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Posts Tagged ‘Colin Grazier Enigma’

Picture 107

An excellent few weeks, which saw the culmination of my year as Staffordshire Poet Laureate came to an end as I gave an account of my year at an event at Baswich Library in Stafford on National Poetry Day, before handing over to my successor Tom Wyre, I wish Tom all the very best in the role and my advice is for him to sculpt his own place in Staffordshire poetry.

The weeks in the run up to National Poetry Day saw many workshops with a range of groups and ages which saw the creation of some wonderful poetry to celebrate our towns and their rich characters built upon a history of often violent conflict to uncertain peace to today’s commercial theatre with its banal slogans and constant sales.

grazier-invite-front

It seems like only yesterday that my first Commission was performed on the Streets of Tamworth, but it is 12 months ago, to the day, if not the date which is tomorrow, 30th October.

You can see the film recording of the production at: http://vimeo.com/53128350 

A full account of my time as Staffordshire Poet Laureate will be published on a permanent blog over the coming weeks. I move on now to support Tom and also to mentor the Staffordshire and Stoke On Trent Young Poet Laureate, Natalie Cotterill from Lichfield.

FUT LOGO 1

I also move on to take up my role as Joint Artistic Director of Fired Up Theatre, for which I have already started with the script for The Fell Walker.

My role is to focus on Literature and to bring new writing to the stage, which does not just include my writing, I am hoping to open up opportunities for others to develop their skills in taking a piece from page to stage.

Simon Quinn also brings an excellent writing pedigree to the company which he founded and has run since 2004. He is an excellent theatre director and devisor of theatrical productions. This builds our working relationship from our previous collaborations on the Wall, Colin Grazier Enigma, Quadrophenia and more recently 23 which saw me take the lead in directing for the first time.

So on to the Fell Walker.

THE FELL WALKER.
A FIRED UP THEATRE PRODUCTION
An adaption of the book by Michael Wood.
Script by Mal Dewhirst and Simon Quinn
Directed by Simon Quinn and Mal Dewhirst.

The Fell Walker Flyer

 

Premier at Penrith Playhouse on 17th January 2014 – with further dates and theatres to be added.

Tickets are available from: http://penrithplayers.ticketsource.co.uk/

Work on the script continues into the rehearsals, as we create the visual representation as a film noir on the stage.

The play sees Local Journalist, Ben Foxley, caught up in investigating a series of deaths that take place on the Lake District Fells, with the authorities taking the view that these are just accidents, whilst a mysterious London journalist, Sophie Lund, thinks otherwise and tempts Ben into being her local eyes and ears as the evidence unfolds.

The piece is now fully cast and the rehearsals have begun, to bring this chilling piece to life.
Simon Quinn and I journeyed up to Cumbria to meet with the Michael Head who manages the Penrith Playhouse theatre. This is a gem of a theatre, built in an old auction mart, the theatre’s main auditorium seats 150 and is fully equipped for our purposes, including projections, lighting and sound.

We also met with Michael Wood the author of the book, who is keen to see how we would adapt his book. I don’t think he is convinced that we can do it, I hope he appreciates what he sees as the production develops.

I will be working to complete the script over the next couple of weeks and then move onto creating the sounds and the projections.

Fired Up Theatre can be found at www.fireduptheatre.co.uk

23

“It was the Scutler’s voices, I heard, it was the Scutler’s.”
“All it proves is that I am no stranger to a grate.”
“No they can’t hang me, they weren’t mine.”
“The so called learned are fools.”
“Stale, putrid, mouldy bread.”
“That is what I think.”

23 poster2

All lines from 23, my poetic sound sculpture that brings the voices of the condemned men and women who had the misfortune to appear before the court at Shire Hall in Stafford.

The piece is now completed and in the final mastering phases of the production and I must say I am really pleased with the soundscape, with its repetitive court procedures broken by the words of the person in the dock. The characters whose voices are heard represent many different people who were brought before the court for committing of similar crimes. There is the bread thief, the coal thief, the murder, the coin clipper and the habitual drunkard all giving us an insight into their lives and the reasons or denials for the crimes for which they have been charged. We also include some insights from the Clerk and his wife.

These are all set at around 1850, when court cases lasted and average of eight minutes and the mere fact that you had found yourself in the dock was a sure sign that you were guilty. The piece draws its inspiration from the photographs and case files held by the county archive service.

