Archive for the ‘Spoken Worlds’ 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.


Read Full Post »


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.

Read Full Post »


What is ANNOYING me this week?

The Fast is too slow and the Slow is too fast!

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

Breathing Spaces


Hot Rocks – The Rolling Stones


Last week was exceptionally busy – with the film Double Booked still in the edit stage, I also managed to fit in a meeting on the Poets Trail, two Poetry evenings, a writers group and a meeting on a new project in Tamworth based around Pink Floyd’s Magnus opus The Wall.

I also found some time to add a page to this blog for THE FIZZ see the tab above – it gives a brief outline of The History of the event and some of the guest poets who have read at past events. There is more on the latest Fizz below.

The poets trail designs for the second phase are more or less signed off and being printed on to the aluminium sheets, ready to be fixed into the Oak lecterns which will be installed on site over the coming weeks.

In fact there are only three to be finalised and these are no taking the standard form of the lectern so require a little more work.

I was able to share some of the designs with the Poets at the Fizz on Tuesday and what a fine start to the poetry season with readings from Gary Carr and eleven readers from the floor.

THE FIZZ with guest poet – Gary Carr.

Gary split his set in two parts and read on themes from his life that were very personal to him. It was good to hear the range of Gary’s poetry in one place at one time brought together as a set rather than individual poems read out of context. Gary included many poems from his back catalogue, including Not having a ball and Octopus. He also did his children’s poem Marmite on Toast, which I use with Primary School Children to start off my Poetry Kite workshops, it always goes down well. His poetry ranges from serious to the whimsical and is delivered in tones suitable to the piece, exploring rhythms that demonstrate Gary’s love of music, sometimes verging on Rap.

Themes from the discomfort of facing a microphone, to a poetry gig where the audience was too loud or was he too fast, to the sadness of a family that play computer games and pile up dirty plates.

He also read the two poems he submitted for the poets trail, STOP and Them up there don’t know use down here exist, the latter being the selected poem for the trail.

Gary delivered them in a style that was easy to the ear and so you captured every word, the pace was right for the listener to reflect on every nuance and turn of phrase. Gary gives a fresh view of the world from a poet whose observations are sharp and sometimes off the wall that take you to look at some of the harsher things in life but in such a way you do not shy away from them.

A truly brilliant poet and performance, I look forward to Gary’s first collection brought together from this material.

I filmed Gary’s performance as I will with all the guest poets as a legacy of the Fizz, I am not sure as to yet how I will present these films, but I will let you know through this blog when Gary’s performance is available to view.

The Next Fizz is on 27th March when the Guest Poet will be Barry Patterson.

Gary’s own Spoken Worlds at the Old Cottage Tavern in Burton on Trent on Friday was another excellent evening. With its now famous three halves with all readings from the floor, you never know what you are going to get. Friday’s readings were excellent with readers in fine form and delivering to the highest standards, engaging the audience into a range of thoughtful places. There were exceptional readings from Gary Longden, Tom Wyre, Margaret Torr and a great sketch from Terri and Ray Jolland.

The new blog and website for the Runaway Writers is attracting a lot of attention, with readers from beyond the group some from overseas who are enjoying the writing exercise – the first is on Food.

I seem to be posting things daily on the Runaway’s blog as information comes in on events, competitions and useful websites for writers. Hopefully interest will be sustained and the blog will become another useful resource for writers.

You can view the blog at http://runawaywriters.wordpress.com

My Lost Poet this week MARINA TSVETAEVA (1892-1941)

I came across Marina when I was researching another of my lost poets Osip Mandelstam, with whom she had a love affair. She is considered as being one of the finest Russian Modernist poets and has been compared with Sylvia Plath, Marina’s themes often transferring her emotions on to others, who she uses as her muse. Her prolific, highly original style, with its masculine monosyllabic eruptions does however give her a voice that is distinctly her own.

Belinda Cooke in her article on Marina describes her as “The Poet of the Extreme.” She certainly is passionate about her life and loves, in her time she has many affairs and writes of failed unrequited love, never quite finding the contentment of sharing her life with one person. Her passions taking her to the deepest of places, with idolatry and obsession driving her away from finding such contentment.

Marina Tsvetaeva was born in Moscow, into a family of cultured academics, her father was a professor of fine art and her mother a concert pianist. Her life as child was a relatively comfortable, bourgeois one, although the disagreements between her and her siblings were often violent. Her mother discouraged her early leaning toward Poetry, describing it as a poor interest and wishing her daughter to become a pianist.

