Sunday, 28 December 2014

2014 in review

Is it a bit of cliché to do a 'Year in Review' post just before New Year's Eve? Yes. Yes it is. But I'm a big fan of cliché, so here's a little summary of 2014:

January // February // March
The first month of 2014 was a pretty busy one. I performed with Poets United at the Whittlesea Straw Bear Festival, put the finishing touches on my poem for the Whittlesey Museum, and performed at the University of Cambridge Union Arts Festival. I was also performed with Norwich band Wooden Arms, who set my poetry to music as part of a brilliant event hosted by Allographic and Shindig.(Bonus poem with music HERE)

In February, I wrote a large number of sonnets with  Russell J Turner, Adam Warne and Andy Bennett, for our third sonnet writing challenge, 28 Sonnets Later: the Heroic Crown! I also got the chance to be part of the judging committee to decide this year's Fenland Poet Laureate winners!

March was another busy month: we announced the winners of the Fenland Poet Laureate Awards, and I was invited to write a poem for International Women's Day and perform it in Peterborough to help raise money for the local Rape Crisis Centre. I also did my first gig in Stowmarket, as part of The Whole Shebang open mic night. Finally, I went up to Norwich, with Fay Roberts, Nikki Marrone and Daisy T-G for a Cambridge take-over at Headcrash Cabaret at the Birdcage in the Norwich Lanes.

Performing with Wooden Arms in January

April // May // June
In April, I completed my first NaPoWriMo, and managed to write thirty poems in thirty days! A few of them were all right too. (But some were truly terrible!) I also did my first Allographic: Other Voices guest performance in Cambridge, supporting fantastic Fenland Poet Elaine Ewart! On top of all that, I went down to Colchester for a night of music and poetry in Steve and Tina's front room! And I have to say, it was one of the nicest gigs I've ever been to - thanks guys!

My favourite gig in May was hosting She Grrrowls: Lost and Found in North London - a fantastic night of female performance, organised by the very lovely Carmina Masoliver.

In June, Fay Roberts invited us to do an hour of poetry at Strawberry Fair in Cambridge, so we put on our very first Fen Speak at Strawberry Fair show, giving some of our regular poets the chance to perform in a festival environment. I also performed at the annual Pimms and Poetry event at the Welney Wildfowl and Wetlands Centre, which was really good fun! I'm also really grateful to Johanna Boal, for inviting me to do a short set at the Beverley Folk Festival!

Fen Speak performers at Strawberry Fair in June
July // August // September
Most of July was taken up with my writer's residency at the Museum of Beyond in Aldeburgh, although I also found time to write a commissioned poem for a friend's wedding. The Museum of Beyond is a fantastic art exhibition and ecological investigation, made by Suffolk artist Fran Crowe. I stayed for three days and wrote nine poems about the exhibition - you can hear me read then at the Museum of Beyond Soundcloud page.

August was a month of festivals! I managed to perform at three glorious festivals: Camp Bestival in Devon, Folk East in Suffolk, and Bestival on the Isle of Wight! All three were brilliant, and I must say a huuuuuuuuge thanks to Amy Wragg at Get on the Soapbox events, for inviting me to all these wonderful places to do my poems! What a star!

September was the Hammer and Tongue Slam Final at the Royal Albert Hall, and it was incredible! We also had our first birthday party for Fen Speak, the open mic night I run with Elaine Ewart. Here's to many more years to come!

Our Names in Lights at Camp Bestival (August)

October // November // December
October was a quiet month, but things picked up again in November: I did a gig in London as part of Utter! Winners, and did a support slot for Attila the Stockbroker in Norwich. We also took Fen Speak on Tour, with an event in King's Lynn, courtesy of local poet Sue Burge.

In December, I was part of the Stony Stratford Christmas Lights Switch On in Milton Keynes, took part in the last ever Utter! London Paid Gig Contest and was part of Nikki Marrone's Spark the Word Winter event in aid of the Arthur Rank Hospice Charity.

Supporting Attila the Stockbroker in November

Well done for reading all of that! What a mission!

Seriously though, it's been an awesome year! Hope you've had a good one too! And here's to 2015!

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