance to sell her recently published books. I on the other hand have had my final 5 copies of Fragile Houses for months… this is the way it goes sometimes. I didn’t sell any books but I had a great evening.

Sean Colletti created a masterpiece idea for the introductory sets so instead of the traditional 5 minute teaser from each of the Headline poets we worked together on Sean’s concept of a waiting room & the result was an interesting concoction , especially considering it was unrehearsed.

uncorked-july

Clive Oseman, Jake Scott & Sean Colletti were all wonderful headliners and we had a good range of open floor spots too. Holly has created something magic here, helped by a sensational venue Bottles Wine Bar in Worcester.

Workshop

Up early the next morning (hard to sleep on post-performance adrenaline), I drove to Shrewsbury for a workshop with Helen Ivory and Martin Figura. I would have paid just to meet these two poets who have been on my radar for a long time. So having the bonus of a workshop was superb.

Unfortunately, I missed the performance the night before as I was at Uncorked. It wasn’t a prerequisite to the workshop though. The workshop was based on epistolary poetry. Which is something I have only tried to a few times. Strange because I used to love writing letters, I had 33 international penfriends by 12 years old. I also started writing to an old, re-united friend during my deepest depression. These letters are now even more special to me as she sadly passed away.

The workshop was brilliant and I got some ideas from it, as well as books. Love their work and cannot wait to spend time with the pages.

I recently (28th June) re-wrote one of my workshop poems and took it to stanza. I will do something with it in the future. I am pleased with the result and know I would never have written it without this workshop.

It was at the Severn Theatre in a huge room, necessary as it was a large group. It was lovely to reconnect with the Shropshire crew. I have been busy lately and it has cut me off from many out of county events. I cannot remember the last time I made it to perform in Birmingham beyond Waterstones events. I know how quickly the poetry scene moves there, so it will be full of people I don’t know – which is exciting.

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I was booked in for my first Cathedral Poets Workshop in Worcester the following morning and an action packed day in Ledbury on the Sunday. Reason and experience told me Mr. G and I needed some time and I needed to rest. So regrettably I cancelled the workshop and now have to wait until October. October is an incredibly busy month with Swindon Poetry Festival, Birmingham Literature Festival and school workshops, so I may not get to the Cathedral again.

Ledbury Poetry Festival 

I always want to attend the complete festival, I dream of pitching up a tent and staying. It is like a massive holiday for poets with a daily celebration of words. However, knowing I could only manage one day this year – I chose a day with an action packed programme.

It was amazing. Read the full 21 Years of Gold

LedburyPoertyFestivalLogo2017updatedimagesize-20013269807

Week 2

After work I was too tired to get to watch Beyond the Water’s Edge at the Artrix and I am very disappointed to miss it. I also missed the WLF Committee meeting (as I was meant to be at the theatre). Where was I? Asleep! Although having read Week 1, I am not surprised. I was also working on an application and some poetry which I used most of my post-Ledbury adrenaline to fuel.

I booked in WPL work and wrote commissioned poetry for Buildings Talk Hospital Histories (a project I spent 3 weeks working on) and got my set for Chapel Lates organised and set some promo for an event in August.

I gave myself some downtime knowing the end of the week was another hectic schedule.

Performance/ Cheltenham Music Festival

Chapel arts

Chapel Lates in Cheltenham, an amazing night of poetry and prose as part of Cheltenham Music Festival curated by Anna Saunders (Founder Cheltenham Poetry Festival). Read all about it here  Chapel Lates Cheltenham-Music-Festival-1

 

This event clashed with HOWL and Outspoken. It is always the way. It has taken 4 years, but I am beginning to come to terms with the fact that I cannot be everywhere at once.

Commission/Performance/Project 

Buildings Talk: Hospital Histories

Charley Barnes asked me to participate in a Medical Museum Project at the end of June. We had access to historical archives (photographs) which are not on general display to the public and from these we created a 10 minute set of poetry.

Buildings Talk

It was a great project to be involved in, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Louise Price had the creative vision to intersperse the medical talks with poetry. We performed our poems with the images projected behind us.

The next stage of this project is displaying a selection of our poems alongside archived footage.

Read a full review here Buildings Talk: Hospital Histories


I took a poetry break for a couple of days to work and to reunite with college friends, our two yearly reunions, epic fun! Just imagine Drama students 20 years on!


Performance

I attended Open Poetry which this month was a charity event to raise funds for PIPKA – refugees in Lesvos, Greece.

I performed my refugee poem, now written 4 years ago, this world of ours remains in crisis. Read the full review here

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2017/07/24/open-poetry-for-pipka/

EC This event was organised by Helen Calcutt and David Calcutt and featured Guest Spots from Christina Thatcher, she read from her recent collection ‘More Than You Were’.  more_than_you_were_large

Week 3

Writing

I needed some time at the desk to complete work from the Spring (another book endorsement) and read material that I am reviewing. I also needed lots of Admin time to complete arrangements for Artsfest (working on this since February), future bookings and promotion of other events.

I had as yet not re-awoken my creative muse – not to give a spoiler… but this was the month!

This was also the last week of work before the summer, my contract had finished and although I wasn’t expecting any work I had to remain on call. This meant several bleary-eyed mornings on the computer, just in case.

I had events and meetings to attend this week which did not involve me performing. A welcome treat/break from pressure and nerves. It also gave me some time to gather energy before the Artsfest Day (22nd).

Readings

Summer Party – Nine Arches Press

I thoroughly enjoyed this event with Jane Commane and…9 arches 3

The readings were superb and the atmosphere was definitely set to ‘PARTY’! Read all about it here https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2017/07/25/nine-arches-press-summer-party/

Meetings

The following morning I had an early start and a meeting in Birmingham at the Custard Factory with Jonathan Davidson and the other writers involved in Spark Young Writers groups. As ever it was interesting sharing ideas and great to spend some time with other writers/poets.

Book Launch

In the evening I drove to Cheltenham to finally catch a Book Launch from Angela France. DFH4x-NVoAAzcZ2 I was excited to see the multi-media element that I had heard so much about and to listen to Angela read more from this collection I have been following for the past couple of years. Read the full review of this special evening https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2017/07/25/the-hill-angela-france-book-launch/

angela france the hill 1

The launch shook my muse awake and for the first time in months, I was writing. For about two hours straight!

Meetings

I had a meeting with the Events Manager at the Jinney Ring to put plans into action for my September workshop using the Sculpture Trail. It was exciting, my list of 8 pointers were all achieved and it is shaping up to be a great WPL project.

