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Archive for April, 2012

WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.

What is ANNOYING me this week?

Temperamental Software

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

The buzz of creativity

LISTENING TO:

Solo – Edgar Froese

SOME OF MY DOINGS:

MARS ON THE RISE BOOK LAUNCH.
12th May – Century Theatre – Snibston Discovery Park, Coalville Leicestershire.

I have not mentioned this for a while and the event will soon be on us. Mars on the Rise is the first Steampunk novel by Rae Gee. The book explores dark themes, through the evil dealings of the company Veetu Industries, purveyors of SEX, DRUGS and STEAMPOWER. Not for the faint hearted but as
Jane Davitt said in her review for the US Launch:

“I was swept away by the story and brought into a world that’s brilliantly depicted in vivid detail.”

This novel is already number 54 on the German Gothic novel chart and number 38 on the German Gothic Romantic Novel chart, based on e-book downloads alone.

The run up to the launch has not been without its difficulties, with delays in the production and one of the bands having to pull out – but these have all been resolved in the main.

The Evening will feature the book launch with conversations with Rae, the showing of the Veetu Industries Commercial.

Plus performances from two great Steampunk bands and a Steampunk comedian.

The Cogkneys are a Derbyshire based Steampunk band and The Dark Design, who are coming all the way from Brighton to perform, describe themselves as Celtic, Steampunk, Victoriana band. They will be joined by the comic Count Rostov entertaining with his Steampunk wit.

I will reveal my alter-ego Sir Nigel Mallard as master of ceremonies.

THIS IS A CELEBRATION OF ALL THE COGS, PISTONS AND CHAINS OF STEAMPUNK AND WILL BE A BOOK LAUNCH LIKE YOU HAVE NEVER SEEN BEFORE.

Tickets are still available from Rae. – rae@glasscompletelyempty.co.uk

Links to websites
The Cogkneys – http://www.thecogkneys.co.uk/
The Dark Design – http://www.reverbnation.com/thedarkdesign
Count Rostov – http://www.countrostov.co.uk/

NIGHTBLUE FRUIT

Tomorrow, 1st May sees Polesworth Poets Trail poet Sarah James headline at Nightblue Fruit in Coventry.

Taylor John’s House, The Canal Basin – Coventry – 8:00pm – Bar plus Open Mic.

THE WALL.

THE WALL – TAMWORTH 2012 is an Arts Connects – Fired Up Theatre production that sees the arts team at Tamworth Borough Council working along side Staffordshire’s Premier Community theatre company.

This is a courageous project that brings together community artists and provides a platform for excellence in the delivery of the arts in the town. This to me is what Council Arts teams should be doing in regenerating artistic activities in towns, providing collaborative opportunities for artistic development and then showcasing the results.

This show will have the effect of waking people up not only to the issues that the show explores but also how much talent there is in town. It will be a show where those artists and performers who perhaps thought about being part of it, but then for what ever reason did not get involved, will take a step back and go WOW; I wish I had been part of that.

This production is only the second time the Wall has been performed as a show by anyone other than Pink Floyd. The first show was at The MAC in Birmingham about ten years ago and very much followed the original material. This show sees the original music performed by Floydian Slip but to a new, updated script written by Simon Quinn that brings in contemporary themes. Ami Radcliffe of Radcliffe Dance is bringing brand new choreography to the piece. The show also introduces new poetry delivered as film or sound pieces. The show is performed by a cast from the local community that brings together actors, dancers, singers, poets, film makers and artists as well as backstage technicians, wardrobe team and promotions. All collaborating on delivering the biggest show that Tamworth has ever produced.

Community Poems
Last week saw the final Community Café workshop with twenty community members of all ages taking part in creating new lines in response to the Pink Floyd song Comfortably Numb. I have planned out their sound poem on paper but have yet to compile it, a job for tonight. – I then have to take the lines of all three poems and create a final piece to be included in the show, but I need a day or so to think that one through.

Floydian Slip
Thursday evening saw the Director, Simon Quinn and myself travel up to Chesterfield to meet with the band Floydian Slip at their rehearsal room. Our purpose was to map out the first act to match the music to the action and dance. We also needed to make the spaces between the songs for the film and sound poems. The real delight was to have one of the original Floyd tribute bands provide a personal performance the whole of the first act. It was an absolute surreal experience and I look forward to going back in a couple of weeks to map out the second act and then working with them on the shows.

