The Sky is Cracked – my first pamphlet is out with Half Moon Books in October 2017

A link for the pamphlet soon, but for now some responses to the poems and the pamphlet:

Sarah Dixon writes so knowingly and with unerring lightness of touch. She knows about breaking and aching and treads nimbly between mythic, modern, and the sweet specificity of the mundane. She knows too of resilience and fragility and conjures with honesty and humour the strangeness and intensity of loss, and the wonder of finding. Best of all is when she touches upon longing, and so lightly, but, oh my, has it been touched – as we have, unforgettably.
Matt Harvey

These are beautifully crafted poems which will speak to everyone. Telling the story of the loss of love – and a return to life –  “The Sky is Cracked” is as beautiful as it is sad, as delicate as it is plainspoken. Sarah Dixon’s poetry holds the reader close, and then offers up its rich layers of meaning. Like good whisky, I could taste this short collection long after I’d read it – and I wanted more.  
Clare Shaw

This is poetry that “shimmies along the dado rail” to speak memorably of “the grumble of gravel under trainers.” Rich in imagery and with a wealth of truths, we’d be poorer without these poems.
Tony Walsh

March 14th 2017 – The Final Quiet quiet LOUD! with Mark Pajak, Becky Cherriman and Nina Lewis

Quiet quiet LOUD! The final event has three extra special guests:

Nina Lewis                        Becky Cherriman                        & Mark Pajak
    
      

with The Quiet Compere:


Mark Pajak was born in Merseyside. His work has been published in Magma, The North and The Rialto (among others), been highly commended in the Cheltenham Poetry Competition and National Poetry Competition and won first place in the 2016 Bridport Prize. He has received a Northern Writer’s Award from New Writing North and was 2016’s Apprentice Poet in Residence at Ilkley Literature Festival. His first pamphlet, Spitting Distance, was selected as a Laureate’s Choice and is published with smith|doorstop.

Becky Cherriman is a writer, workshop leader and performer based in Leeds. Published by Mslexia, New Walk, Envoi, Mother’s Milk, Bloodaxe, Well Versed and in Poets For Corbyn, she was resident poet for Morley Literature Festival in 2013 and lead artist for Altofts Festival In A Day 2016. Becky is a co-writer and performer of Haunt, a site-specific theatre commission for Imove, a project about homelessness. She is currently working on her one woman show with voices, Corseted. Her first poetry pamphlet Echolocation and first collection Empires of Clay were published in 2016 by Mother’s Milk and Cinnamon Press respectively.
www.beckycherriman.com

Nina Lewis is widely published in poetry journals and anthologies, including Abridged, Fat Damsel, Take Ten, Hark, Here Comes Everyone (HCE), I am Not a Silent Poet, New Ulster Poetry, Nutshells and Nuggets, Under the Radar and Visual Verse. Worcestershire Poet Laureate Competition 2015/2016 runner-up, Nina often performs at spoken word events and literary festivals. She was commissioned to write and perform poetry on ‘ecology and the city’ at the Birmingham Literature Festival in 2014. Her haiku have appeared in an art installation at the Midlands Art Centre, on the Poetry Fence at Acton Scott Historic Working Farm and in Municipal Bank Vaults for an International Dance Festival. Nina’s work also formed part of the poetry trail for Wenlock Poetry Festival 2014. Fragile Houses, published by V. Press autumn 2016, is her first pamphlet.

3 minute spots available (10) at this final one as I expect there might be quite a lot of interest and want to get as many people on as possible. Please contact me to reserve one. First come first served basis. thequietcomperemcr@gmail.com

Open mic

David Byrne
John Calvert
Sarah-Clare Conlon
Christopher Bainbridge
Ken Evans
Elise Hadgraft
Martin Jones
Cheryl Pearson

£3 OTD to be split between the poets and organiser in an equal share.







Wolverhampton Blog or the first WOLF, Black Country instruments and echoes

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On arrival in Wolverhampton I was directed to a pub where I could have a pint at eat my own food. Genius. I had made a big chicken pasta salad for train but had felt too early to eat it. Took my cheap Tupperware into the Lych Gate Tavern.

I went to The Slade Rooms to see Bob Beagrie and his team perform Leasungspell.

I loved it. They were all so accomplished and the event was like nothing I have ever seen before. Check Bob and Leasungspell  out further here: http://www.leasungspell.com/leaacutesungspell.html

I then sneaked my way into the dressing room to tell Jonn Penney I wished I could stay but was hosting at another venue. The tracks of my being fourteen played in the background as I grudgingly packed my stuff away. I am going to send him a beer mat with my A Bit Like Falling in Love poem.

beermat

Wolverhampton Art Gallery:

 

The staff were helpful and the venue was beautiful both visually and acoustically with an arched windowed high roof. There was plenty of space for books to be spread out and the space was almost full by the time we launched the event. My only complaint would be that we were not given advanced warning that the bar would be closed before half time break and I think a large number of the audience would have bought more beverages at the beginning had they known that.

 

Polly Stretton

I loved the fact Polly and Heather brought instruments along with them. The acoustics of the room were stunning. Lines that stood out were ‘Her body is an echo box. She does not own defeat.’ Loved the description of the mother ‘lips tight at some imagined slight’ and tree-climbing was ‘strictly forbidden in her straight back.’

https://blackpear.net/authors-and-books/polly-stretton/

 

Holly Magill

Holly asked us Do you think David Bowie would like my trousers?. Then she introduced a contrast at the food-bank where ‘the edge of the desk bites hard into my soft belly.’  No link available.

Nina Lewis

Nina posted a detailed blog within twelve hours of the event including photos.  Wow! The idea of going away together to say Goodbye when a relationship ends and when ‘the Lake evaporated, just like us.’ Arthur Rackham. I just rediscovered an Oliver Twist book last week with his plates in and love our family edition of Christmas Carol with his illustrations in it, so particularly enjoyed this one for personal reason too. ‘The King of mischief wears no hat as they beat their feet against ground, change the earth’s vibrations.’

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2017/01/28/quiet-compere-wolverhampton-literature-festival/

Leanne Bridgewater

Leanne handed out fruit to anyone who had heard of Veganuary. The second part of Leanne’s set was observations of a cyclist such as the woman here: ‘she always waits on the same bench, in the same coat the colour of beetroot.’ and ‘walk tremendously in the tracks of the bracken.’ Both these lines are from here debut poetry collection a 200+ page epic poem on cycling around Coventry, Confessions of a Cyclist.

http://leannebridgewater.co.uk/jut.html

Tom McColl

Tom talks of resignation as ‘holding the clock’s hour hand in my fist like a knife.’ and told us a story about Uncle Phil ‘he wasn’t really my uncle, but then he wasn’t really a dartboard either.’ And then his poem The Evil Eye: ‘You wouldn’t expect a key/to leave its shadow behind/when picked up off a table/ but that is happening now to you online.’ Find the entire poem The Evil Eye here: http://internationaltimes.it/the-evil-eye/  Find Tom’s Website here: https://thomasmccoll.wordpress.com/

Heather Wastie

Heather tells us she ‘was soap sud soup with beer bottle croutons’ and plays the accordion song Vacuum cleaner tuner as she attempts to tune the gallery carpet while you were there, as she says, this ‘is not a common art’.

http://www.wastiesspace.co.uk/Wasties_Space/HOME.html

Gerry Potter

Gerry’s Bling Trilogy is always a pleasure. From Tiffany Bling ‘boys screaming and falling apart. Doesn’t know much about art, but knows she doesn’t like it.’ and Jimmy Bling ‘ Pure as lust and distant as love,. Gloves off and furious.’ Grandma Bling ‘everyone shady is laughing, everyone’s baby is laughing. And she prays her lungs can make it.’  

https://www.youtube.com/user/Gerrypotterpoet

Jess May Davies

Jess, so many of her lines grab me so I will just share a few from Sleepless in Newcastle: ‘the fragile faces of fear covered for just a few seconds longer’ ‘our bodies stop screaming for the touch of something comforting.’ And from Fifteen – ‘already able to contain the history of earth in his guts.’ ‘consumed the world and pumped out the shame.’

http://jessmaydavies.tumblr.com/

Kathy Gee

Both the lines that held me most strongly in Kathy’s work were from here first collection, Book of Bones: ‘Visit me on Mondays, hear my echo/write to me from time to time.’  ‘There must be blood in a house this old’. ‘no sign recalls the distant killing/ brought to her front door/ by men in hats.’

http://vpresspoetry.blogspot.co.uk/p/book-of-bones.html

Steve Pottinger

In The Black Country Resistance poem ‘the dead, dragging hours are forgotten.’ and ‘feasts and grows fat, as best they can, on the memory and the taste of the promise of dreams.’ And from his new poem that had a title so long he couldn’t remember it:   ‘looks the wrong way at the right moment.’ And drunk people are described as ‘spectacularly spangled.’

http://stevepottinger.co.uk/

Crowd-funders

I owe the crowd-funders another massive Thanks for making this event happen and those who took part in throwing words at me for the poem-a-thons when Wolverhampton art Gallery lost the funds ear-marked to pay performers fees for Wolverhampton Quiet Compere.

