Wednesday, 4 May 2016

NEWS - Twisted Tongues, Bang! Said the Gun and the Derby Comedy Festival

So, #NaPoWriMo is officially over for another year, and I'm really glad I did it this time around. In the end, I managed to write thirty-seven poems throughout April, so I feel super productive right now! It really was the kick up the arse I needed to get writing, and I suspect that few of the poems that I wrote during the month might even find their way onto my performance rota - after a massive editing session of course!

I even wrote a few free verse poems that I like, which is really rare for me. I love a ballad form, and rhyming is my bread and butter, so I really had to force myself out of that comfort zone with some of these poems. I think it's all good exercise, though I never did manage to write a sestina. Maybe that's a challenge for next year!

I'm trying to, believe me!

Also, I was really proud to have one of my poems showcased as part of this month's Write Lion podcast on the Left Lion website. Left Lion is this awesome arts and culture magazine that's written and produced in Nottingham, and covers everything from visual arts and theatre, to literature, music and even sport! The Left Lion team are great at supporting new and emerging talent, so I'm really pleased to have been featured on one of their podcasts!

The poem I'm reading in the recording is called The Cartographer, and it was published as part of the Write Minds Madder than we Look anthology earlier this year. You can hear Write Minds founder Hayley Green talking about the charity in this podcast too, so check it out on the website here. My part kicks in at around 21:18.


Last week, I trundled across to Derby for the Twisted Tongues Spoken Word Open Mic at the Old Bell in the Cathedral Quarter, and it was excellent fun! The room was packed to the rafters with poetry lovers, and the open mic performers were really high quality too!

I particularly enjoyed the laid-back, upbeat vibes of Cullen Marshall, and the fantastic comedy of Vincent Saxby, whose story about Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty had me in stitches. Twisted Tongues host, Nafeesa Hamid, gave an incredibly moving performance of a new poem, and there was also a chap who did some really bizarre and brilliant fake horoscopes, which the crowd absolutely loved.


The atmosphere was one of giddy enthusiasm, but the audience were also really warm and welcoming, which is often a difficult balance to strike. I did a couple of poems on stage, and met loads of really cool people. In fact, I liked it so much that I went again the following week, to take part in the Twisted Tongues event at the Derby Comedy Festival. Both nights were really good fun, and I'm definitely going to be going back again next month!

Then, on Thursday night, I sauntered up the motorway to Manchester for Bang! Said the Gun at the Dancehouse theatre.

It was a bit of nightmare driving across the Peaks in the snow, but it was worth it, because the featured poets were both on top form. Ian McMillan went on first, and regaled the audience with hilarious tales of meeting school children and being famous in his home town, while Luke Wright impressed with a series of excellent lipograms.

It's Luke Wright!

Although I was hoping to get on the 'Fresh Meat Open Slam', but my name wasn't pulled from the hat this time around, so instead I watched the slam from the front row, and it was great to see such a huge variety of talent on stage. My favourite was performer Jackie Hagan's brilliant and funny poem about disability, which culminated in her removing her prosthetic leg and drinking a can of lager from it. It was ridiculous and fantastic, and it's definitely made me want to see more of her stuff. The winner of the slam, Sky, also performed a great poem, and her gentle demeanour belied the strong sense of political struggle in her poetry. I think she'll be one to watch in the future!

I really enjoyed the show, and I'm already planning my next sojourn to the Dancehouse!

Next week:
On Wednesday 11th May, we're back in the caves under the Malt Cross pub for another Crosswords open mic. This month, our special guest poet is the very wonderful Shruti Chauhan! Shruti is a poet, writer and spoken word artist based in Leicester. She's performed at festivals and events across the globe, including events at the Royal Albert Hall in London, and the US Embassy’s American Centre in New Delhi, as well as festival and events across the UK. In 2015 she toured Three the Hard Way – Part 2 nationally with Jean Binta Breeze MBE and Lydia Towsey. Shruti is a Breakthrough Artist at Curve Theatre, Leicester, and is currently writing her first solo show.

Shruti - Our Featured Poet for May 2016!

It's going to be a really excellent night, in a massively atmospheric venue, so if you can make, you definitely should! Open Mic slots are available on the night, and it's £2 per person. Doors open at 7:30pm and the show starts at 8pm. For more details, check out the events page.

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