Poetry War Film
Saturday and a chance to get the camera out and record some poetry. The shoot took place at Tamworth Assembly Rooms and saw the first use of my backdrop to allow me to create a composite montage of poetry and war.

Antony Owen, the Coventry War poet came along to read the poems for the film, delivering some Wilfred Owen, August Stramm and his own poetry. Antony is great to work with and his performance was professional and accomplished. I much appreciated him changing the town in the original poem to be Tamworth so that the piece for the show is specific to the town. I think this has a real impact, it brings it home, makes people think about how close the war and conflict in distant lands can come into our lives.

Antony delivered excellent performances in a few takes that allowed time for us to experiment with some of his other poems and ways to express them on screen; I am really looking forward to working with these films in the future.

Yesterday saw my temperamental software give me a headache all day as it failed to render the finished result of Antony’s performance overlaid with footage from World War I. I finally managed to get it sorted at 10:00pm last night and rendered the first draft, and even if I do say so myself I really quite pleased with it.

SHOW DATES
THE WALL is being staged at THE ASSEMBLY ROOMS IN TAMWORTH – 6-8th June 2012 – Tickets are on sale from the box office or through the web, check THE ASSEMBLY ROOMS website for details.
http://www.tamworthassemblyrooms.co.uk/whats-on/event-calendar/cat.listevents/2012/04/30/-?start=30

SOME OTHER EVENTS COMING UP.

15th May
Poetry Alight at the Spark Café – The second evening of this excellent event with several guest poets plus pre-booked open mic’ers. Gary Longden will no doubt be providing more details in the coming weeks.
15th May. I expect to see several of the poetry trail poets reading at this event.

18th May
Spoken Worlds – Burton’s premier Poetry event – it was excellent last Friday, where I played my sound poems as Poet as DJ – and got many positive comments. The next is on 18th May – 7:30 start Open mic plus real ale pub – The Old Cottage Tavern, Bykerley St, Burton-on-Trent.

22nd May
THE FIZZ – Bringing all thinks poetic back to Polesworth – Guest poet is Margaret Torr – plus open mic, refreshments available 7:30pm start – Polesworth Abbey Refectory – High St, Polesworth, North Warwickshire.

SOME OF MY COMING SOON DOINGS

Readings in May

1st May – Nightblue Fruit – with Guest Poet Sarah James
12th May – Mars on the Rise Book Launch – Century Theatre, Coalville, Leicestershire.
15th May – Poetry Alight – Spark Café – Lichfield
18th May – Spoken Worlds – Burton on Trent
22nd May – The Fizz – Polesworth – Guest Poet Margaret Torr.

June 6th, 7th and 8th – THE WALL – Tamworth Assembly Rooms.

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WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.

What is ANNOYING me this week?

TWO TYPES OF SHOPPERS – THE AIMLESS and THE FOCUSSED – both oblivious to the rest of us.

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

MY NEW STUDIO BACKDROP SUPPORT KIT.

LISTENING TO:

THE WALL – PINK FLOYD

SOME OF MY DOINGS:

THE SEASON OF LONG BALLS

Well the Football season is nearly over and Tamworth are safe for another season in the Conference Premier. I must admit since I started following Tamworth some six or so years ago my interest in the teams across all the divisions has grown and I now take note of what is happening in the four divisions of the top flight as well as the Conference Premier, North and South.

Tamworth had a good start to the season but have struggled since Christmas. They can play some good football especially against the better teams, where they up their game and play to feet carving out openings that find results. They tend to be a bit chameleon like and let the opposing team set the play which they then copy and against the poor teams they revert to a long ball game which frustrates the fans as invariably they don’t win the balls in the air and the attack is cleared only to see our opponents nick a goal in the last few minutes.

This was clearly shown in the battle they put up against Everton at Goodison Park in the 3rd round of the FA Cup, losing 2-0 but getting high praise in the process, OK, we lost but then we were expected to lose, but in holding Everton the way that we did was a result in my book. Then weeks later we lost at home to Bath City who have not been off the bottom of the league for most of the season, we should have won that game easily. Focussing on the way our teams win is not the end of it, it is important to understand how our teams lose, especially when there is not the luxury of strength in depth. Still we can put that aside for another season, we are safe.