The voices were provided by local actors from the Fired Up Theatre Company and I was keen to get the voices to be local dialect voices from Staffordshire and on 23 we hear Tamworth, Stone and Black Country voices along with some voices from outside of the county for some of the officials.

The day of recording was most enjoyable we had some real fun with the piece, despite its seriousness and there is perhaps a second sound sculpture of the outtakes, which may someday be heard as echoes in the annals of Staffordshire history.

The piece will become a permanent installation and I will advise you as to when it will be unveiled.

Another Poem Published.

My Poem Jerusalem Revisited (Blake Dub) was published in the magazine Here Come Everyone. The poem is my reflection on whether we ever built the New Jerusalem that Blake predicted and if we did, then where did it go as we grow in a post industrial Britain.

The Latest edition entitled Jerusalem can be view at http://herecomeseveryone.me/

Also check out their next theme “Idiots” and submit a poem, article or short story.

Recently I attended two great events.

Being Human – Coventry Belgrade Studio.

(c) Graeme Braidwood

(c) Graeme Braidwood

Friday 18th saw a performance of Being Human in Coventry, this production has always been something I think works really well, creating a theatrical narrative from 35 of the poems published in Bloodaxe’s anthology of the same name. This should not be confused with the BBC TV programme.
This is the second time I have seen it and it stirred up the same emotions as to when I first saw it and review it back in 2012.

For my review see https://pollysworda.wordpress.com/tag/being-human/

For details on the Anthology
Bloodaxe books – http://www.bloodaxebooks.com/titlepage.asp?isbn=1852248092

Being Human website – http://livepoetry.org/

Miners Hymns – Polesworth Memorial Hall.

253 gala

Miners Hymns is a collage of film clips from the North East Coal Fields that are sewn together to create a narrative on the lives of mining families. The seamless movement from the awkward delight of the participants at the Durham Miners Gala in the 1930’s to an awkward moodiness of a Gala from the 1950’s or 60’s, shows the change that suggests a growing uncertainty in the mining communities.

The film is excavated from the BFI archives and was dug out and constructed by American Film maker Bill Morrison. With an original score by the Icelandic composer Johann Johannson that draws on brass band traditions, with its signature minor keys that strikes a lost pride into the mourned sadness. The whole film revives the memories of the mining heritage to create a hypnotic experience which laments the loss of an industry, its jobs and its communities.

Shown here in Polesworth, which was once at the heart of the North Warwickshire Coalfield and now reflects on its own losses as nearby, the final pit, Daw Mill closes.

The film with its images from the Battle of Orgreave, which sounded the final whistle on many mining lives, to the building Stadium of light, on the site of Monkswearmouth Colliery, reflecting the new, supposedly out of the mining heritage. This, along with the old Gala’s, the pit work and life was all a powerful statement on the decline of industrial Britain but for me, whilst it was a very powerful piece that touched my thoughts, on reflection it lacked some of the humour and camaraderie that was prevalent among the miners and the communities, that I gathered from my experience as a poet working with ex-miners and as someone else mention to me on the night.

More Details can be found at:
http://billmorrisonfilm.com/feature-length-films/the-miners-hymns

There are further showings in Burntwood in Staffordshire and Bilston in the Black Country by Flatpack Festivals – http://www.flatpackfestival.org.uk/project/the-miners-hymns/
Plus further venues around the country.

Jordon Fradley
http://www.jordanfradley.com/#

I met Yvonne Jordon and her husband Mark at the Open Arts awards at Stafford Shire Hall Gallery, I was commissioned to read my poem all around the shire and Yvonne had won the Stafford Railway Building Society award for her photograph ‘LAT 52816589 LONG 2119577’, an atmospheric street view taken at night, when the world is still, or is it.

We have had few conversations since and I am planning to use some of her work in the projections for The Fell Walker.

Take a look are the website and some of the images from her Longitude/Latitude project.

So that is me resting on my Laureate Laurels – as if I ever would!

Other Events

Carnival

A Carnival of Christmas Curiosities – Stage IT Academy and Fired Up Theatre
Come and celebrate Christmas with the cast from Quadrophenia.
Thursday 5th December 2013 – Assembly Rooms Tamworth.

