November is always a busy month. I usually do some sort of event for the Coventry Peace Festival - this year I asked poet Matt Black to deliver a workshop with me called Poetry for Lunch at Coventry Central Library. We had nine participants including published poets, aspiring poets, a lady who just happened upon us and a couple of people who didn't write at all. We had young people right through to older people and people from completely different backgrounds and faiths including two Muslim ladies. I don't think I have ever sat down at a more diverse table of people in my life and that's saying something! It definitely put paid to the idea that poetry is only enjoyed or written by the privileged few. Here are some of the things we came up with:
gruel and cobweb
We wrote love letters / hate mail to fruit
A lady told us a story song from Punjabi about different fruits going to the wedding of the crocodile fruit and the beetroot.
We wrote dating profiles for puddings and main courses and matched them up.
It was funny! If you'd like a digital copy of our Takeaway menu full of writing prompts round food, please email me through this site.
In addition to Poetry for Lunch I was asked by Silhouette Press to organise and host an event for this years Coventry Cork Poetry Exchange. As this years Coventry exchange poets don't live in Coventry (Jane Commane and Peter Reynard) I was the person on the ground, having represented my city in 2017. I asked Mahendra from Kadence Music to organise the sound system and poet Aysar Ghassan to compere. The night was a big success, with a full room and Cork Poets Michelle Delea (www.nosleep.ie) and Ali Bracken Ziad (Youtube) wowing the crowd with their excellent performances. There were lots of surprise Open Mic-ers and Peter Reynard made it up from St.Albans to perform, which was brilliant.
I also read at Hope and Raincoats at the Herbert for the Journeys with the Wasteland exhibition. I read my epic, fractured poem, which I'm hoping to record at some point and it went down really well with the crowd. When people come up to you afterwards to tell you they liked your work it feels really good. The exhibition has a blog with one of my shorter poems for the residency featured. Please check it out at journeyswiththewastelandcoventry.com
Then last Thursday I braved the spaghetti junction to be part of a panel at the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham invited to speak at 'Creative Conversations with Female Poets' by Katy Wareham Morris. Others on the panel were Ddotti Bluebell, Holly Magill, Ruth Stacey and Sarah James. Dr Sharon Young and a representative from the Women's Equality Party both spoke and hosted the Q&A after our performances. It was amazing to be alongside these confident, accomplished poets. Ruth and Sarah told the story of how V-Press came out of a Freudian slip on the Villanelle - it was hilarious. The quality of the poetry was just fantastic. I had the best time.
So - that's the end of a really busy spell in terms of events. I've already been inspired by the 'Creative Conversations' event to start on some new work. Ditto the Ludic Rooms Random String Symposium, which I attended this weekend, but haven't even mentioned. Until Christmas I'll be concentrating on writing and submitting stuff, hoping I'll not miss all the relevant windows (submission ones and advent calendar ones).
Thanks for reading. If you're looking for Xmas pressy ideas - please check out all the poets I've name dropped for their books!