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I shared an ale with Gerry and Emma at The Posada after the event. It is always good to have poets to share the post gig buzz with, especially when I returned home and it took me an hour to remove my second contact lens. I could watch cross-eyed as Facebook continued the giddy buzz as performers from the event sent each other love and compliments on sets and made new friends.

On the Saturday morning I asked directions to ‘Wightwick Gardens’ and the locals looked amused – I had pronounced it whitewick. After I read through a leaflet about the property I realised the knowing look was “Ah! Not a local!” humouring. The place was ‘Wittick Manor’. I met the same lady who had given me directions on a bus back in to town two hours later and smile and said ‘I know how to pronounce it now.’ So many friendly, chatty people on the buses.

Other highlights of the festival.

Meeting Emma Wright of Emma Press.

Win Saha and Bert Flitcroft – poetry with tea and cake.

R.M. Francis, Paul McDonald, Louise Palfreyman and Kerry Hadley-Pryce discussion about uncanny and murky underbelly of the Black Country.

Black Country Voices: The Nailmaker’s Daughters and Dave Reeves and his harmonica – here the performers were all a joy as was the venue.

Before I left on Sunday morning I was treated to Seven Wonders by Laura Liptrot, a retelling on Henry VIII and his six wives with props from the modern world and humour. A most enjoyable end to the weekend. I felt all the events I went to were a huge success and wish the WOLF luck in accessing funding to ensure an event happens in 2018.

http://wolvesliteraturefestival.co.uk/home/

http://www.wolverhamptonart.org.uk/

The Quiet Compere at Wolverhampton Original Literature Festival – Friday 27th January 2017

Tickets £4 or £3 concs – Available from Wolverhampton Art Gallery or through link here: https://www.theticketfactory.com/default/online/seatSelect.asp
Quiet Compere events enlist great, established poets and emerging voices. The Quiet Compere introduces them with little fanfare so the poems (and not the poet’s track record) tell you all you need  to know. Massive thanks are due to the crowd-funders from late 2015. The events at the Whitworth, Manchester, Hebden Bridge and Swindon would not have happened in 2016 without your support. This event was supposed to be 2016 too, but slipped by a month because teaming with the festival seemed a good move. 

quiet-compere  Quiet Compere images by Mark Farley

The Quiet Compere format invites ten poets to read for ten minutes each, mixing page and performance, experimental and nature, quiet emotional and flat-out arms-wide passion.
 
Sarah L Dixon tours as The Quiet Compere. She has been published in Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Interpreter’s House, The Lake and Domestic Cherry among others. Sarah’s inspiration comes from being by water and adventures with her six-year-old, Frank. She is still attempting to write better poetry than Frank did aged 4!
 
 
Leanne Bridgewater

   leanne-bridgewater 

This Midlands-based woman swoops between writing and drawing. Most days these two things roll into one and become asemic. Performances have involved 8ft obelisks being smashed with a hammer, conversations with pineapples, hairdryer ensembles, shallow-use of punning with a fried meal of tongue-twisting-tomato dipped in hummus and gobbled down like nobody’s business! Say what? She is currently finishing making a colouring book on jungle-pareidolia (aka ‘seeing faces in patterns). Read “Confessions of a Cyclist”, her epic poem on cycling, published by Knives Forks and Spoons Press.
 
Parts of this book were exhibited in lights at Blackpool Illuminations in 2015. This year, she plans to finish off two books and for winter, hibernate in bed with a doodle-pad and cake. When she is not doing all of this you can find her rummaging about in fields surveying wildlife, running creative workshops and working in libraries.
 
Jess May Davies
jess-davies
A Redditch based poet, Jess May Davies is a workshop facilitator, artist and host. She is currently a member of ‘Bellows’, a young poets collective supported by ‘Apples and Snakes’ and ‘Beatfreeks’. As a facilitator she has recently worked with ‘Pangaea Poetry’ and University of Warwick, as well as demonstrated the use of creative writing during CPD courses for Psychotherapists and Counsellors. She has performed at: ‘Morton Stanley Festival’ (Redditch, 2015), ‘Too Deep for a Monday’ (Nottingham, 2015), ‘Silent Word Up’ (Birmingham, 2015) and ‘Howl’ (Birmingham, 2014).
 
Kathy Gee
kathy-gee
Kathy Gee grew up in York with a family of historians and archaeologists and decided that museums were warmer than holes in the ground. Widely published in print and online poetry journals and anthologies, Kathy is growing more and more interested in collaborative projects. She has organised a poetry trail at Avoncroft Museum of Buildings and is currently working with a composer of contemporary classical music on a ‘Suite for a fallen soldier’. Book of Bones is her first collection.
 
