Posts Tagged ‘Staffordshire Poet Laureate’

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.


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.


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.

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


“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:

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

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


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


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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A quick post of some events where I will be reading or running workshops over the next couple of weeks.

 POETRY ALIGHT at the SPARK CAFE – Lichfield


Tuesday July 9th at 7:30pm – Always a great evening of exceptional poetry.

FUSE FESTIVAL in Lichfield – Beacon Park


Saturday 13th July – 14:00 to 16:00.

In the Performance Gazebo.

The Laureates present Poetry – I am joining Ian Henery Walsall Poet Laureate to host an afternoon of Poetry


with  Al Barz – Kristina V Griffiths – Surgit Dhami – Najma Hush – Gary Longden – Tom Wyre – Roy Smith

Tim Philpott – Sammy Joe.  

SPOKEN WORLDS – Burton on Trent.

Spoken Worlds

Spoken Worlds

Old Cottage Tavern – Bykerley Street – Burton on Trent.
Friday 19th July at 7:30pm

Come and read in the now famous three halves.


Shire Hall Gallery

Join Eleanor Babb and me for a Summer Event Day

Saturday 20 JULY 10.00am – 4.00pm

Digital photography with Eleanor Babb.
An exciting opportunity to explore the idea of modern townscapes and street photography. Come and create your own images to add to a giant photo-montage of Stafford. Suitable for beginners and families.


Poetry Activity
Also learn more about poetry and words with Staffordshire’s very own poet laureate Mal Dewhirst. An accompanying exhibition of maps and verse will provoke and stimulate your imagination! Reflect on your thoughts and feelings of Stafford and help Mal to create a new poem to be performed at Stafford Arts Festival on 7th September.
Family drop in FREE




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What is ANNOYING me this week?
The tiredness

What is DELIGHTING me this week?
Poem – The Magic Box – Daniel Dewhurst.

Morrison Hotel – The Doors


PostersThe last few weeks has seen my spare time taken up with writing for Quadrophenia in Tamworth along with preparing the specifications for the projections, exploring the sources of film footage of London and Brighton in the 1960’s. I am amazed as to how much I was able to find, especially cine footage taken by amateur filmmakers. In the past much of this footage would have sat in dusty box, lost at the back of the loft. But with the advent of sharing sites such as YouTube and Vimeo, many of these amateurs are sharing their films and in doing so are opening up a view of the world that we would not otherwise have.

Double Booked.
Whilst I am talking about film, I have completed the film I made with Keith Large, Double Booked. Using Keith’s script we originally shot this in January 2012, but due to issues with the performances we decided to re-cast and re-shoot last Summer. The film featuring Nic Adams as Bob Heap the Hotel Night Porter and Joanna Linford as Nina Cole the hotel guest with an unwelcome man in her room, plays out to show that this night porter is always going to be on top.

Bob Heap (Nic Adams) and Nina Cole (Joanna Linford) in Double Booked.

Bob Heap (Nic Adams) and Nina Cole (Joanna Linford) in Double Booked.

The final edits were made over a weekend and the completed film passed to Keith for him to promote and enter into film festivals. We uploaded it to the Withoutabox website and I left Keith trawling through what seemed an endless list of film festivals around the world. So let’s hope that Keith has some success, If I hear any more then you’ll be the first to know through this blog.

Making Doubling Booked Photo (c) Maria Smith

Making Doubling Booked Photo (c) Maria Smith

Back to Quadrophenia.
Meanwhile back to Quadrophenia, the rehearsals progress to bring this new piece to fruition. I say new piece because the script is completely new, following the themes of Mod sub-culture, exploring attitudes to mental health, fashion and identity and the frictions of intergenerational relationships.

This is going to be a great show; tickets are selling really well, so if you haven’t got yours yet you need to contact the box office at:

Email tic@tamworth.gov.uk Telephone 01827 709581/618

The show will be performed on Friday 24th and Saturday 25th May at the Assembly Rooms in Tamworth. Tickets £8 (£6 Concessions)

You can see the real me in my interview with Gary Longden at GarysWordz http://garylongden.wordpress.com/2013/04/23/quadrophenia-at-tamworth-assembly-rooms-is-previewed-by-poet-and-contributor-mal-dewhirst/

And for those who missed here is the link to Gary’s interview with the Director Simon Quinn. http://garylongden.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/quadrophenia-at-tamworth-assembly-rooms-is-previewed-by-director-simon-quinn/

My workshop at the Landau Forte School in Derby introduced POETNAV to the pupils who gathered word lists based upon the themes we explored.

