Grand Plans Sunday 10th March 2024 Emma Purshouse and Steve Pottinger 6-8pm The Sair, Linthwaite, Huddersfield HD7 5SG PAYF


Emma Purshouse

Emma Purshouse was the first poet laureate for the City of Wolverhampton. 

She’s a poetry slam champion and performs at spoken word nights and festivals across the UK.   

Appearances include, The Cheltenham Literature Festival, Ledbury Poetry Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe, Latitude, and Womad. She has been a support act for John Hegley, Holly McNish and Carol Ann Duffy.

In 2017 Emma won the ‘Making Waves’ international spoken word competition – judged by Luke Wright. 

Her children’s collection ‘I Once Knew a Poem Who Wore a Hat’ (Fair Acre Press) won the poetry section of the Rubery Book award in 2016. Her collection ‘Close’ (Offa’s Press) was shortlisted for the same award in 2018. 

Her debut novel ‘Dogged’ is published by Ignite Books. 

Emma’s poem ‘Catherine Eddowes Tin Box as a Key Witness’ came 3rd in the National Poetry Competition in 2021.

“A whirlwind of wit and humour” – Write Out Loud.

Steve Pottinger

Steve Pottinger
 is a founding member of Wolverhampton arts collective Poets, Prattlers, and Pandemonialists. He’s an engaging and accomplished performer who has performed the length and breadth of the country. His work regularly appears online in CultureMatters and the Morning Star, and has won prizes or been commended in Bread & Roses, Prole, Poetry on Loan, Plough, Guernsey International, Arran, Verve, and Poets & Players poetry competitions. His seventh volume of poems, ‘snapshots from the fall of home’ published by Ignite Books, is out now.

Find out more about him at: 

Steve’s latest book is on sale at:

Grand Plans & Tiny Inklings Dates & guests 2024

Thanks for the sharing and the support in 2023 and big thanks to our first guest who performed for us in November, Nick Toczek.

Grand Plans excitement for 2024:

I had ideas of mainly local poets but a lot further afield have said Yes too, so these are the plans for 2024 so far:

January 14th open mic only

February 11th Abbi Senior

March 10th Emma Purshouse and Steve Pottinger

April 14th Tim Brookes

May 12th Matt Panesh

June 9th Tony Brough

July 14th Penny Blackburn

Note date change: August 4th Barry Fentiman-Hall

September 8th Lateral G

October 13th David Driver

November 10th Trystan Lewis

December 8th open mic only

I have booked some local people with new books and haven’t space to book everyone I want to. Plan to start with alternate month guests but there was a lot of interest so I expanded that.

I will share bios and photos of the guests soon.

Venue – The Sair, Linthwaite, Huddersfield, HD7 5SG

6-8pm Sunday evenings. No food available. There is a Premier shop at the bottom of the hill which is open 24/7 for sandwiches, cakes, pasties, etc.

Public transport: Train to Huddersfield and then 5 minute walk to bus station and 185 bus and 3 minute walk up steep hill or 184 bus and 3 minute walk down steep hill. These buses usually run hourly at the weekend.

On guest nights there will be the hat of I can afford that (and I also have a card machine) to pay our guests . The hat will also be available on open mic only nights to pay for host costs of card, ink, blutac and bus travel to advertise the events.

Access details: Ground floor event. Parking limited. 1 step and two doors into the venue, Toilet is quite narrow.

Please also support the pub by buying a drink and/or snacks. Soft drinks are available.

Morecambe Poetry Festival 2023 write-up

Matt Panesh, poet, mastermind, whirlwind and festival visionary

The Winter Gardens – Venue – grand, shabby, imbued in history

Johnny’s Bar – Venue – where we build new histories and the audience are warm and lift up every performer

Friday launch and evening

Back in Johnny’s for the evening

Clare Ferguson Walker was a joy to photograph, a new friend

Apologies, right near the beginning of this blog, to those I missed over the weekend because I needed air or snacks, or was carried into conversation xxx

So, I didn’t catch absolutely everyone I wanted to with the festival running from midday until 2am each day. I am sorry I missed some friends performing, but so happy I got to see them and catch up. It was difficult to choose between supporting people I had seen before and seeing people new to me. The quality was so consistently high. But, I also wanted to chat and catch up with friends and make new ones, get books signed and drink in the September air and feel the rain on my skin.

I had some moments where I had to be outside in daylight and air for a while. I walked on the beach a little and I did venture into the arcade for a short time.

Saturday start with Dommy B and John Hegley – both were their usual joyful, energetic, engaging selves

Firstly, we sorely missed Barry Fentiman Hall who had to cancel the day before the event. I am hoping we both make it there next year.

Trystan Lewis

However, the brilliant Trystan Lewis, who I meet at the first Morecambe Poetry Festival in 2022 and I knew he was good then and he has been getting about and reading in many places over the last 12 months.

