It's been another busy week of poetry, not least because it was International Poetry Day on Thursday 21st March! I hope you all had a lovely day filled with verse, rhyme, and whimsy!
Thursday was also the private viewing and opening night for the Reading Rooms show at the Alfred Gallery in Tel Aviv. The Albert and the Dots art exhibition, curated by Israeli conceptual artist Gali Timen, showcases the work of some incredibly talented visual artists from both Israel and the UK. It includes work by Adi Bezalel, Dvir Cohen-Kedar, Dan Birenboim, Alicia Shahaf, Yael Ravid, Karen Harvey, Steve Perfect, Louis Atkinson, Alma Machness Kass, Sharon Pazner, Carmela Weiss, and Gali Timen.
It's such an honour to have my work included in this truly international exhibition and I'm so pleased that Gali asked me to be part of it. Unfortunately, I'm not able to make it to Tel Aviv (there aren't that many buses from my house) but Gali was kind enough to take some pictures of the show, so I wouldn't miss out. My poem, The Space Between, looks very proud in its gold frame! If you find yourself in Tel Aviv in the next few weeks, the exhibition runs Friday 12th April.
Also this week, I wrote a small guest blog for Book A Poet. The lovely people at the website gave me free reign to write about any subject, so I chose to talk about stage fright. Being of a slightly introverted temperament, I have always suffered from nerves before a show. Although the terror is more diluted now than it used to be, I still feel that thrill of butterflies in my stomach just before I take to the stage. I think that will probably always be the case. There's something quite perverse in doing things specifically because they scare you, but there's also a strange euphoria that comes with completing a daunting task. Perhaps I'm a bit of a masochist, but I really believe the only cure for stage fright is to 'feel the fear and do it anyway'. I actually think that's pretty good advice for life in general.
But it's much easier said than done.
On Monday, my first Fenland Poet Laureate poem, No fancy Strang, was published on the Atelier East website. Atelier East is such a fantastic organisation, and I really cannot sing their praises highly enough. Without their support, there would be no Fenland Poet Laureate initiative, and they also organise some fantastic arts events in the Fens including their work with the Wisbech and Fenland museums supporting a wonderful group of Young Curators. Atelier East will be merging with ADEC in April, and I'm sure this will ensure the continued success of arts in the Fens.
As for me, my next Fen poem is already brewing on the poetry stove: watch this space.
Finally I must just mention that my poem, Dreaming of Budapest, was included on the Kumquat poetry tumblr back on the 9th March. The poem itself was one of the seven sonnets I wrote as part of the 28 Sonnets Later: Crown of Sonnets challenge back in February.
A pamphlet, containing all twenty eight sonnets, is currently in production and should be available from Dead Beat Press within the next few months. I really can't wait to see it - it contains some fantastic contributions from Adam Warne, Andy Bennett, and Russell J Turner, and it'll be well worth a read, I'm sure. There's a rumour that Tim Clare will be writing the foreword too, which is very exciting indeed!