Nina Lewis
nina-lewis-taken-by-reg-nichols3-1  Photography by Reg Nichols

Nina Lewis is widely published in poetry journals and anthologies, including Abridged, Fat Damsel, Take Ten, Hark, Here Comes Everyone (HCE), I am Not a Silent Poet, New Ulster Poetry, Nutshells and Nuggets, Under the Radar and Visual Verse. Worcestershire Poet Laureate Competition 2015/2016 runner-up, Nina often performs at spoken word events and literary festivals. She was commissioned to write and perform poetry on ‘ecology and the city’ at the Birmingham Literature Festival in 2014. Her haiku have appeared in an art installation at the Midlands Art Centre, on the Poetry Fence at Acton Scott Historic Working Farm and in Municipal Bank Vaults for an International Dance Festival. Nina’s work also formed part of the poetry trail for Wenlock Poetry Festival 2014. Fragile Houses, published by V. Press autumn 2016, is her first pamphlet.
 
Holly Magill
holly-magill
Holly Magill is from Worcestershire. Her poetry has appeared in various publications, including Lunar Poetry, Ink Sweat & Tears, The Morning Star and The Emma Press anthology of Mildly Erotic Verse. She prefers cats and strong tea to most things.
 
Bobby Parker
bobby-parker
Bobby Parker’s writing has appeared in a wide range of magazines in print and online. In 2015 he was awarded a grant from the Society of Authors. His controversial poem Thank You for Swallowing was included in the poetry anthology Best British Poetry 2015 (Salt). Bobby’s debut poetry collection Blue Movie is available now from Nine Arches Press.
 
Gerry Potter
gerry-potter
Gerry Potter is currently touring his new book, he describes this one as his genre defying opus, the fifth of hopefully ten volumes of autobiographical theatre verse, then he promises never to write again. The Chronicles of Folly Butler is the follow up to the successful Fifty, The Men Pomes, Planet Middle Age and Planet Young. A favourite son of both Manchester and his home town Liverpool Gerry has also been wowing audiences nationally with his own unique brand of domestic-fantastic free verse. Gerry has a reputation for putting his Scouse voice on the line a soaring sing-song accent, strong on poetry and strong on the causes of poetry. In fact his poem My Scouse Voice and others will be reinterpreted by none other than Fennella Fielding at this year Homotopia festival in Liverpool. Creator and destroyer of the infamous gingham diva Chloe Poems. Chloe was a cabaret and literary stalwart and raver some years ago on the London and national scene. I think it’s safe to say she caused quite a stir. Gerry’s new work is very different to his alter ego though no less passionate. Performance meets theatre, meets poetry and rhythm, creating a blistering sound-scape of experience and entertainment. Gerry is also an accomplished actor play write and workshop leader.
 
Steve Pottinger
steve-pottinger
Steve Pottinger: I’m a poet. A performance poet who’s passionate about the power of poetry to create connections between people. I’m also good at what I do, which is engaging with an audience, making them laugh and think and decide that – while they may not have given two hoots about poetry before – it’s actually something they can enjoy. Over the summer, my poem ‘Stabberjocky’ has proved extremely popular.
 
Polly Stretton
polly-stretton
Polly Stretton follows many writerly pursuits in her hometown of Worcester. Her poetry has been displayed at Croome Court and in many anthologies. She’s a coordinator and judge of various writing competitions and works with Black Pear Press, Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe, and OU Poetry Society. Polly’s writing includes a collection of poetry, a series of poems about the tragic young poet Thomas Chatterton, and a pamphlet of children’s poetry. She’ll go into ecstasies about her puppy: Mabel.
 
Heather Wastie
heather-wastie
Poet/musician Heather Wastie was Writer in Residence at the Museum of Carpet, Kidderminster in 2013 and Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2015/16. She has published four illustrated collections. Recent commissions include The Canal and River Trust, the Rugby World Cup and the BBC Local Poets project for National Poetry Day 2016.
 

Ira Lightman and Angela Topping Book Launch at Nexus Art Cafe, Manchester – Friday 9th December 2016

Ira Lightman

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Ira has made public art throughout the North East and also in the West Midlands and the South West. He made a documentary on Ezra Pound for Radio 4 last year, still on iPlayer. He is a regular on Radio 3’s The Verb and has been profiled on Channel 4. A mathematician by training, he is very interested in pattern and form, making poetry visually and with pure sound; he believes anyone can make poetry, as long as they stop worrying that it has to be *written*. He is a professional storyteller. He proofreads for academic journals for a living, and has had many residencies in schools. He won the Journal Arts Council Award for “innovative new ways of making art in communities” for his project., The Spennymoor Letters. He has lived in the North East since 2000. His new chapbook is called “Goose”. He has been described by George Szirtes as “Harpo Marx meets Rilke” (https://www.facebook.com/Nussbach3rM/posts /10152559224041534)