He has great rhythm and internal rhyme:
‘I’ve been through the data of the traces left behind’ ‘not been honest with/in their sonnets of romance’
and I found this line beguiling:
‘If you can gaze upon the frightening face of this Medusa, full-square in the eyes and still not be turned to stone’

And ‘Don’t tell Dad!’ is a well-crafted poem of gradual progress and subtle evolution of a relationship between Dad and child. Moving and relatable. The flip to ‘Don’t tell the kids!’ is flooring. ‘Don’t tell the kids that we looked at the screen and we pointed at the shadows and they told us what they mean.’

Nina Lewis

Nina is a friend from Swindon Poetry Festival volunteering days and is based in the Midlands, so it was great to have chance to catch up and hear some new poetry from Nina and some from her V Press book, ‘Fragile’ and share late night toast, chatting and sharing poems in the Air B and B kitchen until the early hours.

Kate Millington

I met Kate when she came to perform at the Huddersfield slam in 2022. Her poetry is an important, honest and moving account of childlessness and Kate shared poems from her book, ‘Imprint’ (Fawn Press).

‘I orbit what I lack’ was a compelling refrain and I felt the fact it kept repeating echoed the way the lack arises in life, but then is forgotten, to arise again later.

Other people seem to judge or guess at the lack of a child and make assumptions about choices and know the way life ‘should’ be lived.

I love the fact Kate leaves us with the warmth of ‘green footprints in the snow.’ 

Ben Willems

Ben is an old Manchester poetry friend and I invited him because I am never quite what he will bring to the event, but I do know it will be brilliant, surprising and entertaining. I was not disappointed.

Ben’s set was playful and rhythmic and lines that grabbed me the most were these:

‘All masks are animal
bat cave silhouettes.

All howls are answerable
just let
it rise’

and his play was no more evident than in the poem ‘Newton for Hyde’.

Is started with: ‘Hyde’s for bitter…
and ended with these lines
‘…for newt of eye
eye is for apple
apple for Newton
Newton for Hyde
Newton for Hyde
Newton for Hyde
Newton for Hyde’.

My set

I shared poems of beer and connection, 90s indie gigs and the sea. The audience was so warm and respectful, yet loud in their appreciation with whoops and applause. I reckon the biggest and best audience I have ever performed to.

Thanks to Louise Hart for these photos and to Matt for the loveliest intro and for inviting us to be part of the festival.

A little Born Lippy

I caught a little Born Lippy before getting out to walk the shore and breathe the sea air for a bit.

Midlands Takeover

Steve Pottinger and Emma Purshouse are good friends who became even closer friends over lockdown as they hosted workshops and events online. I made many new friends through these online connections. I am ever so grateful some of their events continue to be online and hybrid as well as them having returned to real life hosting too. I realise how much hard work online events are – I find them more difficult than live events to host, personally. I met Richard Temple in the audience on the Friday night and enjoyed his set.

Scouse Takeover

Another treat for the evening with good Manchester friends, Jackie Hagan and Gerry Potter who both owned the stage of the Winter Gardens. I was delighted to see and hear Jackie as Jackie has not been performing for a few years. Then, Roger McGough took to the stage. I loved his coat and is poetry was all I expected and more. All the poets in this takeover were humorous, relatable and unflinching in places.

Roger and Henry chat (Q & A) and the most amusing part of the festival for me – when I was talking with Manchester poets outside I return to my table to find Roger and Henry are in my seat!

Welsh Takeover

After queuing for books to be signed by Roger and Henry and Gerry (I already have all Jackie’s books) I managed to catch some of the Welsh takeover.

Sunday – the final day

Rose Condo – How to feed an artist poetry and a roast dinner for all

After an interesting and useful symposium on how to make poetry walk in the UK Rose nurtured the artist in all of us. We got to blow bubbles, drink water and think about it’s origin and think about giving more and what that means.

Barney Hallman – German takeover

Barney was a new entity to me and I was mesmerised by this bundle of bright joy who was performing a poem about an uncertain snail for us. Also, loved the fact that when I had one of my request songs played he knew every word to The Sultan’s of Ping ‘Where’s me Jumper?’ and we danced and sang enthusiastically in our separate corners of the almost empty Johnny’s as one of the last moments of the festival.

The 4 Johns – Hull Takeover

Several Hull friends I hadn’t seen for a while were some of the 4 Johns. These four performers were a very different style to each other pulled together by the fact they were all sitting in a cafe doing puzzles or reading the paper and drinking tea.

Joy France and Skully

I thought first of all this would be Joy and a puppet or robot, turns out Skully is a person and they are battle-rapping emotional material on stage and it ended with a hug. Brilliant!

Manc Takeover

Sadly, Tony Curry could not make it over. However, it was so good to see and hear Chris Jam for the first time since lockdown and Rowland Crowland for the first time in a year.

Word Walkers launch of zine and absent friends poem

Big White Shed hosted the launch of the festival zine that was made from poems written on the Saturday morning and printed over the weekend.

