Friday, 29 December 2017

2017 Year in Review

Well, that was 2017. What a year!

Some of my adventures in 2017

And - as is customary on this blog - it’s time for me to have a little think about all the weird and wonderful things I've been up to this year. This isn't an exhaustive list, but here are a few of the main highlights from the year:

January // February // March
In January, I did my first gig in Wales when I travelled across to Cardiff to perform at Juke. I also had a fantastic time in Leeds at Sofar Sounds, and did a sneaky set at the Straw Bear Festival in Whittlesey. (There were Morris Dancers EVERYWHERE!)

Then, in February, I got back into sonnet writing with Russell J Turner, Andy Bennett and Olly Watson, as part of the sixth annual 28 Sonnets Later challenge. This time around we did poems based on the twenty-eight EU countries (in honour of the car-crash that is Brexit), and I really enjoyed being back in the sonnet-writing saddle! I also performed at Light Night in Nottingham and I even had a soundscape of my poems exhibited in an art gallery!

March was another busy month: I competed in the Against the Gain Slam in Lincoln, performed at Write Club in Peterborough, and wrote a short site-specific play as part of the Haunts project at New Perspectives Theatre. I performed a set at La Raza in Cambridge and co-hosted the sixth Fenland Poet Laureate Awards with the lovely FPL crew too!

Comedy GIF of me at La Raza Cambridge (courtesy of Fay Roberts)

April // May // June
In April, I took part in the Nottingham Poetry Festival, supporting Henry Normal during his Nottingham library tour, performing at the Equation Fundraiser and hosting the Write Here: Sanctuary sharing event. I also had my first encounter with Nottingham City of Literature when the lovely Matt Turpin filmed my poem 'No Such Thing as a Bacon Roll'.

May marked the beginning of the festival season, and I did sets at Badbury Rings Rewind in Bournemouth, and the Gate to Southwell Festival in Nottinghamshire. Then, in June I did two workshops in Cambridge, and it was wonderful to be back in the city for a few days, hanging out by the river in the sunshine!

Cambridge in the sunshine 

July // August // September
I ran children's writing workshops at Ely Folk Festival in July, as well as supporting Sophia Walker at the Word Theatre in Lincoln, and performing at the Hip Yak Poetry Shack at WOMAD Festival.

Doing some poems in the rain at WOMAD

In August I finally made it to the Edinburgh Fringe, and I did sets with She Grrrowls, For Book's Sake, Allographic Other Voices, and Up the Nerd Punks, as well as competing in the Hammer and Tongue Edinburgh Slam. Edinburgh was a great experience, and I saw so many brilliant shows while I was up there too.

September was when I performed at Green Fest in Nottingham, as well as at She Speaks in Derby. I also nabbed a featured slot at Wordmakers and Silence Breakers in Bournemouth, and did some poems for National Poetry Day. I judged a poetry slam for the first time (which was really nerve-wracking) and did a tonne of workshops with young refugees in Nottingham too. I also started my job with Nottingham City of Literature, which has been such an incredible experience so far!

Check out my UNESCO Logo swag...

October // November // December
October was a month filled with local gigs and projects: I did more work with young refugees and asylum-seekers, and I worked with Nottingham City Council as their Diwali Poet, and did two sets at Hockley Hustle too! I started working with Nottingham's new Young Poet Laureate, Georgina Wilding, as well and I tell you what - she's an utter delight! (You can book her for gigs and workshops here.)

Beautiful Diwali  

I went to my first writers' conference in November, and performed at the FIRST EVER Derby Poetry Festival, as well as sets at Every Last Biscuit in Nottingham and at Run Your Tongue in Kettering. Finally, in December I read at Love Music Hate Racism, Small Acts of Kindness, and Big White Christmas Shed.

Amazing group of women from the Write Here: Sanctuary project

Massive thanks to everyone who booked me to perform poetry, do workshops or commission me to write a poem for them in 2017. You lot are the best! And here’s to an even busier 2018!

Saturday, 23 December 2017

POEM - A Christmas Sonnet

So, it turns out it's nearly Christmas (Wait, what?!?!) and I've written you a slightly weird Christmas sonnet, in honour of the season. I  hope you like it, and I hope you have a have a peaceful and restful Christmas! 

A Christmas Sonnet 
When Michael Keaton ate our Christmas tree,
the noise made Sandra Bullock run away.
We found her in the shed on Christmas day;
and coaxed her back with turkey for her tea.

Then Morgan Freeman took a shine to Gran
and spent the evening sitting on her knee
so, feeding Tilda Swinton fell to me
but all she seemed to want was cheese and jam.

Soon, Tilda had been sick and so had Ke$ha,
and Kanye West had shuffled off next door.
My cousin couldn’t cope with all the pressure;
he went to sit with Oprah on the floor.

My granddad thought that I should take the blame
“For giving all your cats such stupid names!”

Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals!

Saturday, 16 December 2017

POEM - More Christmas Clerihews

Well, it's nearly Christmas, and you know what that means? Yes! More Christmas Clerihews

It is well-documented that I love a Christmas Clerihew or three and, true to form, I've been busy writing some more this year in the run up to the festive season. 

In case you've never heard of it before, a Clerihew is a type of short, nonsensical poem in which you take a famous figure or celebrity, and tell you some wildly untrue or spurious information about them as if it were fact. 

The more ridiculous, the better. 

Clerihews are usually four lines long, and they have a simple AABB rhyme scheme, an uneven/wonky meter and a lot of forced rhymes too. Basically, they're meant to read like deliberately Bad Poetry. This makes them  perfect for a little bit of seasonal silliness:

Baby Jesus
loves stinky cheeses.
I know that he's God's only son
but he's just eaten all of our Stilton!

Joseph and Mary
love stationery.
If the stable had run out of space,
they'd've spent the night in Paperchase.

Mariah Carey
is impressively hairy;
now her fans are all spending their cash
attempting to steal her moustache.

St Nicholas
is getting pissed.
After five million glasses of sherry,
he's closer to shit-faced than merry...

King Wenceslaus
has a fabulous arse.
It's deep and it's crisp and it's even -
and one hundred times better than Stephen's.

King Wenceslaus (not pictured, his fabulous arse)