Whilst every Tamworth fan would like to see our team in the football league emulating our Staffordshire rivals Burton Albion, we have to accept that The Lamb ground would not really be up to league standards and as such if we did succeed in getting promoted we would struggle to rejuvenate the playing facilities and also pay the wages of the players required to make us a permanent fixture of the football league.

Tamworth have never over extended themselves financially and chased the unsustainable dream that so many clubs have in the past only to find themselves in liquidation and demoted beyond the Conference and in effect having to start again. Football clubs are businesses but they should never forget their core activity is the game, without the game the conference, hotel or what ever facilities they want to sell, are meaningless, the game is their unique selling point. They are just another offering in an already over crowded hospitality industry without it.

I don’t often talk about my footballing passion on this blog so that was my summary of a season on the Terraces or my view from THE SHED.

THE WALL.

Last week saw another workshop at the Community Café this time in Amington where we explored the themes of Comfortably Numb and created a new sound poem. Some fantastic lines were generated by the small group who attended, including Chloe who as a 12 year old was not phased by writing lines of poetry and was by far the most prolific. It was interesting that her lines took the voice of the comforter, the adult caring voice. The sound poem brings this out and creates an interesting juxtaposition of voices with the her young voice expressing the voice of reason, this would not have been so immediate and obvious from a page poem.

The final workshop is this week at Belgrave when we will create the third piece.

I already have some great lines and recordings to be included in the final piece from all three workshops and I am really looking forward to the next workshop to gather some more.

Rehearsals for the show are also progressing and the difficulties of working with different groups of people, each playing their part but rehearsing separately, then all coming together for the performance, has raised some interesting challenges. Not that they cannot be overcome and this week will see the mapping of the show from the individual acting pieces that have already been blocked out, to the already choreographed dance pieces, to the band, to the choir, to the projections, to the lighting, to the props etc.

I am filming on Saturday, a well known Midland Poet, is coming along to read as a talking head – reciting his and others poetry which will be overlaid with archive footage to create a montage on themes suggested by the production. A chance to use my new studio backdrop kit and to play with lighting, the things that excite me, even when people give me those weird looks.

I am glad of the opportunity to work on a production on such a scale, in both bringing my experience and also adding to my learning at the same time.

Some events coming up.

Nightblue Fruit with one of the Polesworth Poets – Sarah James – 1st May – Taylor John’s House, The Canal Basin – Coventry – 8:00pm – Bar plus Open Mic.

Poetry Alight at the Spark Café – The second evening of this excellent event with several guest poets plus pre-booked open mic’ers. Gary Longden will no doubt be providing more details in the coming weeks.
15th May. I expect to see several of the poetry trail poets reading at this event.

Spoken Worlds

Spoken Worlds – Burton’s premier Poetry event – it was excellent last Friday, where I played my sound poems as Poet as DJ – and got many positive comments. The next is on 18th May – 7:30 start Open mic plus real ale pub – The Old Cottage Tavern, Bykerley St, Burton-on-Trent.

THE FIZZ – Bringing all thinks poetic back to Polesworth –22nd May– Guest poet is Margaret Torr – plus open mic, refreshments available 7:30pm start – Polesworth Abbey Refectory – High St, Polesworth, North Warwickshire.

John Donne – Good Friday 1613 – Riding Westward.

Several poets have suggested ideas for commorating the writing of this poem at its 400th aniversary next year, but I am still open to ideas – so please keep them coming.

The Lost poets will return in June.

 

 

 

SOME OF MY COMING SOON DOINGS

Readings in May

1st May – Nightblue Fruit – with Guest Poet Sarah James
15th May – Poetry Alight – Spark Café – Lichfield
18th May – Spoken Worlds – Burton on Trent
22nd May – The Fizz – Polesworth – Guest Poet Margaret Torr.

June 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th – THE WALL – Tamworth Assembly Rooms.

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WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.

What is ANNOYING me this week?

Apps that become demanding children – ITunes and Spotify you know who you are!

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

The Community Café Workshops.

LISTENING TO:

THE WALL – PINK FLOYD

SOME OF MY DOINGS:

An early post this week as I have a lot of things I want to promote.

THE WALL

Tamworth will see a fantastic production of Pink Floyd’s THE WALL over four days at the beginning of June.

The production which is collaboration between Fired Up Theatre / Tamworth Borough Council and the local community is a new interpretation of this Magnus Opus from the Floyd.