Carol Ann Duffy and Jackie Kay

Our final event at the Winter Gardens and consistently good poetry shared by an ex poet-laureate and Makar.

The final evening

Sorry I didn’t get photos of everyone – was flagging a little by this point in the weekend. It was great to see friends, Rich, Oz and Gordon Zola up on stage doing their thing again and new friend, Beth.

Matt Panesh – Final poet

And, what better to way to finish the festival than with some poems from Matt Panesh, himself? The audience was still as warm and loud as ever until the final applause.

A little dancing & some last photos with wings and Walter’s coat

How much love was there? A love poem to Morecambe Poetry Festival 2023

There was love in the form of water

in small paper cups.

If you took every tea-pot, wine glass, champagne flute,

every tankard and every barrel of Fosters, Smiths, Neck Oil,

every bubble tub on every table

you would still not be able to contain it.

You can’t buy this or bottle it.

This love is bounding out

like a puppy eager to greet you.

It hugs long and true

like a bear.

It is like a sunset at high-tide

taken through The Picture-Frame.

It is a view that cannot be improved

or imagined without immersion.

Like swimming in the Irish Sea

and shivering at the thrill of icy brine.

This love is like having your request played by the D.J.

even though it is The Sultans of Ping.

It is a German-Irish poet

sitting beneath painted wings

and singing out every word.

And we take this love home with us.

In the anthology,

in our notebooks

and we resonate with hugs.

As we were held by friends, by words, by accents.

We were held by song, grins and humour.

And we were held by this space created for us

to meet, to read, to dance,

to belong

and to love.

Soundcloud link here to the poem:

Listen to How much love was there? – Morecambe.m4a by Sarah L Dixon on #SoundCloud

It was brilliant to hang around with so many poetry friends and in particular Lucy Power and Michelle Noonan who were excellent company xxx

Next year – Morecambe Poetry Festival dates -21st September 2024 – get it in your diary!

Morecambe Poetry Festival Saturday 23rd September 2023 – Quiet Compere showcase

Showcase poets – Nina Lewis, Kathryn Millington, Ben Willems, Sarah L Dixon and Trystan Lewis.


Nina Lewis is based in the Midlands. She has two pamphlets Fragile Houses (2016) and Patience (2019) published by V. Press. She was Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2017-2018. Nina performs at events and festivals across the UK and was an International Guest Poet at Perth Poetry Festival in 2018. She was a virtual poet in residence for Cheltenham Poetry Festival 2020, produced ten animations for Poetry Renewed with Elephant’s Footprint and worked with CoLAB on a Connect Dudley Lockdown Project. She facilitates transatlantic poetry projects and is one of the Directors of Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe. / / twitter Neens07


Kathryn ‘Millie ’Millington is a poet, performer and activist from Sheffield. She runs the poetry charity ‘Nine Lives Poetry’, bringing some of the UK’s best poets to a Sheffield audience and creating a stage for emerging local poets. Millie’s poetry tells us a story of grief as a result of involuntary childlessness. It takes us on a journey “…into a world that feels niche, but is anything but…” (Wendy Pratt), to a place of acceptance of a future without children and ultimately a creative and fulfilling life. “You will know someone like me. We are everywhere: at your workplace, within your family, and your friendship groups. It’s such a lonely place. I want to inhabit that place and be that voice, to show that we can create.” Millie has shared the stage with Helen Mort, Christopher Lanyon, Toria Garbutt and Leyla Josephine. Her poem ‘Imprint’ was longlisted for the Bridport Prize. Her debut Pamphlet ‘Imprint’ was published by Fawn Press in May 2023.


Ben Willems is a poet based in Manchester, writing beat-inspired poetry often on political themes. He has been published most recently in the anthology We’re All In It Together: Poems for a Disunited Kingdom, and the photography collection The People’s Republic of Mancunia by Rik Jundi. His long awaited collection of poems on Greater Manchester’s railway stations has unfortunately been delayed again and is now expected to be completed some time in 2037


Trystan, best known for being one of the leading banjo players in the Clougha Mountain Bluegrass Band, has turned to poetry following the startling lack of success of his remarkable first novel. He can be heard regularly at open mics from Kendal to Charlton -cum-Hardy or, even more regularly, mumbling to himself in the hills of North Lancashire and Cumbria.

SARAH L DIXON (The Quiet Compere)

Sarah L Dixon’s inspiration comes from many places, including pubs, movement (dancing, walking, swimming), and adventures with her twelve-year-old, Frank. Sarah’s most recent love affair is with Morecambe Bay.

Medway River Lit Quiet Compere Write up from 2nd June 2023

Belated blog due to access issues to my website – Events were 1st-4th June 2023

Workshop – games and play-themed went well.

Lots of random photos from the 3 days I spent at the festival below:

Quiet Compere Showcase – Rochester Library

A brilliant afternoon with 50% guests I had not before and I am hopeful all our poetry paths cross again soon. A few lines I enjoyed from each of the poems shared below. A big thanks to Richard Cooper for sharing Rosemary McLeish poems.