Marina was educated Lausanne and later studied at the Sorbonne. Following the death of her mother in 1906, Marina renewed her passion for poetry and made it the major focus of the rest of her life. It was at a time when Russian Poetry was in a major transformation with the rise of the Russian Symbolist Movement which was to influence her later work. Her first collection was self published in 1910 under the title Evening Album, it received much critical acclaim and marked her out as a poet of some substance, although in retrospect much of early work is seen as bland in comparison to her writing in later life.

She fell in love and married Sergei Efron an army cadet in 1912, the next few years were to see Russia go through Revolution which Marina and Sergei found them on the opposing side to the revolutionary Bolsheviks, both supporters of the White Russians.

Throughout her married life she was involved with many love affairs; much of the passion of her poetry is transferred on to her muse lovers.

By 1917 Marina had two daughters Alya and Irana. Whilst living in the poverty of the Moscow famine, Marina continued to write in support of the old regime, both poetry and plays, her works including “The Encampment of the White Swans” and the “Tsarist Maiden”. She was desperate to find a means of supporting her family; Sergei was away fighting with the White Army. She surrendered her children to the State orphanage in the mistaken belief that they would be better cared for. When Alya became ill, Marina removed her from the State care, Irana, succumbed to malnutrition in 1920 dying in the Orphanage. Marina was devastated, blamed her self and in a poem accuses herself of infanticide.

I stand accused of infanticide
unkind and weak.
And in hell I ask you,
‘My dear one what did I do to you?’

(from Marina Tsvetaeva Poet of the extreme. article by Belinda Cook)
By 1922 life in Moscow was unbearable and this led to their exile initially Berlin then to Prague and later to Paris, living within the émigrés of the White Russian community in exile. It was during this period that her son Georgy nicknamed Mur was born. Though she continued to write in support of the White Russian cause, her compatriots found her to be not White Russian enough and dismissed her work. She spent 14 unhappy years in Paris, finding comfort in correspondence with major writers, such as Boris Pasternak and Rainer Maria Rilke.

Sergei, began to feel homesick for Russia and started developing Soviet sympathies, but was unsure of the welcome he would receive in Soviet Russia; their daughter Alya also followed his views. He began spying for the NKVD the forerunner of the KGB although Marina seems never to have known of his spying activities.

On the return to Russia in 1938 Sergei is arrested and implicated in the murder of Bolsheviks for which he was found guilty and shot, his daughter Alya is also implicated and sent to prison for eight years.
Marina and Mur return to Russia in 1939 as the tensions in Europe are rising. She too is arrested and knowing nothing of the charges that were brought against her husband, proceeds to quote French Poetry to her interrogators. Who formed the conclusion that she was mad and not implicated in the charges brought against her husband and daughter.

Marina finds it hard; she cannot find work because of her past support of the White Russian regime. Established writers shun her. She does find the occasional translation work as she has become fluent in many European languages during her exile.

She is further exiled to Yelabuga away from the main literary influences where in 1941 she hangs herself, some believe it was her situation and a wish to release her son from her past, others believe that it was the death of Sergei. Pasternak felt that he had personally failed her.

Following the death of Stalin. Her work was finally published and studied in Russia in 1961, where she received the acknowledgement as one of the Great Russian Modernists.

Composer Dmitri Shostakovich set six of Tsvetaeva’s poems to music, there are recordings here.
Poem 1 http://youtu.be/Cy79p3u7-uo
Poem 2 http://youtu.be/cXh0h862cRo
Poem 3 http://youtu.be/L-Ri2wFl62A
Poem 4 http://youtu.be/6fC8TLR-DM8
Poem 5 http://youtu.be/bn7-VgrKg38
Poem 6 http://youtu.be/bFb2dOBGizI

These are all sung in Russian but some have the English Translations in the comments.

Her work has been translated into English by many poets and writers including Elaine Feinstein whose Marina Tsvetaeva – Selected poems was published by the Oxford University Press in 1993.
A newer translation is available see:

You can find Belinda Cooke’s article Poet of the Extreme here:


Readings in February

Feb 5th – Recording of The Lost Poets – Radio Wildfire.
Feb 7th – Night Bluefruit – Coventry.
Feb 21st – The Goblin Folk and Poetry Club – Ashby
Feb 24th – Spoken Worlds – Burton
Feb 28th – Poetry Alight at the Spark Café – Lichfield.

