Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category


What is ANNOYING me this week?

Temperamental Software

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

The buzz of creativity


Solo – Edgar Froese


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.


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/


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 – 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.

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.


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.


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 is ANNOYING me this week?

Hot Taps.

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

New poems on the Poets Trail.


The Wall – Pink Floyd.


It is THE FIZZ at Polesworth on Tuesday 27th with guest poet Barry Patterson plus open mic. At Polesworth Abbey, High St, Polesworth where I will be your host. This is a free event and all are welcome.

Last week was a remarkable week which saw me working on every evening either attending readings, meetings or running workshops.

Whilst this was hectic there were some wonderful outcomes.

On Wednesday I had the pleasure of running a workshop with the Tamworth Writers Group in the Old Town hall, a wonderful building that was built by Christopher Wren and sees a statue of Sir Robert Peel watching over the town from his plinth at the end of the old market vault.

The workshop was part of the project to produce a performance of Pink Floyd’s The Wall, which I have mentioned previously on this blog.

The workshop focussed on the song Comfortably Numb, which we discussed as a poem and then listened to it as a song and discussed it further. The writers group then wrote single line responses to the lines from the song.

There was one surreal moment when the room was silent as the writers crafted their lines, when drifting in from the outside came the busking sound of the same very song – The busker in the Market Vault giving us his version, I could not have planned this and it seemed to reaffirm what we are doing as if the busker was offering his support to this wonderful project.

The lines that were produced were numerous and different in context and style. When they were read out I could see some concerned looks as to how these lines would be put together to make a group poem as a response to the song.

I have seen these concerned looks many times before, in fact every time I do this exercise with groups, but I have never had this fail, when we start to consider the lines and group them together then the poem suddenly comes to life as the structure, themes and voices begin to meld into a story.

We did not have time to complete the poem and the group will continue with the exercise at their next meeting with a view to submitting it for consideration as part of the show.

Friday saw me attend a meeting at Pooley Country Park to discuss the installation of new poems on the Poets Trail. I arrived to find eight of the poems standing in line in the visitor’s centre, proud representatives of the poetic art patiently waiting to be given their permanent place.

A proud regiment of poems.

Four of the finished poems are to be installed along the canal, this involves wider consultation which is near completion but we are not quite there and as such we will be installing these in April.

The other four are to be installed in the country park which we can progress with; in fact the park rangers were just waiting for me to say where they should go.

I had already thought this through as you would expect, I am not making this up as I go along. However the site has changed significantly over the last 12 months, finding me face with a new car parking layout which meant that my original ideas would have seen the poems place in precarious positions with the risk of readers being mixed in with the passage of traffic entering and leaving the site.

This meant some rethinking but as we walked the site things fell into place and the four locations were identified and marked with a peg.

The four poems will be installed over a couple of days starting on Wednesday 28th March by the Parks team.

The poems to be installed this week are:

Barry Patterson’s – Advice to a Geordie Miner Lad in Pooley
– This will be located near to the capped pit head.
Margaret Torr’s – Pooley Pit Ponies
– Which will be located close to the path by the wind turbine.
Gina Coates’ Living Echoes
– To be placed where the new paths from the car park to the Heritage centre meet.
Bernadette O’Dwyer’s – Jutt
– Which will be placed on the bank at the back of the heritage centre on the opposite side to the playground.

I will post some photographs of them in situ on my blog next week.

So by Friday evening I was already in the euphoric realms of delight as I headed to Spoken Worlds in Burton, for which I was a few minutes late having taken some time to notify the poets of the news from the trail.

Spoken Worlds was one of those special nights when there are several outstanding performances and pieces that are marked out as genius.

On Friday there were several great pieces of note, including; Gary Longden’s poem inspired by the quotes of footballers, which was sharp and funny and captured the nonsense that footballers quote in interviews on the TV and football programmes, this poem needs to be heard time and again and should be requested when ever Gary reads it is a signature piece.

A new voice to Spoken Worlds was Dwane Reads from Derby whose poem of the moment about the hopes for 2012 were mapped out as if we had got to October and they had really happened. The poem as Dwane agreed was very much of the moment, on that this time next year would no longer be relevant. It would however be interesting to see him write the after the event version.

Margaret Torr’s delivery of a Vikram Seth poem from memory brought out her expertise as a story teller, engaging the audience with her eyes and movement. Margaret is guest poet at the Fizz in May and I look forward to seeing her perform a full set.

Terri Jolland read a very new piece where she looked back at her time working in an area of Leicester, that she returned too the previous Saturday when she went along to the State of Independence, which I discussed in my blog last week. Terri’s piece was full of memory and comparison, brought about by the surprise of revisiting the area where she had once worked and had now changed so much with the development of De Montfort University. A day that provided her with a gateway to memories and new poetry.

Terri and her husband Ray also delivered a comic sketch, which has become a trademark for them; Spoken Worlds has grown to expect such a piece. This month they delivered a comic triumph that saw William Shakespeare trying to compare Anne Hathaway to a summer’s day only to be interrupted by Anne with her musings that had this happened then he would never have completed his famous sonnet. It was full of fresh quips and whimsy and delivered to perfect comic timing, a wonderful piece.

The whole evening was full of some great poetry with other notable performances from Steph Knipe who gave us some of her poetry as song, Janet Jenkins who mused on Sparrows, Tom Wyre reading poems he rarely reads from his excellent collection Soliloquy, Ian Ward in the Borderlands, where he called Polesworth a city, that would not go down well at The Fizz where the locals still consider the town as a village. Rob Stevens from Buxton gave us song and poetry along with limericks in tribute to Edward Lear, which is part of a project to cover the Buxton Dome with new limericks.

The host Gary Carr made this magical evening flow with his eloquent introductions and before we knew it, it was 10:30 and time to head home.


Finally Yesterday afternoon saw me attend the penultimate rehearsal for a charity show that is taking place on Friday at the Progressive Club in Tamworth to raise funds for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.

The show is a wonderful mix of dance, song, magic and comedy and few poems from me. It has been organised and produced by members of my extended family. This is the first rehearsal that I have been able to attend, but as my set is self contained this has not halted the progress of what promises to be a gem of a show.