Richard Cooper:

I loved Richard’s freshly printed t-shirt. The poem that struck me most was the Janet and John one. The way it played with the structure and kept the simplicity but ramped up the darkness and rebellion. This seemed very Rosemary from what I know of her.

Mark Holihan:

Lines here that particularly leapt out at me were: ‘all the headstones looked drunk or broken like closing time.’ And from Just Walking:  ‘I am not actually going anywhere. I am just wearing out my shoes.’

Jon Terranova:

Wow! Description of pub as ‘an enclosure for the supposedly strong.’ I have also made a note that looks like ‘inebriated by beckoning time’ and Jon has not let me know if this as right or not so I will leave this as the quote 🙂

Sarah Tait:

I enjoyed the way Sarah’s set took us on a journey from Rochester to Ramsgate. I enjoyed the visual impact of ‘the flat of palm on cold’ touching the stone of the cathedral and ‘daylight putting itself away’.

Selection of photos of showcase performers and the open mic:

Thanks so much to Sam, Barry, Medway River Lit funders and all volunteers (plus a big thanks to Anne-Marie Jordan).

The Quiet Compere Live and Online 2022 Tour Finale and photo albums of random parts of the tour

We did it!! And I made it to everyone and thoroughly enjoyed splitting some of the responsibility and tasks with my co-hosts and Nina, Super online event Tech. Co-hosts were sorted so everything could go ahead if either of us went down with COVID but we were very lucky and I caught it in a break from tour time in mid July and we made all nine dates with full complement of co-hosts too.

Showcase Finale

Co-Host Emma Purshouse

I love Emma’s Black Country words. I definitely use some of them, ‘mithering’ and ‘firtle’ and I wonder if these were passed down by my mum’s family. The rhymes in Art school Annual picnic are inspired and this piece is brilliantly crafted. ’Salavador Dali/Harley’ and ‘Van Eyck/on a borrowed bike’. Emma finished her set with a walrus singing song which made everyone rush off to listen to singing walruses in the break 😊  

Showcase Poets

Mark Pajak

Mark’s delivery was just the right side of languorous which had us waiting for what was next… The poems were sensual with exquisite detail, holding us in the moment of the poem. The keying of a car, an action that could not be taken back ‘so he applies the key-tip until the metal concedes a slow dimple’. And in the nettle-pit alone and ‘the only sound was the slow laugh of a crowd and wind like applause through ash trees’.

Jennifer A. McGowan

Oh! Shrapnel was such a fitting poem for Remembrance weekend. Measured and personal. And in Jennifer’s love poem, The Boy who went back to Singapore ‘we’d both slept through, waking with imprints of the other on our faces.’ Such variety here in a short set.

Mark Connors

The incantation of ‘Kallax, Klept, Empak, Ransire, Finskuron’ made me smile. I loved The Beekeeper’s wife and am hoping it will be in the Wordsmithery Bee Anthology. After following a lot of Mark’s recent American adventures, I enjoyed ‘New York state of mind’.

George Bastow

I was so glad George could make it to the event. His univocal poem was beautifully-formed. His rhythm, repetition and delivery style made for an engaging and lively set. I especially enjoyed The Imp of Distraction and The Yarn Spinner. My favourite stanza is:

‘He used to work for MI5, but he keeps that on the low

He used to be a roadie, went on tour with Status Quo

He used to be a boxer, trained in the States with Smokin’ Joe

Plus, he played all the instruments on Enya’s Orinoco Flow

He’s the Yarn-Spinner, you know him’

Elizabeth McGeown

One of the massive bonuses of hosting online events is the chance to share poems like Misophonia on the page. The way it is chaotic and then pulled tightly back by the repeated mantra ‘make manifest’ and with lines like

‘you can corn dolly their hearts,

twists like straw,

set intentions like love potions.’

Mascot interval

Alex the mascot having fun loitering about the mic and drinking ale.

Second half

There was definitely a witchy and magical theme running throughout the event and after a short break I read a few poems and we continued with Helen Ivory’s witches:

Helen Ivory

Oh yes! I loved the fact Helen shared so many of her new witch poems with us. Th incantatory nature of her poetry was compelling. Especially in lines like ‘you cannot sing grass sweet’ and ‘a quiet pandemonium emanated from the apple.’ I enjoyed the brevity and precision of Scry and can’t wait for the new book.

Linda Goulden

I was hoping to see Linda at a real-life gig but when she couldn’t make it I was delighted she agreed to perform at one of the online events instead. Linda’s attention to detail is exemplary, particularly in the Ancoats poem. My Dad is from Ancoats and I could just visualise everything. I loved the Philomel poem stuffed full of bird sounds too.

Penny Blackburn

Yes! A set by Penny after seeing the process of her poems being crafted in workshops so many times (Penny has become an online friend over lockdown). And more witchiness and fairy tale from Penny including the line ‘my lying tongue is tart with poisoned apple craving.’  And ‘Inside me, moor fires burn brighter than ever.’ And this block of text from Uncharted Waters is glorious:

a truth which could not be stopped

nor changed, nor denied.