POETNAV is my SATNAV to help guide young poets to create interesting, engaging lines of poetry.

It was really fantastic to see them create poems with great turns of phrase and imagery. I am greatful Jo Henchley and the other teachers and pupils who made me so welcome. There is some great literary potential at the school and I suspect every school, if we can just nurture it.

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Laureate Saturdays.
My Laureate Saturday in Lichfield saw a few people come along to talk to me about my poem, All around the Shire and particularly the verse for Lichfield, which the consensus seem to be that the verse I had written captured the essence of the City and therefore it did not need to change.

My verse for Lichfield will remain as follows:

In the City, Lichfield,
we find brooks that branch their
way to seek the Trent.
Cathedral raises spires to Saxon kings,
as the poet swan glides the minster pool.
Darwins and Johnsons refreshed
our thought as Garrick performed to entertain,
Bower days and festivals,
the tombolas, the writers, the Jazz.
Out among the wider fields
legions held walls on Watling St
and Earls gave halls to the Nations trust.

I much appreciated those who came along, it was good to talk to people about poetry and how it can capture their imagination and enhance their daily lives.

My next Laureate event is a reading at the Stafford Open Arts Forum at the Shire Hall Gallery on 17th May.
Followed by my Quadrophenia commission on 24th and 25th May. – I may have mentioned it.


A Wonderful Workshop. – Tamworth Library Saturday 8th June 2013 – 10:00am to 2:00pm

The 8th June sees my contribution to the 40th Birthday celebrations at Tamworth Library. The Library moved into its current building in 1973 and has seen many changes in the last 40 years which we will discover with this wonderful opportunity.

The library was built in a churchyard and architecturally is very much of its day.
This free poetry workshop will explore some unusual, quirky features of the library collections and its building as selected by the Library Staff.

It could be the least borrowed book, the oldest book, a feature of the building, something that is under appreciated or hard to like, I have left it for the staff to decide and to present to the participant the reasons for its selection.

Anything could be selected here and it will beg the question if Tamworth Library has these items then what do other libraries have that defines them.

Through exercises we will develop poems for a reading in the Library at the end of the workshop.
The workshop is sponsored by Poetry on Loan whose support and promotion of Poetry events in Libraries is much applauded and appreciated.

I am really looking forward to seeing the things that have chosen as defining Tamworth Library.
Please contact me at maldewhirst@yahoo.co.uk  or contact the library, if you want to reserve a place.

Finally – Thrasher.
Last night Thursday (25t April) saw the performance of Thrasher at the Brewhouse in Burton. Thrasher was conceived and written by Conor Mckee and saw six characters whose lives become mixed and intertwined on one night through deceit, betrayal, debt and lonliness. The play was directed by Wyllie Longmore and featured a cast of exceptional actors whose delivery and timing made the situations a reality. The cast was strong with all players giving this excellent script the justice it deserves.

Conor came and visited the Runaway writers group a few weeks ago and shared a brief video trailer for the show asking us to write a brief response which would be work shopped with two of the actors prior to the show. My piece just entitled Response to Thrasher, really only picked up on the backdrop of a drawing of a rubber plant and a standard lamp, playing out a scene of perceived external threat, feminine manipulation, frogs in pans of water and the word mysandry.

This was a fascinating opportunity to see professional actors work their way through the script looking for meanings and motivations, turns and tribulations in determining how best the stage the piece.

More theatre companies providing these opportunities to writers would be more than welcome.

Darren John Langford (Hollyoaks), Conor Mckee (Writer) Lauren Thomas (Waterloo Road) workshop my response to Thrasher.

Darren John Langford (Hollyoaks), Conor Mckee (Writer) Lauren Thomas (Waterloo Road) workshop my response to Thrasher.

You can find out more about Thrasher and Conor McKee at: http://www.conormckee.com/

Up and Coming Readings.

7th May – Night Blue Fruit – Coventry.
14th May – Poetry Alight – Spark Café – Lichfield.
17th May – Open Arts – Shire Hall Gallery – Stafford.
8th June – Laureate Saturday – Tamworth Library.

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What is ANNOYING me this week?

Slow Technology

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

The Poetry in the Music


Morrison Hotel – The Doors.



As the first Staffordshire Poet Laureate, I am finding my way to best give my service to poetry and the communities of this great creative county.

As part of the role I have to undertake at least four commissions, two of which I have to bring to the role.

My first commission was one that I found, “The Colin Grazier Enigma” poetry play which I was commissioned to write by Tamworth Borough Council Arts and Fired Up Theatre. The performance was an outdoor promenade play with a new musical soundscape and took part on 30th October 2012 to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the events it described.

The play received great reviews and photo coverage in the local press, including a piece on BBC television Midlands Today.

My second commission came from Staffordshire Libraries and Arts to write an uplifting poem to promote the county, the poem Thinking Staffordshire was first presented to the Staff Conference in November. The poem considers all the creative facets of the county through the mottos of some of the leading organisations whose home is in the county. I will include the poem as part of my laureate readings in the coming months.

So barely a month into my laureateship and half of my commissions had been completed, which was a good job really as the events unfolded with my health, which I am glad to say is something that is now under control and I can focus on enjoying my time as Laureate and new commissions and events.

My third commission is well underway with my contribution to the new working of Quadrophenia being staged at the Tamworth Assembly Rooms on 24th and 25th May. The script which has been developed and written by Simon Quinn, has scenes that Simon left open for me to develop poetry to fit with the themes of mental health, fashion and identity, inter-generational friction, gender, drugs and anti-social behaviour in the 1960’s counterculture.

My poems have developed as sequences taking on the different personalities of the helpless dancer, the romantic, the lunatic and the hypocrite.

The scene under the pier will see these personalities acted out through the poetry. There will also be poems as projections.

My role in the production in addition to writing, sees me co-directing alongside Simon, which at the time of writing sees us in a heavy rehearsal season to bring the piece to fruition.

Plans are also in place for further commissions based around events at the Shire Hall Gallery in Stafford, which I will talk about in further posts on this blog.

Laureate Saturdays.
These events will take place on Saturdays in libraries around the county – these will include readings, an exploration of my All around the Shire poem and some 15 minute workshops. Below are the dates of the planned Saturdays more will be added as and when they are agreed.

Lichfield Library – 20th April 2013 – 10:30 to 12:30.
Tamworth Library – 8th June 2013 – Times to be advised.

Other Activities.

John Donne Day.

Last Tuesday was the 400th Anniversary of John Donne writing his poem Good Friday 1613, Riding Westward. Donne had left Polesworth on the morning and was heading to Monmouth, but his thoughts were tormented by his business in the west taking him away from contemplating the events at Calgary in the east.

The event at Polesworth saw the discussion on the poem, its themes and meanings. The afternoons events were reviewed by Gary Longden on Garyswordz. – http://garylongden.wordpress.com/2013/04/02/john-donne-day-polesworth-abbey-2013-400th-anniversary-celebration/

The evening saw the reading on four commissioned responses to the poem, from Gregory Leadbetter, Jacqui Rowe, Jane Commane and myself for which I wrote Good Friday 2013, Writing Westward, taking as my theme the commercialisation of Easter and all that takes our thoughts away from the real meanings of the events on the hill at Calgary almost 2000 years ago.

Following the success we hope to make this an annual event. The event was publicised in the Times Litarary Supplement, http://www.the-tls.co.uk/tls/public/article1236615.ece

My thanks go to Jonathan Davidson of Writing West Midlands, Dr Gregory Leadbetter, Dr Anthony Mellors, Dr Anthony Howe and Dr Derrick Littlewood from City of Birmingham University. Jane Commane and Jacqui Rowe for their contributions and Fr Philip Wells.

Other Doings of Interest.

Conor McKee is a Manchester based playwright whose play Thrasher is playing The Brewhouse in Burton Upon Trent on 25th and 26th April.

A gripping story laced with genuine warmth and vicious comedy. Six people spiral towards destruction over one night in the city. Once lost, can faith, friendship and love ever be recovered?

Conor has invited the Runaway Writers to create around 7 minutes of script to be work-shopped on the first night of the production in Burton.

More information can be found at http://www.conormckee.com/  – Tickets are available from the Box Office at the Brew House in Burton.


Up and Coming Readings.

13th April – St Giles Charity Event – Poleworth Abbey, Polesworth
Organised by Steph Knipe.
20th April – Laureate Saturday – Lichfield.
26th April – Spoken Worlds – Burton On Trent.
7th May – Night Blue Fruit – Coventry.

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What is ANNOYING me this week?

The aches always the aches.

What is DELIGHTING me this week?







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 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.


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.


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.


Readings in October and November


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What is ANNOYING me this week?

Aches and sugar

What is DELIGHTING me this week?



Roses – The Cranberries.



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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.


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 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.


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.

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What is ANNOYING me this week?

Time and Tiredness

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

Laureate things


CGE – JIMI Hydranoid Musia



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.


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.


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 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.


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.

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