There is so much laughter and enjoyment from all those involved it was a delight to be part of it, I only wish I had had more time to see it develop.

This should not mask the amount of time and effort that has gone into organising it, with performances to be choreographed, props and costumes to be made, comic sets to be written and rehearsed, songs to be learnt. I felt humbled by my small contribution, trucking up at the last minute to deliver some already written poetry. I will be reading some of my more comic poems but am working on my introductions and engagement with the audience as there is so much professionalism among the laughter of this show that I would not want to let them down.

Those who know me will also know that dancing is not something you would associate with me and my awkward out of step gyrations that make even “Dad Dancing” look good. So you will be pleased to know that I have even been convinced to dance in the finale. It took little coaxing, the spirit of those involved was so welcoming and fun that there was never any consideration that I would not do it.

There is a final rehearsal on Wednesday I am so much looking forward to it.

Congratulations to all of the Smith Family especially Emma, Clare, Dee, Chris, Ryan, Rachel and Mick and all of their friends for staging this show and bringing so much untapped talent to the stage.

The show is at 7:30pm at The Progressive Club, Halford St, Tamworth, Tickets are £4:00 and will be available on the door – all proceeds go to the charity.

There may be some photos next week, watch this space.

For more information on Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.


Don’t forget you can hear my lost poets on Radio Wildfire – Banjo Patterson is now on the loop.

I am still researching a very interesting Chinese poet at the moment and will post another piece in the next couple of weeks.


Readings in March.

March 27th – The Fizz – Polesworth – Guest Poet Barry Patterson.
March 30th – Leukaemia Research Fund Raiser – Progressive Club – Tamworth.

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What is ANNOYING me this week?

The throb in the night.

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

The lengthening days.


St John Passion – J.S.Bach Performed by The English Chamber Orchestra conducted by Benjamin Britten


I have been busy over the last few weeks and it was beginning to tell with my body giving me excruciating aches especially at night when I tried to sleep. So I was glad I only had a couple of things last week. Night Blue Fruit on Tuesday which saw the wonderful Jan Watts – the Birmingham Poet Laureate venture out to Coventry to read. Wednesday saw two evening meetings, the first to discuss some very interesting ideas on raising the artistic profile of Tamworth, followed by The Mad Hatters’ Writers in Atherstone.

So I think my body was glad to have a break from meetings and events and was more than happy for me to work on the edits to Double Booked. Over the last couple of weeks I have been spending nearly every spare moment reviewing all the available footage to improve the film; with more use of close ups and the different angles that were used in the filming. This has been a step back viewing exercise and not a jumping in and start cutting the film about task. However by Friday I was in a position to start making the changes which I did for the easy edits, following this with an all day session on Sunday starting to make the more difficult cuts and edits to make the film flow more easily.

All adding to my learning, all striving for the best result.

As I was based in my study for most of the time, I was able to reacquaint myself with the Radio. I listen in the car, but this is often dipping in and out between destinations. So with a prolonged period of edits to consider it was great to have plays and discussion on in the background only dipping out to listen to the film audio on the headphones. Sunday saw, the views of a Scottish Fisherman on the articles in the Days papers, The Archers Omnibus, Desert Island Disks and a repeat of Just a minute which completely filled the morning. I must admit that I put on a CD of Bach St John’s Passion in the early afternoon. Not that the radio was beginning to bore me, more that Desert Island Disks was where I first heard a snippet of this great piece and I remembered that I was given the CD as Christmas present and had not listened to it all the way through. So over all Sunday was a very productive day.

This week sees a follow up meeting tomorrow on the arts in Tamworth and a Runaway Writers’ group meeting on Thursday so my body should not moan too much at that and I might even get down to doing some writing.

Monday of last week did see me in stay in to tune into the latest Radio Wildfire broadcast and excellent it was too. With poems and music from all over the world, including some interesting sound poems, all in the safe hands of Dave Reeves and his son Vaughn. I am hoping to publish an interview with Dave on this blog in the near future, where he tells me about the history of Radio Wildfire and his hopes for the future.

You can listen to the loop of last month’s programme including my piece on Michael Drayton and on or around the 20th March this will be updated with last Mondays broadcast with my piece on Banjo Patterson. Follow this link to get to the show www.radiowildfire.com

As part of my study of film making, I have taken some time in my relaxation hours to watching films and television with a more critical eye. Looking not only at the shots and angles that the film and programme makers use to create the cinematic and tele-visual effects, but also at the storylines, plots and outcomes.

This has led to me occasionally watching documentary / reality TV shows. I have recently been watching Time Team, as show that I used to enjoy but over the last few years have not featured in my viewing as other projects took my mind away from the TV.

Many of you know I have a passion for Archaeology from my teenage years as a summer holiday digger on excavations such as the Mucking Hillside in Essex. Time team used to keep that interest burning but the latest episodes of the current season have been disappointing and I suspect it may have run its course as a programme. I read only the other week that Mick Aston has resigned from the programme and that there has been some friction over the presentation.

That, however is not the fuel of my disappointment, what concerns me is the lack of them finding anything. They seem to dig for the three days and not find what they set out to locate. Often finding nothing and so they end up with a lot of conjecture as to the whys and what fors of a site. I realise that you can’t expect to hit gold on every dig but they seem to do it week in and week out, ending up with no further information than was already known from documents and as such could come to their conclusions without actually disturbing the earth. Tony Robinson seems to have to fill in a lot more as the Archaeologists struggle to find anything to tell us. They are better than that and deserve a better programme, like the ones they used to produce.

Time team is not the only programme that fails to deliver. There are several programmes that seek to find properties for people, programmes such as Location, Location, Location, A Place in the Sun or A Place in the Country. All of which are most likely not to find a property that the participants actually end up buying and so you are left with the dissatisfaction of not having a conclusion to the story. Did they ever buy or was it just a speculative time wasting exercise. Again I know Phil and Kirstie can’t win every time but of late they never seem to win.