The interpretation features a new script, poetry, dance and actors drawn from the local community to explore the themes of isolation, delusion, seclusion and loneliness and how it impacts people in their daily lives.

For my part I am creating new poetry both from my own pen and also in collaboration with the Community Cafés. The poems will be performed using a variety of media from film to sound pieces to word displays.

Last week saw my first workshop with the community café in Wilnecote where a cross generational group gathered to discuss the song Comfortably Numb and to create new lines in response to the song, these were recorded and I am now putting together a sound poem from the event. I will be running two further workshops in Amington and Belgrave over the coming weeks.

Poetry Workshop at Wilnecote - (c) Community Cafe

In addition I will be supporting the Creative Director, Simon Quinn and the dance choreographer Amy Radcliffe in producing the show

You can find more about the production at:
http://www.tamworthassemblyrooms.co.uk/arts-activities/the-wall

Tickets are on sale now and since being promoted on The Pink Floyd News website are selling well, so it is best to book early to get the date for the performance that you want to attend.

The performance dates are 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th June – To book tickets follow the link:
http://www.tamworthassemblyrooms.co.uk/whats-on/event-calendar/icalrepeat.detail/2012/06/05/290/0/the-wall

You can use the calendar on the right to select the date of the performance that you wish to attend. Tickets are £8:00 (£6.00 Concessions Details are on the website.)

JOHN DONNE – GOOD FRIDAY 1613 – 400 YEARS.

John Donne - depicted 3 years after writing Good Friday.

Jacqui Rowe tweeted me last week to point out that next Easter it will be 400 years since John Donne sat in front of the fireplace at Polesworth Abbey and wrote the poem Good Friday 1613 Riding Westward. I am in agreement with Jacqui that we should not miss the opportunity to commemorate this anniversary of such a wonderful poem.
So I am proposing that we create a commemorative event to take place on Good Friday 2013 at The Abbey and I am looking for ideas from the poetry community as to what we might do.

I do have one or two ideas that have been suggested to me already, which I will hold on to so as not to influence your thoughts in coming up with some original, out of the ordinary approaches to creating and event.

Ideas may involve some workshops prior to the event, which I am open to organising, so don’t hold back on the ideas, lets create something new that will go down as an event in the history of Polesworth in the same way that Donne’s poem is considered.

Who knows in 100 years time our descendant poets may well be celebrating 500 years since Donne wrote the poem and 100 years since we created our event.

Please leave comments on this blog or email me at maldewhirst@yahoo.co.uk  with your thoughts.

In the meantime I will discuss it with Fr Philip and other groups in Polesworth.

If you don’t know the poem then follow this link to read it.
http://www.luminarium.org/sevenlit/donne/goodfriday.php

KEITH LARGE – FISTS AND CHIPS

There are not enough serious short plays being written these days in my opinion. Not that I am adverse to comedy, I appreciate the comic sketch as much as anyone but I do wonder if writers use comedy as a safe way to get their work out there and as such avoid the controversy that a serious play exploring social issues can attract.

So I very much admire Keith Large who I have the pleasure to work with on film projects, for his taking a stance to tackle the subject of a social issue through his latest production.

Keith has written and produced a radio play called Fists and Chips, the play takes the theme of domestic violence as its focus and seeks to breakdown preconceived ideas on the reality on what is for some unfortunate people is a major part of their daily lives.

The play was produced as a radio play in a London recording studio, starring Jeff Stewart (PC Reg Hollis in the Bill) and Carrie Hill.

I would recommend that people follow the link and listen to this thought provoking, sensitive play.

You can hear the play by following this link:
http://www.dvmen.co.uk/

Keith has also put me on to an Edinburgh writer who he really rates. Simon Jackson whose poetry collection Fragile Cargo is published by BeWrite Books.

Reviews include,

“Jackson is a brave poet. There’s an underlying tenderness to Fragile Cargo, but the poems are all written with such energy and bite that the reader is never allowed to feel comfortable. They’re funny too. Jackson captures our lives and dilemmas and works like a photographer to show us the way we really are. More please.”

Mark Wallington (writer for Not the Nine O’Clock News and thirteen produced TV series and films)

Simon will be touring in the near future, included a date at the Buxton Festival in July.