He left behind in the untidy cabin

enough of both the truth and lies

to splice his tale together.

Jack McLean

Jack’s loss haiku was beautiful and haunting and I loved the idea of ‘Hallmark-induced sunstroke’. I felt like that in stuffy, heated charity shops when I was younger. Stonewall was necessary and well-crafted piece., especially this section:

‘Larry Grayson, shut that door!

And to top it off,

thanks to Alan Turing

we even won the fucking war.’

Gracey Bee

I enjoyed the playfulness as family/cultural history embedded in If Shakespeare was Jamaican. and I love the line ‘I still like listening to song in a language I don’t know’. I listened to some Ukrainan song and Ukranian poetry with and without translation at an event recently and will look out for more bilingual and multilingual events in future.

One of the massive advantages of hosting an online gig now is that I can bring all the people I have discovered the work of or learnt and heard more readings by in lockdown could all be brought together and make more connections with each other.

Thanks to all for making the tour possible – venues, poets, co-hosts and supporters and ACE and of course audiences.

Co-host gallery

Group photos

Still to come this year

Readaround Saturday 10th December 5-630pm FREE event on Zoom to make up for missing open mic sections online (as events would have run too long with open mic section).

Group poem made up from lots of single words audience members have given me – I will perform this on Facebook but I have to write to first!

Lots of final report writing.

Coming in 2023

The Quiet Compere will be hosting events at River Lit in June 2023 and Morecambe Poetry Festival in September 2023. Watch this space!

6 random favourite photos of the tour (they’d be different if I chose them again tomorrow)


George Bastow

Attending Quiet Compere Tour events is a truly joyous and uplifting experience. The wonderfully refreshing format of the events allows attendees and contributors alike to enjoy a uniquely varied, engaging thought-provoking and entertaining blend of poets and performers from across the country. It shines a spotlight on everything that makes the spoken word scene so spellbinding. The fact that the Quiet Compere Tour also included several online dates was very positive and profoundly appreciated as those virtual tour stops made these already refreshingly diverse events even more inclusive by giving those of us with disabilities, medical vulnerabilities, health and/or mobility issues the opportunity to access and enjoy a top-quality live show. As a full-time wheelchair-user with Cerebral Palsy, I know first-hand how sadly rare fully accessible and inclusive arts events can be. The Quiet Compere is working hard to change that by embracing technology to bring people of all backgrounds and abilities together to share our love of poetry. Many more event organisers could learn from the Quiet Compere’s example and leave the virtual door open so that people with disabilities can relish new and exciting arts events in a medically safe and powerfully inclusive way. Bravo Quiet Compere, long may your shows continue to enthral and inspire!

Mark Connors

A brilliant mix of poets of all experiences. Sarah’s informal approach is very welcoming. We had a chat afterwards too, which included the audience. A very enjoyable evening.

And thanks to the venues…

Until next time…

I love everyone who made this possible xxx

Bristol Blog – Bath retreat, Banksy, brilliant venue and dog cuddles – plus lots of poetry and an after party

Co-host and performer, Caleb Parkin

From Caleb’s book All the cancelled parties my favourites in it were Peacebuilding, Ridgeway, What we animals do and Almanac of Lunar Songs. I didn’t know there were so many types of moon. 

And from The Estuary and egret poem. I loved ‘Estuary dressed in its most imposing power-suit grey with pinstripe waves.’ And ‘the moral of this story is – is – somewhere, somewhere in the gap between Egret and Estuary.’ 

‘Gritted teeth of the National Gallery’ and ‘Please do not touch the walrus or sit on the iceberg‘ were striking images.

Open mic and a bit of me

Caleb then brilliantly hosted the open mic section and gave a very brief and impressive account of all the places we had been taken to, all the moments we had visited and the people we had been introduced to through the pieces shared.

I then shared a poem about my body as a 90s indie moshpit and one about my son asking if we were poor and the reasons why.

Showcase Poets

Ben Banyard

Ben made me really want to visit The Argus Fish bar after Ben’s description of every tiny detail of their food. I almost clapped for joy when he described his sloth encounter with a ragged set of bagpipes. And the car gulped greedily at the asphalt as Ben took us on a driving lesson.

Helen Sheppard

Oh! Helen brought us guttural sounds deep, old as Eve in birth poems, a charcoal foundling on a doorstep and winters too cold for terry nappies to dry which took us a very exacting moment of time.

Rachael Clyne

In Rachael’s set there was a theme of brightness, music and character. Continuing the pregnancy theme lubdub of her existence. Rachael later takes us a childhood friend’s funeral where all the leather guys wept into lace.

Pey Oh

Pey weaved worlds for us with the high call of cicadas rising to the sky. And in Smiling at communist China ‘smile in rebellion/in openness/in risk/in red silk/honeyed peanuts are required for hostesses.’

