Sunday, 30 March 2014

SUNDAY NEWS - Headcrash Cabaret and Napowrimo

Russell J Turner
This week I finally made it back to Norwich - after almost a year's absence - to perform at the sixth Norwich Poetry Slam. Hosted by Russell J Turner and Catherine Woodward, these slams are always a great opportunity to see a cross section of talented performers from the UEA (and beyond), and I was really pleased to get the chance to see such a wide range of performers all in one place.

I wasn't able to write down everyone's names, but I really enjoyed all the pieces that were performed during the slam: Adrian's poignant poem about accent and identity; the witty, political piece performed by Alice; the incredibly moving poem about love and the Holocaust. I also loved Adam's rendition of his poem 'Like if you remember', and Ashley's confident performance. (It was only her second time ever in front of an audience!) The guy with the flowery wellies also did an excellent job entertaining us with his satirical piece about silly politicians and the Somerset floods, while the sacrificial poet (Miday Sotubo) recited a really inspiring poem about self-expression.

But it was Marie-Claire Emecheta who made a most deserving winner, scooping this month's Poetry Slam prize! Congratulations to everyone who took part - you were all fantastic!

Nikki Marrone
As well as a slam competition, the night also included four featured poets, and it felt like a bit of a Cambridge take over, with sets from Fay Roberts, Nikki Marrone, Daisy T-G and me.

Nikki's poetry is always fresh and exciting, and it's been really wonderful to see her develop as a performer over these last few years. She performs with such enthusiasm and passion that it's hard not to be enthralled, and - though her work often explores darker subject matter - her poetry always seems to have a fantastic, uplifting quality to it.

Daisy T-G
Fay Roberts is tireless writer and promoter of poetry, and a stalwart of the Cambridge scene. Softly-spoken, with a lyrical deftness and an ear for rhythm that few possess, Fay's experimental pieces are often her finest. The musicality behind her work is undeniable, and it's always a pleasure to catch her performing live.

Daisy T-G is fairly new to the Cambridge poetry scene, having recently returned to the city from University. Having said that, she's already made a huge impact with her deeply personal and engaging spoken word sets. She is witty, insightful and definitely one to watch for in the future!

 As for me, I did a few new poems in Norwich that seemed to go down pretty well with the audience, and I was inspired all the other fantastic performers too. (In fact, I had to stop my car on the way home so I could scribble down a few potential titles and lines for future pieces!)

I'm really looking forward to going back to Norwich again soon!

Me (talking about penguins)

Also this week, my poem Enid was published online as part of the Enid Porter Project. This initiative, led by Cambridgeshire County Council, is a celebration of the folk histories and traditions of five villages in Fenland, as well as the life of museum curator and social historian Enid Porter. I'm really pleased to contribute to the project, and I'm looking forward to performing as part of the celebrations in July. You can check out my poem here, and find out more about the the project on the website.

This weekend, I've been preparing some exercises for the creative writing workshops that I'll be delivering to schools next month. When I was in Norwich last week, I found some amazing photographs from the 1930s and 1940s in a local junk shop, and I'm thinking about ways to incorporate them into some creative writing games.

Fantastic old photos

There are pictures of birthdays, christenings, weddings, camping holidays, and family occasions, as well as a few photos of people's pets too. (Early versions of lolcats, perhaps?) I've got a whole stack of them now, and they're all really fascinating. I think I could look at old photographs forever!

I'm also getting ready for my first ever Napowrimo (National Poetry Writing Month), which starts on 1st April. The challenge is to write thirty poems in thirty days, and I'm going to be working in a Napowrimo team alongside a load of great East Anglian poets including Fay Roberts, Elaine Ewart, Emma Ormond, Nikki Marrone, Daisy T-G and Russell J Turner!

You can follow our progress on our Napowrimo blog and I'll try to share links to the best poems as often as I can. Wish us luck - I have a feeling that we're going to need it!

All performance photographs courtesy of Fay Roberts


  1. sorry I haven't commented for a while - loving your poems. You have been making me think about my poetry too, so am unofficially joining in NaPoWriMo just by trying to write 30 in the 30 days. It hopefully will take me back to my "fun" poem writing days!! Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

    1. Thank you Theresa! Best of luck with your NaPoWriMo challenge! My first one is here: