Heroism and Heartbreak – the residency continues!

Don’t tell anyone, but I get very, very nervous about delivering workshops to school children. Who knows what they might do?! Unripe humans! But it was my sacred duty as poet-in-residence at the Hartlepool WW1 archive project to spend a morning on a boat, sorry ship, on a ship, with 25 Year Five children, on a ship, writing about the ship that we were on. This ship.

PS Wingfield Castle
PS Wingfield Castle

Luckily, mostly what these unripe humans did was to get very excited by the joys of writing poetry, especially when they find out they have the powers of Amazing Adjectives and Super Similes! (Favourite extended simile of the day – “as red as a devil, sitting on lava, eating a bloody heart, in an Arsenal strip”)

We collectively made a poem describing the ship by describing its many parts, textures, surfaces. It worked. I smoothed out the edges. It’s now online on the archive website here – give it a read? You can find some more of mine up there too.

A Teensy News Round-Up

IMG_0024Hello everyone! I haven’t said anything for a while, even though I’ve been thinking Thoughts. So here is just a bit of humblebragging about places you can check out my work…

So I have a poem in The Fat Damsel #4. This is a great online magazine set up by the very talented Jane Burn, with guest editors. You should absolutely follow them, they’re fellow WordPressers. This is ‘my’ edition.

I also have a poem about to appear in Magma #63, which has the theme of ‘Conversation’. I’d never submitted anything to Magma before, as it’s One Of The Biggies, but I happened to have three poems that fit in with the theme, so I gave it a go. I’m extraordinarily proud not only to have got in (with only a minor editorial cut of one line), but to have also been asked to read at the launch. I will be one of many contributors doing a quick 2-poem set, in an evening that features headline poets Jane Draycott and Daljit Nagra – HUGE! If you’d like to come, it’s at 7pm on Friday 30th October at the LRB Bookshop, 14 Bury Place, London WC1A 2JL

Other gigs coming up are wildly varied! I have been asked by the lovely Jeff Price of Radikal Words if I would enter the Great North Slam at Northern Stage on Thursday 5th November, which is swiftly followed by me zipping down to the immensely posh Stowe School to deliver a private performance of my show, The Moon Cannot Be Stolen, to their sixth form English students. (Preceded by a three-course meal, not sure if that’s going to work in my favour…) Sorry, no public admittance to that one! But you can come and see me as one of eleven ‘alumni’ of the fabulous Free As A Bard nights in a big celebration gig happening on Sunday 29th November at The Jam Jar Cinema in Whitley Bay. Many thanks for the invitation to fellow WordPresser Elaine Cusack, who co-programmes the night with Pete Mortimer of Iron Press.

Work continues in my voluntary role as Poet-In-Residence at ‘Heartbreak & Heroism’, the current project from the Hartlepool History Then And Now online community archive. I’m attending their library roadshow, listening to people recounting their family’s connection with military and merchant naval activity during WW1. The next roadshow is coming up on Friday 9th October at Seaton Carew library, 10am – 1pm. I hope we get some stories as good as the last one, all about a lighthouse keeper who had his leg torn off by a dredger, and who sent his 10-year old son into the Merchant Navy as an apprentice just 2 years before war broke out. Watch this space for the poem, when it gets posted up!

The other huge project is the finalisation of the manuscript for my first full collection, coming out with Burning Eye early next year. We have an internal structure, we have some choices for cover design (beautiful circular motifs designed by my talented father-in-law, and coloured in the best clashing style by designer Monica Tuffs), and we have some amazingly generous big-up quotes from my fellow poets for the back cover. What I also have is a growing idea for a residency + show tour, which yesterday I pitched to some likely venues at the very helpful biannual Meet the Programmers event. I am very excited to say that I have definite interest from The Witham in Barnard Castle and Jabberwocky Market Festival in Darlington, so yes, you guessed it, I can feel another Arts Council bid coming on…

Heroism and Heartbreak

I’m very, very pleased to say that I am officially poet-in-residence (NAY! for I shall capitalise it in my joy! Poet-In-Residence!) at the wonderful online community archive for Hartlepool.

I am featured in the very specific WW1 section, which is excellent because it lets me continue on with writing and research I started last year for the Heugh Battery Bombardment project led by poet Martin Malone. My first poem is now live – called ‘Unspeakable’, it’s inspired by a conversation I had with a contributor to the archive at an open day held at Hartlepool Library in May. You can read it here!

The next open day is at Headland Library at 10am – 1pm on Saturday 10th July, so anyone with maritime links to Hartlepool, especially Merchant Navy, should drop in and chat to Gary and the team. And to me, you never know, I might put your story in a poem…