Having said that about the content of show, I am also disappointed by some of the film making and editing which I as a film maker would not accept in any of my work. Things such as poor camera angles, uninteresting shots of places are always annoying but what is worse for me is jerky pans and shots that are out of focus for a few seconds, all of which are avoidable with good camera work and editing.

It seems to me that the content of some programmes has dumbed down, there is far too much of the reality TV where the public is entertaining the public and not very well. This has led to cheap TV and the production values as such have taken the same line with a slap dash approach in some cases.

Despite all of that I still like the camera work on the opening titles of Time Team!

Next Saturday see States of Independence at De Montfort University in Leicester. This excellent event sees many of the small presses gathered together to sell and promote the works of their poets and authors. This is a free event and a great opportunity to network with the independent writing industry. I shall be going along to meet with some old friends and hopefully make some new. I would also like to get a view of who the new and up and coming voices are, which I will write about on this blog next week.

For more information on this event go to http://www.statesofindependence.co.uk/

A quick reminder that THE FIZZ will take place at Polesworth Abbey on the 27th March at 7:30pm with Special Guest Poet Barry Patterson plus open mic.

Finally for this week – I would like to point you to Bernadette O’Dwyer’s excellent blog post this week at the Secret Writer. Berni, like many writers including myself, holds down a day job whilst she looks for her break that will see her become a full time, established writer. This is not unusual for writers, many of whom have had alternative jobs that in some cases have provided the knowledge they need to enable them to write using themes and methods with some accuracy. They do say write what you know! Berni has listed several famous writers and their previous occupations – some you would expect others are more surprising. To see Berni’s list go to: http://secretwriter1.blogspot.com/2012/03/previous-careers-synopsis-and-waiting.html


Readings in March.

March 17th – The Goblin Poetry and Folk Club – Ashby
March 24th – Spoken Worlds – Burton
March 27th – The Fizz – Polesworth – Guest Poet Barry Patterson.
March 30th – Leukaemia Research Fund Raiser – Progressive Club – Tamworth.

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What is ANNOYING me this week?


What is DELIGHTING me this week?

The Weather


Clocks – Paul Brett.


Last week saw a very successful meeting on a potential future project, which if the funding bid is successful could see a wonderful opportunity for poets to engage with the community both past and present. I am excited at the possibility of leading this project and exploring further the work I did last year using similar themes and poetic techniques to shine new light and interpretations on spirit of the place both now and in its ancient past. I will keep you notified through this blog once the details have been finalised and we can officially launch the project.

I have further meeting this Friday on another potential gem, which I started through discussions on this blog, which has also been received with a lot of positivity and enthusiasm. Largely due I am told because I offered a solution rather than just moaned that some one else was not doing anything. Again I will let you know more detail when it is appropriate to do so.

Folk Songs in Ashby

Last week also saw two readings, the first on Tuesday at the Goblin Poetry and Folk Club in Ashby, which is gathering in popularity and saw a mix of poets and singers delivering some excellent performances. There were eighteen in all who signed up to perform for their five minutes, exploring themes from Mining to Cotton Mills, this really is a great event for GRAFT poetry and folk song.

Friday saw Gary Carr’s Spoken Worlds in Burton on Trent, where I aired for the first time one of my Wall poems, which received a very kind review from Gary Longden on Behind the Arras. I am not sure I am setting out to re-write the words to Pink Floyd’s album, as Gary suggests, I think I am more taking the themes and writing my own interpretation. However I can see how the results could be seen as re-writing the lyrics and I was delighted that Gary felt I had done a good job on the poem The Thin Ice.

I was also interested in Gary’s take on lyricists as poets, as this is something that I have thought about myself. The obvious names come to mind, Dylan, Cohen, Lennon, Ray Davies and Morrissey in addition to the list that Gary includes in his review. For me Sid Barrett was the poet in Pink Floyd and there is a marked difference in the poetry of A Piper at the Gates of Dawn, which most Pink Floyd tribute bands avoid performing out of respect for Sid, to the later works of the Floyd including their major work Dark Side of the Moon. There is no doubt that Pink Floyd were/are some of the greatest musicians and innovators with their progressive sound and ambient lightshows, but when they decided not to pick Sid up for a gig, that was the day they lost the real poetic contribution to their work. It was a decision they took that saw them move forward to create all of the great music we know them for and craved to see when they re-emerged to perform at Live 8.

I love Pink Floyd, they take me into dreamscapes that no other band ever can, but I am always found wanting from the lyrical quality of their work post Sid Barrett and I do wonder if we would be talking about Dark Side of the Moon being the greatest album ever written if Sid had written the lyrics; and whether I would ever emerge from those dreamscapes if he had.

You can read Gary’s review at http://www.behindthearras.com/wordsandvoices.html#Worldsfeb

My work on Double Booked, has continued over the weekend, with a review with producer, Keith Large, and a series of changes have been identified that need to be made to sharpen it up, I will be working on this in the coming week and I am really enjoying the challenges that are being thrown at me.

I also managed to overcome my annoyance of last week and to match the aspect ration of the video to a PowerPoint page layout – this I was able to create and manipulate JPEG files to be included in the film. My abilities as a Digital Compositor are limited to working on still images and whilst many professionals out there might snigger at my use of PowerPoint, rather than Photoshop (as a minimum surely) – I am using what I know and pushing it to its limits before moving into other software. I sometimes think we don’t get the most out of the tools that are available to us, that we don’t push them to their limits before making the step up to the next level. I would rather make a good job with a basic tool than a bad one with a complex one.

On Radio Wildfire the loop went live last week and includes my interview and the first of my lost poets along with the following listings that I received from Dave Reeves.

The Loop brings you a radio play with Talkers and Doers by Keith Large, which features BAFTA winning actor David ‘Dai’ Bradley (Billy Caper in Kes) in the lead role.

The Loop brings you an intriguing Memoir piece with Jill Tromans’ account of her family connection to Buffalo Bill’s Wollaston Visit.

The Loop brings you Poetry and spoken word with music and soundscape from Victoria Field, Alison Boston, Angela France and Paul Lester.

The Loop brings you Poetry from Julie Boden, Heather Wastie, Dave Reeves, the late Geoff Stevens.

