Hello and redirect

This is a hello & au revoir.

I can’t quite believe I had forgotten I started this blog. [When, why, how, what????]

But I had, until notifications of a new follower jogged my memory. Thank you. 🙂

I am now blogging over on my own website at www.sarah-james.co.uk, where I also send out a newsletter to those who sign up as members (an alternative way of following, as I don’t have that facility on my website).

It would be lovely to see your comments there.

Add comment May 24, 2014 sarahjameswrites

In the Air

Can you smell it? No, not the rain or the England team’s bitter disappointment but my excitement still in the air after Into the Yell arrived from the publisher on Friday.

Thanks to the artists and the design by Kay Green at Circaidy Gregory Press (www.circaidygregory.co.uk), the poetry collection is looking very nifty. And Into the Yell got its first outing on Friday night at a Word and Sound open mic event at Worcester Arts Workshop. Although, the official launch isn’t until July 10, I’m getting in all the reading practice I can and it was great to read from the actual book for the first time.

I think it could take a long while for publication shine and excitement to wear off, which is just as well given I’m reading again at Boston Tea Party in Worcester on Thursday, June 24. The Phonic Room event kicks off at 7pm and entry is just one pound.

Meanwhile, my new website, complete with facilities to pre-order signed copies of the collection, is due to go live at www.sarah-james.co.uk tomorrow morning. It all adds to the atmosphere of joyful anticipation, as I’ve also been with fellow poet Jenny Hope to check out the Farrier’s Arms in Worcester ahead of our charity reading there in aid of Worcester Breast  Unit Campaign on Wednesday, August 18.

Of course, I’ve got extra good reasons for making the most of the excitement , as we definitely need something to cheer us up  after England’s football disappointment yesterday. At least my son’s sports’ day on Friday had a better outcome when their house came first in the years 1 and 2 section! Let’s hope some of the good vibes spread!

2 comments June 13, 2010 sarahjameswrites

A festival of a weekend!

It’s been a weekend of sun, food, poetry and friends…and then more sun, food poetry and friends!

Thursday night’s meeting about plans to launch a 2011 Worcester Literature Festival had a fantastic turn-out.  It was great to see so many people interested and enthusiastic. I and fellow poetry stanza member Jenny Hope are now meeting up with the festival organizers to see how we can be involved in making poetry stuff happen. It’s very exciting!

Friday, we took a trip down Memory Lane, Oxford, and managed to get away without asking sat nav for help! My favourite Indian take-away is no longer there but the ice-cream parlour is. We also managed to make it into the Ashmolean for a first time – so much to see. We only managed the Egyptians, pre-Raphaelites and Modern art – missing out rather a lot in between! Still, there’s always the next visit! And while my favourite Indian restaurant no longer exists, we discovered Lebanese food for a first time – and it was delicious too!

Saturday, I met up with poet friends at a free Arvon taster workshop with Daljit Nagra at Keat’s House in Hampstead. It is a beautiful place and the workshop was very thought-provoking. As we also sneaked off to Covent garden and the Poetry Place on the way back, it was a very enjoyable day. And we caught sight of some beautiful elephants (sculptures!) strolling the streets!

All in all a great weekend and another great week ahead, planning a more detailed proposal for my National Poetry Day residency/workshop in October (more details when it’s finalized), the first copies of my poetry collection Into The Yell due to be delivered at the end of the week and reading at Worcester Word and Sound on Friday.

Hope everyone else has a good week lined up too. Enjoy!

Add comment June 6, 2010 sarahjameswrites

Snow week for writing!

It’s been officially proven this weekend: firstly, that snow is too cold for comfort and, secondly, I am not a natural skier – more a face flat in the snow non-skier!

Temperature and broken back (only kidding!) aside, we had some family fun at Tamworth Snowdome over the bank holiday and I definitely prefer snow to rain! Talking of which, inside has definitely been the place to be with much of this week, which has been a busy one – though more with organising writing than actually creating any.

Thanks to my brilliant sister’s excellent work, my new website is now nearly finished, just final bits of info to do. I’ve been working on some workshop exercises for a poetry workshop at Newent Community School and Sixth Form Centre, Gloucestershire, in July that I’m doing in combination with fellow poet Jenny Hope. We’ve also been kicking loads of ideas around for the new literary festival planned for Worcester next year.

It’s all exciting stuff – and keeping me nicely distracted  from the excitement of my imminently approaching collection publication. I’m hoping to have my copies of Into the Yell from the publisher the week after half-term, reading to gear up for the launch on July 10!

Happy Bank Holiday everyone!

Add comment May 31, 2010 sarahjameswrites


What with the sunshine and all the exciting projects on the go at the moment, both the laptop and I have been close to melting this weekend!