Read Full Post »


What is ANNOYING me this week?

The Drizzle

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

My Projects


Jimi Trax


The Goblin Folk and Poetry Club last Tuesday provided a great start to my year of readings. I read my Skipton poems from the walk of Lady Anne Clifford’s Way, a couple of years ago. It was good to see some familiar faces who have now become regulars at this event and also some new faces who really enjoyed the mix of song and poetry. Brian Langtry led the way with a couple of songs starting with Streets of London; we also had The House of the Rising Sun from Pete followed by some of the blues of John Lee Hooker. The poetry was a mix of memories from family to working in the clay pits.

Jigs and Reels at the Goblin Folk and Poetry Club

Brian gave away copies of his CD – Some of my Songs (he may well have some copies left to give out at the Fizz), he also handed out a flyer for his next production Connie Francis Musical Memories which is touring the Midlands during the Spring. I will put more details on this show in my next blog.

You can check out Brian’s work and past productions on his website at

I have recently taken over the role of Secretary for the Runaway Writers. It is a role that is not too arduous and mainly involves communicating with members and the wider world of opportunities and events that may be of interest in the pursuit of our individual literary careers.

As some one who finds blogging a pleasure, I have set up the Runaway Writers blog with various pages that explain what the group does and how to link to the members.

The blog is at: http://runawaywriters.wordpress.com

I chose this approach because it allows followers to manage their own subscription, rather than relying on an email distribution list, which gets out of date very easily. The blog also allows non members of the group to keep up to date with the groups activities, with a view that they might want to join and share their work with the group.

The blog will not only promote the Runaway Writers but also events that may be of interest to the members and the wider audience.

My early posts have included The Fizz and Spoken Worlds as events organised by members, but I have also included Poetry at the Spark Café in Lichfield and The Pure and The Good and The Right in Leamington as these are events that members may well be interested in attending.

Take a look at the Runaway’s blog as it will cover more events and promotions than I can cover on this blog.

Tomorrow sees THE FIZZ – as I said last week I will keep plugging the Fizz until the day – 24th January at 7:30pm at Polesworth Abbey with guest poet Gary Carr – plus Open Mic. – Admission is Free.

I am keen to create a permanent legacy of The Fizz and will be filming the guest poets (with their permission) – I am not sure how this will be accessed as an archive of yet, but that does not stop me filming it whilst I work out the details.

Followed on Friday 27th with Gary’s own evening – Spoken Worlds at The Old Cottage Tavern, Bykerley St in Burton on Trent – Starts at 7:30pm – Sign up for reading slots in the Spoken Worlds famous 3 halves.

The Secret Writer blew her cover this weekend, though I am sure many people knew it was one of the Poetry Trail poets, Bernadette O’Dwyer. So how did she relinquish her anonymity – She published her short story – A Front Row Seat as a Kindle version.

The short story form is very much under rated and overlooked in my opinion, Magazines and Competitions offer more or less the only outlet for them and this often contrived through formulaic styles and themes. The freedom to write using the writers own styles and themes is often stifled by these contrivances.

Bernadette’s approach to use the latest technology to put an individual short story out into the readership at reasonable price is surely a good one – Her following will surely grow as she seeks a publisher for her novel “HER”, thus making her more attractive proposition to potential publishers.

She is an excellent writer, but without an outlet for her work how do people get to know her writing. Poets have the open mic events and poetry magazines as a way to get their work out and to attract potential publishers of a full collection – Novelists don’t have these options – The short story on Kindle is a great way for them to build their reputation.

Check out this story at: http://www.amazon.co.uk/A-front-row-seat-ebook/dp/B006ZP0QD0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1327316962&sr=8-1

A Front Row Seat – By Bernadette O’Dwyer. The police van had been parked there all night. Likewise, I had been parked in my armchair, not daring to move, for fear of missing the proceedings.

Bernadette’s blog is at: http://secretwriter1.blogspot.com/

My lost poet, I am researching a Russian Poet, whose life was very complex. I am therefore still researching the themes for my lost poet piece and will hopefully have it completed for next week.

I am also working on turning my lost poets into the radio broadcast material for Radio Wildfire, the first of which I will record in a couple of weeks. Dave Reeves is keen to make these a ten minute feature which will run as a stand alone piece. I will let you know how the recording goes in early February.