Angela Topping

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Angela Topping has published six solo poetry collections, Dandelions for Mothers’ Day (1988, 1989), The Fiddle (1999), The Way We Came (2007), The New Generation (Salt 2010), I Sing of Bricks (Salt 2011) and Paper Patterns (Lapwing 2012).Topping was born in Widnes, Cheshire, to working class parents and educated in Liverpool at Broughton Hall Grammar School for Girls. After graduating from the University of Liverpool with a degree in English and Classical Civilization she went on to study for a postgraduate degree in Victorian Studies. Although writing from a young age (she first published poetry at the age of nineteen in Arts Alive Merseyside) Topping married and raised two daughters while writing her first two collections and editing two poetry anthologies, the first a collection of Christians writing and the second a festschrift for the Liverpool-based poet Matt Simpson, featuring works by U.A. Fanthorpe, Anne Stevenson, Roger McGough and Kenneth Muir. The friendship of Matt Simpson was a formative influence on Topping’s work and continued until his death in 2009.After working in education for twenty years, most notably at Upton Hall School FCJ, Topping now concentrates full-time on writing and has been the author of several critical works for Greenwich Exchange.In 2010, Topping teamed up with textile artist Maria Walker. Together they produced a joint exhibition of work based on The Lightfoot Letters, which were family epistles from 1923, which bizarrely had been written by Angela’s father’s family and purchased by Maria from an antique shop several years before she met Angela. The exhibition was first staged at The Brindley in 2011 and there are plans to hold further exhibitions in 2012 and 2013.Topping has also been in a number of notable anthologies, such as Split Screen, edited by Andy Jackson and published by Red Squirrel (2012) and Troubles Swapped for Something Fresh (Salt 2009) edited by Rupert Loydell. One of her poems appeared on National Poetry Day poem cards in 2012. Her children’s poems have been included in over 50 anthologies and in 2011, she was the only poet to be highly commended in the Cheshire High Sherriff’s Prize for Children’s Literature. Her poems have been set for A level study. https://angelatopping.wordpress.com/
Angela launches THE FIVE PETALS OF ELDERFLOWER (Red Squirrel Press).

Sarah L Dixon

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Photo: by Mark Farley

Sarah L Dixon tours as The Quiet Compere and has obtained Arts Council funding for this project. The 2016 project was crowd-funded, partly through poemathons which involved writing 100 poems in 25 hours.

Sarah has been published in Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Interpreter’s House, The Lake and Obsessed with Pipework among others. She recently had a poem printed ona beermat by Otley Word Feast press. Sarah’s inspiration comes from being by water and adventures with her six-year-old, Frank. She is still attempting to write better poetry than Frank did aged 4!
http://thequietcompere.co.uk/

Venue: Nexus Art Cafe, 2 Dale Street, Manchester

Tickets £3 here:  http://www.wegottickets.com/event/379046/

Open mic section available.

Books for sale.

Quiet quiet LOUD! with Julia Webb and Steve Stroud – Tues 8th November 2016

julia-webb

Julia Webb:

Julia Webb is a graduate of The University of East Anglia’s poetry MA. She has had work in various journals and anthologies including “The Forward Book of Poetry 2017. In 2011 she won The Poetry Society’s Stanza competition. She was recently Writer in residence at Norwich Market. She is a poetry editor for Lighthouse. Her first collection Bird Sisters was published in 2016 by Nine Arches Press.

14600546_10210809969388322_846684077_o   (photo by Jill Reidy)

Steven Stroud:

Steve Stroud is a Blackpool based slam-winning poet. Originally from Malvern in Worcestershire, he moved north to pursue his passion for writing, graduating from Lancaster University in 2007. Steve has since moved on to performance poetry to facilitate his love of pubs and will be publishing his first anthology, Inkclot, in 2017.

Support Poets: Colin Davies.

Support Poets pay half price on the door.

£3 on the door is split three ways between both the guests and myself as host/promoter and to cover printing costs.

Venue: The Lloyds Hotel, 617 Wilbraham Road, Chortlon, Manchester, M21 9AN

Access to venue is by a double flight of stairs and no lift is available. Apologies to anyone with accessibility issues, but thought I should let you know in advance. I used to have an accessible venue, but moved from there due to them cancelling on the night (twice).

The sound of a stick trailed across railings or The Quiet Compere at Poetry Swindon

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Warning: This is longer than my usual blogs as it is trying to cover the Poetry Swindon weekend, rather than just Quiet Compere event.