You can buy Simon’s book by following this link

http://bewrite.net/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=B&Product_Code=FragileCargo&Category_Code=PO

You can follow Keith on Twitter @KeithLarge3
And follow his other projects at:
http://www.carrotnapper.com/

JO BELL – NAVIGATION – REPRINT

I was pleased to hear that Jo Bell’s collection Navigation is going to be re-printed.

Jo who is the leading light behind National Poetry day and delighted us with the Bugged anthology in recent years, writes about life afloat on her narrow boat with musings on sex and archaeology, but not I hasten to add not always at the same time.

I bought one of the last 12 copies of the original print from her a few years ago and not only have I read it myself but I have also lent it several other poets who all loved it but were disappointed not to be able to get a copy of their own. Well now is your chance as copies will be available from Jo, you can contact her through jo@jobell.org.uk  . The book is well worth the £9 including postage.

I also note that Jo has taken the opportunity to slightly revise the collection and has added in some new poems, a great move on her part as it means I now have to buy the reprint but only if she will sign it for me.

And if you are not following her blog then why not it has been listed in the friend’s blogs panel on this blog for over a year. If you have been just that little bit too busy take a break and have a look now at:
http://belljarblog.wordpress.com/

TWO POETRY EVENINGS.

Jonathan Davidson has dropped me a line to promote two very interesting evenings of poetry.

Firstly, we have an evening of Persian Poetry on Wednesday 9th May 2012 at the Barber Institute in Birmingham. It will be rare and wonderful; two Afghani poets and their translators and details here: http://www.writingwestmidlands.org/2012/02/28/an-evening-of-persian-poetry/

And secondly, Jonathan is producing a poetry performance working with a team of performers and a theatre director and based on poems from the Bloodaxe Books’ anthology, Being Human. This will be rare and wonderful too and has three dates at The Belgrade in Coventry from Friday 22nd June 2012. Details here: http://www.belgrade.co.uk/event/being-human . Anyone who has an interest in performance will find this useful. Jonathan has produced three others over the years and they have all been terrifically well received.

Both are well worth going along.

NEWS FROM THE POETRY TRAIL POETS.

Gill Learner whose poem Listen is on the Polesworth Poets Trail (outside the Butchers Shop on Bridge St) has full collection in print, The agister’s experiment, 2011, published by Two Rivers Press.

The collection has received some great reviews

“The poems here fizz and crackle while exploring the vast range of humanity“
Poetry Book Society Bulletin Spring 2011

“It is rarely that a first collection hits the nail on the head as accurately as this.”
ARTEMISpoetry 6

The collection explores the themes of small workshops and the craftsmen toiling at their work and brings a solid accuracy of the process of manufacturing into our thoughts. I also think the cover is something to behold.

You can read more about Gill and her work at http://www.poetrypf.co.uk/gilllearnerpage.shtml

For copies of the collection see the Two Rivers Press page
http://tworiverspress.com/wp/the-agisters-experiment/

Janet Smith whose poem The Owl is on the trail has had further poem, Still Birth, selected as one of the twenty highly commended poems for Donald Singer: Health, Art and Science – Hippocrates Awards for Poetry.

You can see the link to the award here: http://donaldsinger.blogspot.co.uk/

Congratulations to Janet, whose work goes from strength to strength

Sarah James at Nightblue fruit. 1st May

Margaret Torr at The Fizz – 22nd May

LOST POET.

The Lost Poets are on Holiday until June.

SOME OF MY COMING SOON DOINGS

Readings in April.

17th April – Goblin Folk and Poetry Club – Ashby
20th April – Spoken Worlds – Burton on Trent.

Read Full Post »

WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.

What is ANNOYING me this week?

LACK OF TIME TO THINK.

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

COFFEE

LISTENING TO:

Discreet Music – Brian Eno

SOME OF MY DOINGS:

The last week was very much a week of progression and preparation, mixed in with a radio broadcast and a poetry evening.

