Friday, 20 March 2015

FRIDAY NIGHT NEWS - Speakeasys and Soundscapes

Hello there! It’s been a long while, hasn’t it? Sorry about that – it’s actually been a little bit quiet around here of late, so I haven’t had much to blog about.

Luckily, lots of lovely opportunities have arisen in the past few days, so here I am again to bang on about poetry for a bit.

Speakeasy in Cambridge:
A few weeks ago – on Sunday 8th March to be precise – I went down to Cambridge to take part in Speakeasy at the ADC.

Run by poet and promoter Charlotte Higgins, Speakeasy caters primarily for students at the city's universities. The show itself is a mix of featured acts and an open poetry slam, and the whole evening has a really friendly vibe to it.

Despite this, I was a bit worried that I’d be the oldest person in the room by a considerable margin, and that worry was fully realized when I arrived. I was at least ten years older than everyone else, including the bar staff! Damn student towns!

I’m joking of course, but it was really cool to see so many students in the audience. Poetry really is the new Rock and Roll!

On the night I attended, there were featured sets from Charlotte Higgins and Antosh Wojcik, as well as a guest set from Abbi Brown, the winner of the previous Speakeasy slam.

All three featured acts were absolutely fantastic, and their very different styles complimented each other beautifully. I especially enjoyed Charlotte’s poem about the original Hans Christian Anderson version of the Little Mermaid (A fairly gory tale, perfect for poetry!) and Antosh’s euphoric and incredible tribute to dancing.

It was the first time I’d ever seen Abbi perform, and her poems were epic and lyrical, spinning delicate narratives full of sorrow and hope. It was awesome.

I put my name in the hat for the slam and it was a tough contest, with some brilliant performances from the other contestants. The whole night was so much fun, and I’m really looking forward to the next one in Michaelmas Term!

Fenland Poet Laureate Awards 2015:
I’ve also been busy helping to organize the next Fenland Poet Laureate Award Ceremony, which is happening next week!

Where has the time gone?!

There’s been a lot to do this year and I’ll be hosting on the night, so I’m a little bit nervous about that. But I am REALLY excited about hearing all the poets read their poems, and I’m thrilled to be announcing this year’s Fenland Poet Laureate!

Plus, we’re slowly building up awareness of Fenland poetry, and tickets for the show have been incredibly popular this year. In fact, we’re already so oversubscribed that we’ve had to break the night up into two parts, so that we can fit all of our audience in!

How amazing is that?

And the Mayor and Mayoress of Wisbech will be coming too – so no pressure there then!

The Fenland Poet Laureate Awards start at 7pm on Friday 27th March at the Wisbech and Fenland Museum in Wisbech.

Tickets are free, but if you’d like to join us, please do book ahead of time to ensure a seat! You can book your tickets by emailing:

And we’ll see you there!

Publications and other stuff:
Publications sometimes feel a bit like buses (in that you wait ages for one and then two show up at once) and the last couple of weeks have been particularly bus-like for me!

If poems are like buses, then flash fiction is like a bendy bus

Firstly, I was really pleased to hear that one of my poems was published in an anthology of poems about addiction.

“The Whole Desolate Day” is edited by Lisa Zaran and published by Little Lark Press, with poems from writers from across the world.

I originally submitted my poem to this project in 2011, and the lovely people at Little Lark Press had been working really hard behind the scenes to put this book together – despite a hefty number of obstacles – and now it’s here!

The finished publication looks great, and was really worth the wait! “The Whole Desolate Day” is available on Amazon, and you can find out more about the anthology at the Little Lark Press website.

My poem ‘Perspective’ was also accepted for publication this week, as part of the second issue of Slim Volume – a collection of poems about place entitled ‘Wherever You Roam’.

Published by Pankhearst and edited by Kate Garrett, this collection will be out in May this year, and I’m really looking forward to getting my mucky paws on a copy! In the mean time, I'm going buy myself the first collection, Slim Volume: No Love Lost.

Finally this week, I just need to tell that I’ve been asked to write a poem for a soundscape installation to celebrate The Green Festival in Peterborough this summer!

How cool is that?

Green Festival commissioned artist Keely Mills is coordinating the project, and she has asked us to take inspiration from the themes of sustainable transport and unloved spaces. Our finished poems will then be recorded and played in some of Peterborough’s urban spaces in the run up to the Green Festival.

It’s a really cool idea and I’m really chuffed to be involved.

Plus I spent a lot of time on the buses in Peterborough in my (misspent) youth, so I’ve got plenty of experience to draw upon!

Aaaaaaaaand the best thing about the project is that we get to record our own poems in a posh recording studio! How fun does that sound? The answer is: very!

So yeah, that’s what’s going on at the moment. It's all been a bit bus-heavy, hasn't it? That's ok though, buses are cool. And here's what happens if you type 'cool bus' into google:


I am definitely writing a poem about that bad boy!

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