So, we're now four days into May, and I still haven't told you how I got on with my NaPoWriMo challenge yet, have I?
I was writing alongside a great group of East Anglian poets (Poppy Kleiser, Fay Roberts, Russell J Turner, Nikki Marrone, Daisy T-G, Mal Content, and Emma Ormond) and we were each aiming to write thirty poems in thirty days.
So, how did we all get on?
Well, everyone really upped their game this year, and the poetry was at an incredibly high standard. We all managed to stretch our horizons, stepping out of our comfort zones and experimenting with form, rhyme and structure. Poets who normally write in free verse tried their hand at rhyming, while others had a go at stream of consciousness writing, and I even managed a couple of poems without rhyming at all!
In the end, I wrote thirty two poems over the course of the month, and I really enjoyed the shared experience of writing with friends and writing to a regular deadline. I don't think I could keep up that frenetic pace all year, but at least it shows that I can write quickly when I want to!
In fact, I managed to write a univocalism, a found poem, two abecedarian poems and even a clogyrnach! Plus I wrote at least five poems that will probably make their way into my performances, in some form or another. I'm planning to re-post them on this blog in the coming days - so watch out for those!
In other news, we had an absolutely glorious Fen Speak On Tour event on Friday night at Thoresby College in King's Lynn.
The event was organised by local poet and workshop leader Sue Burge, and featured guest performances from Harriet Munson and Jonathan Totman, as well as a wonderful variety of performers on our open mic list.
It was fantastic to hear Harriet read her Young Fenland Poet Laureate award-winning poem, and Jonathan gave a captivating performance. (His first in office as Fenland Poet Laureate 2015!)
All of our open mic poets were brilliant - with poems about Seahenge, motherhood and the writer Fanny Burney standing out as particular favourites for me.
I also got a chance to read two of my NaPoWriMo poems - companion pieces about the colours Pink and Purple - and they seemed to go down really well.
In fact, the whole show was really went swimmingly, and we're already planning our next Fen Speak On Tour event in King's Lynn. Keep an eye out for more information in the Autumn!
And, if that wasn't enough poetry for one week, I spent my Saturday afternoon at the Central Library in Peterborough, taking part in the Grand Finals of this year's Poetry Rivals Slam.
The competition was fierce, with sixty finalists competing for the top prize of a Publishing Contract worth £2000!
And it was amazing to hear so many excellent poets performing in one place! I particularly liked Tom Evans' poem about his beard, Juliet Borland's pun-tastic golf poem, the line in Tony Noon's poem about 'dancing in the craters on the moon', and Hannah Eiseman-Renyard's gorgeous love poem. In truth, there were at least twenty poets who deserved to win.
I don't think anyone envied the job of the judges in this slam!
Still, our glamorous judges Fay Roberts, MC Mixy and Ben Mellor managed to come to a conclusion in the end - after much deliberation - and the prize was presented to Jim Clarkson. Jim's poem, 'Things To Come', was an amazingly descriptive piece of writing, filled with dense, dazzling imagery, and Jim read it beautifully on the night. He made a very worthy winner, and I'm looking forward to seeing his collection when it's published. Well done Jim!
There were also three highly commended poets. Tom Kwei was commended for his intensely clever and witty wordplay in his poem 'Third Person', while Robert Awosusi's poem 'Anger Management' was a huge hit with the audience, making them laugh out loud without compromising on its potent social message. The final highly commended poet was Poppy Kleiser (A former Fenland Poet Laureate - we know how to pick the rising stars!) whose beautiful, lyrical poem 'The Optimist' realy caught the judges' ears.
Although I didn't place in this year's competition, I really enjoyed the show, and I'm looking forward to entering again next year!