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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.