What a fantastic 5 months it has been. I am enjoying being Worcestershire Poet Laureate and still pinch myself some days. What excites me most is discovering secret poets and helping people turn to and return to poetry. I have met new-to-me poets and encouraged them gently into the wonderful world of poetry. These were some of my targets, and I am delighted that they have already been realised…
My last blog post in August mentioned Contour. The first issue was released on 29th October; it launched at the end of INKSPILL, an online writing retreat I run annually over at awritersfountain. You can read a digital copy of Contour now just here.
Let me know as soon as you can if you would like a printed version as a limited run is being ordered. Drop me a line firstname.lastname@example.org; cost will depend on the size of the order, it will be around £5 plus P&P.
The next issue is scheduled for February and submission details go live on the WPL blog TODAY (you can have a peek now by clicking here).
I was booked for my first talk as a poet by Evesham Festival of Words for Second Friday Stories; I organised an Open Mic Poetry Event to celebrate the Salt Day Festival in Droitwich Spa; met with Janet King to discuss the European Twin Town Poetry Project – we are currently gathering poets based in Germany; headlined SpeakEasy and Permission to Speak; and wrote poems for The Unremembered of WW1, a Living Memory Project published by Black Pear Press.
I facilitated the Sculpture Trail Poetry Workshop at the Jinney Ring (18th September) and poets gave positive feedback on the experience. Since the workshop I’ve compiled 16 poems for an exhibition in the Restaurant at the Jinney Ring Craft Centre and am meeting with Carolyn Baldwin (Events Manager) in the New Year to finalise plans. We hope for an Easter time exhibition.
To celebrate National Poetry Day (28th September) I compiled the 2nd WPL anthology, on the theme of Freedom, which you can find details of just here.
Later on in the month I received a commission from Liz Johnson (Composer) to write for Credo, Creative Synenergy and perform on the 29th September at Elmslie House, Malvern. This was a fabulous project to be part of. Liz had collaborated with Visual Artist Dora Williams to create Credo, and the evening event celebrated the launch of the exhibition. My poem ‘Terra Firma’, based on one of Dora’s abstracts, was exhibited too. I wrote 7 new poems for this collaboration, and you can click here to read more about that experience.
I compiled a 3rd Anthology, dedicated to Mental Health Awareness poems, for World Mental Health Awareness Day, and submissions for this remain open for the rest of my Laureateship. Details can be found on my blog.
I also performed at the SpeakEasy Special for Mental Health Awareness & Wellbeing event.
Halloween was covered both by the creation of a Poetry Film of your poems and, as a one off, some flash fiction was published alongside poetry on the blog. I also devised a children’s workshop for LITtleFest over at St. John’s Library as part of the WLF Halloween Event on 28th October.
I spent the majority of October working with Hanbury Hall Poets. We wrote ekphrastic writing based on artwork by Droitwich Arts Network. 15 poets visited the Long Gallery over 3 weeks and wrote poems, and over 3000 visitors attended the exhibition.
Polly Stretton won a competition to read at the closing event on 30th October. She and I went and read to the artists, shared their lunch and generally did lots of networking! I met one of my artists, Stephen Evans, and my poem will appear in his next exhibition in December.
A reading of our poems was planned for 14th November at Parks Cafe, Droitwich.
I was a Guest Speaker for Worcester University Creative Writing Society and a week later at the U3A Worcester group.
Rosie Philpott and I collaborated on collecting images of the artwork from DAN for the reading that was scheduled for this month. Rosie created a show of all the Artwork which was displayed as 9 Hanbury Hall poets gathered to read their work. The readers included a first time reader and poets from Gloucestershire. It was a great success and a fantastic example of cross-arts work. It also marked my final event as WPL for 2017; you can click here for more information about this event.
I also worked on a new commission. Peter Sutton asked me to take part in his Elgar Poetry Event (you can find more details of this event just here). I wrote 14 new poems about Elgar and Worcestershire. The event was held at the Elgar School of Music, Worcester; other readers at this event were Lesley Ingram and Michael W. Thomas. Peter cleverly tied our work together in a performance that flowed beautifully and included poetry from Elgar’s contemporaries as well as some facts and memories. It was a superb experience!
I compiled my 4th anthology for Remembrance. I received submissions well into triple figures and had to make lots of hard, editorial decisions. The results are incredibly powerful, though. This collection includes International Poets and you can access it now by clicking here.
I had meeting with the Basement Project, a charity who help young homeless (16-25), for a proposal I offered in July. I have organised 3 community workshops for 2018 between March and April. I am looking forward to this new challenge and promoting the work they do. For more information on what to expect from this work, head over to my blog.
It is amazing how long projects can take in planning stages. I already have several stacked up ready for the New Year!
Other projects and performances include:
September: Performance Birmingham Literature Festival, V. Press
Performance at Free Verse Poetry Book Fair, London V. Press
Worked as WMRN Reader in Residence at Rugby Library (ongoing)
October: V. Formation, Reading at Poetry Swindon Festival V. Press
INKSPILL Online Writing Retreat
November: Verve Poetry & Spoken Word Festival Launch
Adam Speaks, Croome Court.
To find out more about what I have been up to please visit my personal blog, available here.