WILDFIRES

Monday saw me listening into the Radio Wildfire broadcast with some excellent pieces. Dave Reeves in the studio with Brendan Hawthorne paid tribute to Geoff Stevens who passed away in February with selection of Geoff’s readings whose Black Country take on life through a voice of poet who was inspired by the Beat poets certainly resonated with me. You can read more about Geoff at www.geoffstevens.co.uk/

There was also a great short story from Keith Large which was produced in a London recording studio. Keith goes that extra mile in producing the delivery of his work that befits the quality of his writing.
You can link up with Keith and his work at: http://www.carrotnapper.com/

A new theatre piece from Bunbury Banter Theatre also delivered a high quality production of this dark tale, I hope we hear more from them on Radio Wildfire in the future. You can see more of the work of this theatre company at www.bunbanter.com

Other pieces that made an impression on me were the sound poems by Leicestershire poet Mark Goodwin and Alison Boston. You can see more about Alison’s work at http://alisonboston.wordpress.com/

If you missed any of this then it will be on the loop at Radio Wildfire later in the month along with my lost poet Kenneth Rexroth at www.radiowildfire.com

ENJOYING THE FRUIT

Tuesday saw the monthly poetry event in Coventry, Night Blue Fruit, which saw the return of one of the founding members of this event as the guest poet. Michael McKimm who attracted a large audience to this wonderful evening. There were great readings from familier voices from the Heaventree Press stable including Michael, Jon Morley, Barry Patterson, Tony Owen and George Ttouli.

It was great to hear Jayne Stanton read in another great performance of the night. Jayne is one of the poets heading to Cork this summer as part of the literary exchange that I was honoured to be part of last year.

Colin Dick and Jon Morley at Nightblue Fruit

The renowned Coventry artist and poet Colin Dick also gave us his sage like insight to life and it was good to see him again.

Plus we were delighted to see many new readers.

Barry Patterson often describes the venue at Taylor John’s House as something out of scene from a David Lynch film and too our surprise David Lynch turned up to read. Although this David Lynch is a young writer from Northern Ireland and not the film maker. He did however deliver a good set with a mix of poetry and prose.

Night Blue Fruit is on the First Tuesday of the month at Taylor John’s House in the Coventry Canal basin. Next Month’s guest poet is the excellent Worcestershire poet Sarah James on Tuesday May 1st.
Night Blue Fruits facebook page can be found at: http://www.facebook.com/nightbluefruit

PROGRESS.

The rest of the week was spent progressing existing projects and in planning the some new ones, some of which really take off this week

The progression was on the edit of Double Booked and the installation of the Poets Trail along with shaping the potential role of a Staffordshire Poet Laureate. All of which, I have meetings on this week.

THE WALL BUILDS.

The preparation is for The Wall performances at the Assembly Rooms in Tamworth on June 5th-8th – the event is now being promoted on the Pink Floyd News website Brain Damage at http://www.brain-damage.co.uk/latest/community-performance-of-the-wall-coming-in-june.html

I, for my part, am throwing myself into supporting the project and will be reducing down my readings and other projects in the time between now and the end of the performances.

It is a project that takes the Arts out into the community and then brings back the results to be part of the show or the following exhibition. It brings together local artists from all different forms to work together and within the community, challenging us to experiment in the creation of something really new.

The music will be provided by the Pink Floyd Tribute band Floydian Slip using the original songs but this is then taken into contemporary directions with a script that is gritty, brave, daring and uncompromising. The script and the whole performance is by Simon Quinn of Fired Up Theatre in association with Tamworth Borough Council’s Arts Connect team, whose enthusiasm and dedication to bringing the community together is to be much lauded.

This is not something that will just entertain you for a couple hours, this is real art that will challenge your understanding of the world, make you question your values and beliefs. This will make you think and think hard about the role of communities and society.

I have already been working on some new poetry to be included in the show, some as sound pieces, and some as visual poetry on the screen rather than the page. Last week saw me edit together a film piece around my poem Empty Spaces and later today I plan to be recording my take on The Thin Ice.

This week sees a follow up workshop from the workshop with the Tamworth Writers a couple of weeks ago. I along with some of the Tamworth Writers will be working in one of the three Community Cafes tomorrow to develop a sound poem as a response to the Pink Floyd lyrics. This will be followed up with two further workshops over the coming weeks at the other two Community Cafés in the town.

In addition to this the rehearsal programme starts on Wednesday with a full day and will continue on Thursday and then every Wednesday evening and full days on Sundays thereafter right up until the performance. I intend to be at as many of these rehearsals as I can and welcome the opportunity to help shape something that has so much value to the community and the arts.

You can see the promotional video on Youtube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YPtPGKcxLU

LOST POET.

I know I promised a lost poet this week but as you can see I am up to my eyes with other interesting projects so I am resting them until June.

SOME OF MY COMING SOON DOINGS

Readings in April.