Monday 18th September 10:30- 12:30 p.m glass tree

The Sculpture Trail at The Jinney Ring Craft Centre, Hanbury, Worcestershire.

The morning will start with a tour of the trail and some time to write using the sculptures for ekphrastic poetry or initial stimuli. Followed by a writing workshop in the marquee. 
Tea/Coffee and cake is provided as part of the ticket.

There will be opportunities to share writing and participants will be able to send polished work for at exhibition at the Jinney Ring in October.

In addition to all this, there will also be the opportunity to share your work at a reading in November.

For more information please contact me: worcspl[at]gmail.com

Official poster with all booking details out soon. Just awaiting the new trail photograph. 
10:15 meet at the marquee for a 10:30 Tour. 
Tickets £7.00

Festival Artsfest

droitwich artsfest

I need to write a complete blog post for Artsfest – which finishes on the 5th August. I will link back here afterwards.

It was a brilliant day with Poetry in the Square and an evening event Poetry Extravaganza at Park’s Cafe.

Watch Out Worcester! 

watch out worcs

I performed at St. Swithun’s Church at an event created by Suz Winspear. It was a great experience and I loved the building and atmosphere. I will write a blog about this event and link it back to here.

st swithins dancefest

http://www.worcesternews.co.uk/NEWs/15437699.Dancing_in_the_streets_of_Worcester/

Week 4

Writing

I spent a few days chained to the desk with writing and admin. I missed Poetry Bites as I was too pushed for time to get to King’s Heath and extremely tired after the busy weekend.

I researched new material and wrote 3 new poems for 42.

Workshop

I attended a workshop led by Angela France in Stratford, I always enjoy these sessions and listening to the work that is created.

Performance

I performed at Drummonds, 42 in the evening. The theme was Curiosities and I had fun exploring this theme. I wrote about an underground library in Seattle, the hanging coffins of China and fossilised skeletons. I left the Cabinet of… for others.

It was a great night, very entertaining with a Guest Host – Kevin Brooke – who did a sterling job, he made it look easy and we all know, it isn’t!

I missed Caffe Grande Slam for another month, as I needed to conserve energy.

ArtsFest Poet in Residence

On 28th July I was at the library in Droitwich as one of the Artists in Residence for Artsfest. I had a smashing morning talking all things poetry and tested out my Poetry Kit idea. This is something I will make more of at another point.

I took this booking as a poet, but decided as I am WPL it was a good opportunity to raise awareness of this role and promote WLF at the same time as DAN – Network.

DAN Lib

It was a lot of fun and has given me ideas for future events. It was the first outing for my new WPL t-shirt and the tablecloth, bought after the workshop on Wednesday.

DAN Lib 2 Children making Poetry Kits – we were competing with the Summer Reading Challenge who had a sock puppet workshop, or as I saw it, we had a captive audience to come and make Poetry Kits for FREE after.

DAN Rhys  © 2017 Rhys Jones

Poetry

I dropped in two poems to be displayed on the table and wall at The Canal Side Studio. There are more events this summer from there. So watch this space.

DAN Lib3

I finished the month with a Stanza meeting, which was a lovely evening and had some useful editing tips for my Dear Sky – Ivory/Figura workshop poem.

July has been exceptional!

 

Review of June

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So why was there only one blog post this month? Mainly because I have been training myself to learn to love the editing process as much as the writing one… although, I am certain this will never happen.

I have taken a real backseat with performing too. We are entering the summer festival season and despite looking through brochures and deciding I would like to attend many events, I have been held back from doing so as I am time poor and poor at the moment.

I haven’t submitted anything other than edited manuscripts for ages and writing new material has been a no go zone too. Due to the long summer break I have been taking on as much work as possible and I am also busy trying (and failing) to arrange birthday parties and mini breaks. June is also a ‘real life’ busy month with birthdays, celebrations and events, not to mention the hours consumed watching programmes about Britain leaving the EU. The REMAIN/LEAVE campaigns were something not many of us understood prior to June and I needed to be sure of my stance and understand the impact before voting.

The world knows the story since… seems strange that when David Cameron resigned as Britain’s Prime Minister it was only the 3rd most important story of the day.

And of course when the future is in the head of a poet, it guarantees that there isn’t much room left for poetry.

Here is a review of what I managed and sometimes what I missed in the world of poetry this month.


Cheltenham

I totally missed Cheltenham Poetry Festival, but the month started with a personal invite to a workshop. Unfortunately there was a tragic accident on the motorway in the morning and the only other route to Cheltenham was blocked by overflow traffic, so I didn’t make the workshop. I felt guilty feeling sad about it when there were some poor people who hadn’t survived the day.

Editing

I spent my break editing and haven’t managed a writing day since.

Book Launches

Jenna Plewes had a book launch at the local library on the 6th June. Her latest collection ‘Pull on the Earth’ includes lots of poems about her travels. It was an enjoyable launch.

Pull of the Earth is published by Indigo Dreams and is available for £8.99 + P&P BUY your copy here

See blog post for more details https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2016/07/06/book-launch-pull-of-the-earth-by-jenna-plewes/

Pull of Earth

Open Mics

June saw Jess Davis hosting her final Stirchley Speaks. The monthly poetry night held at the P Café will be hosted by Callum and Jessica Bates from July. This is a full circle for them as they were one of the three headline acts appearing at the first Stirchley Speaks one year ago.

I was lucky enough to perform, it was a great night.

Unfortunately it clashed with David Hart appearing at The Works’ Canteen. I had hoped to make it back to this night held at the Black Country Museum, hosted by Dave Reeves. David Hart meantime, waits on my list of must see.

I also missed HOWL as I was still editing.

I performed at the 42 Festival Special as part of WLF (Worcester LitFest), an enjoyable night themed around the Last Stop on the Worcester Night Tra.

I also had a slot at WLF SpeakEasy which was hosted by the ever delightful Myfanwy Fox and headlined by Angela France. It was great to catch up with both of them and Angela gave me a good Ledbury tip off.

 

Lit Fests & Workshops

Worcester LitFest kicked off on the 10th June with the Poet Laureate Final (I remember the nerves from this time last year), not good memories as far as emotions go. Traumatic in actual fact. This year saw a new venue at Worcester Race Course and instead of 3 finalists being picked from 6 performers, they had 3 finalists striving for the accolade. A wise decision was also made with regard to the amount of other ceremonial achievements celebrated beforehand, making it a shorter event and allowing the poets to suffer less palpitations. I didn’t manage to support in person this year but I am delighted to announce that this year’s Worcestershire Poet Laureate is Suz Winspear!