 

I knew before I arrived at Poetry Swindon this was going to be the friendliest place to spend my 40th birthday weekend having met a lot of the crew at a Jo Bell, 52 workshop and reading day in Birmingham in January. I was collected from the station by Maurice, then I symbolically posted some work receipts. After we had negotiated the ‘roundabout complex of Swind’ Maurice showed me to my Holiday Inn room.

 

After rainbow-painting my nails I went over to the Richard Jeffries Museum. I arrived to a loving welcome and hugs from all directions. Friends from Exeter and Bristol, Oxford and Liverpool, Birmingham and Stone. And Swindon. Oh, and there was mulled wine. Hilda went to check if it was ready and there was one in my hand within five minutes. I walked into the Tent Palace of Delicious Air and found more friends there. I perched on a leather bean-bag with my mascot, Kendal. Stephen and Mark were jealous of my nails. After four hours travelling I was there and slightly dazed. I marvelled at the wall hangings, lectern and lighting.

 

I had to source a big stick shaped like a moose before Quiet Compere started and parked this outside The Sun Inn warning a local not run off with it, unless he wanted to write a poem about a moose and use it to perform that! This is the poem it was for and it is dedicated to Hilda and all the work, love and fun she pours into Poetry Swindon:

 

The hysteria that comes

 

I find it often melts Frank and I

and we are lost for minutes.

Gone.

Then, back even better for it.

 

I get the same with my brothers,

still,

even though I see them

half a dozen times a year.

 

The easy hilarity of closeness.

 

Not so often alone,

though on Sunday

I found a small dead tree

lifted it into life

for five minutes.

Held it to my forehead

and ran around the field

pretending to be a moose.

14522690_10157588241125711_3506957743260768959_n  Photo by Mark Farley

Quiet Compere:

I did a ten minutes set myself. Not that Quiet Compere then, but a few friends said “We want to hear more of you!” and I didn’t take much encouragement to step up there and give them ten minutes. I enjoyed reading some of the poem-a-thon poems I had rediscovered on the train and quite a lot of new stuff, never read.

 

Julia Webb gave us a bee-dress you could wear in humming praise of summer. Julia’s collection is called ‘Bird Sisters’ and she invented sisters and told us about the one who stayed up all night at the crematorium plaiting flowers into your mother’s hair. and water as ‘an inside out, a nothingness.’ and  ‘The moon thinks of itself as an emergency’.

 

Catch Julia here: http://juliawebb.org/blog/

 

Anna-May Laugher: read us a Wile Coyote poem a cartoon mother should never look down. and fitting with National Poetry day theme of the day earlier: the word message has its own chaos. In ‘The Crosby Men’ the line even my tears decay you hits me hard.

 

More about Anna-May: http://www.petersfieldwriteangle.co.uk/guests_annamay.html

 

Susan Utting:

I enjoyed the imaginary sister poem and the phrases mizzle morning, craggy ground and a clattering charm of jackdaws. Loved her dress too.

 

Susan has/is running workshops using the contemporary ceramics exhibition as inspiration . The link is here: http://swindonmuseumandartgallery.org.uk/event/from-where-im-standing/

 

Susan’s web-page: http://www.susanutting.com/

 

Sam Loveless:

In ‘Surburbian Alien VHS.’ Sam was playing science like conkers, smashing apart and noticing beautiful irrelevancies like 16mm film. Another poem about Leaving Swindon called ‘In my absence’ he gives us the advice to let anything grow that does not stunt another. And from ‘After the swings’: not forgetting how high/we swung. Where you landed.

 

Sam interviews Robert Peake here: http://www.robertpeake.com/archives/poet/sam-loveless

 

Angie Belcher:

I love the fact there could be something so important I will want to press the creases out of all my clothes for the week. I don’t own an iron and relate to this. I was only talking about Gladiators and trying you name them last week and Angie talks of watching Jet from Gladiator with quiche and jam tarts.

 

Find Angie here: https://angiebelcher.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

 

Quiet Compere: Hilda Sheehan took over as host for the second half

Hilda read us a couple of poems and in the middle of Hilda’s tube poem about her first vibrator the lights went out. I think she had intended the black-out as it resulted in some memorable photos. We may have overloaded the electrics with heaters and lighting and mic, but I like to think it was the shock of Hilda’s poem that did it.

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Here’s Hilda: http://hildasheehanpoetry.blogspot.co.uk/

 

Carrie Etter:

The attention to detail in ‘Home and Away’ stuns me, especially the line and when I moved afar he expanded his research accordingly, learned my temperature, precipitation, wind speed, and humidity. And from ‘And Now for a Kind of Song’:

 

a tune one murmurs in distraction, without thought

a song in the body, the body in Illinois

 

These are from Carrie’s manuscript in progress, ‘The Weather in Normal.’

