Sunday, 6 March 2016

SUNDAY NIGHT NEWS - Write Minds, Poetry for Girls, and Fenland Poet Laureate 2016

It's been a few weeks' since my last post, and I've been pretty busy:

The 28 Sonnets Later project finished at the beginning of this week, and I have to say I'm feeling a little bereft without it. Adam, Andy and Russell wrote some incredible sonnets during our month-long challenge, and I even managed to write a couple that I'm quite pleased with!

If you haven't yet managed to read all of last week's poems, here's the links for you. Go on, do a bit of sonnet gorging!
#22 – Moon Babies by Adam Warne
#23 – Eww (or Bath-etic) by Andy Bennett
#24 – Nan and the Dentist by Russell J Turner
#25 – The 'Undeserving' Poor by Leanne Moden
#26 – The Great Wave by Adam Warne
#27 – Biggles gets the Giggles by Andy Bennett
#28 – l'ange de l'assassinat by Russell J Turner
#29 - Pareidolia by Leanne Moden

They're all worth a read (but if you're scared of clowns, maybe give number 27 a miss). I particularly enjoyed Adam's poem about the Great Wave off Kanagawa, because it's one of my absolute favourite artworks!

Blimey - that *is* a Great Wave!

I can't wait till next February for more sonnet-writing goodness! But there's always NaPoWriMo to look forward to!

I also managed to get out in the real world this week, with a gig at Das Kino in Nottingham to celebrate the launch of the Write Minds 'Madder Than We Look' poetry collection.

Write Minds is an organisation that helps people affected by self harm and suicide, by allowing them space to express themselves through poetry. 'Madder Than We Look' is their first collection of poems, and the poems in the book were chosen by Write Minds director Hayley Green and by guest judge Joelle Taylor.

I was lucky enough to have one of my poems published in the book, and it really is a stunningly powerful collection. All proceeds for the sale of the books will further support the work of Write Minds, so you should definitely buy a copy here.

And here's a picture of my looking super-awkward on stage, having just forgotten the words to my final poem:

Totes Awks

Nice one, Leanne! Anyway, it was a really good night, and you should buy the collection. Go on!

Also this week, we announced the twenty short-listed poets in the Fenland Poet Laureate Competition!

I wasn't involved in the judging process this year, but I'm really proud of the way we do things at FPL: we anonymise all the entries before sending them through to our panel of judges, who choose their favourite poems based on quality alone.

This usually means that we end up with a fantastic list, containing some familiar names, and some that are completely new to us. It's the absolute best way to be, and I'm really looking forward to the prize-giving ceremony. It's happening at March Town Hall, at 7pm on Friday 8th April. Tickets cost £3 each, and you can buy yours via the Babylon Gallery.

We've also been bidding for some financial support for the Fenland Poet Laureate Programme, and this included me writing my very first grant proposal form! It all feels very grown up! The deadline for applications is tomorrow, so cross all your fingers, toes, and other extremities for us!

Next week, I've got a monumentally busy few days lined up!

On Monday night, I'll be down at the Orange Tree in Nottingham doing some poems as part of Too Deep for a Monday, a new spoken word night that loosely themed around the issues that affect women. There'll be poetry, prose, monologues, storytelling and comedy from their featured acts, plus there are open mic slots available too! I might even crack out a few new poems, so that should be good fun!

Then, on Tuesday night, I'm help to host an event at Rough Trade called Women Say... Stuff. It's a show that I've been putting together alongside Lytisha, Clare, Orla and Hazel from the DIY Poets in celebration of International Women's Day. We'll have headline sets from Michelle 'Mother' Hubbard, Panya Banjoko and Emteaz Hussain, plus open mic opportunities for women, girls, and anyone who identifies as female.

It's going to be a pretty excellent night, and all donations will be going to Nottingham Rape Crisis and POW Nottingham. Two incredibly worthy causes! I'm really looking forward to it!

Finally, on Wednesday night, I'll be down at the Malt Cross in Nottingham for the second Crosswords event in the Caves under the pub. We've got poetry in the form of the fantastic Sarah Thomasin, plus loads of open mic slots too. So if you've ever fancied doing poems in a slightly unusual place, then Crosswords is the night for you! Doors open at 7:30pm and the show starts at 8pm. Tickets are £2 on the door, and all the money raised goes to pay our featured performer. Should be fun!

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