Monday, 5 January 2015


Now that we're rocking 2015 like a brand new coat, I'm free to tell you about the stuff I have planned this January! It's going to be another busy one - especially if I manage to keep my New Year's Resolutions - but I also have a feeling that it's going to be a good month. So, what's actually happening? Well:

First up, on Wednesday 14th January, I'll be performing at the Hammer and Tongue Poetry Slam in Cambridge, supporting special guest poet Luke Wright.

Luke Wright - Source
Luke is a stand-up poet with an excellent pedigree, and has performed shows everywhere, from Australia to Hong Kong, to Europe and back again. He's written and performed eight one man shows since 2006, and also edits Nasty Little Press and runs the poetry stage at Latitude. His poetry is incredibly funny, populated with a fantastic array of characters and caricatures, and on top of all that, his poetry is also really technically skilful too.

So no pressure there then!

But seriously, it's going to be a fab event. As well as myself and Mr. Wright, there'll also be a slam, in which eight poets will battle it out to win a place in the Hammer and Tongue Cambridge Regional Final in September. The slam is my favourite part of these events - there's always a great variety of style and content, very much the poetry smorgasbord. (And just as delicious!) 

The show starts at 8pm, and tickets are available via this link.

On Friday 16th January, I'll be heading down to Hinchingbrooke House, in Huntingdon, to help judge this year's Cambridgeshire regional Poetry by Heart competition

In case you've never heard of it, Poetry By Heart is a national competition that encourages school and collage students aged fourteen to eighteen to learn and to recite poems by heart. The idea is to help teenagers to engage with and understand poetry, by memorising it and performing it in a series local and regional competitions - with the winners going on to the National Final at Homerton College, Cambridge, in March 2015.


This year, I'm going to be one of four judges at the Cambridgeshire regional competition, and I will be helping to score each of the participants on things like articulation, accuracy, difficulty of poems chosen and evidence of understanding. There are 600 poems to choose from, and each student must pick three, one from before 1914, one WW1 poem, and one poem written after 1914.

I know some people are not keen on memorisation as a form of learning, but I think it can be really useful, as long as it is used as part of a range of exercises, to help people engage with poetry.

I'll also be performing a few of my own poems at the event (read: lowering the tone) and I'm really looking forward to it!

Then, on Wednesday 21st, we'll be back at the Wisbech and Fenland Museum for another Fen Speak open mic night! We've already got a number of talented poets and storytellers signed up to perform, but there's still plenty of space on our list, so please do join us if you can.

Fen Speak gives emerging writers the opportunity to perform their work on stage, in front of a supportive audience. You'll be able to test out your performance skills, make new friends and take part in Fenland's only regular spoken word open mic night! It's also a great night out for those seeking something a little bit different, and we welcome audience members as well as potential performers!

Awesome Logo

So, we'll be at the Wisbech and Fenland Museum on Museum Square in Wisbech, on Wednesday 21st January. Doors open at 7pm, and the show starts at 7:30pm. All ages and abilities are welcome, so we hope to see you there!

On Saturday 24th January, Elaine Ewart, Poppy Kleiser and I will be talking to David Turner of Lunar Poetry, making a podcast about Fen Speak, the Fenland Poet Laureate Awards, and all our endeavours to encourage creative writing in the Fens.

Hopefully we'll get the chance to talk about all the wonderful poets we've met through the open mic nights! I'm not quite sure what to expect, but I know that it's going to be an excellent opportunity to show just what's going on in our area.

If you want to check out the previous lunar poetry podcasts - you can find them on their soundcloud page.

Finally, on Wednesday 28th January, I'll be taking part in the first ever Cambridge Anti-Slam! A reaction against the popularity of slam poetry, and a raucous celebration of failure in all its forms, the Anti-Slam will challenge a group of Cambridge poets to be spectacularly awful! The judges will be looking for entertainingly bad, laugh-out-loud cringeworthness, poetry so bad it's good!

I've been busy writing my piece (And finding it surprisingly difficult to be bad on purpose!) and I'm really looking forward to just how terrible everyone will be!

The details for the Cambridge Anti-Slam are not yet online - but I will add them as soon as possible. Watch this space!

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