Tuesday, 5 April 2016

TUESDAY NIGHT NEWS – Workshops, NaPoWriMo, and the Fenland Poet Laureate Awards 2016

You may have noticed a flurry of activity on the blog over the last week, and that’s because spring as sprung, and everyone knows that April is National Poetry Writing Month – or NaPoWriMo for short. With that in mind, I’ve set myself the challenge of writing thirty brand new poems in the thirty days of April!

Sounds like a fool’s errand, right? Well, weirdly enough, I actually find it easier to write when there’s a little bit of friendly pressure on my shoulders, and given that I’m doing NaPoWriMo with a fantastic group of amazingly talented writers, it’s actually just the thing I need to get my bum in gear and get creating!

Of course, you can’t write thirty poems in quick succession without a few of them being a bit rubbish. But, if I manage to write at least one or two (out of the full thirty) that I like enough to perform regularly, then NaPoWriMo 2016 will have been worthwhile.

I’ll putting all my efforts up on the blog, so do feel free to count along with me, and see if I can make it all the way to thirty!

Last week, after consuming my own weight in Easter chocolates, I rolled down to the Orange Tree in Nottingham, to take part in a poetry workshop devised by Mud Press and Too Deep for a Monday.

The workshop, led by Georgina Wilding and Sarah Crutwell, was based on exploring gender, focusing on the themes of womanhood, femininity and all things lady.

Sarah and Georgina led us through some fantastic exercises to get us all limbered up – including a couple of prompts that I regularly use as part of my own workshops in schools. It was so strange to be on the ‘other side of the table’ during these exercises, but it was actually really helpful, because I got an insight into how the prompts work from the participant’s viewpoint.

Anyway, the workshop leaders gave us plenty of material to help us create some poetry, with three ‘inspiration stations’ set up around the room. These took the form of three tables, filled with objects, articles and images connected with the theme of ‘woman’.

There was plenty of time for writing, and I found myself scribbling down ideas left, right and centre. In fact, two of the NaPoWriMo poems I’ve already written took their inspiration from this workshop – which is fantastic, given that I sometimes struggle with writing in a workshop environment.

Here's a picture of me being super studious during the workshop. Once a nerd, always a nerd, I'm afraid.

Also this week, one of my reviews made it into local culture magazine Left Lion. I have officially arrived! Hoorah!

The review of Andy’s Szpuk’s new poetry performance piece, Austerity Cafe, is up on the Left Lion website here. Why not give a read?

Finally, this Friday from 7pm I’ll be helping out at the Fifth Annual Fenland Poet Laureate Awards, at March Town Hall in Cambridgeshire. I’m really looking forward to the show, where we’ll finally find out who will be crowned this year’s Fenland Poet Laureate. We’ve also got a set from internationally renowned writer and artist John Lyons, and music from a local band, so I know it’s going to be a cracking night!

Tickets are £3 and you can find them via the link here.

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