Wow, September has just flown by, hasn't it? It seems like only yesterday it was lovely sunny, festival-y August, but now the nights are drawing in, the trees are trying out an alternate colour palette, and there's a distinctly wood-smoky smell in the air.
|Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness|
Plus, I've got an absolute stinker of a cold. (Honestly, I've never seen so much snot!) All of which must mean that Autumn is just around the corner!
This month, I've been super busy with gigs, workshops and exciting new projects! So, let's do a little round up of what's been going down, shall we?
We had a fab night at Crosswords in September, with a fantastic special guest in the form of Stephen Thomas, who wowed us all with a selection of excellent uni-vocalisms from his latest book, Alphabet Spaghetti.
|Stephen Thomas - one of the nicest (and best) poets in Nottingham!|
I managed to get myself onto the bill at this year's Green Fest – a wonderful sustainable living and vegan food festival in Nottingham. Marvellous local poet Lytisha Tunbridge put together a two-hour smorgasbord of voices on the spoken word stage, and I was excited to be performing alongside such a varied and talented bunch!
|The audience didn't want to get too close (which is sensible, as I do bite)|
I also helped out with the very ecologically-friendly festival stage by cycling for waaaaay longer than I was comfortable in order to keep the pedal-powered speakers working!
That's my exercise sorted for the month, I think!
Later on the same weekend, I popped down to perform at a fantastic new night in Derby called She Speaks, where I was completely overwhelmed by the talent of all contributors, and the generosity of the hosts, Jo, Em and Aoife, whose ambition to create a safe and supportive space for female and non-binary performers is something that I totally love!
|Jo Lewis performing at She Speaks in Derby|
I also got to meet Ali Brumfitt, which was very exciting for me, as I've loved their poems from afar for ages. And they recognised me from some of my poems too (which was totally unexpected) so that was a pretty good night all round!
This week, I took a road trip down to Bournemouth to take part in the excellent Wordmakers showcase – which I have to say was one of the friendliest audiences I've experienced for a very long time! Once again, the local performers blew me away, and it was really nice to finally get the chance to see Ash Dickinson perform too.
|Ash Dickinson being awesome|
Aside from all that poetry gallivanting, I've also been doing a bit of behind the scenes stuff too:
I sat on my first ever funding board panel, making decisions on funding applications for the Arts Council's Creative People and Places initiative in Fenland and Breckland, and I acted as a judge at the Superheroes of Slam regional finals in Leicester.
Both were pretty tricky gigs to be honest – given that you're essentially judging what makes great art, which sometimes feels like a pretty subjective thing.
That being said, I'm glad I got the chance to participate in both experiences, as it felt good to be supporting events and organisations that do brilliant things for the Arts!
It also gave me a real insight into how these things are judged, and that's all good experience for when I finally become a MEGA POET (which is similar to a Mega Zord from Power Rangers, only with more iambic pentameter...)
|I guess I know what I'm going to be for Halloween now...|
You'll also notice that I've started putting ACTUAL POEMS up on the blog again! This is either exciting or horrifying (depending on your opinion of my poetry). But I for one am pretty ecstatic about having the time to do regular writing sessions again.
How have I managed to wangle more time in my working week, I hear you ask?
Well, I haven't built an H G Wells-style time machine, or invested in a Time Turner – yet. Instead, I've started a BRAND NEW JOB, which means that I now spend three days a week at the office, and two days a week at home focusing on my own poetry projects!
My new job is with UNESCO Nottingham City of Literature, a charity that works to promote, support and publicise literacy, creative writing and poetry in and around Nottingham.
Our city is one of only twenty in the world that have this UNESCO designation, and it's incredible to be part of such a positive force in the local community!
It's been so much fun so far, and I'm really enjoying working with Sandy and Matt in the office, finding out about all the wonderful grass-roots events and projects that make Nottingham such a glorious city for writers and readers.
Even though I'm only working three days per week, I already feel like I'm much busier than I was when I worked full time. A lot of this is down to all the projects that I've been taking on to fill up my Thursdays and Fridays and, while I can't wait to tell you all about them, that will probably have to wait for another day. (Oh, I'm such a tease!)
Next week, the City of Literature team will be announcing the first ever Nottingham Young Poet Laureate, and I honestly don't know how I've managed to keep it a secret this long!
If you want to find out who the winner is, you'll have to wait until Thursday 28th September like everyone else! My lips are sealed!
Keep up to date with all the lovely City of Lit projects via our twitter and facebook pages, or the newly-revamped instagram feed! Keep an eye out, as you might even see me on there occasionally as well!