Elizabeth Parker

The alliterative play in one piece is glorious ‘sighs of silt slid from seams.’ Then Elizabeth pulls us close with ‘my sand tried to keep your small darkness.’ It felt like she was talking to us all individually, somehow as she invites us to ‘join her at the white-barked tree.’

Edson Burton

Edson was honest ‘the garden is not rewilding. I am just idle.’ And I love the visual impact of ‘words often eat themselves.’

After Party

There was a brilliant after party that was full of poetry warmth despite it being held outside to keep any lurgy transference at bay. It was such a joy to extend the event further into the evening and catch up with many friends I had not seen for a long time and make some new friends too. You will have to take my word for the after-party brilliance as any photos taken were too blurry, chopped people off them or were too dark taken outside and at arm’s length.

The final event of the tour is online on November 12th.


Well organised event with warm and welcoming hosts.

Great to have a variety of poetry voice, page, spoken word, storytellers and free style.  

Themes were varied; nature, journey, family, mothers, place. Something for everyone.  

The Quiet Compere is a great concept for a touring poetry show providing a platform local poets.

A lovely night catching up with old friends and making new acquaintances.

A terrific range of voices and experiences from both the featured poets and the open mic performers.

Great venue, brilliantly organised by Sarah and Caleb.

Quiet Compere November 12th Zoom Finale of 2022 tour Reading Doors 7.30pm Showcase 745-10pm with one short break

(SAVE THE DATE – please note this is incomplete – I will be adding more photos and bios and ticket links in the next few days – I have a horrible cold/cough/flu thing – LFTs say not COVID… but little sleep and feeling rough – only three weeks to go though so I wanted to make at least this part semi-live. Sarah x)

Co-host Emma Purshouse

Emma Purshouse was the first poet laureate for the City of Wolverhampton. She’s a poetry slam champion and performs at spoken word nights and festivals across the UK. Appearances include, The Cheltenham Literature Festival, Ledbury Poetry Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe, Latitude, and Womad. She has been a support act for John Hegley, Holly McNish and Carol Ann Duffy.

In 2017 Emma won the ‘Making Waves’ international spoken word competition – judged by Luke Wright. Her children’s collection ‘I Once Knew a Poem Who Wore a Hat’ (Fair Acre Press) won the poetry section of the Rubery Book award in 2016. Her collection ‘Close’ (Offa’s Press) was shortlisted for the same award in 2018.

Her debut novel ‘Dogged’ is published by Ignite Books. Emma’s poem ‘Catherine Eddowes Tin Box as a Key Witness’ came 3rd in the National Poetry Competition in 2021.

Her latest collection ‘It’s Honorary, Bab’ is available from Offa’s Press.

“A whirlwind of wit and humour” – Write Out Loud.

Showcase Poets

George Bastow is a poet, writer, blogger and hat connoisseur from North Warwickshire who just happens to be a full-time wheelchair-user with Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy. He has written for various online and print publications and regularly performs poetry at spoken word nights including Rebel Riot and Poets, Poets, Prattlers and Pandemonialists’ Yes we cant and PASTA events. George sits on Writing West Midlands’ Board of Trustees and facilitates creative writing workshops for young people as part of Spark Young Writers’ Programmes.

Follow George on Twitter@ @GDBastow. George’s blog:

Gracey-Bee is a performance poet, spoken word artist, storyteller, author, creative workshop and book club facilitator and events host and organiser. She’s worked with Wolverhampton Libraries and Literature Festival, in various schools in Birmingham, headlined events such as City Voices, Country Voices, Virtual voices and Island Fusion (at The Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Festival). She’s been featured on Black Country Radio Extra and Radio Brum Poets and was a finalist at the Ledbury Literature Festival Poetry Slam. A selection of her work was published by Offa’s Press in the New Voices Anthology. She sometimes reads in her distinctive patois dialect.

Penny Blackburn’s poetry has been published by, among others, Poetry Society News, Lighthouse, Dreamcatcher and Riggwelter and she was recently awarded second place in the Ver Poetry Competition 2022. Her pamphlet “A Taste for Bread” was published by Wild Pressed Books in 2021 and she anticipates the release of her first collection with Yaffle Press soon.  Penny also runs a local poetry group and spoken word evening. She is on Twitter and Facebook as @penbee8 Photo to follow?

Mark Connors

Mark Connors is a poet, novelist and creative writing facilitator from Leeds, UK. His debut poetry
pamphlet, Life is a Long Song was published by OWF Press in 2015. His first full length collection,
Nothing is Meant to be Broken was published by Stairwell Books in 2017. His second poetry
collection, Optics, was published in 2019. His third collection, After, was published in 2021. He is
currently at work on MMXXII, a hybrid book containing poetry, fiction, memoir and travel writing.
Mark is a co-founder and a managing editor of YAFFLE PRESS.

Linda Goulden lives between a canal and a river at the edge of the Dark Peak where she writes poems and occasional flash fiction. She is published in magazines and anthologies and has won prizes from Nottingham Poetry and Manchester’s Poets and Players. Her pamphlet ‘Speaking parts’ was published in 2019 by Half Moon Books and in 2021 she published ‘…where dreams may roam…’ (10 art-poem cards) in collaboration with Ingrid Katarina Karlsson. Her words (and singing voice) feature in the soundtrack for The Necklace of Stars exhibition, currently in Buxton Art Gallery and in the repertoire of Whaley Bridge Choir.

Helen Ivory is a poet and visual artist.  Her fifth Bloodaxe collection is  The Anatomical Venus (2019). She edits the webzine Ink Sweat and Tears and teaches creative writing online for the University of East Anglia/National Centre for Writing. A book of mixed media poems Hear What the Moon Told Me is published by KFS, and chapbook Maps of the Abandoned City by SurVision.  She has work translated into Polish, Ukrainian and Spanish as part of the Versopolis project. Her New and Selected will appear from MadHat (US) next spring. She is currently working on her next collection for Bloodaxe How to Construct a Witch.

Elizabeth McGeown is a Pushcart-nominated poet from Belfast, Northern Ireland. She is published in journals including Banshee, Poetry Wales and Under the Radar. She is the current UK Slam Champion, the highest-ranking woman in the Paris 2022 World Cup of Slam finals, was longlisted in the Saboteur Awards 2022 for ‘Best Spoken Word Performer’ and represented Northern Ireland in the Hammer & Tongue UK Slam Championships 2019 and 2021.
Her poetry collection ‘Cockroach’ was published by Verve Poetry Press in summer 2022 and, along with the accompanying stage show, was written with funding from Arts Council Northern Ireland.

Jennifer A. McGowan earned her PhD from the University of Wales. Her new collection, How to be a Tarot Card (or a Teenager) has just been published by Arachne Press. Copies are available from her. (Her previous collection, Still Lives with Apocalypse, won the Prole pamphlet competition in 2020.)

Jack McLean is a Stand-up Comedian from Hull, now living in Leeds. In 2022 he won the inaugural Bask in Laughter Competition before being shortlisted for the BBC New Comedy Awards 2022 Showcase.

Prior to the pandemic and performing stand-up, Jack was a regular in the West Yorkshire poetry scene and is still an avid poetry reader. He was selected in the 2020 Leeds Literature Festival Anthology; ‘And the Stones Fell Open’. (photo to follow)

Mark Pajak has written for The BBC, The Guardian, The London Review of Books, Poetry London, The North, The Rialto and Magma. His work has been three times included in the National Poetry Competition’s winners list, awarded first place in The Bridport Prize and has also received a Northern Writers’ Award, an Eric Gregory Award and an UNESCO international writing residency. His pamphlet, Spitting Distance (Smith|Doorstop), was selected by Carol Ann Duffy as a Laureate’s Choice. His first full length collection, Slide (Cape), is shortlisted for the 2022 T. S. Eliot Prize.

Quiet Compere 16th September Marsden Mechanics

Thanks to Rose Condo for photo of me 🙂

So, this is my first local gig since moving to this county, so I felt some pressure to get a good turnout and atmosphere. I ate a Bao bun for the first time in The River Head before heading over to The Mechanics to check the venue was set up.

Rose Condo

Rose Condo, my co-host for the evening, started the event with a poem which was about eh secret thoughts of pens. And then read a poem where we blew bubbles when we heard a word repeated. Both the bubbles and Rose were very fun to photograph.

After Rose followed a varied and enthusiastic bunch of open miccers.

Showcase Poets

Sadly, one of the showcase poets pulled out a few days before. I managed to replace her and then the replacement poet contacted with lost voice and full of a cold. I made the decision instead of booking someone at the last minute who would not have time to prepare, the fee for the missing poet would go back into the tour costs as online audiences are really low now and audience numbers in real life at some events have been lower than I guessed.

Tim Taylor

Wow! The handmade guitar poem. A ‘flame that flickers in the wood’ and it ‘has a voice but can never sing alone.’ And Tim writes well about what it is like to live/be in the valley, ‘I rushed laughing through their valleys, like a stream.’

Felix Owusu-Kwarteng

Barry Bacteria and Victor Virus were brilliantly inhabited and the wordplay and rhyme in these were equally fun and dark. ‘Cure, kill and conquer, alter the sensation of taste.’ And ‘vindictive, virulent virtuoso.’  And, wisdom in the saying I had not heard before: ‘Never roll a barrel down a two-sided hill.’

Jack Faricy

Jack performed an exquisite piece about carrying a piece of lapis lazuli up a hill ‘a block of blue makes the sky look less like sky.’ And he talked of ‘the peace of mind that comes from painting on window frames.’  

Anna Tuck

Anna’s self-love poems were beautiful and affirming. Self-love is ‘a lifeline when you haven’t got a friend.’ And I was so sad for the ‘baby tomato crying when he loses his Mum at the fruit and veg stall.’