Tickets are available from
https://www.tamworthassemblyrooms.co.uk/whats-on/day.listevents/2013/12/05/0

Readings

1st November – Cromford Mill Poetry – Derbyshire – 7:00pm
5th November –CORK POETS – Night Blue Fruit – Coventry – 8:00pm
6th November – CORK POETS – Poetry Alight – Lichfield – 8:00pm
13th November – Unity in the Community – Wednesbury – 7:30pm
15th November – Spoken Worlds – Burton on Trent– 7:30pm

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WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.

What is ANNOYING me this week?

The aches always the aches.

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

THE DANCE still THE DANCE.

LISTENING TO:

FINAL VERSION of CGE – JIMI DEWHIRST – HYDRANOID MUSIA.

SOME OF MY DOINGS:

STAFFORDSHIRE POET LAUREATE COMMISSION

COLIN GRAZIER ENIGMA.

THE BBC broadcast their piece on The Colin Grazier Enigma last Monday evening on Midlands Today –
I had to wait until Wednesday until I finally got to see it and a fine piece it was too.

The strange pheonominan of being recognised by strangers was also something that entered my experience, being served in shops and being asked “Are you that poet bloke who has done the enigma thing, that was on the telly?” Then going on to tell me how great they thought it was that Colin was being remembered in this way, or that they were related to Colin or Olive.

The people of Tamworth know who Colin was and what he did. There is a pride that lives within the psyche of Tamworth. Everyone wants to tell you the Enigma story, they all want to be part of it. Lets hopw they turn up tomorrow evening.

My post is late this week due to the final preparations of the technical media, but as I write I can say that both the Music and the Film Projections have been rendered into their final forms.

Yesterday saw the cast perform as part of the Colin Grazier Memorial Service which was a pleasant change to the rehearsal schedule, which continued straight afterwards and meant that we could not join the Royal Navy Association for a rum or two afterwards.

More rehearsals tonight and tomorrow afternoon with the big performance at 6:00pm starting at the bandstand – then to under the town hall – then to the Almshouses – the to the railway station. A quick drink in the pub before heading to the Market Square for the 2nd act.

Do come along if you can, ensuring you wrap up warm and wear shoes suitable for walking.

This is a new approach to bringing poetry to new audiences with a FREE promenade theatre piece for all the family.

You can read more details on the performance at http://www.thisistamworth.co.uk/Tamworth-naval-hero-Colin-Grazier-commemorated/story-16998769-detail/story.html

I am also working on a couple of poem commissions as part of my laureateship more of which in the coming weeks.

THE FIZZ.

The next Fizz takes place in TAMWORTH on Wednesday 7th November at THE MOAT HOUSE, LICHFIELD ST, TAMWORTH. Starting at 8:00pm

The guest poets will be the CORK POETS, Matthew Geden and Conor McManus with the usual open mic.

Free Entry, with a Bar, Coffee and Cakes plus a Carvery from 7:00pm for £4.95.

NEW WRITERS GROUP.

The new writers group that I am supporting in Coleshill attracted 14 writers to the first meeting, where we discussed what they might want to look at over the coming months. Most of the participants are prose writers so we will be focusing on stories – last week we started with setting by exploring ideas around a room that was special to them. Next month we will look at Characters and Conflict, with the December session looking at Plots and Themes. So hopefully over Christmas they can develop a piece for critique in January.

OTHER ACTIVITIES.

Everything else is a little bit on hold at the moment – Although I am working on the Stroke Association Anthology, which may now be launched in the New Year so as not to rush the production. More on this as things get firmed up.

SOME OF MY COMING SOON DOINGS

Readings in October and November

30th Oct – COLIN GRAZIER ENIGMA – TAMWORTH
6th Nov – NIGHT BLUE FRUIT TAYLOR JOHN’S– COVENTRY.
7th Nov – THE FIZZ – MOAT HOUSE – TAMWORTH
15th Nov – GIGGLING GOBLIN FOLK AND POETRY – ASHBY DE LA ZOUCHE
16th Nov – SPOKEN WORLDS – BURTON – ON – TRENT.

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WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.

What is ANNOYING me this week?

LACK OF SLEEP.

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

THE DANCE OF THE SEA.

LISTENING TO:

CGE – JIMI DEWHIRST – HYDRANOID MUSIA.