There’s Song from Sally Crabtree and Michael W. Thomas …

…and The Loop brings you Ambient Music with Jimi Dewhirst.

PLUS: Irons In The Fire: Jan Watts’ Laureate’s Diary – the monthly diary from Birmingham’s Poet Laureate

AND there’s Gary Longden’s Listings, in this month’s show Gary looks back at the year and lists some of his favorite events, venues and poets – check it out you might just be featured!

So join us and listen by going to www.radiowildfire.com  and clicking on The Loop

This week sees Poetry Alight at the Spark Café, this is the first for this poetry event in Lichfield, which may not become a regular event, but promises to bring together some of the best poetry from around the Midlands to a city that has thriving poetry community. It is hosted by The Lichfield Poets who are very active not only as individuals on the poetry scene but also as a group whose interpretations are performed for the festivals that keep the traditions of this ancient city alive.

I was honoured to host them at the Fizz last year when they read from their war anthology Battle Lines. The Lichfield Mystery plays and the Arts festivals would be lacking without their performances.

Poetry Alight brings the poetic voices from across the region into their hometown, something that is long over due as we see the Lichfield Poets travelling across the Midlands to our events.

Poetry Alight is at the Spark Cafe – Lichfield on Tuesday 28th Feb.

Another Lost Poet next week.


Readings in February

Feb 28th – Poetry Alight at the Spark Café – Lichfield.

Readings in March.

March 6th – Night Blue Fruit – Coventry – Guest Poet Jan Watts.
March 17th – The Goblin Poetry and Folk Club – Ashby
March 24th – Spoken Worlds – Burton
March 27th – The Fizz – Polesworth – Guest Poet Barry Patterson.
March 30th – Leukaemia Research Fund Raiser – Progressive Club – Tamworth.

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What is ANNOYING me this week?

The London Underground.

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

Lunch at the Ritz.


Houses of the Holy – Led Zeppelin.


I went down the London for the weekend, a quick trip to grab a show and have lunch at the Ritz, as you do! The show was We Will Rock You which was absolutely excellent with a great cast, fantastic staging and of course a story that was extracted like a found poem from the songs of Queen. The Ritz was also something really special, something everyone should do at least once in their lives. The dining room and the waiters are a gentle piece of theatre which sees you as the diner centre stage, as the performance makes you feel like you are in the leading roles. For some this will appear to be something completely natural, going to The Ritz for lunch is a regular thing to do, but for jobbing writers such as myself it was an extraordinary experience. Not to be missed if you get the chance.

I came home to find that this blog had been nominated not once but twice for The Liebster Award, I was both flattered and honored that Sarah James and Gary Longden had both nominated this blog for the award.

What is more I think this a great idea, I am regular follower of blogs, some of which I mention in this blog, indeed if you look in the panel of friends blogs to the right – you will see some of the blogs I follow.

Counter-nominating a proposer is not in the spirit of the Award; however I would recommend both Sarah’s blog at http://www.sarah-james.co.uk/?page_id=7 and Gary’s blog at http://garylongden.wordpress.com/ as I follow them regularly.

Now I should explain what it all means…

Leister is a German word meaning dearest, and the award is given to up-and-coming bloggers with less than 200 followers.

If you receive the award, you should:
1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
2. Reveal your top five picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
4. Hope that the people you’ve sent the award to forward it to their five favourite bloggers and keep it going!’

My five nominations of blogs I follow on a regular basis apart from the two from my nominators, and these are in no particular order.

1. Polyolbion at http://polyolbion.blogspot.com/ is the blog of Leicester Poet and Wild life journalist Matt Merritt – Matt’s blog takes its name from Michael Drayton’s great work, I have to admit that is Matt had not already used it I would have called this blog Polyolbion. Matt covers everything from book and reading reviews – to future reading dates. Matt always gives a considered insight to his subjects and I value his opinions. I have bought several poetry books following his reviews and have never been disappointed.

2. O’bheal at http://www.obheal.ie/blog/ is the blog of my good friends in Cork, Paul Casey runs poetry events in Cork, with a weekly reading at The Long Valley in Cork City. The O’Bheal blog provides its followers with information on upcoming events as well as being the custodian of the legacy of the readings that have taken place in the past. All readings are recorded and held here and are available for you to listen too or if you were there listen to again. Including one of my own from my trip as the guests of O’Bheal in the summer.

3. The Secret Writer at http://secretwriter1.blogspot.com/ – I know who the Secret Writer is as I am part of her writing circle, but if you read her blog you will see why for the moment she wants to remain a Secret. This blog has a chatty engaging style, where she discusses her writing life, editing the novel “Her”, to a personal poetry project based around shoes. She also has an April Fools list of 40 things she wants to achieve in the year between her Birthdays.

4. Fox Tales – Worcestershire based poet and writer, Myfanwy Fox, was one of the first followers of my blog to leave a comment, I quickly discovered her wonderful blog Fox Tales at http://myfanwyfox.wordpress.com/ . I always find Myfanwy’s take on things as amusing, most definitely thought provoking and layered with a sense of realities that are often missed because we never look beyond the façade, Myfanwy does dig deeper and often sees that there are a mountain of un-answered questions to be discussed.

5. Here Come the Lobsters – Garrie Fletcher’s blog – http://herecomethelobsters.wordpress.com/
Garrie’s blog includes some great book reviews, comments on the news, ideas on writing and most recently his correspondence with a corporate internet provider. Like Myfanwy, Garrie can often point out the things that hide behind the façade.

Last week I attended the first of what I am sure is going to be many Folk and Poetry evenings in Ashby. The Goblin Folk and Poetry club was well attended with standing room only in the Giggling Goblin Café. Our host Brian Langtry, who has a large amount of music and theatre work to his credit, started the evening with a few songs. There was definitely a theme of working songs and poems, the former mining communities of the Midlands were giving a voice, particularly resonant was the song about the Dirty Thirty -30 Leicestershire miners who did strike when their fellow workers went against the strike action and worked the pits in the turbulent times of the 1980’s. – I think I will take along some of the poems that are to be installed on the next phase of the Polesworth Poets Trail. This event will also be a great night for reading poems developed out of the GRAFT project. – The next one is on 13th December at the Giggling Goblin Café in Ashby.

