Archive for March 2010




Alive and Buzzing!

It’s official – I not only survived my MA interview/’informal chat’ but have been offered and accepted a place starting September. I am so excited, I can barely type straight. And all this despite being so nervous that at one point during my telephone interview, Jean Sprackland had to say it’s all right, I’m not testing you! The MA is the creative writing MA (online poetry route) at Manchester Metropolitan University – two years taught and then a year to complete my portfolio. I can’t wait to get started!

It has been a great week of poetry for me in more ways than one, with four poets from Nine Arches Press reading at Poetry Bites in Birmingham on Tuesday, the stanza meeting tonight and I’ve just got tickets for the On the Border evening at Chepstow on Easter Saturday. This sounds like a really good celebration of poetry including readings from Dannie Abse, Paul Henry, Elaine Feinstein and many others.

Meanwhile, I’ve been enjoying reading Jean Sprackland’s Tilt. (Yes, of course, I started this especially because of the interview but no, I didn’t drop it into conversation when asked what I’d been reading lately because, much though I am genuinely enjoying the poems, it would have been just too cringe-worthy to say so!) I’ve also been engrossed in the latest NAWE Writing in Education. The Very Hungry Workshop article by Philip Burton (aka Pip the Poet) is particularly interesting – so much so that I’ve used it as the basis for the poetry workshop I’m giving at my sons’ school this afternoon. Talking of which, time now I got on with my preparations!

Have a good weekend everyone!

Add comment March 26, 2010

Springing a Week!

Spring definitely sprung – unfortunately so has our lawnmower, which refused to start this morning. This left me no choice but to enjoy the seasonal sunshine with a book in hand!
I’ve several ‘reads’ on the go at the moment from The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway (which is the excellent and the choice for my reading group this Wednesday) to a pamphlet anthology of Spring and Easter poems put together by some students from The Chase Technology College in Malvern in their bid to win a national business competition. Spring Chase-ing Words not only features some poems by me (including my first ‘published’ poems for children) but poems from the likes of Alison Brackenbury, Don Barnard, Angela France… The anthology’s Facebook page is at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Spring-Chase-ing-Words-Poem-Anthology-book/369945567686?ref=mf .
As well as my reading group, the poetry stanza also meets this week and its Poetry Bites open mic in Birmingham on Tuesday night so I’m looking forward to a very fun-packed week, though I’m hoping to ‘spring-clean’ a few poems when I get a chance. Happy Spring everyone!

Add comment March 21, 2010

Spring in my Step!

There’s been a spring in my step the last few days as I’ve been writing a couple of season-inspired children’s poems – ready for my poetry workshop on spring at my son’s first school next week. It’s a good half-term theme-wise – with bedtime the theme of last week’s World Book Day celebrations, Mother’s Day this week, spring next week and then Easter.

All this writing and workshopping has left me in a reading mood not writing mode this weekend. I’ve been enjoying more of the young poets in Bloodaxe’s Voice Recognition – a selection of fantastically powerful and energising poetry. At the other end of the spectrum, I’ve just started Derek Walcott’s White Egrets, which I’m finding equally stunning. There’s also a great selection of poems, including links to the poets reading, on ageing at http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/mar/13/carol-ann-duffy-poems-ageing . But before I get back to my books, Happy Mother’s Day tomorrow everyone!

Add comment March 13, 2010

Stage Fright!

There’s nothing quite like the spotlight to make the mouth turn dry. Though I’ve been doing poetry readings for a while, today at Droitwich Arts 4 All is the first time I’ve done one on stage with the lights on full. It was definitely an experience! The hardest thing for me was not being able to see or hear the audience clearly enough to judge their reactions to my reading. (I find the feedback useful in terms both of which poems to read and sometimes also in how to read them.) Unprepared for this, it was harder than usual to relax into the reading. Of course, the plus side to it once I’d relaxed was the protective distance/remoteness/anonymity – it was much easier to forget there was actually anyone listening. (Let alone how many were listening!)

My reading was part of Droitwich Arts 4 All, where I was joined by Jenny Hope, launching her excellent collection Petrolhead (Oversteps Books). It was a great afternoon – the theatre venue buzzing with painters, artists, singers… and a chance to advertise the Worcester and Droitwich Poetry Society Stanza.

I also used it to try out my first combined art, photography and poetry display (having applied to stage a whole gallery display at the library next year!) and the posters for my collection Into the Yell (to be published by Circaidy Gregory in July) also had their first outing. I have to say I was very pleased with both –  and to be able to chat to readers and other artists in such a relaxed atmosphere. Boy, am I exhausted now – I think my next creative move tonight will be the art of sleeping soundly!

Add comment March 6, 2010

All Booked and Read-y to Go

Don’t be fooled by the pyjamas! This was me geared up and ready for my poetry workshops at my sons’ school this afternoon, World Book Day. This year the theme was bedtime stories, hence the night attire – and the reason why I was accompanied by two teddy bears. No need to ask what themes we used for our poems today!

Fingers crossed, I’m all ready too for tomorrow’s Arts 4 All  at Droitwich’s Norbury Theatre from noon to 4pm. As well as my photographic/art poetry display and some sneak previews of my poetry collection Into the Yell (to be published by Circaidy Gregory Press – http://www.circaidygregory.co.uk –  in July), I now have the time for my poetry reading –  2.35pm. There’s also been some coverage in the local newspaper at http://www.worcesternews.co.uk/news/5037131.Chance_to_find_your_arts_calling/ .

So that’s my blog for today – short and sweet. Talking of which, I also found out this week that I’ve had a poem shortlisted in the Huddersfield Literature Festival short (10 lines) poetry contest. Hopefully, the spring sunshine is not only on the way but here to stay!

Add comment March 5, 2010

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