 

Carrie is here: http://www.carrieetter.com/

 

Nick Lovell:

Nick tells us I meet you where waves end, where tears begin. And in ‘Bewildered Nick’ that I have heard before but is always a listening pleasure where death and bewildered Nick are subject to a horse-racing commentary style poem and death always wins by exactly one length.

 

Nick co-host a new night in Swindon here: https://www.facebook.com/OoohBeehive/

 

Cristina Newton:

Cristina immerses us into a world of gaps and bones with style and charm. Cristina requested I not share her lines.

 

Read some poems by Cristina here: https://cristinanewton.wordpress.com/

 

Stephen Daniels:

I fell for the idea of telling your mistakes you love them. And his instructions of how to act in nuclear war poem, particularly fold the tea. Wow and a pop-song duration remains. His poem about a friend who died was difficult to listen to, especially the line Volume up. Brightness up. And the moths her children in the wardrobe sit between cotton and wool./I tease. Watch you turn to dust.

 

https://stephenkirkdaniels.com/

 

Maurice Spillane:

Had his set hijacked by exes in the days before there are none more circumspect than former lovers. In his poem ‘The Game Parade’ there is no place more dangerous than the recent past… long joined up stories/like railway carriages…one derail/ could uncouple everything.

 

Website here: http://mauricespillane.ie/

Mark Farley (Photographer):

OK, so I am usually proud of the photos I manage to get at Quiet Compere events, but someone did it better this time. Mark Farley, I like the internal rhyme in his name too. Go on, repeat  it a few times. See what I mean? Also, this meant I have a dozen or so photos of me reading, with my ‘moose’ stick and listening in the audience (was a little concerned about this because I am not always sure what my watching face looks like). He has probably kept the gurning ones for bribery purposes, I know I do. 

 

Interval:

In the interval Sam led me to the kitchen, where there was a large box of ale, I thought he meant I could have a pint or two. “No, he said, it is all for you A birthday gift from me!” Ah! The loveliness continued again and again all weekend. I may or may not have had a constant half in my hand for most of Saturday and this meant I missed having an evening meal with John and Nina, but it also meant I got to have some of Maurice’s excellent curry and get a lift into town for the evening sessions.

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Poetry Swindon link: http://www.poetryswindon.org/

 

Saturday Day:

Andrew McMillan’s honesty workshop made me cry twice, but I came out with six new, strong, tough poems that may not have existed unless I had pushed myself to higher levels on honesty than I usually pour into my poetry. Anne-Marie Fyfe and Roy Marshall were both poets I had not heard or met before and Anne-Marie told us ‘the sea is always with me.’ I met an ant and beetle in the tent. Roy’s poems spoke to me as they were medical and post mortem (my 17 year NHS career came back through his words). I was a little distracted by Louise Campbell’s stunning red patent leather boots. Nina and I shared some of our poems from Andrew’s morning workshop on a bench near the boat in Richard Jeffries gardens.

 

Saturday evening:

I fully intended to join John and Nina for a meal in Swindon, but time trickled away in engaging conversations with a dozen poets and the ale box slowly and constantly filled my half pint glass. Maurice arrived with his curries for the volunteers and I managed to wangle a portion before we all climbed into cars to go into Swindon for Keith Hutson’s Troupers, a show about the characters in the golden age of  the entertainment industry and  then Cristina and Daljit presented the Battered Moon awards, it was good to see friend, Ken Evans won a prize in it.

 

Turning 40:

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Back at base we all gathered in the Tent Palace and then in Hilda’s Lounge. I was handed a Babysham in a Babysham glass and Sam and Mark kept topping my pints up from the never ending ale box. I turned forty in a lounge that looked like my childhood among a raft of old and new friends and hugs and kisses were everywhere. I decided to spend the night in the Tent Palace and Sam piled up the blankets and asked me if I was sure I wanted to stay out? I did, and woke up on the morning of my birthday in the luscious tent. To be honest, I slept very little, it was cold and uncomfortable and around 5am I decided to go back to my Holiday Inn bed and grab an hour or two of sleep, before returning to the Museum to find Mike Pringle making me a bacon sandwich and Sophie and Tess had baked and decorated a cake for me. I was given a medal for services to Richard Jeffries Museum and a bunch of flowers from the festival. I left notes of love, thanks, the rest of ale and a couple of beer-mats with poems on and Quiet Compere badges as thankyous to all the lovely people at Poetry Swindon. I exchanged lots of goodbye hugs before a lot of friends went into Daljit Nagra Masterclass. I walked by the lake and returned to find  the masterclassers had been released for a break and I gathered another bunch of hugs before Maurice drove me back to catch my train.  