The Dreamer by Wendy Morthorpe

My adventures into STEAMPUNK continue – We now have a venue and a date for the UK launch of Rach Gee’s book Mars on the Rise – we have managed to secure the Century Theatre at Snibston Discovery Centre for the evening of Saturday May 12th 2012. The Century Theatre has a really interesting Industrial History and is the ideal location for launching a Steampunk novel.

You can secure your invitation to the event by sponsoring the launch for a small upfront fee of £20, which will give you an invitation for you and a guest to the evening. Plus as a sponsor you will get a signed copy of the book plus a package of materials which includes photographs and steam punk / Victorian themed goodies.

We are in the process of confirming two bands to perform on the night and also some other attractions that will enable you to immerse yourself in to the world of Victorian Science Fiction.

If you want to be a sponsor then please contact either Rach at rae@glasscompletelyempty.co.uk or myself at maldewhirst@yahoo.co.uk; there will only be 100 sponsors – so it is a chance to become part of a unique group who attend this very unique event.

For more information on the Century Theatre’s interesting history you can find out more here.

MY Lost Poet for this week is ADELAIDE CRAPSEY (1878 – 1914)

Adelaide Crapsey (circa 1905)

I have always been interested in pushing all forms of poetry into new directions and my experimentations have seen some success as well as a lot of failures, but as the scientists amongst you will know, it is what you learn from the failure of the experiment that gives you the knowledge to pursue your success.

Adelaide Crapsey was also not bound by the conventions of poetic form and went ahead in her short life to develop two distinct forms that have kept the interest in her work alive. She is though still only known amongst some of the academic circles.

Adelaide was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1878 to the Episcopal priest Algernon Sidney Crapsey and his wife Adelaide T Crapsey, Her father, himself not adverse to controversy following charges of heresy that saw him stripped of his Ministry.

Adelaide grew up in Rochester, New York attending public School in Rochester and later Kemper Hall a Episcopal preparatory school for girls in Wisconsin. She then entered Vassar College from which she graduated in 1901.

Her career as a teacher was delayed following the death of her sister Emily, but in 1902 she took up a post at Kemper Hall which she held until 1904, when she moved to spend a year at School of Classical Studies at the American Academy in Rome and then taught for two years at Smith College in Massachusetts.

She herself was in poor health and in 1911 was diagnosed with tuberculosis, which she kept from her family and continued with her teaching, until she collapsed in 1913. Her final year was spent at a private cure cottage in Saranac Lake, she returned to Rochester in August 1914, finally succumbing to her illness in October.

In the years prior to her death she wrote much of the poetry for which she is best remembered, Her collection Verses was published by Claude Bragdon in 1915 with later revised editions published up until 1934.

Her Poetry.

She created a variation of the 5 five line, 22 syllable form known as the Cinquian, influenced from Japanese forms such as Haiku and Tanka. Her version of the Cinquian uses Iambic metre and 2 syllables in the first and last lines with the middle three lines having 4, 6 and 8 syllables, see her poem Triad below.

She also developed an epigram in the form of an iambic rhyming couplet held with in the title which is an integral part of the poem, as shown in the example below On Seeing Weather-beaten Trees.

She was further remembered by the poet Carl Sandburg in his poem Adelaide Crapsey which was to keep the interest in her cinquain forms from become obscure and forgotten.

An example of THE AMERICAN CINQUIAN developed by Adelaide Crapsey in her poem Triad.


Three silent things:
The falling snow … the hour
Before the dawn … the mouth of one
Just dead.

An example of Adelaide Crapsey’s Epigram Form.

On Seeing Weather-beaten Trees

IS it as plainly in our living shown,
By slant and twist, which way the wind hath blown?

Some further links.

Adeliade Crapsey’s verses on the web:

Karen Alkalay-Gut’s biography of Adelaide Crapsey.


November Readings

22nd Nov – Poetry Bites – Birmingham. Guest Joseph Horgan
25th Nov – Spoken Worlds – Burton – Guest Ash Dickinson

December Readings

6th Dec – Nightblue Fruit – Taylor John’s House – Coventry.
13th Dec – Goblin Folk and Poetry Club – Giggling Goblin Café – Ashby de-la- Zouch.

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What is ANNOYING me this week?

Companies whose sales people think I can not get on with my life without their product or service – If I want it I’ll google it – stop phoning me!

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

The visit of the Irish Poets.


Physical Graffiti – Led Zeppelin.


Last week saw my guest reading at the Shindig in Leicester. Along side Jane Commane, Charles Lander jr and Wayne Burrows. It was an excellent evening with a large audience, some really top quality poetry from both the guest poets and the floor. You can read Gary Longden’s review of the evening at

There are also further reviews at:

In the week that Ireland elected a poet as their President, we have three poets from Cork visiting the UK this week. I wanted to get my poems inspired by my trip to Cork finished so that I can read them at Nightblue Fruit and The Fizz.

I had started three and none of them were forming how I wanted them too, so last week, I decided to make a concerted effort to bring them to fruition. As I have said before I have to walk with my subjects going around in my head developing the themes in a negotiation between my conscious and sub-conscious, it is only when agreement is reached between these two factions that I can put my words to paper – or in modern parlance to the computer screen.

The first poem Cork City, the theme takes as its title suggests, the city and its culture, where I wander the streets seeking out its spirit, trying to shake out its psyche. My problem with this poem was the amount of themes and detail associated with this great city is massive and deciding what to include or leave out was the issue that I struggled with. My focus was finally drawn by an article written by one of the Cork poets, Afric McGlinchey in the Aer Lingus magazine, where she described Cork “as great place for poets to live”. This allowed me to tease out the details that were relevant to a poet, to see the place with an eye to its activities now with mere hints at its history and heritage.

Shandon's Four Faced Liar.