Positive Images Festival

On June 12th I headed over to Coventry for a ‘The Atomic Sun’ workshop with Antony Owen, Patron of CND Peace Education UK and Award Winning Poet. Antony and I have poems in an anthology due out later this year published by Shabda Press entitled ‘Nuclear Impact Broken Atoms in our Hands’. It was a deeply moving experience which I will post about separately.

http://www.positiveimagesfestival.co.uk/

https://antonyowenpoetry.wordpress.com/

http://www.cnduk.org/information/peace-education/item/2254-peace-education-patrons-antony-owen

Workshop

Gary Crew is an Australian Author of YA Fiction. His picture books for KS2+ are brilliant and ‘The WaterTower'(1994) formed part of the mantle learning at one of the schools I work at. The Watertower

As part of his time here in the UK (mainly London and Oxford) he was also able to catch a train up to the Midlands and workshop with some very eager children. As part of his contract he had to deliver something to academics (funding), so I was one of about 40 teachers treated to a session with him after work.

I will add a post of information about his writing. It was inspiring for me and I bought a book of his I have not read as poetry instantly sprang to mind, we will see where that leads (after I have finished this first manuscript maybe)!

https://www.fantasticfiction.com/c/gary-crew/

 

Performances

Quiet Compere Worcester LitFest

Friday 17th June I was lucky enough to be part of the QC Event at Worcester LitFest, Sarah Dixon returned for another wonderful night of poetry at The Hive. A different format this time she had featured poets, guest poets and some open mics, pre-booked (like mine) or signed up on the night. Link to follow.

Midsummer Poetry Brothel Caged Arts

Heidi Murphy hosted her 2nd Poetry Brothel at P Café on the 22nd June to celebrate the solstice. I had missed the Solstice Walk (Festival Fringe event), due to family celebrations clashing so it was useful to be able to blow the dust off last year’s solstice poems. No time to pen anything new, but I did have time to raid my wardrobe for florals; trousers, flower in the hair… it was my 3rd Poetry Brothel (am I forming a habit?).

Writing West Midlands

From September the Junior and Senior groups are amalgamating, so I spent an entire Saturday at the library being Jenny Hope’s assistant and then taking my own final session for this term/year in the afternoon. I had hoped to attend A Night at the Museum, WLF event in the evening but after working two groups and with a few hours of limbo, I decided I was too tired and left the city for home.

So there is June in rather a big nutshell – and of course, I am still writing NaPoWriMo poems (from April prompts)…

pen sarah wilko anderson Happy writing! x

Review of May

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May Review

May (like April) was a funny month of missing events I had planned to attend. My main focus returned to writing, more precisely editing which I find harder and less fun than creating, it is a bit like cleaning (which I also despise) but the end result of fresh and better is rewarding. I enjoy re-reading a tighter collection, but the editing time is like moving rocks with bare hands! I have to force myself into editing mode. It isn’t about being precious over my darlings, I learnt to kill them in my first year (2013), it is just the effort of crafting, the exhausted mind, the energy needed – and time.

Week 1

May started with a Bank Holiday weekend and Mr G and I went to see Mark Lanegan perform (our 3rd time), the next day at work was hard and followed by an evening at Stirchley Speaks, where Mike Alma was one of the featured poets. I was glad I managed to make it over to support him, it was (as always) a great night, filled with warmth and energy.

Next month is Jess Davies’ last month hosting before she moves on to her new exciting plan of events and workshops. She has had an exceptional year at the P Café, I am sure Callum Bate and his sister, Melissa, will do well hosting this established spoken word night when they take over in the summer and I wish them luck. They are dynamic performers themselves and featured as ‘Prime Poetry’ at the first Stirchley Speaks back in 2015.

An exciting Friday Night (6th May) saw Kathy Gee’s Book Launch, her first collection, published by V Press. It was at Avoncroft Museum , I hadn’t been there for  years and it was the PERFECT venue. Buy a copy here Book of Bones It was a wonderful evening of poetry in the Long Room. https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2016/07/24/book-of-bones-kathy-gee/

I missed several writing events over the weekend as Mr G and I went to a Kate Bush Tribute, which was amazing. ‘Cloudbusting‘ are the UKs longest running Kate Bush tribute. Mr G is a total fan of Bush, she never hit my radar (being slightly younger), of course I knew of her – who doesn’t! As an adult I appreciate the poetry of her music and her wildly free artistry.

The singer of Cloudbusting was amazing, what she could do with her voice! Incredible. We loved every minute, they were down a guitarist and still it was exceptional. I can only imagine how good the full band would have been. What was lovely was her references to Kate and seeing what big fans of her music they all were.

Week 2

I finally made it back to SpeakEasy (12th May) in there new home, Café Bliss, a venue I love so much I am currently trying to organise a party there! It was great to hear everyone again, Spoz was the featured poet and he brought lots of his Calais Refugee poetry with him for a hard hitting set. It was good to catch up with him, as he is having a busy year including touring TEN LETTERS, which I was lucky enough to catch in Birmingham. Link to follow.

We have also been in our lovely home for 3 years now (still with lots to do), this made me appreciate that I have been living the creative dream for a while. This will always be my Poetry house. I feel grateful, although due to getting the house straightened out and working on my manuscript I have only managed to carve writing time out recently and long for the weeks to find structure again, where I can manage a writing day/ days.

Week 3

Mum and I experienced the World Premiere of Liam Scarlett’s amazing new ballet ‘Frankenstein’, performed by the Royal Opera House in association with San Francisco Ballet (I stayed just up the road from the dance school on one of my US trips)! I felt like I was watching the next BIG thing, this ballet steps into the shoes of a 21st Century The Rite of Spring, with regard to the importance of what Scarlett has achieved. I only hope it is studied in years to come. Bravo to the ROH for taking the risk, Scarlett is an immensely talented 30 year old (jealous). I was part of something special that night and it bore a new ambition. One day I hope my writing may become a ballet (I danced until my 20s).

http://www.roh.org.uk/productions/frankenstein-by-liam-scarlett

On the 19th I took part in Worcester’s first WLF Poetry Salon, based on the European Poetry Brothel concept. This was the brainchild of Charley Barnes and was an exciting night at the Rectifying House. I shared my booth with Maggie Doyle and a great time was had by performers and listeners alike. Link to follow.