SOME OF MY DOINGS:

STAFFORDSHIRE POET LAUREATE COMMISSION

COLIN GRAZIER ENIGMA.

All focus is on my Poetry play the Colin Grazier Enigma, rehearsals continued with the added pressure of The BBC coming along to film and article to be broadcast on Midlands Today on sometime this week.

Joan Cummins and Cameraman Nigel came along to Tamworth last Wednesday evening to film the wedding and hunt for wolves scenes, along with interviews with myself and Simon Quinn the Director.

Joan’s interview style took me by surprise, but was one I very quickly warmed too. The first question being “Colin Grazier, no one knows who he is, why would a poet want write about him?” Followed by “Well we all know the Americans captured the Enigma codes, it was in the movie, so why are we just telling the story again?” To “This is promenade theatre piece, is Tamworth ready for this, will the people of Tamworth take to this?” Provoking answers out of our passions for the piece.

The BBC’s Joan Cummins interviewing Danny McBeth who plays Colin Grazier – provoking answers.

It was also good to meet Phil Shanahan whose book the Real Enigma Heroes was my prime source of information when I was developing the script. – I must get him to sign my copy next time.

Rehearsals moved into full flow with the bringing together of the actors and dancers who worked through the excellent choreography of Ami Radcliffe, providing a seascape with all the movement and drama of the sea.

Following my technical difficulties of last week, I ended up spending £100 on a new piece of software which after a very short time in which to learn how to use it, I managed to achieve getting close to the result I wanted, just in time for the visit of the BBC crew, where I was able to mock up a piece of film the demonstrate what will be the final piece.

Projection

I now have two completed films with another three to put together.

My other task for last week was the recording of the German Voice over’s from the submariners whose voices are heard but they are now seen. Luke Comley who played Pink in recent production of the Wall in Tamworth, obliged with the recordings providing a manic, panic as the submariners realise they have been found by the sonar blips.

So all the technical parts are completed they just need to be pulled together – This performance will fill my time and thoughts for the next week, and then I can start planning some more laureate events.

The second pre-performance will be on Sunday 28th October at St Editha’s Church as part of the annual memorial service for Colin, held by the Royal Naval Association.

You can read more details on the performance at http://www.thisistamworth.co.uk/Tamworth-naval-hero-Colin-Grazier-commemorated/story-16998769-detail/story.html

THE FIZZ.

The next Fizz takes place in TAMWORTH on Wednesday 7th November at THE MOAT HOUSE, LICHFIELD ST, TAMWORTH. Starting at 8:00pm

The guest poets will be the CORK POETS, Matthew Geden and Conor McManus with the usual open mic.

Free Entry, with a Bar, Coffee and Cakes plus a Carvery from 7:00pm for £4.95.

NEW WRITERS GROUP.

Tonight sees my first workshop with a new writers group that is being set up in Coleshill, North Warwickshire. I have been commissioned to run six workshops with them over the next six months to explore all aspects of creative writing and critiquing. Hopefully by the end of these workshops, I can leave them with the confidence in their writing abilities to continue on and develop into a group with the passion and enthusiasm that I have seen with both the Runaway Writers and The Mad Hatters Writing Groups.

SOME OF MY COMING SOON DOINGS

Readings into November

30th Oct – COLIN GRAZIER ENIGMA – TAMWORTH
6th Nov – NIGHT BLUE FRUIT TAYLOR JOHN’S– COVENTRY.
7th Nov – THE FIZZ – MOAT HOUSE – TAMWORTH
15th Nov – GIGGLING GOBLIN FOLK AND POETRY – ASHBY DE LA ZOUCHE
16th Nov – SPOKEN WORLDS – BURTON – ON – TRENT.

Read Full Post »

WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.

What is ANNOYING me this week?

Aches and sugar

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

ENIGMA

LISTENING TO:

Roses – The Cranberries.

SOME OF MY DOINGS:

STAFFORDSHIRE POET LAUREATE.

Last week saw a planning meeting with the Libraries and Arts team to pull together the ideas for my work over the coming twelve months.

STAFFORDSHIRE OPEN FOR POETRY
My themes of Staffordshire Open for Poetry will move ahead with meetings as yet to be arranged with the variety of organisations in the county that have interesting and unusual spaces where we could develop something poetic, I will keep you informed as things progress.