Joe Williams

I think we all know Joe’s ‘deluded busker’, and if we don’t, it may just be us:

“40% Oasis, 

40% Coldplay,

20% Under the Bridge by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.”

And from ‘Hibernation’:

“It was a blizzard year

that brought down houses,

bit through brick and bone,”

made me think of the three Beast from the Easts we have had since moving over The Pennines.

And an after party!

One of the best things about a local gig, apart from going back to you own bed on the last bus, is the fact you can have an after party 😊 I met Joe’s parents who I had met dozens of times online but never in real life.

Bristol Hours Space Event Saturday 15th October Quiet Compere Tour event 8

Caleb Parkin – co-host

Caleb Parkin, Bristol City Poet 2020 – 22, has poems in The Guardian, The Rialto, The Poetry Review and was guest poet on BBC Radio 4’s Poetry Please. He won second prize in the National Poetry Competition 2016, Winchester Poetry Prize 2017 and other shortlists. He tutors for Poetry Society, Poetry School, Cheltenham Festivals, First Story, Arvon and holds an MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes (CWTP). Publications: Wasted Rainbow (tall-lighthouse, February 2021), This Fruiting Body (Nine Arches Press, October 2021). In October 2022, he’ll publish ‘The Coin’ (Broken Sleep Books) and his collected City Poet work, ‘All the cancelled parties’.

Showcase poet photos and bios

Ben Banyard lives in Portishead, near Bristol, with his wife, two children and an over-excited border terrier. Hi-Viz, published by Yaffle Press in November 2021, is his third collection following We Are All Lucky (Indigo Dreams, 2018) and Communing (Indigo Dreams, 2016). Ben blogs at and edits Black Nore Review.

Dr Edson Burton is a writer, historian, programme-curator and performer based in Bristol. His academic specialisms include: Bristol and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, Black History in the USA, Cultural continuities between Africa & the New World. He has been a consultant and coordinator for a range of HLF and Arts Council history projects in Bristol including most recently a study of Bristol’s Old Market ward Vice & Virtue (2014).

Edson has maintained a parallel career as a poet (Seasoned 2008) and writer for theatre and radio. His Radio dramas, the Armour of Immanuel (2007), the Chosen One (2009), have been Radio Four’s pick of the week. A long-standing associate of Bristol’s Watershed Cinema Edson has curated the highly regarded Afrofuturist season (2014) which formed part of the BFI’S Fear and Wonder Sc-Fi season.

Since then, he has become an active member of South West West Midlands Hub programming initiative Come the Revolution.

This residency marks completely new departure for Edson – being both massively exciting and full of possibilities. It is a chance to transform an unusual idea, through collaboration into an immersive experience. 

Rachael Clyne from Glastonbury, was a professional actor, turned psychotherapist and is now retired. Her work is widely published in journals and anthologies. Her prizewinning collection, Singing at the Bone Tree (Indigo Dreams), concerns our broken relationship with nature. Her pamphlet, Girl Golem (, draws on her Ukrainian Jewish heritage. She has expanded this into a new collection to be published by Seren in 2023– You Will Never Be Anyone Else. It explores the themes of identity through childhood, relationships, sexual orientation and ageing. 

Pey Oh is a Bath-based poet from Malaysia. Her debut pamphlet, Pictograph, was published by Flarestack Poetry in 2018. Her recent work can be found in harana poetry, Butcher’s Dog, Long Poem Magazine, Abridge, Iamb, Babel Tower Noticeboard and The Scores – A journal of Poetry and prose. A legitimate snack, Bagua, was published by Broken Sleep Books in 2021 and will be included in the Legitimate Snack Anthology 2022. She is Sky Arts Royal Society of Literature Poetry winner 2021.

Elizabeth Parker grew up in a garden center in The Forest Of Dean. Her poetry has been published in various poetry journals, including Magma and Poetry Salzburg. She was a prizewinner in the 2016 Troubadour Prize. Following her 2016 pamphlet, Antinopolis, published by Eyewear, Elizabeth’s first full collection, In Her Shambles, was published by Seren in April 2018. She is a founding member of Bristol poetry quartet The Spoke and co-host of monthly Bristol poetry event Under The Red Guitar. 

Helen Sheppard is a Bristol based writer and worked as a midwife. Her poetry explores themes of birth, health, loss, and those whose voices are often unheard. She started to write in her forties during a ‘kick start your reading’ class. 

She has performed at various events including Milk Poetry, RTB, Torriano Meeting House, Nuyorican Poets Cafe and Harvard Medical School. 

Helen’s work has been Published widely, including These are the Hands, Under the Radar. Her debut poetry collection ‘Fontanelle’ published 2021 Burning Eye Books. 

Helen interviews extraordinary poets for her podcast Health Beat Poets, their ‘take’ on Poetry & Health.

Event link and details (going live 2330 16th September)

Workshop 3.30-5pm (maximum 10 attendees)

Showcase tickets: