My Poetry Summer on Fast Forward

It’s been over 3 months since my last post.  I’d begun to fear I might never blog again, so here’s a rundown on what I’ve been up to, poetry-wise, this summer, since my day at Sheffield poetry festival.  And I’ll try very hard not to make this post over-long.

Festivals:  I read some of my poems in short guest mic spots at Leamington peace festival, Simon Says… festival in Leicester and Strawberry Fields festival in Heather, Leics.

Leamington peace festival
photo credit: Barry Patterson

Strawberry Fields spoken word stage

Poetry Workshops: Staffs poet laureate Mal Dewhirst’s at Tamworth library and John Siddique’s as part of Oakham literary festival.

Poetry Open Mic nights: Lichfield’s Poetry Alight, compered by Gary Longden (a mecca for midlands poets, always a delight); Gary Carr’s Spoken Worlds in Burton-on-Trent (relaxed atmosphere, intimate setting, the hubby’s favourite poetry night out); Word! at the ‘Y’, Leicester (eclectic mix of open mics, recent guest poets Tiffany Atkinson and Cherry Smyth both fab).

Poetry Day out: The Fizz, as part of Stafford festival (a pleasure to read with fellow poets, catch up with (same) friends, meet others and hear readings by Young Laureate candidates).

Poetry party: home from Stafford via Derby for an evening hosted by the lovely Seema and Richard Heley at their art studio/home in Derby (friends, food, poetry, music, improvisation to a backdrop of beautiful artworks).

Towards freelance: I’ve undertaken opportunities to shadow/volunteer at local arts for health workshops/groups.  In the process I’ve learned some ukulele chords, sung songs, laughed and drunk tea with a group of lovely ladies; created and screen-printed images inspired by lines of writing; ‘explored’ medieval Leicester; written a collaborative piece; done lots of typing up.  I also ran my very first poetry workshop, at the invitation of a local group – feedback suggests members enjoyed themselves as much as I did.  And I’ve been invited to return in the new year.

Coming up: I’m really looking forward to co-running a rebellious writing workshop, Make Love Not War, on Friday 4th October, with Leicester’s very own Tim ‘Bombdog’ Sayers, as part of the city’s Everybody’s Reading Week.  Along with four other Leicester poets, I’m exhibiting two poems as part of Drawing on Words, an exhibition by the Leicester Society of Artists.  Click here for audio clips and PDFs of all the poems.  This runs at New Walk Museum & Art Gallery from 14th Dec 2013 to 11th Jan 2014.  And – video footage of me reading my Sin É poem is also in the pipeline, as part of a film featuring poems by a local group.

Saving the best:

I’m delighted to announce that my debut pamphlet will be published by Soundswrite Press in autumn 2014.  The journey so far has been an educational and, at times, a sobering one; exciting and nerve-wracking by turns.  I’m all too aware that I have to ‘get it right’ – the best poems in the best order.  There’s absolutely no place for lesser poems to hide…