17th April – Goblin Folk and Poetry Club – Ashby
20th April – Spoken Worlds – Burton on Trent.

Read Full Post »

WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.

What is ANNOYING me this week?

People who block supermarket aisles by having conversations with long lost friends.

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

THE FIZZ, THE TRAIL, THE CHARITY SHOW.

LISTENING TO:

Radio Wildfire.

SOME OF MY DOINGS:

What a week with so many wonderful things going on.

Tuesday saw The FIZZ with our guest poet Barry Patterson. The evening started in the light and as the dusk descended, the people from Polesworth and beyond settled into a very special evening of poetry.

Barry Patterson - at THE FIZZ

Barry did two sets either side of the interval giving his wonderfully unique delivery of his poems and songs that took us into nature, out to India, the ring road in Coventry, to the poetry readings at the Tin Angel and into Pooley pit with a Geordie miner lad. He captured the spirit of these places and took us into looking at the world with fresh eyes, opening our minds to new ways of experiencing out environment.

Barry mixed in beats from his bhodran, building a tempo that entranced the audience into a calm vision of the natural world. Added to this were tunes from a bone flute that stirred the atmosphere to shift into a comfort that hung on his every word. It was a wonderful set from this much acclaimed poet and performer.

There were other noted performances from the floor, particularly of note:

Gina Coates, who read three poems including her Poets Trail poem, all showed a poet who has worked hard at her craft over the last twelve months and is now developing her own voice. The empathetic voice of a mother whose thoughts care about all that touch her. She finds her voice in the significance of choral performances at a memorial to soldiers, such that meaning and the reasons for the performance resonate through her poetry.

Janis Kind is another voice that has developed over the last year. Janis focuses on small events and their relationship to the larger world view as she observes birds in snapshots of time, showing that the whole view is not one significant event but a collection of much smaller events each with its own place and importance.

Alex Simpson gave us some of his wonderful prose, with memories of a car and all that he and his family did on their travels around the country and into Europe, he gave us all thoughts of sentimental attachments of objects that touch our lives.

All the performances on the night were special and I should mention Terri and Ray Jolland who brought humour to the night with “There’s a fault in my poem”. Margaret Torr who is the guest at the next Fizz gave us a taste of what we can expect from this accomplished writer, poet and storyteller. Ian Ward and Tom Wyre gave us their excellent poems and are two more poets who we will get as guests at the Fizz next year.

The evening was rounded off by Antony Owen, who was guest poet last year and continues to develop his canon of poetry of conflict that has seen his reputation grow as the 21st century’s great war poet.

I would like to thank Barry for his performance and for bringing a new calmness to Polesworth on the night that made for an atmosphere that allowed all the other poetry shine.

It was great to see so many new faces at the Fizz many of them coming along to listen, it is always fantastic to welcome listeners to poetry and to engage new audiences.

You can see Barry at Nightblue Fruit at Taylor John’s, the Canal Basin in Coventry on the first Tuesday of the month – the next being tomorrow.

The next Fizz is on 22nd May at Polesworth Abbey, Refectory when out guest will be Margaret Torr.

Wednesday and Thursday saw four new poems installed on to the Polesworth Poets Trail.

The poems were all developed from the experiences of the workshops that we held in Polesworth twelve months ago.

Barry Patterson’s poem Advice to a Geordie Miner Lad in Pooley is located near to the capped pit head and invokes the memories of the Miners from the North East coalfields who migrated down to the Warwickshire pits in the 1950’s and 60’s. Full of imagery and dialect that would have been so much part of the Pooley pit life in this period.

Advice to a Geordie Miner Lad at Pooley by Barry Patterson

Margaret Torr’s poem Pooley Pit Ponies is located close to the path into the nature reserve, close to an Oak sapling which in time will grow to protect and provide shade for this great poem. The poem reflects on the comradeships between the men and their ponies. The ponies are often forgotten when we consider mining, but not to the miners who relied on them to haul their stints along the tracks to be raised in the cages.

Pooley Pit Ponies by Margaret Torr

Gina Coates’ poem Living Echoes is located where the paths meet from the Car park down to the visitors centre. It reflects on times, ancient, past and present with its echoes of the carboniferous, the mining life and introduces the thoughts of Women as miners, to the present day as field of play and leisure.