LAUREATE SATURDAYS
Also moving forward is THE LAUREATE SATURDAYS for which a proposal has been put together on what sort of activities could take place. These will create special days of poetry in the towns of Staffordshire, this could be something major such as events in the Market place through out the day reminiscent of Nuneaton Summer Day of Poetry in 2011 or it could be a smaller event such as a reading or meeting with a specific group. I would really want the representatives of the town to decide.

I am keen to speak with the communities to look at their views on Poetry, hopefully to share their poetry and to encourage them to develop their own voices.

Not forgetting that my Laureate poem praised each town for their unique virtues, as I saw them. I want the local people to comment on their verse and to correct me where I am wrong. Such that at the end of my year we will have a new poem for Staffordshire.

If you are in one of the Staffordshire towns and want to host me for a Saturday then please contact me and we can discuss what we might do.

I am also keen to work with local poets and also poets who might want to join me on these Saturdays so please contact me if this is something that interests you.

We can have some good fun with this and create some new poetry; it’s got to be a good thing.

FIRST COMMISSION
My first commission to write an uplifting poem that promotes Staffordshire is well underway with the first draft well on the way. This poem will be used at The Staff Conference for Staffordshire County Councils Libraries, Arts and Tourism teams in November.

LITERATURE EXCHANGE / LITERATURAUSTAUSCH
My other commissions which have come through Tamworth Borough Council are also progressing – the Colin Grazier Enigma is discussed below. The town twinning Literature exchange is also progressing with the key contacts in Vaujours in France and Bad Laasphe in Germany both seeking out their local poets to discuss how this might happen. More news on this as it develops.

THE STROKE ASSOCIATION – 20 Anthology

The deadline for submissions has now passed, with over fifty people submitting, some with many poems or prose pieces, which I and the reviewers from the Stroke Association will now go through to select which one’s to be included in the Anthology.

There were some really clever takes on the theme, more of which I will discuss when we get closer to the launch.

A big thank you to everyone who has contributed.

COLIN GRAZIER ENIGMA.

The Colin Grazier Memorial – Tamworth

My Poetry play the Colin Grazier Enigma, rehearsals continue with the added pressures of needing to add in two, part performances in the run up to the 30th October. One of which I will tell you about next week.

The soundtrack is complete and I will be collecting it from Jimi tonight. The projections however have hit a snag. Whilst the composite images of the dark silhouette of HMS Petard and the sea taken from the ferry are all rendered and complete, it is the typing of the text over the image that is proving difficult. I would have though Sony Vegas Movie Studio would have a plug in that you just dropped the text in and clicked to scroll it left and away you go.

No you can use the titles and text plug in with key frames (I lost you a few minutes ago, didn’t I, I can tell) but anyway that does not work, well not quite true, I did mange to get it to work, but I don’t know how and so can replicate it. I am searching out alternatives and any ideas from the film world would be most welcome.

How do you simulate a typewriter on a film using Sony Vegas Movie Studio or alternative plug-in?

A bit of panic and still a busy time ahead.

You can read more details on the performance at http://www.thisistamworth.co.uk/Tamworth-naval-hero-Colin-Grazier-commemorated/story-16998769-detail/story.html

THE FIZZ.

The next Fizz takes place in TAMWORTH on Wednesday 7th November at THE MOAT HOUSE, LICHFIELD ST, TAMWORTH. Starting at 8:00pm

The guest poets will be the CORK POETS, Matthew Geden and Conor McManus with the usual open mic.

Free Entry, with a Bar, Coffee and Cakes plus a Carvery from 7:00pm for £4.95.

Before you shout about me abandoning Polesworth, the move is purely due to the usual venues being unavailable on the night. I do plan to keep the event at Polesworth but also to introduce alternate nights in Tamworth, making this a monthly event rather than the current bi-monthly evening.

SOME OF MY COMING SOON DOINGS

Readings in October and November

19th Oct – Spoken Worlds – Burton-on-Trent.
21st Oct – The Swan – Stone – Staffordshire -3:00pm to 6.00pm

6th Nov – Night Blue Fruit – Coventry.
7th Nov – THE FIZZ – TAMWORTH

Read Full Post »

WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.

What is ANNOYING me this week?

Time and Tiredness

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

Laureate things

LISTENING TO:

CGE – JIMI Hydranoid Musia

SOME OF MY DOINGS:

STAFFORDSHIRE POET LAUREATE.