Jan 24th – THE FIZZ – Polesworth – Guest Gary Carr.
Jan 27th – Spoken Worlds – Burton

Feb 7th – Night Bluefruit – Coventry.
Feb 21st – The Goblin Folk and Poetry Club – Ashby
Feb 24th – Spoken Worlds – Burton
Feb 28th – Poetry Alight at the Spark Café – Lichfield.

Read Full Post »


What is ANNOYING me this week?


What is DELIGHTING me this week?



Christmas songs – they are everywhere.


This is my final blog of the year as I will take a break over the festive period so I have decided to do THE REVIEW OF MY YEAR – THROUGH LISTS.

This week I am selecting my top ten events of the year, which I posted about on this blog. I have decided that rather than make this a wordy post that I will list the events with a photo and links to the appropriate blog posts.

1. The Polesworth Poets Trail Workshops – Feb-March

The Poets Gather at Pooley

The posts for the trail workshops were all written in March you can view them here:

2. The Trip to Memphis – April

Sun Studio's - No longer unassuming.

The trip to Memphis and Nashville was discussed in my blog post of the 7th April you can read it here:

3. The Lost Poets – Started in April.

Inspired by the Secret Writer’s April Fools List I have covered 26 of the 50 lost poets, there will more next year.

4. The Nuneaton Summer Poetry Day – July

Mal Dewhirst, Gary Longden, Mark Niel, Alan Ottey, Rach Flowers

Nuneaton Summer Poetry day was the subject of my blog on 8th July you can read it here.

5. The Great West Midlands Poetry Relay – July

This wonderful day was reviewed in my post of the 26th July and can be viewed here:

6. My trip to Cork – August.

Mal Dewhirst, The Lord Mayor of Cork - Cllr Terry Shannon, Paul Casey and Rosie O'Regan

Perhaps the Poetic Highlight of my year, a really wonderful time.

7. Poet in Residence at Dig the Abbey – August

Pots and Pipes - Dig the Abbey 2011

My residency saw me produce some new poetry using the methods of Archaeology which have been well received – there will be more next year as I have been asked to organise more things poetic at next years dig.

8. The unveiling of Gold Leaf at Pooley. – October

GOLD LEAF by Dalziel and Scullion

The column of gold leaves was unveiled at Pooley along with 5 of the new poems, a wonderful day.

9. The Return trip of the Cork Poets – November

Mal Dewhirst, Jennifer Matthews, Afric McGlinchey, Colm Scully and Antony Owen after the Fizz

It was great to host Afric, Colm and Jennifer at the Fizz and the first time poets have been asked for an encore.

10. Lunch at the Ritz – November.

How the other half lives – for a few hours at any rate.



January – Sarah James
March – The Lichfield Poets
May – The Polesworth Poets Trail Poets.
July – Matt Merritt
September – Antony Owen
November – The Cork Poets – Afric McGlinchey, Colm Scully and Jennifer Matthews.


Memoirs Poetry – Erdington Library hosted by Jan Watts 9th June.
Leamington Peace Festival – Hosted by Barry Patterson – 19th June
O’Bheal Cork –Hosted by Paul Casey – 8th August
Spoken Worlds Burton on Trent – Hosted by Gary Carr – 19th August
Shindig Leicester – Hosted by Matt Nunn – 24th October


Sarah James – The Fizz – January
Fergus McGonigal – Spoken Worlds – May.
Gary Londgen – Memoirs Poetry Erdington 9th June.
Barry Patterson – The Fizz – July.
Elaine Feeney – Whitehouse Limerick – 10th August
Antony Owen – The Fizz – September
David Calcutt – Nightblue Fruit – 4th October.
Afric McGlinchey – The Fizz – November
Colm Scully – The Fizz – November
Jennifer Matthews – The Fizz – November
Janet Smith – Poetry Bites – November
Ash Dickinson – Spoken Worlds – December


Janis Kind
Gina Coates
Bernadette O’Dwyer
Barry Hunt

All achieving their first published poem on the Polesworth Poets Trail.


God’s dance within us – Garrie Fletcher
Osanna – Penny Harper
The Polesworth Pact – Sarah Armstrong
Squab – Mal Dewhirst
Song 13 – Jonathan Morley
Listen – Gill Learner
The River Anker – Jane Holland
Famous Men – Helen Yendall
Power – Janine Warre
Memories of Pooley Mine – Raymond Hendy.


Brick Making Remembered – Peter Grey.
Pooley Hall – Gary Longden.
Unrippled – Sarah James.
Women’s Memories of Mining Menfolk – Dea Costelloe.
Jutt – Bernadette O’Dwyer
Advice to a Geordie Lad at Pooley – Barry Patterson.
Aloft – Janis Kind (INSTALLED)
Black Swan Possibility – Jacqui Rowe (INSTALLED)
A Cry – Janet Smith.
In their Footsteps – Marjorie Neilson
Pooley Pit Ponies – Margaret Torr
The Pooley Miner’s Tale – Barry Hunt (INSTALLED)
Living Echoes – Gina Coates
Reflected Strata – The Riddled Veins of Pooley Park – Hench-4
Them up there don’t know us down here exist – Gary Carr.
Ladies of the Woods – Terri Jolland (INSTALLED)
Kite – Mal Dewhirst in collaboration with The Year 3 Children at Birchwood Primary School 2011. (INSTALLED)

And they signed them.

The Dreaded Boy – Antony Owen
Troy Town – Matt Merritt
Where the Dagda Dances – Terry Murray
Where’s Katie – Elaine Feeney
Digging for Toys – Bobby Parker


Nuneaton – Poems from the Summer Poetry Day.
Cork Poems – From my trip to Cork.
Midland Purple – From my Residency at Dig the Abbey.


Sarah James – The Rubery International Poetry Award – 3rd place for “In to the Yell”.
Antony Owen – The Wilfred Owen Story Award.

and their starting points.

Emma Purshouse – Stoke-on-Trent Railway Station.
Philip Monks – Burton-on-Trent Library.
Mal Dewhirst – Polesworth Abbey Green Park
Helen Yendall – Hatton Country World
Rohit Ballal – Worcester Arts Cafe
Adrian Johnson – The British Camp Malvern
Deborah Alma – Town Green Bromyard
Kurly McKetchie – Highley Leisure Centre
Dave Reeves – Telford Odeon
Roz Goddard. – The Pie and Ale House Stafford

Thank you to the team Jonathan Davidson and the team at Writing West Midlands for their organisation of the day.

You can hear the poems and follow the route here:


TUESDAY – The most popular day of the week for Midland Poetry Events.
Though not all on the same Tuesday of the month so you can go to them all.


Visit Gracelands.
Get into Steampunk.
Read Poetry on the Streets of Nuneaton.
Have Lunch at the Ritz.
Get an Iphone.


Tuesday 24th January Guest Gary Carr.
Tuesday 27th March
Tuesday 22nd May
Tuesday 24th July
Tuesday 25th September

All in the Refectory at Polesworth Abbey.


I would like to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous and Creative New Year.


December Readings

27th Dec – Word Wizards – Buxton

January Readings.

Spoken Worlds – Burton
Goblin Folk and Poetry Club – Ashby
24th Jan – The Fizz – Polesworth – Gary Carr.

Read Full Post »


What is ANNOYING me this week?


What is DELIGHTING me this week?

Web browsing for a Pro Camcorder


In Praise of Dreams – Jan Garbarek.


Following my nominations for the Liebster Award, I was delighted to see one of my nominees has used my words as a quote on her blog. Myfanwy Fox has included the quote in the About tab of her blog Fox Tales. I thought that this was such a good idea I have copied and done the same. I am sure Myfanwy won’t mind as she once borrowed my WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS and IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED, for which I felt flattered.

The Liebster Award has really opened up some new blogs to me, as my Nominees have gone on to nominate their five favourite blogs and as such I have found some more very worthy blogs to follow.

Myfanwy’s blog can be found at: http://myfanwyfox.wordpress.com/

Last week did not provide me with a single night to sit around and just watch the TV, with two spoken word evenings, two writers groups and a location meeting for a short film I am directing in the New Year.

Poetry Bites saw me catch up with the Cork Poet Joseph Hogan who was one of the guest poet’s along with Bobby Parker, Joe was part of the Coventry Cork Literature Exchange last year, so it was really good to see him again.

Joseph Horgan

Gary Longden and Ruth Stacey both published their thoughts and reviews on Poetry Bites.

Gary’s can be found at: http://behindthearras.com/wordsandvoices.html#BitesMOV
and Ruth’s at: http://mermaidsdrown.blogspot.com/2011/11/poetry-bites-with-joseph-horgan-and.html

Gary also published a review of Spoken Worlds in Burton on Friday with the brilliant Ash Dickinson, it was a night of many different voices, some serious, some frivolous all topped of with a captivating performance from Ash.

Purple Ash - Image from his website

You can read Gary’s review at: http://behindthearras.com/wordsandvoices.html#Worlds(nov)

Ash’s website can be found at: http://www.ashdickinson.com/

Further to the Coventry Cork Literature exchange, Paul Casey has put together the review of this years exchange with the thoughts of all those who had the honour of taking part.

You can find the details at: http://www.obheal.ie/blog/?page_id=1351

Paul always ends the year of readings at O’Bheal with a major poet as the guest and this year he has our very own Poet Laureate – Carol Ann Duffy with John Sampson on 12th December. O’Bheal delivers the very best in poetry, every week, something that is no mean feat and all credit goes to Paul for his relentless dedication to promoting and developing poetry in Cork.

It is time to move on to the next level with my film making equipment. Up until now I have been using a small camcorder that is a general purpose camera that was bought so that I could hone my skills with something that was not over complicated. It was also a toe in the water purchase as at the time I was not sure that film making was for me. I was enthused and excited about the prospect on making films but not sure it I would be any good at it and so therefore decided to ease myself in to the art.

I have now outgrown this camera and want to upgrade to something that is a semi-pro / pro camera. My searches on the web were disheartening, there are so many options and so many out of my price range, but an email conversation with friend who has far more experience in the field soon put me right and onto a semi pro HD camera from Sony that is affordable and will take me to the next level. So I will be pursuing this purchase over the next couple of weeks.

My searches on the web also looked at the astronomical prices of film making accessories, some of which I quickly realised can be done so much more cheaply if you apply a little logical thinking and are prepared to do a bit of DIY.

For example a hand held microphone boom – the long pole which holds the microphone above the heads of the actors, just out of shot, can cost in the region of £150 for a professional one, but it is not really, any different from a decorators roller pole which can be bought for as little as £5 with a little modification to convert it to hold a mic clip, that will do just as good a job.

I also noticed that the price of monitor screens, which are used to view back footage at the time of the shoot, start at £300, when many portable DVD players for around £50 have the connection jack points that enable the device to serve the same purpose.

My next thought turns to lighting, which is an art in itself as any lighting artist will tell you. I have never used specific lighting for a scene as I have only ever really filmed using natural daylight. But I need to think about getting an understanding of controlling the lighting and will no doubt turn my mind as to how I can achieve this without a major budget investment.

I not only love the challenge of making a film, but also the opportunities it provides to become inventive and to get out into the shed, with a drill, hammer and screw driver to make equipment. There is not only a sense of achievement in making something; there is also the satisfaction in knowing that it did not cost the earth to achieve the result you want.

My adventures in steam punk continue with Ad’s for the media, there are still places for people to sign up to the MARS ON THE RISE 100, please contact me at maldewhirst@yahoo.co.uk if you want to become a sponsor or if you want more information.

My LOST POET for this week is WILLEM KLOOS (1859-1938)

Willem Kloos

My only experience of this Dutch Poet’s work is a poor translation made by an on-line Dutch to English translation tool, which although awkward and sometimes failing to translate words did provide me with enough of an understanding to say that Kloos, whilst relatively unknown in Britain, deserved the recognition of one of the greatest Dutch writers.

It is his approach to poetry that interests me. He asserts, or even demands, individual expression and vocally insists on the rejection of the expression of shared experiences and emotions in the arts, commanding that poetry should always focus on the poets experiences and the individual expression of emotions.

Kloos (pronounced Close) was born in Amsterdam in 1859 and is best remembered as leading member of the Movement of 1880 of The Tachtigers. This group were formed following the death of the young poet Jacques Perk, who in his short life had produced only a few sonnets, it was Perk’s rejection on the formulaic approach the rhetoric poetry, breaking the convention of rhythmic verse that brought a new chorus into Dutch Poetry.

The group grew around such voices as Kloos and Marcellus Emants; they rejected the older forms of Dutch poetry and sought new influences from the British Romantic poets and the French Naturalists. They undertook a rebellion against the established authorities in the aesthetic arts and caused much scandal. Their voices were barred from publication in the journals of the time and they found an outlet through the creation of their own review De Nieuwe Gids (The New Guide) which was a direct challenge to the old guard and their periodical De Gids (The Guide).