The second poem, I started first, the themes being conceived when I was there, but although I had some clear thoughts, the final poem did not develop until the first one was completed. The poem, Cobh – The last Cathedral, takes its theme of the main harbour about 10 miles from Cork City, Cobh (pronounced Cove) was the main departure point for the ocean going liners heading for the Americas. Indeed the Titanic sailed from here in April 1912 before she met her fate in the Atlantic wastes. The town is dominated by St Colmains Cathedral; it would have been the last land based structure that the Titanic passengers would have seen. It was the power of this image that drew me in. Many people left Ireland for the Americas during the potato famine; this would have been the last piece of their homeland that they would ever see. It is a very powerful symbolic reference point.

Cobh - The Last Cathedral

The third poem The Grange Circle Bodhrani has become a folk tale, which I feel a bit nervous about as an Englishman, should I be creating new folklore for an ancient sacred site that is not in my own land?

The Grange Stone Circle is the largest in Ireland and the Black Stone, which forms part of it, is Ireland’s Largest Monolith. Paul Casey and I spent some time standing between the stones discussing its significance. The alley where the light shaft enters the circle on the longest day is clear but the lightstone that the light would hit is smothered by an Ash tree, as if this is breaking the magic. It is an enchanting place, a place of well respected folklore already; it perhaps does not need mine. It is said that the local people will not go to circle after dusk because from dusk to dawn it is the domain of the Fey Folk – the fairy folk, who are to be left to their world.

My poem tells of a bodhrani as drummer with his Bodhran, who with his kin of fiddlers, flautists and dancers was so lost in the beat that he did not notice that dusk had fallen. This angered Oberon King of Fey who saw them as being disrespectful. So in a thunder charge he used lightening to strike the cipin – the stick from the Bodhrani’s hand, which Oberon sent spinning around the circle turning the humans in to stone. The Bodhrani becoming the Black stone – Finally the stick rests at the foot of the lightstone and from this the Ash tree grows and kills the magic known to humans. Now the drummer and his clan cannot see or hear the day, but at night they dance to the Fey Folk’s tune, they are the jesters, entertainers, playthings of the Fey.

The Grange Stone Circle - The Ash Tree smothers the light stone.

Afric McGlinchey, Colm Scully and Jennifer Matthews will be reading at Nightblue Fruit at Taylor John’s House The Canal Vaults in Coventry on Tuesday 1st November – 8:00pm and at The Fizz 10 at the Tithe barn in Polesworth on 3rd November – 7:30pm – followed by an interview and reading on Hills FM Radio on Friday 4th November between 11:00 and 12:00. There will also be readings from Antony Owen, Barry Patterson and Myself who have all been representatives of Coventry on the Coventry-Cork Literature exchange over recent years.

The poetry of scam emails.
My poetic endeavours have not just been focussed on Cork. I turned my attention to a series of spam emails, which I regularly receive from persons supposedly in privileged positions at the Bank of Burkino Faso, who have through their daily work come across millions of dollars that no on knows about, offering to cut me in if I will assist with my bank account details so that they can transfer the money. I am sure that many of you will have received similar emails and that like me you know they are a scam. I do wonder about these poor deluded emailers, has no one told them we know what they are up to and that they are wasting their time, we are not going to bite.

I had six in my spam box last week, and took some time to read them, and to look at the language they used, the old fashioned phraseology, the sad picture they paint. It occurred to me that there was something poetic about them, that I could take lines and phrases and create a poem, a poem that used this interesting language, which had the feel and sadness of the emails, but in some way was more of a truth than the originals. I felt that something creative should come from these manipulative, fraudulent minds, that their misguided efforts should not be wasted.

I will be reading my poem PLEASE DO WELL TO REPLY TO ME AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. at Nightblue Fruit tomorrow evening in Coventry along with my new Cork poems.

The Nine Arches Press are running a full programme of workshops throughout the Winter and into the Spring in Warwick. The workshops are designed to enable poets to learn more about poetry and to gain in confidence in their poetic endeavours. They will be run by Jane Commane and Matt Nunn two of the most respected poets, editors, publishers and workshop leaders working in contemporary poetry.

Jane and Matt state that the workshops are:

“Designed to give you increased confidence and dexterity in your poetry writing, these workshops provide a focused and supportive atmosphere, and we guarantee you’ll leave with plenty of new poems and exciting ideas!”
More details on the full programme and the content of each workshop, plus how to contact them to reserve your place can be found at: http://www.ninearchespress.com/workshops.html

There is a New Folk and Poetry event in Ashby de-la Zouch. The Goblin Folk and Poetry Club is to be a monthly event with the first on the 15th November at the Giggling Goblin Coffee Shop, Mill Lane, Ashby – it starts at 8:30 to 8:45pm with a licensed bar and great coffee. It will then be on the third Tuesday of the month.

The event is hosted by Brian B. Langtry, who tells me he ran a poetry and folk club in the Black Country in the Mid 1970’s, which ran until the pub closed down. Brian has always been keen to mix the arts and has decided to give the Folk and Poetry format a revival in Ashby.

As Brian’s flyer says the Performers are from the audience. I hope it attracts some of the Leicestershire Folk singers who gave an impromptu performance in the bar at the Pitman Poets gig a few weeks ago then the audience is in for a really fantastic night and of course there will be us poets who will cast our metaphor and simile out to the eager listening ears.

My lost Poet is JOHN RAWLET (1642–1686)

John Rawlet - Poet and Preacher.

John Rawlet, poet and preacher, he was not by any means a major poet, a single volume of his poetry was published a year after his death. His main contribution to history is as a preacher, in Wigan, Kirkby Stephen and Newcastle upon Tyne. He is remembered through the name of a School in his home town of Tamworth, now in wholly in Staffordshire but at Rawlet’s time, Tamworth was split between Stafford and Warwick, a time of the English civil war that saw the town divided between Parliamentarians on the Stafford side of town and the King on the Warwick side.

Rawlet was born into an agricultural family with its origins near Grendon in Warwickshire; his father was a wool trader and settled in Tamworth as a major centre of commerce. The Rawlett family name was spelt with two ‘T’s – it was John who styled the name with one and adopted this throughout his life.