National Poetry Day saw my inauguration at the First Staffordshire Poet Laureate at Lichfield Library and what a splendid turnout.

The evening was opened by Alan Medway from Staffordshire Arts and Library Services who introduced Grevel Lindop who read his wonderful Shugborough Eclogues, following the seasons, through the landscape capturing the essence of place. These are really are wonderful and worth searching out.

Grevel Lindop – Delivers the Shugborough Eclogues (c) Gary Carr

Sue Ball then introduced the role of the Laureate and the expectations on the holder of the role. Introducing Councillor Pat Corfield to make to presentation. I was very much taken with Cllr Corfield’s enthusiasm for the role and his view that this was the start of something significant. He presented me with two books, one for me to keep and use to write poetry throughout my year, the second for me to write a single poem to hand on to my successor.

Cllr Corfield presents me with two books for the Laureateship (c) Gary Carr

I then had the opportunity to thank all of those who had support the creation of the role and to lay out some of the ideas that I intend to pursue. My theme of Staffordshire Open for Poetry will see me seek out the spaces that the poetry community can fill with verse in what ever form is appropriate to the place.

Never one to miss an opportunity to promote my projects (c) Gary Carr

I also Introduced Laureate Saturdays – when I will visit the towns in Staffordshire to engage with Poets, Communities for readings, workshops and an exploration of local dialects and interests through poetry.

I then read my poems, Memphised, Cobh, Setting and for the first time the complete poem All Sides of the Shire. Creating a Journey across the globe to Staffordshire.

Brenda Read Brown (c) Gary Carr

The evening was completed by a performance from the Gloucestershire Poet Laureate, Brenda Read Brown, who gave us her unique take on life, love and attending music festivals. All to wonderful effect and to the delight of the gathered company.

THE STROKE ASSOCIATION – 20 Anthology

I have created a page on the menu bar above with the details on how to submit work for this exciting new project, which has already stirred some good interest, with submissions coming in with some really inventive interpretations on the theme of 20. The deadline is tomorrow and pieces can be sent to me at maldewhirst@yahoo.co.uk.

If you have not submitted, yet, then look through your work and find a tenuous link to 20 and send it in.

COLIN GRAZIER ENIGMA.

My Poetry play the Colin Grazier Enigma, began rehearsals today, with the sun shining we chose to walk the route of the promenade and rehearse the scenes in the places where they will be performed on the night of the 30th October.

Colin Grazier Enigma – Rehearsals in situ.

I am still working on the sounds from the musical soundtrack to the poetry in Morse code, bringing this together with the visuals, part of which was filmed from the ferry on my return from Ireland.

A busy time ahead.

You can read more details on the performance at http://www.thisistamworth.co.uk/Tamworth-naval-hero-Colin-Grazier-commemorated/story-16998769-detail/story.html

THE FIZZ.

The next Fizz takes place in TAMWORTH on Wednesday 7th November at THE MOAT HOUSE, LICHFIELD ST, TAMWORTH. Starting at 8:00pm

The guest poets will be the CORK POETS, Matthew Geden and Conor McManus with the usual open mic.

Free Entry, with a Bar, Coffee and Cakes plus a Cavery from 7:00pm for £4.95.

Before you shout about me abandoning Polesworth, the move is purely due to the usual venues being unavailable on the night. I do plan to keep the event at Polesworth but also to introduce alternate nights in Tamworth, making this a monthly event rather than the current bi-monthly evening.

SOME OF MY COMING SOON DOINGS

Readings in October and November

2nd Oct – Poetry Alight – Spark Café – Lichfield.
4th Oct – Staffordshire Poet Laureate – The Library Lichfield.
19th Oct – Spoken Worlds – Burton-on-Trent.
21st Oct – The Swan – Stone – Staffordshire -3:00pm to 6.00pm

6th Nov – Night Blue Fruit – Coventry.
7th Nov – THE FIZZ – TAMWORTH

Read Full Post »

WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.

What is ANNOYING me this week?

Aches.

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

Ireland

LISTENING TO:

Traditional Irish Music.

SOME OF MY DOINGS:

A MUCH NEEDED BREAK.

Apologies for not blogging for a couple of weeks, but I have been touring Ireland on a much needed break although I did manage to read in the open mic. at O’Bheal in Cork where the guest poet was Ilya Kaminsky who read in his distinct voice from his collection Dancing in Odessa, including his Musica Humana (an elegy for Osip Mandelstam, who featured as a lost poet on this blog).

Ilya’s reading was absolutely excellent delivering his poems with phonetic perfection, from someone whose first language is not English and who is also deaf, he masters a rythemn to deliver his glorious take on the world.

You can read more about Ilya at – http://www.ilyakaminsky.com/

The break itself began with the ferry from Holyhead to Dublin and I slightly diverted drive across country to spend a week in Galway, which including a tour the poetical landscapes of Connemara and the Isles of Aran.

Galway Bay

The settled week was followed by a week of touring down to Killarney and the Ring of Kerry, then a couple of days in and around Cork, a disappointing trip to Waterford, finishing with a trip to Kilkenny before a night in Kilrane before getting the ferry from Rosslare to Pembroke.

The Ring of Kerry

Two weeks of a wonder of welcomes and generosity, of landscapes that pour themselves out in front of you and wrap themselves into your thoughts, spilling your senses into overdrive, all of which will no doubt appear in my poetry in the near future.

Talking of which, my future in poetry is all wrapped up in………

STAFFORDSHIRE POET LAUREATE.

Notice on the Laureate.

Staffordshire County Council, through Libraries and Arts, are delighted to have appointed Mal Dewhirst for the role of Staffordshire Poet Laureate 2012/13.

We would like to invite you to join us at the Inauguration Ceremony to celebrate this auspicious event.
The ceremony will take place on National Poetry Day, Thursday 4th October, 7.30pm at Lichfield Library.

The evening will include special guests; Grevel Lindop, who will read his ‘Shugborough Eclogues’, and recently appointed Gloucestershire Poet Laureate; Brenda Read-Brown, Co-ordinator of the West Midlands Poetry on Loan Scheme and judge of the Staffordshire Poet Laureate.

Tickets for this event will be £2, including a glass of wine, and can be purchased at or booked from Lichfield Library, Tel 01543 510700.

As part of the celebration evening, Mal will answer any questions about the role, if they are submitted in advance by e-mail to alan.medway@staffordshire.gov.uk

Everyone welcome.
To find out more, visit www.staffordshire.gov.uk/poetlaureate

THE STROKE ASSOCIATION – 20 Anthology

I have created a page on the menu bar above with the details on how to submit work for this exciting new project, which has already stirred some good interest, with submissions coming in with some really inventive interpretations on the theme of 20. The deadline is the 8th October and can be sent to me at maldewhirst@yahoo.co.uk.

COLIN GRAZIER ENIGMA.

The Colin Grazier Memorial – Tamworth

My Poetry play the Colin Grazier Enigma, now has a cast and rehearsals start in full next Sunday 7th October.

I need to finalise the sounds from the musical soundtrack to the poetry in Morse code, bringing this together with the visuals, part of which was filmed from the ferry on my return from Ireland.

A busy time ahead.

You can read more details on the performance at http://www.thisistamworth.co.uk/Tamworth-naval-hero-Colin-Grazier-commemorated/story-16998769-detail/story.html

SOME OF MY COMING SOON DOINGS

Readings in October

2nd Oct – Poetry Alight – Spark Café – Lichfield.
4th Oct – Staffordshire Poet Laureate – The Library Lichfield.
19th Oct – Spoken Worlds – Burton-on-Trent.

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WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.

What is ANNOYING me this week?

Nothing

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

The Staffordshire Poet Laureate

LISTENING TO:

Hedonism – Bellowhead.

SOME OF MY DOINGS:

STAFFORDSHIRE POET LAUREATE.

On the 4th October, National Poetry Day, The county of Staffordshire will appoint its first Poet Laureate and I am honoured and pleased to say that I am the poet that the Arts and Libraries team from the County Council have chosen to hold this position in its inaugural year.

I have lots of ideas on things I want to do, which I will be discussing with Council team over the coming weeks, my aim is to hit my year as laureate running, this is not a role to ease myself into, the year will pass far to quickly to allow that to happen.

So watch this blog to share in my year in the role, which I hope will provide opportunities for many poets in the county.

ANOTHER NEW PROJECT.