In between enjoying the gorgeous weather while catching up with some reading on the swinging hammock and playing in the garden with the boys, I have also been busy planning.

I popped into my local Waterstones branch on Monday to start the process of getting them to stock my poetry collection Into the Yell. Fingers crossed it’s not too lengthy a process, as the apparently the printer is booked for tomorrow! Fortunately, the collection is already listed for pre-order on Amazon and Foyles, hurrah!

To distract me from the nervous last-minute proof reading and volley of emails between me and my publisher, I have also been busy booking tickets for this year’s Ledbury Poetry Festival, which kicks off the week before Into the Yell’s launch on July 10. As well as other poetry workshops/events, I’ve managed to get tickets for readings by Billy Collins, Fleur Adcock, Pascale Petit and Jane Weir. I can’t wait! (I’m still gutted that I missed out last year, thinking I couldn’t get there what with the kids and everything, when it’s only 35 mins away on the train!)

Less good news is that my Window on the Arts poetry, photography and painting display in Droitwich town centre, which was due to run for two weeks from the end of this coming week, has had to be postponed. Unfortunately, organisers couldn’t get the shop. However, fingers crossed, it is now going to take place in July – tying in nicely with my poetry launch!

In fact, this has only been a very small white cloud. The same day I also had an email with some good news to more than make up for the minor disappointment of this postponement. I’ve been invited to read at an event in Birmingham in September as one of three up-and-coming women poets, hurrah! More details on that nearer the date, as everything is finalised. Here’s hoping both the poetry and meteorological sunshine lasts – and that everyone else is enjoying it too!

Add comment May 23, 2010 sarahjameswrites

Windows of Opportunity!

There’s an art to being busy for me at the moment as I’m busy planning a poetry/photography arts display for the centre of my local town.
I found out on Thursday that I’m due to have a two-week shop window display in Droitwich next month as part of a Window on the Arts scheme using empty shops to promote local artists and community groups. The timing is perfect for the launch of Into the Yell, as Circaidy Gregory will be accepting pre-publication orders of the collection next month.
Meanwhile, I will be doing my last proof-read of the final pdf next week and I’ve been putting my artistic side to further good use in preparation for my role as writer in residence for the day at Worcester’s Oxfam Bookshop as part of Oxfam Bookfest in July. As well as reading from Into the Yell, I will also be doing some toddlers story telling sessions, so have been busy writing a children’s story for the event, complete with my own ‘illustrations’!

Anyway, still plenty of work to do on that, so I will leave you with a list of some of the events I’m involved in shortly, if you’re in the area. 

Sarah James – Into the Yell, poetry collection, Circaidy Gregory Press

Events for June/July/August 2010

Friday, May 28 to Monday, June 14 – Sarah James will be staging a Window on the Arts shop window poetry and art mixed media display in Droitwich Salters shopping centre (in the shop between Bargain Foods and the cancer charity shop).

June 2010 – Sarah James will be launching her revamped website at http://www.sarah-james.co.uk ahead of the launch of her poetry collection Into the Yell (Circaidy Gregory Press – http://www.circaidygregory.co.uk ).

Saturday, July 10 – Sarah James will be launching her poetry collection Into the Yell at Droitwich Music and Arts Festival. As well as staging an art and poetry mixed media display in the town centre from 10am to 5pm, Sarah will also be doing a reading/readings from her collection and signing books. Specific venues and times to be confirmed nearer the event (on her website at: http://www.sarah-james.co.uk ).

Thursday, July 15 – Sarah James will be Writer in Residence for the day at Worcester’s Oxfam Bookshop as part of Oxfam’s Bookfest. From 10am to 12 noon she will be holding storytelling sessions for toddlers. From 2pm to 4pm, she will be discussing poetry, reading from and signing her new collection Into the Yell (Circaidy Gregory Press http://www.circaidygregory.co.uk ). A one pound donation from each book sold on the day will go to Oxfam.

Wednesday, August 18 – Sarah James will be joining fellow poet Jenny Hope in a Worcester Festival charity reading from their collections Into the Yell (Circaidy Gregory Press http://www.circaidygregory.co.uk ) and Petrolhead (Oversteps Books http://www.overstepsbooks.com). The charity reading and open mic in aid of the Worcestershire Breast Unit Campaign will be held at the Farrier’s Arms in Fish Street, Worcester, from 7.30pm. They will be donating £1 from the sale of each book sold on the night to the campaign.

Add comment May 16, 2010 sarahjameswrites

A fruitful weekend!

Only a day since the Full Bloom orchard renga finished (www.orchardnetwork.org.uk/renga/ ) and already I’m suffering withdrawal symptoms!

Still, I’ve been keeping myself busy playing squash and trying out skiing at Tamworth Snowdome. I’m not entirely convinced but it was better fun than I expected!

Over the weekend, I’ve also been creating an Into the Yell collection trailer video and video versions of some of my poems (combining my art and photography with audio recordings of my reading). And yes, I admit it, I had quite a lot of technical help from my husband! Now, I can’t wait to share them with the world later this month!

While we’re talking art and poetry, copies of two fantastic pictures by an artist I met at a Stourport poetry evening last month arrived this week. One of the pieces by Lucy Rendle (the top picture in my photo) was inspired by Sylvia Plath’s ‘Mirror. (A copy of the poem can be found online at:  http://vmlinux.org/ilse/lit/plath.htm .)

Hope everyone else has had a good weekend. 🙂

2 comments May 9, 2010 sarahjameswrites

Addicted – again!

It’s been a while since my last blog for a number of reasons, not least my latest addiction – renga. I’m not going to even attempt to sum up the form here but I have been taking part in the Full Bloom Renga online project at: http://www.orchardnetwork.org.uk/renga/ to create a collaborative poem to celebrate our orchard heritage and the unfurling of blossom across the country. The challenge consists of writing alternative two-line (11 syllables) and three-line (15 syllables) verses on a daily given theme. All the verses submitted are displayed and each day one is chosen for the main renga. It’s great fun and I’m finding it’s highly addictive.

Renga-ing aside, I’ve had a busy but good week, with all the endorsements in for my poetry collection Into the Yell . Poets/publishers/editors Catherine Smith, Angela France, Jacqui Rowe and Andrea Meredith have all been very generous and I can’t wait now to see how Kay at Circaidy Gregory incorporates it and finishes the collection back cover.

I now have a collection reading booked, with Oversteps poet Jenny Hope (‘Petrol Head’), for Worcester Festival on Wednesday, August 18  as well as launching the collection with a reading at Droitwich Music and Arts Festival on July 10. The poetry scene really seems to be buzzing generally  in Worcestershire at the moment with another new open mic poetry and acoustic music event at Worcester Arts Workshop on June 11 and poetry evenings at the Stay Free Gallery in Stourport. So if you’re in the area and you love poetry, why not mark these dates and venues on your diary!

Add comment May 2, 2010 sarahjameswrites

A Quacking Time!

It’s been a real “quacker” of a weekend, enjoying the sunshine with friends and family.

On Saturday, I met up with friends in Ledbury for a “Spirit of the place” poetry workshop led by Jacqui Rowe and Meredith Andrea. It’s not my first time in the town but I haven’t been for years and had forgotten how beautiful it is – particularly in the almost summer weather. The workshop involved an hour exploring the town, so I not only managed to get lots of notes and poetic inspiration but also had fun with my camera!

The sunny weather may not be as good as rain for real ducks but was fantastic this morning for the annual plastic duck race in the Gloucestershire village where my parents live. Needless to say, my boys got absolutely soaked trailing the ducks down the stream while we warmed our older bones in the sunshine!

Talking of older bones, I’ve also been enjoying re-reading Chaucer’s The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale. The last time I read it was more years ago than I care to remember in middle/high school. I’d forgotten both what an interesting character the wife is and how much fun it is trying to make sense of Chaucerian Middle English. The logical part of my brain really loves trying to piece together meaning from my knowledge of English, French and smatterings of Latin, Greek, German etc – not that my guesses are always right! It was nice to be translating for fun though and not having to worry too much if I got it wrong (the indecisive part of my brain still has nightmares about finals translations!)

Anyway, I think I’ve earned a rest so am hoping to translate a busy weekend into a relaxing one too with a few hours reading/mooching before the onslaught of the week tomorrow!

Add comment April 25, 2010 sarahjameswrites

Holiday, holiday, holiday!

Did you hear a loud bang on Monday? If you did, chances are it was me returning to earth with a bump after a fantastic weekend at Center Parks Longleat.

We’ve never done center parks before and I was a bit dubious…until we got there. After three days of cycling, walking, spa baths, swimming, barbecues and sangria, I am now officially a convert – well, in the good weather at least. It was great just to be able to get on a bike and cycle through parkland without having to worry about cars. And I even managed to get a few pictures of some of the squirrels and many rabbits. Our accommodation was also blissfully spacious – always good news with two energetic children!

Anyway, to help break me back into reality gently, I’ve been playing with the paints and doing some collage – all featuring poetry, of course.

The real work starts again tomorrow. But only two days and then I’m off to a poetry workshop in Ledbury and then on down to my parents’ in Gloucestershire for their village’s annual duck race. The kids are already going quackers about it!

Add comment April 21, 2010 sarahjameswrites

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