WPL, Leena Batchelor – Blog post #1

Worcestershire Poet Laureate – December 2020

Can someone please let me know where this year has gone – it has flown by! To be honest, I am sure many of us will be grateful to see the closure of such a challenging year. We have all experienced more than our fair share of tragedy and heartache over the year, and our wonderful poetry community has been no stranger to this with the loss of family, loved ones, and close friends. 

It is at times like this that reflection through written and spoken word is at its most poignant, and I have been honoured to be part of these moments. At the end of November I organised an online Poppy Appeal event which saw 11 poets gather for the Royal British Legion’s 11/11 challenge, offering their thoughts and words for Remembrance. This was a ticketed event, and together we raised over £70 for the appeal – proof that words have a positive and profound impact on the everyday. The event was recorded and this is available in return for a donation to the appeal – contact me via worcspoet2020-Leena[at]yahoo.com for more details.

I am also very proud to announce the successful launch of my first poetry calendar, raising funds for The REME Charity. The charity supports the soldiers and families of the Army’s Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers Corps, a cause close to my heart since my eldest son currently serves in this corps (as did my father in the 1950s!). The calendar features stunning photos by local artists (among them the LitFest’s own Kevin Brooke) and motivational poetry for each month – this is a practical and beautiful item! They cost £7.50 and can be obtained by emailing me on the above address.

It’s also important to remember that the regular spoken word events that we love so much are still running – albeit online – and need our support. Writers love an audience, especially as your enjoyment and feedback helps us hone our craft. Instead of searching the Netflix archives over Christmas and the New Year, why not tune in to local spoken word events such as SpeakEasy (LitFest & Fringe), Dear Listener (run by the indomitable former Worcestershire Poet Laureate Charley Barnes), and 42 Worcester with Polly Stretton; all of which can be easily found on Facebook.

And to close, some exciting positive news for 2020: I will be performing at The Commandery, Worcester not only as Worcestershire Poet Laureate but also as The Commandery’s first Poet-in-Residence (a role which will develop in full from February 2021) on Wednesday 30th December 11am – 11:45am. The event is a family friendly ‘Festive Tales & Poetry’ in the Herb Garden – £5 adults and £3 children/concessions. A real, live performance for a real, live audience – I can’t wait to see you all there!

https://www.museumsworcestershire.org.uk/events/festive-tales-poetry-with-our-poet-in-residence/?fbclid=IwAR1mAlY8yrfZg-x4EvS8n07X_blxeLsvVv_ZDF6L01YjTzfnC0NAxcLbON4

Wishing you all a peaceful Yuletide 2020 however you choose to celebrate the season. As for 2021 – here are my wishes for you:

Serenity and joy, to calm your heart.

Smiles and love, to fill every moment.

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