May 20th saw the end of Mental Health week, something which is close to my heart as it was own demise which brought me back to writing from a depression diary to the world of poetry. Leisa Taylor/ Woo Feminista took over Café Bliss with a night of Spoken Word, where brave poets shared more than words and stories. It was incredibly moving.

The evening after (21st May) I performed a set for Arts Week in Parks Café, as part of the Poetry Extravaganza.

Week 4

I finally made it to a Stanza meeting after missing several months. It was great to reconnect although I had been busy with work and my editing brain was fairly useless. I took a poem which was inspired by a Nano poem prompt in a roundabout way.

I didn’t get a chance to submit anything this month, I didn’t even finish my action plan for May. My main focus was editing my manuscript and I put enough time into that to let it have some rest time before coming back to it for further reading.

I missed Cheltenham Poetry Festival completely (Wenlock & Stratford too) and as I write this I have so far missed all earmarked events at my local festival, Worcester LitFest – look out for some posts on this too.

The past 18months of work on my pamphlet has taught me lots on the process, I am also becoming aware that the focus and energy needed to achieve such things means sacrifices, including festival tickets. Still I will focus on the petrol I have saved and how much smaller my carbon footprint will be this year – silver linings!

I missed a photo shoot for the poetry E-book with Shakti Women, as my car was failing its MOT at the time! I have a photographer willing to take head shots now though, all is not lost. If only I could lose my double chin(s)!

I had two personal invites to workshops in June from poets I respect and was very touched to have been thought of. I signed a poetry contract for Shabda Press, three poems in the up and coming Nuclear Impact Anthology, Broken Atoms in Our Hands. There is nothing like signing contracts to make you feel like a real writer.

I performed at 42 – where fairly hilariously most of us worked the theme of the evening into lines in our poems or stories ‘Blacker than the Night’- by the time I performed in the 2nd half people were listening for the theme punchline I think.

It was also a platform for me to perform one of my Nuclear poems, the message is important and the places you can share such material is limited.

It was a great night. Thoroughly enjoyed.

I am certainly back in my poetry skin after a few wobbly months and look forward to the upcoming festivals and booked performances of the summer.

me

 

 

 

The New Year Begins

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Hello – welcome to 2016, I hope it a great year for you, filled with good fortune, you know you can make it happen.

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In 2015 my writing life kept me so busy that the blog had to take a bit of a backseat, which I am going to try to balance this year as it is pretty frustrating when you follow a blog and the blogger becomes inactive (inactive at least in Cybersville). Last year my main focus was headline gigs and the manuscript, this year I am now in the fortunate position of an almost fully edited m/s which with a little more work will be ready to bat back to the publishers and then I can concentrate on some new writing.

There are plenty events already filling up the January diary and I have yet to count the total for 2015, I know it wasn’t much below 2014 despite talking about a back seat. There are many mini projects on burners that I want to unleash in 2016. It is also my final prep year for my first Olympics. My focus and goals will reflect this.

2012 brighton 625

In December (it had already sold out) I discovered an Arvon City course which would have benefitted me, unfortunately the grant application date past before I got to the online form filling and now in hindsight, I would rather save for next time. This isn’t strictly true – I am gutted, but having broken a pair of expensive glasses over Christmas, I don’t think I could have managed a 3 day writing retreat. Next time I AM ON IT!

52 – 52 colander of joy Oh, you remember, Jo Bell – 500+ poets yadee, yadee – are having a workshop and book launch for the 52 prompt book on the 31st January – and had I been on retreat I may not have made this event, which is in the diary and is a bright way of seeing out January 52– just as today was a bright day to see it in!

This morning I headed over to Avoncroft for a writing workshop with Claire Walker, which was every bit as good as the last one. I managed a whole poem that just needs a tweak and some other material that has bubbles of promise and it felt extremely good to be back in my writing skin. I took Christmas off – unintentionally didn’t write for 2-3 weeks, I have read and researched and made notes in the ‘carry me everywhere notebooks’, so I haven’t had a total shut down, still it felt amazing to have that pen moving again and in a fresh notebook too!

It was equally lovely to reconnect with poetry friends, I haven’t seen people in a while because I have been off the scene and when I have been at an event, they weren’t and Stanza was early to allow for Christmas so it feels like forever since we were altogether.

My resolutions are all to do with the house I live in and the writing plan will be transferred from scribbles to action plans and charts over the next few weeks. visual

So all that is left is for me to wish you all a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

October Review

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OCTOBER 2015 Review – Another great and busy month. We held our 3rd annual writing retreat INKSPILL, I worked on new poetry and current projects and performed all over the place. I even had a week off from performing and writing, to plan and prepare INKSPILL. It was also a month of Festivals, Swindon and Birmingham and I headlined in Cheltenham too. I also worked on two commissioned performances, one for National Poetry Day and the other for this evening, a Halloween Poetry Brothel!

WEEK 1

The month started in Swindon at Poetry Swindon Festival, tickets for which were only booked last minute a few weeks before.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/10/05/swindon-poetry-festival-2015/

It was a brilliant weekend, I performed as part of the 52 event, wrote new poetry in Jo Bell’s X-ray Spex workshop, met some great poets and writers and enjoyed performances from many poets including Kei Miller & David Clarke.

I also made it to Stirchley Speak, which, as always was a great night of poetry at the P Café, hosted  by Jess Davies.

WEEK 2

Then it was NATIONAL POETRY DAY on the 8th October, which is like a massive party day for any poet! NPD LIVE This year I celebrated by taking part in Heather Wastie’s Light and Shade event at the carpet museum in Kidderminster.

light shade NPD

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/10/12/national-poetry-day-light-shade-event-at-kidderminster-carpet-museum/

Suz Winspear and I were the touch of theatre, working on a commission from Heather to write poems about the carpet industry and incorporating Light and Shade into the proposed work. We then met with Heather and created our performance for the night – which took place in a narrow corridor, looking over the museum and the looms. An area that is not usually open to the public.

It was also Birmingham Literature Festival 8th – 17th October, I wasn’t able to get to as much as I wanted to this year, but what I managed was fantastic. BLFest  I felt blessed to see Rita Dove and it was great to see so many writing world friends too. I had tickets for other events on the last weekend of the festival, but a Writing group for WWM needed my assistance, so I missed those.

Short and Sweet: Short Fiction Salon

This was an event hosted by fiction writer and Heart Breakfast presenter Rachel New, Short & Sweet allows you to dip your toe into the water of live literature, and enjoy readings we select for you – including a story from Rachel herself written especially for this event.

Rachel New is a veteran of short fiction challenges – having survived two unusual residencies at Birmingham Literature Festivals past – Ten Day Sentence in 2013 and One Page Wonders in 2014. Both these experiences saw Rachel writing against the clock, responding to prompts from the wider festival audience and producing huge volumes of creative fiction. Rachel brings this expertise, as well as her ongoing PhD studies in creative writing, to the Short & Sweet arena for performances and discussion.

© 2015 Writing West Midlands

Rita Dove and Guests

We are delighted to welcome Rita Dove, the former U.S. Poet Laureate and a Pulitzer Prize winner, to give a rare poetry reading in the UK. A mesmerising performer, Rita Dove’s work covers a range of subjects, each of them addressed with wit and verve.

Her most recent poetry collections are Sonata Mulattica and American Smooth. She is editor of the Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry and is Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia. Among her honours are the 1996 National Humanities Medal from President Bill Clinton and the 2011 National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama, making her the only poet to ever receive both medals.

As a prelude to Rita Dove’s reading, we present three short poetry performances. Jo Bell, Canal Laureate, will be reading from her eagerly awaited new collection, Kith. She will be joined by Birmingham Young Poet Laureate 2014-15, Serena Arthur and by Oliver Sullivan, a young performer from the region who was runner up in this year’s Poetry by Heart Competition. 

Sponsored by the University of Birmingham.

© 2015 Writing West Midlands

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/10/12/birmingham-literature-festival-2015/

On 10th October it was also Claire walker’s book launch for the much awaited poetry pamphlet THE GIRL WHO GREW INTO A CROCODILE. It was a lovely evening celebrating the poetry of my talented friend! I would recommend this pamphlet published by V Press, highly indeed.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/10/31/marvellous-book-launch-the-girl-who-grew-into-a-crocodile-by-claire-walker/

claire w croc

WEEK 3

Was filled with open mics, headlines, book festivals, talks and workshops.

Leon Priestnall and the The Blue Dive headlined Mouth & Music, on the 13th October. mmoct It was a great night and I enjoyed myself immensely. There were some fab open mic-ers and great musicians and it was good to catch up with folk I have not seen in a while.

mmoct leon mmoct blue dive mmoct me PHOTO CREDIT © Peter Williams 2015

The next evening I took a trip out to Cheltenham where I was headlining for Sharon Larkin at The Poetry Café Refreshed. It was a lovely event at the interesting American Diner venue of Smokey Joe’s. I was able to promote the Restless Bones Anthology. I enjoyed hearing poetry from other performers including; Roger Turner, David Clarke, Gill Garrett, Miki Byrne, Michael Newman, Michael Skaife d’Ingerthorpe, Angel Whitehorse & Sharon Larkin.

poetry cafe refreshed

This week also saw another festival. The Book to the Future Festival, UoB, University of Birmingham has always been scheduled for after the Birmingham Literature Festival, this year they over lapped. The following evening I performed at Phenomenal Women, in the Costa Café on site at Birmingham University. This event was organised by Jan Watts and was my 3rd year taking part and I think it was the best one yet. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

book to the future b2tf group b2tf jan

The region’s top female poets, including University of Birmingham alumna Jan Watts (Birmingham Poet Laureate 2011/12), Nina Lewis, Jackie Smallridge (Scrubber Jack) & Andrea Smith.

I went back to University and the Book to the Future Festival the next day (Friday 16th October) for a talk and a workshop.

Making a living from writing narinder

Narinder Dhami is best known for her books Bollywood Babes, Bend it Like Beckham and young adult reads such as Bang Bang You’re Dead.

It was a good talk that confirmed lots I knew already, I made copious notes and it sounds like I am on the right track. Always good to find this out.

Then I went to Jacqui Rowe’s workshop at the Barber Institute. I have wanted to take one of Jacqui’s workshops for over a year now, I was never available, until now. It was great and inspiring and has given me lots of poetry to work on.

Self and others – art and writing workshop

 BL RH jACQUI
Inspired by the Barber Institute’s Terms of Engagement exhibition, showcasing portraits from the University of Birmingham collection, join Jacqui Rowe to explore how we write about character.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/10/15/open-mics-guest-spots-book-festivals/

After this I went to a Stanza meeting, taking with me a poem I only had 30 minutes to write. It was a hectic week because I was also working my day job pretty much full time this week too.

On Saturday I had tickets for Birmingham Literature Festival, it was also the 2nd Session for WWM Young Writers. I had planned to manage the 30 mile trip after and it would have been a rush. I was asked to help assist the Junior group in the morning, so I had a whole day at The Hive Library. WWM PINK

thehiveworcsorg thehiveworcsorg

Our group has grown by a few as well, nearly in double figures which is great. I don’t think it was any wonder I needed a week off after this.

WEEK 4

I didn’t quite have a week off – I took a week off performing and writing poetry. I was working the day job and preparing for INKSPILL.

It was our 3rd Annual Online Writing Retreat and it was a great success and worth every minute of hard work. Thanks to our Guests Writers; Playwright – David Calcutt, Author/ Romance Novelist – Alison May and Poet -Daniel Sluman.

The links are still active to the weekend workshop that happened on 24th/25th October and you can take part at any point, let us know you are doing so with a like or a comment.

INKSPILL 2015

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/10/25/inkspill-active-programme/

Wednesday saw the first Halloween Spoken Word night at Drummonds 42 – where I was able to perform a freshly penned poem and another I had written a few hours before the event. Claire Walker also had a headline slot and it was great to hear her again. I love the pamphlet (I may have already mentioned this) but it is always superbly satisfying to hear a poet share their words in their own voice.

It was optional fancy dress, I used a spider theme. 42 42

Thursday I wrote some new poetry in a workshop and missed a launch of the Poetry Review Magazine as I was too tired to drive again after spending a couple of hours on the road already. This was a shame as one of the poets was Helen Mort, another Poet I am yet to meet and hear.

Last night I had a non-poetry belated birthday night outthink floyd
 with Mr G seeing a Pink Floyd tribute band.

 

TONIGHT I am taking part in the Poetry Brothel at the P Café, it is a SELL OUT.p cafe brothel
 There are 6 poets taking part – we applied earlier in the year, Poetry Brothels are big in Europe and despite my nerves I am looking forward to it. I will post in early November about tonight.

 

WORKSHOPS

Jo Bell

Jacqui Rowe

Angela France

Narinder Dhami – Talk

PERFORMANCES

Swindon Poetry Festival Performed at 52 Event

The Poetry Café Refreshed Headlined Cheltenham

Phenomenal Women – with Jan watts Book to the Future Festival

Poetry Brothel – Caged Arts P Café

NPD Light & Shade Commission – Performed with Suz Winspear

OPEN MICS

Stirchley Speaks

Mouth & Music

42

BOOK LAUNCH / EVENTS/ FESTIVALS

POETRY SWINDON FESTIVAL

Book Launch The Girl Who Grew Into A Crocodile Claire Walker – V Press Pamphlet, performed.

Birmingham Literature Festival

Book to the Future Festival

WWM assistant writer cover & Lead Writer for Senior Group, Worcester.

Stanza

INKSPILL – the 3rd FREE Online writing Retreat

03_DREAM_poster01_THINK04_ACT-poster05_SPEAK_poster

Review of the Month – July

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ww me If July was a race it would be 100 metre sprint, if it was weather it would be a full on 30 degrees (I am from the UK), July was like the best day ever groundhogged over and over!

Busy, full and delightful.

Was it all Roses?

There were a few dips, loss of confidence in my writing but I am learning that self-belief isn’t a constant and that all artists feel this way sometimes. So, rather like my illness in the early days – I am choosing acceptance. It is better to admit defeat, say this is the way I feel today, so what can I do that will create more time for writing another day. Anything from the TO DO list, which is huge this summer, as I am attempting to unpack the house (finally), deep cleaning as I go.

Write Daily

I am a firm believer in this action and I DO. Even on a dip day some writing will have been created – that is how a dip day is spawned, it doesn’t come from not writing. Besides I had 10-15years of not-writing. If you want to be a runner, you may have a day when you do a quick power walk and some pilates, but I am sure you wouldn’t stop altogether. Even on the non-training days they are devouring everything they can about their chosen goal.

LET IT GO

I have talked about Elsa moments before on this blog. I missed a few submission opportunities this month because I couldn’t key into what the writing required. I am currently working on a big project and that is taking the focus when I am working – and so it should. I have tried to make submissions with work I have already collecting dust.

eastbourne

JULY

I was still on holiday, basking in heat and oceans at the beginning of July. As soon as I was home the run of poetry events kicked in.

 

WEEK 1

Magnetic Diaries A wonderful Poetry Play at The Courtyard, Hereford.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/07/20/the-magnetic-diaries-poetry-play-including-micro-interview-with-author/

Rhyme with Reason A great open mic night in Birmingham.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/07/21/birminghams-growing-poetry-rhyme-with-reason/

Poetry Lounge A fantastic night in Ludlow.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/07/24/poetry-lounge-in-the-sitting-room-july-7th/

Ledbury Cider with Poets Ruth Stacey Book Launch

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/07/31/ledbury-poetry-festival-the-launch-of-queen-jewels-mistress-by-ruth-stacey/

Quiet Compere Tour Worcester Stop 6 A great event to be involved in, 1 of 10 poets.

sarahnina lewisNeil LaurensonMyfanwy FoxMike AlmaJasmine Gardosiclive deeCarl SealeafClaire WalkerCatherine CrosswellAdrian Mealing Sarah Dixon © 2015

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/08/01/quiet-compere-tour-2015-stop-6-worcester/

Then after this run of events I found myself exhausted. I was working full time too. I spent the whole weekend sleeping and unfortunately missed the 52 Picnic and reading in Stratford-Upon-Avon at the Poetry Festival. A great shame as this was something I was looking forward to for a long time.

The Pangaea Slam a wonderful poetry competition I discovered in 2014, this year I posted a video in WEEK 1, unfortunately since then I have been busy with writing projects and life and have not managed to complete this event. It is now on my hit list for next year.

 

WEEK 2

After a weekend of sleep, I was ready to go again and as it was the last week of term, I had less work to do and more energy to play (all my poetry work is play).

Ten Letters was an amazing experience, Poetry Theatre at its best. A wonderful collective.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/08/01/ten-letters/

10 letters 2

Walsall Caldmore Community Garden Workshop with David Calcutt. This workshop was great, the tools of the job was our starting point, due to the weather we spent most of our time writing in The Bakehouse, a wonderful artisan café in town. There were some interesting pieces that came out of this workshop, not to mention the gorgeous food at The Bakehouse and the help yourself bookcase!

In the evening I went to Mouth & Music where the theme (thanks to Gary Longden) was inventions that never made it – the hardest theme I have ever had to write for. I tried to write a poem in the hour I had between the workshop and M&M, it was still in scratch stage but will be developed. It was a great night.

MM July me Peter Williams © 2015

At the weekend I was heading to Shropshire for Writing Down the Dingle, a writing workshop facilitated by Jean Atkin. I had to pull out of this workshop as we had a college reunion the same day – a group of Drama students that haven’t seen each other for 20 years, which was fabulous and a great start to the summer holidays.

 

WEEK 3

I started to focus on writing, I am still editing a collection and now have a couple of new projects to work on from Walsall. I started working on my 1st poetry sequence for 42 for ‘Island of Lost Souls’, I started with black out poetry based on a page of HG Wells. From there I edited and extended the sequence, keeping the archaic language of the original text. In the end the sequence was 5 poems long and following positive feedback I might make it a flash fiction piece.

It was also the Walsall Festival this week, originally an event that was planned got cancelled but I did get to a workshop at Walsall Arboretum facilitated by Jimmie Rennie and David Calcutt, which was great fun.

Photography Janet Jenkins © 2015

swanslakebandstand

writing cafe

 

Followed by a reading at The Bakehouse. It amazed me how different all of our writing was from the stimulus of the lake.

bakehouse

sammy Sammy jimmieJimmie me Nina

janet Janet david David

1benBen 1andyAndy

1 nethNeth

 

In the evening I performed at The Sun at The Station for Arts All Over the Place at the Madhatter Charity Fundraiser. Rachel Green booked me for this event a month ago, having opened the festival for them last year. I was delighted to be asked, although I wasn’t sure which poems to perform. It was a great event and well attended – a great fundraiser, such a success that they are considering making it a bi-monthly event.

poster

Rachel Green © 2015

rg1rgRachel Green Sammyme rachel

howard atkins adhd

Howard Atkins © 2015

I took some bookings for August Headlines, diary is now booked up to October.
WEEK 4

I had an amazing night at Shakti Women Womanly Words event. Lots of great performances and a touching experience. It was the first of a schedule of events planned for this summer.

ww poetsww8ww9ww7ww2ww3ww5ww6

42 Drummonds was a great event, my sequence of poetry went down well and we all got to say goodbye to Math Jones, who is off to the smog of our Capital City.

And since then I have chained myself back to my virtual desk to continue writing.

©Murdock Ramone Media

©Murdock Ramone Media

SUBMISSIONS

I have sent 4 submissions this month, I am waiting to hear the results and keeping my fingers crossed as always!

 

It has been an amazing month. Made more spectacular by the fact that my (unpaid) summer holidays started 2 weeks ago and since then I have been in my poetry skin and I still have 6 weeks to go. This is my holiday, being my poet self!

Poetry Wrap 4

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Poetry Wrap 4 – is bursting! It covers 3 weeks instead of just one, settle down, get comfortable and have a read!

————         ————–             ————         ————–

WEEK 2

mm

In the 2nd week of May I had a gorgeous 3 day run of poetry events, starting with Mouth & Music on the 12th – the theme was Love in times of Revolution and I really struggled to write to this theme. One of the hardest challenges this year. In the end I managed to write 3 poems on the day all about Love and Revolution, I performed the final set of the evening and these poems performed back to back made for a moving set. I am beginning to explore form thanks to the University of Iowa and my current MOOC study; ‘How Writers Write Poetry’. It was a Pantoum for those of you who are interested.

Pantoum Structure

Written in four-line stanzas; and the second and fourth line of each stanza become the first and third of the succeeding stanza. In the last stanza, the second and fourth lines are the third and first of the first stanza; so that the opening and closing lines of the pantoum are identical. Each line is a repeton.

One expert insists that it should be both rhymed abab bcbc … zaza and that the lines be isosyllabic. This was more true of the Pantoum in French. English is a little more loosey-goosey as was the Malay version. The same expert says that there is a variation where the poem is ended with lines 1 and 3 used as repetons in reverse order as a couplet.

Copyright © 2001-2013 by Charles L. Weatherford – Source Poetrybase

The night was headlined by Roy MacFarlane – former Birmingham Poet Laureate, a favourite poet of mine and an incredibly lovely chap! It was great to catch up with him, as I hadn’t seen him since last summer. His set was moving, sexy and exciting! Music was provided by the wonderfully talented David Coughlin, who made me feel like I was away on my holidays being treated to a great gig.

mm roy macfarlane

The following evening I headed to Kings Heath to join in with HOWL, an event that Leon Priestnall has been running for a while now, due to work commitments and energy levels I hadn’t been able to make it over before.

Another superb evening – INCREDIBLE talent from both performers and open mic-ers. WOW! Another lovely venue and great support from the staff too.

Leon has built up an incredible reputation for both himself and this event in a relatively short period of time. Topping the night off was a lady (audience) who actually HOWLED her appreciation all through the night!

HOWL

The following day I received some exciting news. I had been LONGLISTED for Worcestershire’s Poet Laureate Competition 2015-16, which I entered back in March, in secret! My interview went well and I have been shortlisted for the final (12th June) here’s a link to the full story COMING SOON

I went to SpeakEasy, where I didn’t perform but I thoroughly enjoyed the evening.

speakeasy may Sarah James and Angela Topping have recently published a collaborative pamphlet called ‘Hearth’, they launched the book at Cheltenham Poetry Festival and will continue to promote it. If you get a chance go and see them and buy the book! SJ-AT-Hearth-front-cover-scaledRRP is £5, available from the poets directly or from mothersmilkbooks

Lots of talent from all the performers and the evening was finished off by the energetic performance poet Jeff Cottrill, who is from Canada. International Guest Slots going on now.

WEEK 3

Then I took a week off from performing, concentrated on working, Hay House Summit and my MOOC course with the University of Iowa. I also received some great news, another poem published in a print anthology, another book launch. LINK COMING SOON

hay house logoCN-1780-logo-uofiowapubliclibrariesnewsdot com

Stanza was the last thing I did before half term.

WEEK 4

I missed Poetry Bites (sadly) as I had a 4 day run and I decided that with MOTs for the car, optician appointments and visiting relatives, I wouldn’t have an abundant amount of energy left. Maybe the meditation from last week has helped, I seemed to have sailed through.

My first performance was at Drummonds 42 where the theme was Fairies, Pixies, Witches & Warlocks. Most of wrote about the Fae folk – who have plenty of shadowy, darker elements.

I took great pleasure in working on a poem about two ceramic pixies my Great Aunty used to let me play with as a child, another poem about an online ‘Which Fairy are You?’ quiz, one about Scottish fairies and finally with so much research left over I wrote a short piece of Flash Fiction, which seemed to go down well.

All of these pieces were written at 5 AM! I woke up really early on Wednesday and couldn’t sleep, I had originally factored in plans to do three things before the evening’s 42. I decided I may as well get my set ready and spent the best part of 3 hours creating it. I had planned on going back to bed, but this never happened.

The evening was brilliant and there were some top notch performances as well as some new faces. 42

The following morning, I was up early (I haven’t actually managed a late morning or lie in all week), to go to Stratford-Upon-Avon for a Poetry workshop with Angela France.

We were editing today and I was reminded to take a poem. The day before I had read an article/ conversation posted on social media. It was a conversation between Jonathan Edwards & Tishani Doshi as part of the Walking Cities project. I was immediately inspired to use it as base stimuli and emailed Jonathan for permission, which I am delighted to say he has honoured. So I made use of the early morning and penned a new poem to take to Stratford – and I am glad I did because it is now even stronger than the first few drafts. It has changed quite considerably. I will share it with Jonathan Edwards and then submit it for publication, I would love it to feature in my first collection too.

The workshop was great (as always) and it was lovely to see everyone again. The sun even came out in the afternoon for us to write in the garden. My notebook is full of references & poets to look up as well as two newly penned poems.

The next day Friday, I went to Word Up. I took the train in, which was great for my writing notebook which now has snippets of conversation. The evening was thoroughly enjoyable. Headlined by Jan Watts, Leon Priestnall & Heather Wastie. It was a great night of performance and poetry. It was nice to see Carys Jones, who is now back in the UK too, even better to hear her perform new material. She is currently working on a show to take to Edinburgh Fringe this year too.

Last night saw the last event of the month – Opus Club at The Dark Horse in Moseley. Both this night and Word Up are hosted by Jasmine Gardosi and are definitely worth going to. I decided to perform with the House Band and it was AWESOME. Initially I was worried because it was a whole band and I had expected just one or two musicians. I needn’t have worried, family genes are full of musicality (thanks Dad) and it was so good people thought it had been rehearsed that way. I managed to learn two poems off by heart – which was a minor miracle because I changed the set 3 or 4 times and spent most of Saturday with Mr G in a local Garden Centre!

Here’s some flavour of the night, it was certainly eclectic, Headlined by Hannah Silva.

opus3 opus 14

Photographs used with permission from the wonderful Rang-Zeb Rango Hussain. A second post about OPUS will be posted where you can see more photos.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/05/31/opus-club-the-dark-horse/

It was lovely to see people I hadn’t seen for ages and meet new ones. And that – as I used to say back in the days of showbiz, is a wrap!

Half Term Week – Workshops, Writing, Courses and Performances

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I hoped that half term would bring me plenty of time to write, sometimes things don’t work out as planned. I was very grateful for booking a workshop back in January, as this was the first time this week I actually sat down and wrote.

Last year I was fortunate enough to get a last minute place on a workshop during half term with Angela France in Stratford-Upon-Avon.

On Thursday I had the opportunity to attend another workshop with Angela and it was wonderful. I have pages of ideas to sink my teeth into and have been surprised by some of the poetry that has come from the mapping work we completed during the day.

Copyright 2013 peonymoon

Copyright 2013 peonymoon

Thursday evening (why does everything always happen on the same day?), I went to Hit the Ode – it doesn’t seem like months since I was there but I think it has been 4 months since the last one! Primarily I went to support Jasmine Gardosi – another local (and phenomenal) poet who is fast becoming a favourite headliner in our region. I did manage to get an open mic spot too. These are usually 5 mins and I planned to treat the audience to my poem about taxing my car and another about a friend who bakes the most amazing cakes. Performers tend to do poetry by heart and I only knew the 2nd poem off by heart. When I got there – there were so many open mic-ers that we only had time for one poem. Although I have performed ‘Cake-Man’ there before. Hit the Ode was such a great night I have written a separate blog post (link to follow). hit 1

I have managed to squeeze some writing time in this weekend and have a schedule / action plan I devised on Wednesday that I am trying to keep on top of. I am missing Sunday Xpress today and having a belated Shrove Tuesday (Pancake day) with Mr G. instead.

Next week I am going to catch Ben Parker perform again *and this time I will buy his book, his collection has had rave reviews. He is performing at The Hive in Worcester alongside Todd Swift, Sarah James and Ruth Stacey.hive5

I booked two more workshops which I’m looking forward to – another Community Garden workshop in Caldmore, with David Calcutt and one with Caroline Horton during the afternoon (of the same day) in Birmingham, I will be exhausted by the time I get home in the evening and have full time work around these workshops too. Sadly this means I shall miss Confab Cabaret in Malvern in the evening but hope to make it to one soon, haven’t been able to attend for events clashes for months.

I am busy trying to write ‘ghost’ poems for Drummonds 42 on Wednesday and have since found out about a clashing event which I would love to attend, I have committed to the performance in Worcester and think I can deal better with a night there than a really late night in Birmingham, especially after work, with work the next day. However the GOOD TO TALK TOUR is worth a mention and if any of you are in Birmingham it will be well worth you turning up to support.

david allen poetry tour

The 4th event in 1st Time Dave’s (aka David Allen’s) epic charity poetry tour of the country goodtotalktour.wordpress.com Taking in 10 gigs in 10 cities in 10 days – all by pushbike!Entry is £3 but donations welcome, all money going to Birmingham’s Open Door Youth Counselling serviceFeaturing:First Time Dave
Dave is the Reading Poetry Slam’s most winningest (it’s a word) poet. He’s an Archimedes Screw showcase champion and a Bang Said the Gun golden gun winner. He mixes the serious and the silly, the personal and the political. This is the 4th gig in his Good To Talk Tour, raising money for counselling and homelessness charities all over the country in honor of his friend Lizzie Lee who passed away last year.

PLUS! Two favourite poets of mine;

Lorna Meehan
Lorna has been on the circuit for over ten years, performing at festivals like Glastonbury and touring with Apples and Snakes with her mixture of candid hilarity and mellow introspection. She is also an actor, playwright and Associate Director with RoguePlay Theatre and is currently experimenting with longer narrative based poems with theatrical elements.

Jasmine Gardosi
Jasmine Gardosi is a spoken word poet, workshop facilitator, coordinator of West Midlands Poets’ Place and co-host of poetry nights Word Up and Opus Club. A speaker at TEDxBrum’s 2014 International Women’s Day event, her talk addressed the taboo surrounding menstruation. She was placed as the runner up in the the 2014 OxjamBrum Poetry Slam and was shortlisted for Birmingham Poet Laureate 2014/15. She’s also a karate world silver medallist, but that doesn’t really have much to do with poetry so she slips it in subtly wherever she can.

It will be a real shame to miss this event, but I don’t believe in getting out of one event to support another, no matter how unique it is.

I will also probably miss Word Up this month as after a week of work, I don’t think I will have the energy and also won’t have seen Mr G as I am working the day he is home. This is a shame, but I did intend to cut back on events this year. However, I found a downside to this on Thursday night, after a break in performing it was really hard to manage a confident performance, it took the first few stanzas to gain the audience, I think it worked out in the end though.

Just in case my writing diary isn’t packed enough (which it is) I have just enrolled for an online writing course in Spring with CN-1780-logo-uofiowa – I completed one back in 2013 (my 1st year back in my writing skin), it was fun. I am hoping this one will be even more beneficial.

Have a great week, keep writing!

Caldmore Community Garden Workshop with Poet in Residence David Calcutt

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caldmore ccg_logoI was lucky enough to make the final workshop at Caldmore Community Gardens on the 9th December, it was great to see Janet and Jimmy again and we had fun writing poetry about a particular area in the garden, we then worked together, playing with what we had written. It resulted in several promising group poems, it is now David Calcutt’s job to mesh our words together into a final poem.

Rather excitedly this poem will then be written into a path for the public to enjoy as they walk up to the wild garden.

I cannot wait to see the final product, work is planned for sometime in the New Year.

caldmore david-portrait-1