Sunday, 6 October 2013

Workshops, Words and Water: National Poetry Day

Last Thursday was National Poetry Day, and I was really pleasantly surprised by the amount of media interest in the occasion. It's nice to hear people talking about poetry on the radio and on TV, and it was great to see people sharing their favourite poems on Twitter and over Facebook.

I spent the day at the Wisbech Library, running my Watery Words Workshop. The library staff had done an excellent job preparing for the day, with a lovely display board and some great after school activities for kids, as well as tea and biscuits for my workshop!

We had eight participants in the end, and it was lovely to have such an enthusiastic and diverse bunch of people, ranging in age from mid twenties all the way up to ninety eight!

Everyone was really keen to engage with all the writing exercises and it was wonderful to hear the work they created at the end of the session. Even though it was a mixed ability group, all the writing was of an incredibly high standard and I really enjoyed the session, all things considered.

Thank you to everyone who attended the workshop, and thank you to the Wisbech Library for hosting us! (And providing the tea and biscuits!

Meanwhile, one of my poems was on display in Bedford this week, as part of the Bedford Poetry Trail!

The trail was organised as part of Bedford's celebrations for National Poetry Day, and saw thirty poems placed in shop windows around the town to improve the visibility of poetry in the local area. My poem, Bargain Hunt, went in the window of the Salvation Army shop in the town centre, and it was a real privilege to be part of the event!

Bedford has a thriving poetry community, and it's well worth a visit to the Ouse Muse open mic nights, if ever you're in the area.

On Saturday, I spent the morning at the Waterlees Literary Festival in Wisbech. It was a family fun day, with art workshops, storytelling from Marion Leeper, and talks by local children's author and illustrator Jenni Desmond.

I had a really great time at the event, though I don't know if my poems were particularly suited to such a young audience.

That being said, the whole thing has made me think about writing poetry for children. It was a real challenge to keep the attention of the younger audience members (and I'm afraid to said I didn't manage it with my Fenland poems!) and it would be interesting to see if I could write some stuff specifically for kids. Watch this space!

Then, on Saturday afternoon I received a lovely parcel from Dead Beat Press: the latest 28 Sonnets Later booklet! 


Filled to bursting with twenty eight sonnets, written by four poets over the course of February 2013, this is the second 28 Sonnets Later publication - and I think it's even better than last year!

I have seven sonnets in the collection, alongside some fantastic poetry from Norwich-based poets Adam Warne, Andy Bennett, and Russell J. Turner.

I'm really proud of how this collection has turned out, and I'm really looking forward to performing some of the work at upcoming gigs!

If you fancy a copy of 28 Sonnets Later II: The Crown, let me know and I can send you one in the post!


Next week, I'll be on Sue Dougan's afternoon show on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, talking about our first Fen Speak event, which is now less than two weeks away! There's still lots to do to prepare for the open mic night, but we're really excited that the time is almost here!

If you want to listen to me on the radio, you can catch the show on Thursday 10th October from 2pm. And for further info on Fen Speak, check out our facebook page!


  1. I'm really hoping "Two Narrative Poems in a Duffel Bag" is the next anthology. Or something similar.

    1. Definitely! Or maybe Sixteen Sestinas in a Suitcase? (Sorry, I'm a sucker for alliteration!)