Living Echoes by Gina Coates

The forth poem installed was by Bernadette O’Dwyer whose poem Jutt is a snapshot of the life of a stubborn pit pony who worked in Pooley mine. It captures the fond memories that the miners had for this character who would only haul a certain number of coal trucks. It was as if this pony held its own ideals on acceptable working practices and dug its feet in when these were exceeded. Bernadette’s poem is located near to the heritage centre opposite the pit wheel.

Jutt by Bernadette O'Dwyer

I am so proud of all the poets who are on the trail all of whom have found a connection with Polesworth and Pooley that I made when I started the project five years ago.

More poems will be installed in the coming weeks.

When people come together with a common goal wonderful things can happen. The “what seems impossible” is just by passed as their enthusiasm rubs off on other people and doors open. This is even better when a family comes together and makes wonderful events happen.

I am talking about the variety show that took place at the Progressive Club in Tamworth on Friday last, all to raise money for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.

The show was the brain child of Emma Smith, who as a dancer produced the show and brought together dancers, singers, comic magicians drawing performances from her family and friends, with me as the family poet.

There was so much fun in the production that the enthusiasm of the cast flowed out to enchant the audience.

This element of fun and laughter kept the production on track through the long hours and stress in the run up to evening.

It was a great show with everyone playing their part to raise over £650 on the night which will be added to the growing fund as members of the family continue fund raising, the next event is the Brighton marathon, where members of the cast will be running in aid of this great cause.

All credit goes to Emma, Clair Crawford, Dee Smith, Ryan Smith, Chris Smith, Rachel Birks, Rachel Smith, Mick Smith, Krissy, Sarah and Kingsbury School of Dance, Little Ryan for compereing, Small and Fat DJ’s for the sound system and music. Not forgetting the other members of the family who sold tickets, programme and ran the raffle.

As for myself, I played a very small part, but realised that I had to change my style and delivery into a performance in keeping with the fun of the rest of the acts.

My final delight was to be considered as a Dad Dancer during the finale, hey I have made it up a rung of the dancing ladder who knows if I keep going like this I may end up on Strictly – though don’t hold your breath on this one.

We were so busy and wrapped up in the event we forgot to take photos, which is a pity.

There is now talk of doing it all again next year and I look forward to playing my part.

Radio Wildfire broadcast tonight – Dave Reeves emailed me with the programme which is as follows.

No fooling, we’ve a programme that’s jam packed with quality, originality, accessibility, variety, and a little solemnity in this month’s Radio Wildfire Live! @ www.radiowildfire.com

There’ll be the usual selection of tracks uploaded to our ‘Submit’ page by listeners, including new work from poets Mark Goodwin and Alison Boston, and a story from Keith Large, amongst others.

We’ll be featuring a tribute to the poet Geoff Stevens who passed away in February. Widely published across the world and much respected for his work publishing other poets in Purple Patch magazine, Geoff cut his own path through the literary world. Joined by his long-time collaborator Brendan Hawthorne, we’ll be talking about his literary life and playing tracks by Geoff himself.

We’ll also have the first in a series of exciting collaborations with the Bunbury Banter Theatre Company, a beautifully produced and at times disturbing drama At the Fourth Minute, written by Lee Ravitz.

There’ll be a selection of tracks from the excellent CD from Norman Cristofoli’s Labour of Love magazine and Coffee House performance series in Toronto, Like a Diamond in the Sky.

And there’ll be the latest in Mal Dewhirst’s series The Lost Poets, a look at forgotten and under appreciated writers from across the years and around the world that it’s Mal’s mission to draw your attention to.

The show, as always, is presented by Dave Reeves.

Radio Wildfire Live! is followed at 22:00 by the monthly diary from Birmingham’s poet laureate with Jan Watts’ Irons in the Fire and then Longden’s Listings with Gary Longden, the only complete spoken word events diary being transmitted. Listen in and catch your own events being discussed.

Join us: Monday 2nd April from 8.00 pm UK time at www.radiowildfire.com

Radio Wildfire: you’d be a fool to miss it.

THE LOST POETS

You can still hear my lost poet piece on Banjo Patterson on the Radio Wildfire Loop.

Another will be broadcast tonight and I will write about another poet next week on this blog.

SOME OF MY COMING SOON DOINGS

Readings in April.

3rd April – Night Bluefruit – Taylor John’s House Coventry.
17th April – Goblin Folk and Poetry Club – Ashby
20th April – Spoken Worlds – Burton on Trent.

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