Rawlet was educated at the towns Grammar School and came under the tutelage of Samual Shaw a Cambridge graduate who nurtured his calling into the church. The church at these times was a turbulent place as there were divisions between the conformists who were restored to their livings following the restoration of Charles II and had signed their allegiance to the crown and the non-conformists who had used the churches for their services under the Commonwealth of Cromwell and would not sign up to the King.

Rawlet entered Cambridge to study theology, and it is understood that he became well read; although he did not receive his degree at the time he was expected too, there is a period in his life between 1660 and 1665 where there is scant knowledge of his whereabouts. It is during his period at Cambridge that he writes his first verses many he dedicates to his mother.

He reappears in 1666 in London, It is the time of the great plague and he fears he may succumb to it, he writes a letter to his mother saying goodbye and how he feels saddened that he has not achieved his ambitions. The letter is never sent, but remains with his processions until some 30 years later. His thought presumably that on his death it would be found and sent to Tamworth. He is a tutor with a family at this time and is saved from the plague by the family moving to a country residence in Croydon – this also takes him away from The Great Fire of London which destroys the city later in the year. Taking with it many great libraries.

Through the talk of books and lost collections, Rawlet sees that men who have been published have greater opportunities and so publishes a small book with the help of Richard Baxter, A Sacramental Covenanting with Christ under the initials MM. Baxter’s ‘Letter to the Reader’ aimed at providing religious instruction to the common poorly educated people. He his mocked by Baxter who describes him as “the Captain of the ignorant”. Despite this his book proves very popular with the rich who purchase copies to distribute to the poor as charitable gifts.

It is not long before he is offered a living in Wigan, which accepts and holds for a couple of years before he is offered a position in Kirkby Stephen in Westmorland. His patron is Phillip Wharton (4th Baron Wharton). Westmorland (now Cumbria) is also Clifford country and Rawlet is delighted with his meeting with the dowager countess Lady Anne Clifford, who her self has purchased his book and distributed it to the poor of the north.

Following his time in Westmorland he is offered a position at St Nicholas’ Church in Newcastle upon Time, then a parish church and now the cities Cathedral. It is here that he finally succumbs to illness, marrying his long time friend Ann Butler some three days before his death in 1686. His friends gathered together his poems and published them the following year as Poetick Miscellanies of John Rawlet, B.D. and Late Lecturer Opoetic Miscellanies of John Rawlet, B.D. and Late Lecturer of S. Nicholas Church in the Town of Newcastle upon Tyne.

His legacy created the Rawlett Trust, which still exists today and annually pays out sums to those who meet the conditions of Raw let’s original intentions.

The school in Tamworth, now Rawlett Community College, was built on Rawlett Field a piece of land that was once owned by the trust. The school and trust both adopting the original spelling of the family name.

The school and the trust continue to perpetuate his name, his poetry however is mostly forgotten, the light verses on pastoral and religious themes show a poet whose craft was well developed, he chose not to pursue his life as poet but that of a preacher, this should not diminish his skill as a poet which can be seen in the on-line scanned copies of his verse published by his friends.

I am indebted to Margret Manuell for the information on John Rawlet’s life and work, which I have very much summarized here. You can read a more detailed biography of John Rawlet by Margaret at:

Online copy of Rawlet’s poetry at Virginia University.


November Readings and Workshops

1st Nov – Night Blue Fruit – Taylor John’s House Coventry – Guests The Cork Poets.
3rd Nov – The Fizz – Tithe Barn Polesworth. Guests The Cork Poets.
15th Nov – The Goblin Folk and Poetry Club – Ashby de la Zouch. – NEW EVENT
22nd Nov – Poetry Bites – Birmingham.
25th Nov – Spoken Worlds – Burton – Guest Ash Dickinson


5th November
Words for Peace
Coventry Central Library, Smithford Way, Coventry CV1 1FY
An afternoon of poetry workshops run by local poets Antony Owen and Mal Dewhirst. Coventry schoolchildren will use war poems from Owen’s “Dreaded Boy” and selected famous war poetry to explore the themes of peace and reconciliation today. Influenced by what they have read and discussed the young people will create a collaborative poem as well as their own individual poems on what peace and reconciliation means to them. The poems will then the subject of an exhibition throughout the rest of 2011 in the Central Library. It is hoped that this exhibition will go on to show at other venues at a later date. Time: 12noon – 4.00pm – This event is by invitation only through local Coventry Schools.

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What is ANNOYING me this week?

The very disappointing ending to SPOOKS!

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

Some interesting opportunities!


The Archers


There have been several great further responses to the debate on a Staffordshire Poet Laureate, for which I would like to thank those who offered their thoughts. There are 3 or 4 active people on the Staffordshire Literature scene who are interested in working with me to engage with the appropriate authorities to see if we can move this forward. Therefore I propose to work with them to see what we can achieve. I will of course let you know the results through this blog.

Poets can still contact me through my email address maldewhirst@yahoo.co.uk with any further thoughts.

This last week has seen me working on ideas for future projects which are all very tentative at the moment and I need to think about which I want to pursue and how they will be part of achieving the things that I want to do, the things that I enjoy doing.

I also found that I had done enough walking of the subject of my Cork poems following my trip and readings back in August; I now have one completed poem and another partly drafted. I would like to get them finished ready for when the three Cork poets visit the UK next week as part of the Coventry Cork Literature exchange.

The Cork Poets: Afric McGlinchey, Colm Scully and Jennifer Matthews will be in the UK from the 1st to 5th November, with a reading at Night Blue Fruit in Coventry on 1st, a meeting with the Mayor of Coventry, a tour of the Polesworth Poets trail and reading at the Fizz in Polesworth on 3rd finishing with a reading and interview on Hills FM on Friday 4th.

Details for the Fizz10 are on the poster below.

The Runaway writers have been invited to play a part in the Short Story week events being organised by the Grace Dieu Writers Group in Coalville Leicestershire on 10th November. The evening will be a meeting of four writers groups with the Charnwood Writers and the Ashby Writers also taking part. Each group has selected 3 short stories from their members to take along to be read to the audience on the evening.

My short story about Absinthe drinkers – The Green Fairy, along with Kirstie Brooks story – Chocolate and Dea Costelloe’s story -Taking Her Chance were all selected by the Runaway Writers members to be the stories we will take along.

I am really looking forward to meeting with other writers in the Midlands; it is rare that these opportunities occur, where we can share our work with a wider readership. Writers groups tend to get focussed on their own activities, which after an initial momentum of excitement and expeditions developing writers into breaking new ground, can often see the group settle into a comfort zone as the momentum does not progress beyond its initial force. New members can often bring a new vitality to prevent stagnation but new members are not coming along all the time and it would be a lot to ask of them to bring a new dynamic to the group; many are new writers and are looking for help and guidance which the group can give them.

I have always seen The Runaway Writers as a progressive group, who have always sought to network and collaborate with different groups and to try and keep things fresh and to push individuals into writing realms which they would not have otherwise considered. Through the support and attitude of the members writers are encouraged to experiment.

An evening with these other well respected writing groups is most welcome, it not only allows us to benchmark our work against other pieces being produced by local writers, it also develops new friendships which are always welcome. I would like to thank the Grace Dieu Writers for organising it.

Tonight (Monday) sees me reading at the Shindig at the Western in Leicester as one of the guest poets alongside Jane Commane, Charles Lauder and Wayne Burrows – I am really looking forward to it, it is an event that I have been to a couple of times, it always has an appreciative audience and some great poets reading from the floor.

My LOST POET for this week is Sir John Beaumont (1583 -1627)

My interest in Sir John Beaumont the first baronet is many fold, he was not only a contemporary of Michael Drayton but also a good friend. He was born at Grace Dieu Manor close to the Priory from which the Grace Dieu writers mentioned above take their name. It was his son also Sir John who published the elders poem of The Battle of Bosworth, which is also of interest to me due to my Yorkshire ancestry.

Sir John was born in 1583 and at Grace Dieu Manor in Leicestershire, He was the second son of Sir Francis Beaumont and Anne Pierrepoint, He was educated at Oxford University, which saw him admitted to the Inner Temple at around 1600.

Following the death of his father and then his elder brother he found himself the head of a creative family, his younger brother was the dramatist Francis Beaumont who was also acquainted with Drayton and was a student of Ben Jonson. Grace Dieu is not that far from Polesworth in Warwickshire and it makes me wonder if the Beaumont’s were ever guests of the Goodere’s and the Polesworth Circle.

Francis Beaumont - the dramatist brother of the poet Sir John Beaumont

Sir John lived for many years as bachelor eventually marrying a Catholic, Elizabeth Fortesque; their sympathies towards the Catholic faith saw them fined for recusancy for refusing to attend Anglican services.

He began writing poetry in around 1602 – in his poem Metamorphosis of Tabacco, a mock heroic poem in smooth couplets which he published anonymously, which he dedicates to both his brother and to Michael Drayton as his loving friend.

His poem on Bosworth with its heroic couplets whilst a fine piece of Elizabethan verse, pales a little in the comparison of that of Shakespeare’s treatment of the subject in Richard III. It is the focus on this single event in the Wars of the Roses that makes it interesting. The content has differing detail to Shakespeare and while not contradicting – it adds more colour to the picture of this battle. It is also worth considering the sources of Beaumont’s version, presumably some of it from Shakespeare, who in turn used Holinshed’s chronicles, which Beaumont may also have referred too. But let’s not forget Grace Dieu is only a few miles from Bosworth, that Beaumont will have had access to some of the family histories, the stories passed down through the Digby’s of Coleshill for example. These may not have been available to the commoner Shakespeare and so therefore Beaumont is able to add further detail, be it second or third hand, but never-the-less some elements of truth surrounding the events of the 22nd August 1485.

Sir John died at Grace Dieu in 1827, he was succeeded by his son also Sir John, he was killed at the Siege of Gloucester in 1643 and was succeeded by the third and final Baronet of Grace Dieu Sir Thomas, on whose death in 1686 the Beaumont Baronetcy of Grace Dieu was extinct.

But this is not the end of the link with poetry and Grace Dieu – for a new creation of the Beaumont Baronetcy saw the Beaumont’s of Staughton Grange, who made their home at nearby Coleorton Hall, The 7th Baronet Sir George Beaumont was keen artist who befriended the Lakeland Poets, It was on a visit to Coleorton Hall that William Wordsworth wrote these lines on Grace Dieu Priory.

“Beneath yon eastern ridge, the craggy bound,
Rugged and high, of Charnwood’s forest ground,
Stand yet, but, Stranger, hidden from thy view
The ivied ruins of forlorn Grace Dieu,
Erst a religious House, which day and night
With hymns resounded and the chanted rite.”

An on-line copy of the poems of Sir John Beaumont can be found at:


October Readings

24th Oct – Shindig, Leicester.– I will be a guest poet at this event.

November Readings and Workshops

1st Nov – Night Blue Fruit – Taylor John’s House Coventry – Guests The Cork Poets
3rd Nov – The Fizz – Tithe Barn Polesworth. Guests The Cork Poets
25th Nov – Spoken Worlds – Burton – Guest Ash Dickinson

The next Fizz is on THURSDAY 3rd November at the TYTHE BARN in Polesworth when we will have as our guest poets Afric McGlinchey, Colm Scully and Jennifer Matthews from CORK in Ireland.

Please note that this is a change of day and location from the normal Fizz events.


5th November
Words for Peace
Coventry Central Library, Smithford Way, Coventry CV1 1FY
An afternoon of poetry workshops run by local poets Antony Owen and Mal Dewhirst. Coventry schoolchildren will use war poems from Owen’s “Dreaded Boy” and selected famous war poetry to explore the themes of peace and reconciliation today. Influenced by what they have read and discussed the young people will create a collaborative poem as well as their own individual poems on what peace and reconciliation means to them. The poems will then the subject of an exhibition throughout the rest of 2011 in the Central Library. It is hoped that this exhibition will go on to show at other venues at a later date. Time: 12noon – 4.00pm – This event is by invitation only through local Coventry Schools.

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