 

I left with a Swindon Skin and will be back very soon

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I will leave you on a final line from Maurice Spillane:  like the sun may catch you, hallowed in the dark room and wonder at the magic of it.

The Quiet Compere at Poetry Swindon Festival :)

Ten Poets. Ten minutes each. With two Comperes – Sarah L Dixon (The Quiet Compere) and Hilda Sheehan (not sure how quiet she will be ;))

Check out the line-up here:

Angie Belcher:


Angie Belcher

Angie Belcher is an award winning stand-up poet (finalist best female UK newcomer 2015, Finalist best Spoken Word Show North East Theatre Review)Equally at home on the stand-up circuit as in a posh tent at a literature festival “Razor sharp tight observational routine with a high laughter content” B247, Angie presents naughty stanzas and awkward stories “A sharply Observed act, the audience laughed appreciatively and immoderately throughout” Bath Chronicle. An accomplished comedy performer Mythical Creature is her second Edinburgh show. (**** Fringe Review, Part stand-up, part poet part stylised story telling all hugely entertaining” John Fleming, “Highly recommended, go see her”, Phil Jupitus) She was also Team Captain for political comedy panel show Comedy Manifesto during its Edinburgh run (Unbelievably jealous of all those of you that can catch this show every day’ ***** (BroadwayBaby.com).

Website: https://angiebelcher.wordpress.com/

Stephen Daniels:

Stephen

Stephen Daniels is editor of Amaryllis poetry, his kids describe his poetry as “deep”, Hilda Sheehan once described it as “celebrating the darkness of what makes us human”, her alter ego Grishilda said it was like discovering “varicose veins”… you decide!

https://stephenkirkdaniels.com/

Carrie Etter:

Photo to be added.

Carrie’s most recent collection, Imagined Sons (Seren, 2014), was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry by The Poetry Society, and her new chapbook, Scar (Shearsman, 2016), explores the effects of climate change on her home state of Illinois. Besides literature of all kinds, she loves teaching, wine, travel, science fiction, cats, and summer.

http://carrieetter.blogspot.co.uk/

Anna-May Laugher:

Anna-May Laugher

Anna-May Laugher has worked as a cleaner, a cook and in mental health.

Her poems have been widely anthologised and has a pamphlet 2017

with Luminous Road. Her claim to fame is having a poem on the buttock of

a papier-mached inflatable sex doll, made by Hilda Sheehan!

A poem here: http://www.amaryllispoetry.co.uk/2013/07/a-poem-by-anna-may-laugher.html

Nick Lovell:

Nick

Nick Lovell is a part-time van driver, full-time romantic, eternal optimist, half-arsed anarchist and occasional poet!

http://heyevent.uk/event/ifvl5qobrywsqa/oooh-beehive-the-beginning/

Sam Loveless:

Sam

No-one is quite sure why Sam Loveless started to write or perform poetry. More certain is his re-appearance as a poet in Swindon shortly after the turn of the decade. Between now and then he has spent time listening to an increasing number of poets. To this end, he now indulges in radio presentations and compering. He has now amassed enough poetry of his own to perform a little more often.

https://mbvloveless.com/about-sam/

Cristina Newton

Cristina Navazo-Eguía Newton had two collections in Spanish before her first in English, Cry Wolf, received a Straid award and is published by Templar Poetry. 

https://cristinanewton.wordpress.com/

Maurice Spillane:

Maurice

Maurice Spillane is Swindon’s token Irish poet – how cosmopolitan is that? His latest collection “The Game Parade” celebrates country life along the Wiltshire Downs.

http://mauricespillane.ie/

Susan Utting:

SUtting

Susan Utting has worked as a barmaid, waitress, florist’s assistant, Yoga teacher and for more than 20 years as a poetry tutor. As well as poetry collections and national press publication, she once had a poem published on a beer mat!

http://www.susanutting.com/


Julia Webb

julia-webb

Julia Webb is a graduate of The University of East Anglia’s poetry MA. She has had work in various journals and anthologies including “The Forward Book of Poetry 2017. In 2011 she won The Poetry Society’s Stanza competition. She was recently Writer in residence at Norwich Market. She is a poetry editor for Lighthouse. Her first collection Bird Sisters was published in 2016 by Nine Arches Press.





Buy your tickets here: http://www.poetryswindon.org/festival#!/7-10-2016-THE-QUIET-COMPERE-with-Sarah-L-Dixon/p/69253857/category=20217256