The Tachtigers stipulated “that style must match content and that intimate and visceral emotions can only be expressed using an intimate and visceral writing style.”

Kloos was at his most prolific during the period of 1880 to 1885, when most of the work for which he is renowned was created. His mental condition deteriorated from 1888, when he first sought psychiatric help brought on partly through alcoholism. He was committed briefly to a sanatorium in 1895 and although he continued with his writings these were mainly rants and suggestions that his former friends had become traitors to the cause.

He died in The Hague in 1938 having seen his early works venerated into the canon of Dutch Literature.

Whether you believe in the philosophy of the Tachtigers or not with regard to the aesthetics of poetry, is not important to me, personally. What I most admire about Kloos and the Tachtigers is their challenge to the order of things, that they had a belief in poetic style that they felt was more valid for the times than the established order. Artistic thought only develops through not accepting that what is established is as far as you can go; Art should not be allowed to settle into a comfort zone, to become a defined medium. Art is often the only voice that can cut through the rhetoric to find truth.


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.
27th Dec – Word Wizards – Buxton

Read Full Post »


What is ANNOYING me this week?

A spot on my cheek.

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

The visit of the Cork Poets


Steampunk tracks
YouTube links:


It was a wonderful week of poetry last week. It started on Tuesday with the arrival of our guest poets from Cork, Afric McGlinchey, Colm Scully and Jennifer Matthews, as part of the Coventry-Cork literature exchange, which I was honoured to participate in back in August and wrote on this blog about what a wonderful uplifting experience I had.

The return visit in the month that sees Coventry celebrating its annual Peace Festival, started with the reading at NightBlue Fruit at Taylor John’s House, the music venue that turns itself over to poetry on the first Tuesday of the month. The performance area is a small stage, surrounded by lost armchairs that have found a home under the arches of this once canal coal bunker, it is a faded, shabby setting that is very befitting of such events – poetry sits well here, in a way they it would not in the fake veneered shine of a hotel conference room.

The stage was set with a chair and a mic and a lamp stand, which had wandered in from if not my then someone’s Grandmother’s sitting room, standing guard, providing mute light and quietly applauding the nights events with the shake of its tasselled hat.

Nightblue Fruit - The Stage is set!

The readings were excellent and have been discussed in Gary Longden’s review at Behind the Arras, you can see it here. http://behindthearras.com/wordsandvoices.html#Cork

Wednesday and the poets had a day off, to explore for themselves, which meant that they could take the bus to Stratford to breathe in the atmosphere of the currently beleaguered Shakespeare, the current film at the cinema was ignored like it was some anonymous little voice that was spreading rumours built on unfounded facts. As the poets explored Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and the delights of a Stratford standing up to defend its claims.

Thursday was another busy day for the exchange, well afternoon and evening, days don’t start early for poets but do tend to go on later into the night. The afternoon started with a visit with the Mayor of Coventry, who charmed us with his tales of his recent visit to Cork, how he mastered the art of eating oysters at the local oyster festival, his Irish ancestry and the importance of the twinning links and the cultural exchanges that the Coventry Cork Literature exchange brings to Coventry. Gifts were exchanged and photographs taken and thanks were given for all the support from the City Councils, O’Bheal and Nightblue Fruit.

The reading in the evening was the Fizz in Polesworth, so I took the opportunity to take the poets to see the Poets Trail in the mid to late afternoon, explaining the significance of the trail, showing them the Fireplace where Drayton and Donne et al had written their verses, 400 years ago. By the time the sun had set, early at this time of year we had covered seven of the first ten installations and I had given impromptu readings of some of the poems to the poets and any other passers by who are perhaps used to the oddity of poetry readings on the High St and in Car Parks by now.

After a spot of dinner at the Red Lion in Atherstone, we headed back to the Tithe Barn for the reading which was supported by a fairly large appreciative audience (large for the Fizz) – with several new voices reading from the floor. The evening started with the three poets from Cork, who were so popular that they we asked for an encore after the open mic in the second half, for which Colm Scully gave in to our requests and performed God’s Footballer. There were lots of appreciative comments on the web networks later including one that said it was inspiring and the best Fizz ever, comments like that make it all worth while and are a reward in themselves.

