*Or 'How Many Superlatives Can Leanne Fit into One Blog Post?'
In December of last year, I got an email from the lovely people at the Writers' Centre Norwich, asking if I would like to take part in The Next Step Live Literature Residency.
The Writers' Centre – in conjunction with Apples and Snakes – were looking for five poets from around the East of England with the 'talent and potential' to develop their own one-hour live literature shows.
Despite being incredibly nervous about hanging out with a load of real poets for a whole week, I just couldn't pass up such a fantastic opportunity!
We spent five days in a beautiful holiday home on top of a cliff in Mundesley, North Norfolk. The residency involved a mixture of one to one discussions, group work and free writing time, and it was so wonderful to have the time and space to concentrate on writing poetry!
(We also had an indoor swimming pool and a sauna in the back garden, as well as a lovely beach five minutes walk from our front door. It was pretty idyllic.)
The four other poets on the residency – Andy Bennett, Hollie McNish, Rebecca Holmes and Russell J Turner – are all so fantastically talented, and it was an absolute pleasure to work with them all. We each have such different poetic styles, and it was really cool to share ideas and get honest critique from people whose opinions and work I really respect.
It was also really amazing to watch the progression of ideas; by the final evening, everyone had the makings of really fantastic live literature shows.
Anna Selby and Hannah Jane Walker from Writers' Centre Norwich were both really great, not only because they both have loads of experience in Live Literature, but also because they understand the funding and business-y sides to developing a show. Their advice was invaluable, as was their delicious vegetarian cooking!
We also got extra support from three of the best performers working in UK at the moment: Ross Sutherland, Francesca Beard and Luke Wright. Working with each of them was really inspiring, and their advice on show structure, narrative, and poetic form was incredibly useful.
In fact, I've learnt so much about live literature in the past week that I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since I left the residency this morning!
The main lessons I'll take away from the trip are as follows:
- my own ideas are valid and worth pursuing
- walking over a snow covered beach is both bizarre and breath-taking
- dogfish egg cases (mermaids' purses) look very much like the character Plankton from SpongeBob SquarePants
I'm going to keep working on my show ideas, with a view to performing a twenty minute scratch at some point in April. I'll keep you posted for further details.