In my last blog post I mentioned that there will still a couple of projects that were still under discussion. As you can guess the Staffordshire Laureate was one of them. But there is one more that I can now mention.

This new project is a project that allows me to write, there is no organising of events or readings, just a chance to write a response to a historical research project.

THE BOUDICCA PROJECT.

Boadicea Haranguing The Britons. John Opie, R.A

The Project is Boudicca Project based around Mancetter nr Atherstone in North Warwickshire, where a group are engaged in researching the descriptions in contemporary documents around the Battle of Watling St in AD61 or there abouts, when Boudicca met her end as she led her army of Britons in rebellion against the Roman occupiers. The aim to establish if the Roman fort at Mancetter could be the location of this battle.

My role as the Poet in Residence on the project is to write interpretations of the life in these times.

THE STROKE ASSOCIATION – 20 Anthology

I have created a page on the menu bar above with the details on how to submit work for this exciting new project, which has already stirred some good interest, with submissions coming in with some really inventive interpretations on the theme of 20. The deadline is the 8th October and can be sent to me at maldewhirst@yahoo.co.uk.

COLIN GRAZIER ENIGMA.

Able Seaman Colin Grazier GC

The play entitled Colin Grazier Enigma – tells of the events of 30th October 1942 in the Mediterranean, when Colin Grazier, Tony Fasson and Tommy Brown boarded the stricken U-Boat U-559 and salvaged the Enigma machine and the important code books that enable the intelligence operations at Bletchley Park to decode the transmissions of the U-boat wolf packs that it has been said significantly reduced the second world war.

The play has had its first read through and will go into full rehearsals in the coming week, once all the locations have been agreed. I will be working on the technical features and assisting the Director Simon Quinn on the delivery of the poetry.

The performance will take place around the streets of Tamworth on the evening of 30th October.

POLESWORTH A PLACE FOR POETRY – DIG THE POETRY – 2012.

Since my last post there has been the final workshop of the Dig the Poetry programme and the spectacular reading in the grounds among the trenches.

Sat 1st September saw the wonderful Jo Bell’s workshop entitled Strata’s – which explored the layers of Archaeology and compared them to the strata’s of our own lives.

Jo drove us hard with constant writing exercises that considered how we could look at our lives and what clues that would exist to future Archaeologists discovering our remains. The realisation that things we take for granted would be lost, that in the future our stories may not be at all clear, and that you can infer the story from what was not found.

All this allows us to consider the lives of the ancestors that we are now uncovering with a better understanding, with a more questioning mind, with less jumping to an obvious conclusion.

The workshop produced some absolutely excellent poems on what was a wonderful day of poetry.

PLUS POETRY EXHIBITION ON THE HERITAGE OPEN DAYS 7th – 9th Sept – with Readings on Sat 8th Sept.

The events took place at Polesworth Abbey, Polesworth in North Warwickshire. Where on Saturday poets gathered for a very special afternoon reading in the early autumn sunshine.

It was an afternoon that you always imagine a poetry reading should be, al fresco in, in a garden with readers and listeners sitting on the grass, breathing in every word. A gathering of friends, fellow wordsmiths whose journey through the preceding weeks as the archaeology was unearthed and captured within the words that sculpted poetry on to pages.

A very special day that will live with those who were there for always. A fitting end to this wonderful project. Something I reflected upon when I took down the exhibition this afternoon and packed it away, hanging up my hat as Poet in Residence at Dig the Abbey.

Jo Bell, Jenny Hope, Maeve Clarke, Mal Dewhirst, David Calcutt, Jacqui Rowe and Matt Merritt at the Dig the Poetry Reading (photo (c) Gary Carr 2012

You can see Gary Longden’s review of the afternoon on his blog at:
http://garylongden.wordpress.com/2012/09/08/poetry-at-the-abbey-polesworth-abbey-polesworth/

SOME OF THE POETRY IS ON THE WEBSITE.

Peter Ralley who is managing all the media and video for Dig the Abbey has uploaded some of the poetry written in response to the dig on to the DIG THE ABBEY website – you can see it through this link.

http://www.digtheabbey.co.uk/

SOME OF MY COMING SOON DOINGS

Readings in October

2nd Oct – Poetry Alight – Spark Café – Lichfield.
4th Oct – Staffordshire Poet Laureate – The Library Lichfield.

Read Full Post »

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