You can read Gary Longden’s review of the Fizz at: http://behindthearras.com/wordsandvoices.html#FIZZnov

Friday saw the final full day of the Cork visiting poets in Coventry and we were booked to do an interview and readings on local radio at Hillz FM with the wonderful Kate Hills. Her easy going technique puts you at ease, with the mic’s slightly above our heads; she stands and faces you, so that you talk as if you are just holding a conversation in the room. We were booked in from 11-12 with chat and music of our choosing. The hour flew by with the interview with the Cork poets followed by myself. By 12 there was a look of concern on Kate’s face and it soon became apparent that her guests for the second hour had not turned up, so she asked us to stay and fill the hour with more poetry and chat, which we were only too happy to do – it was a wonderful couple of hours.

Thank you to Afric, Colm and Jennifer for their excellent performances also to Paul Casey and Antony Owen for organising the exchange and to Gary Longden for his reviews and to all those who attended the readings and gave their support. I look forward to this exchange continuing long into the future.

Mal Dewhirst, Jennifer Matthews, Afric McGlinchey, Colm Scully and Antony Owen after the Fizz

Both Brian Langtry and Gary Carr attended the Fizz and I was more than happy to promote both of their forthcoming events. Here are the details for those who missed them.

Brian’s Event.
15th November – The Goblin Folk and Poetry Club at the Goblin Cafe – Ashby de la Zouch.

Gary’s Event.
25th Nov – Spoken Worlds – The Old Cottage Tavern – Burton-on-Trent – Guest Ash Dickinson.

The Creator by Wendy Morthorpe

STEAMPUNK – what does that mean to you? Well if you are like me, until recently it was a genre of writing that continued where H.G.Wells and Jules Verne left Victorian Science Fiction but it was not something I had explored beyond that.

It is interesting that as a Poet – I would not write in the same form as say Wordsworth, as poets we are always looking for a new voice and that is what a modern poetry audience expects, “we already appreciate Wordsworth, we want to hear something new”.

So why do Steampunk writers such as Philip Pullman, adopt the genre of Wells and Verne and write novels as if they had been written in the Victorian period, using 21st century technology that is powered by steam or clockwork?

Well it could be argued that Wells and Verne created classic tales but only a few of them in comparison to other genre’s of science fiction and therefore it is an under discovered medium for novel settings.

But is also has the freedom to explore ideas around changed pasts, using technology that we all understand in the 21st century and many of us use in our daily lives, but putting into a time when it would have been seen as magical, mystical even the work of the devil, however it is still a device, a force, to change the course of history.

Steampunk is very big in the USA, most of the major publishers are based there, and most of the British writers of the genre have moved to work over in the states for this reason.

None of this was apparent to me until a writer friend of mine, Rach Gee, whose Steampunk novel, Mars on the Rise is due for publication early in the new year, explained why her publisher was launching it in the USA, but did not have a budget to fund a launch in the UK, despite her being a British writer, living in Britain.

The Steampunk market is not the mainstream so I can see why as a small to medium sized publisher they are going to invest their marketing efforts to where they see the biggest return.

Always being one to seek out opportunities, I thought that there must be something that could be done to create a small but spectacular launch for the book in the UK, after all we Brits are good at creating things on next to nothing (most artists will tell you that) so I along with another artistic friend set about looking at how this could be achieved.

Mars on the Rise 100
We have come up with inviting 100 people to donate £20 to become one of the Mars on the Rise 100 sponsors – for this advanced payment, sponsors will get a signed copy of the book, with some limited edition promotional materials plus an invite to the launch party but most importantly they will be recognised as the sponsors who had the faith to help make this happen.

The response has been amazing with people signing up even before we had fully thought out what the rewards would be for being a sponsor.

There are still opportunities for people to sign up to this – details are below on how to contact Rach or alternatively just email me at maldewhirst@yahoo.co.uk and I will pass on your details. Or check out the Facebook page.

This will be a fantastic event, in an unusual space, with opportunities for you to dress up in Victorian Costume (if you want to – it is not mandatory) Plenty of theatre and colour. We will keep you informed through the on-line mediums as things develop and I will continue to keep you updated on this blog.

And Hey if you don’t fancy Steampunk – it will make a great Christmas present for someone who does or perhaps they don’t know that yet. Why not introduce yourself or a friend to something new.

I will return to my LOST POETS in a couple of week’s time.


November Readings:

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

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »