- Quiet quiet LOUD! second Tuesday of the month The Lloyds, Chorlton
- Horse Meet Writing sessions second Wednesday of the month, The Horse and Jockey, Chorlton
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.
ninalewispoet.wordpress.com / awritersfountain.wordpress.com
fb.com/NinaWriter / 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. http://thequietcompere.co.uk/
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.
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.
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.’
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 🙂
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).
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.
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 😊
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.
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’.
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’
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.’
Alex the mascot having fun loitering about the mic and drinking ale.
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:
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.
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.
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’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.’
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.
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)
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 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.’
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 was honest ‘the garden is not rewilding. I am just idle.’ And I love the visual impact of ‘words often eat themselves.’
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.
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: https://gdbastow11.wordpress.com/
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 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. www.markconnors.co.uk
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.’
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 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’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.’
I think we all know Joe’s ‘deluded busker’, and if we don’t, it may just be us:
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.
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 https://benbanyard.wordpress.com 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 (www.4word.org), 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)
We had a widespread group for the workshop on the Tuesday (I had to move it to the day before as I have started a full-time job and run out of holiday days).
After a brief panic because both Zoom and Eventbrite were being glitchy we had a great turnout, considering we clashed with Nine Arches triple book launch. I think the choice to reduce the length of the event and not have an open mic, as there was very low take up on this last time, helped with audience numbers. I may well run a double open mic read-a-round session in November ahead of the finale.
Dave Pitt – Dave performed a poem about Hillsborough and provided brilliantly brief yet insightful introductions to all poets in the first half.
Ruth Kelsey –
Ruth shared two poems about her journey. I felt honoured she shared them with us. They were the most concise and direct poems of her set. The lines:
‘like making up the words to hymns
By mouthing shapes we think might fit, and hope no-one will notice.’
particularly chimed with me as capturing that feeling of unbelonging with such precision.
Nicky Longthorne –
One last cigarette and endless cups of tea stood out for me as a poem that had a bouncy rhythm, that contrasted well with the content and I think the lines running into each other until that final line and giving that space worked so well and I was glad we could see that on screen, one benefit of being on Zoom instead of live.
Jonathan Kinsman –
Such breathlessness in ars poetica and I started writing down lines to comment on and ended with two-third of this poem in my notes and the line ‘at what age did you begin to feel an indescribable falsehood inside?’ provided such a invitation to intimacy in that one question.
Liz Mills –
I loved Liz’s Scottish accent. The poem about Clarice Cliffe pottery was accompanied by a piece on the screen as ‘the poor girl from Tunstall, a mover of clay mountains.’ And Aunt Winnie was exquisitely described.
Siegfried Baber –
There was great detail in Siegfried’s family-focused poems from ‘a tender seam of blue sky.’ AndApplying Bruce Lee’s three principles of Kung Fu to my grandfather who has dementia was at once moving and compelling.
‘he hangs like a shadow
from the branches of a chestnut tree
until his arms ache and his grip finally falters.’
The scent of honeysuckle by itself and think the combination of ‘the scent of fireweed, honeysuckle and dark peppery nettles.’ may be quite overcoming.
I then performed a brief set including my epic love poem (shrunk to 2 pages from 6) to some of the people and some of the places. This is one of only two poems written since starting a new job eight weeks ago. I am finding it difficult to balance full-time work, single parenthood and tour admin and find time to write. I am hoping that a return to work and school routine will mean more time for creative ventures, be that playing an instrument, collage, colouring or writing. I have read a book of poetry a day in August and loved immersing myself again in this way with the moments I have found.
There are wonderful observations in the pieces Olivia chose for her set. ‘Perhaps poetry isn’t what I love, but how I love’ and from the Stim poem ‘O, secret metronome of me.’ I have not heard stimming tackled as a subject beforeand as one easily annoyed by repetitive noises this poem challenges me to have more empathy.
Hannah Linden – Hannah’s Childhood poempinpointed one elegant and important purpose
‘Today the only job I have
is keeping the blackbird quiet.’
and she delivers searing social commentary in the poem about the neighbour’s treatment of the wasp nest.
‘I hadn’t minded the wasps myself. They come back every year and have never stung anyone. I’m guessing they might want to sting someone now. Oh how my country has changed.’
Gill Lambert –
The whispering of salt was surprising, while also being spot on and
‘though she throws spilled salt over her shoulder,
whispers it, like prayer, into cooking water.’
and at the end the tender giving away:
‘How her father loved her,
gave her away, like salt.’
I loved the variety in Gill’s set too as she brought us snow, salt and summer.
Finola Scott –
Finola’s poems describe a place with a child as ‘a sweet oasis in a careless city.’ And the idea of ‘time worn thin’ grabbed me and stays with me now. And I loved the music in the line ‘unstackably awkward on Formica shelves.’
Sharon Larkin –
We seemed to have a honeysuckle theme tonight and how subtle the honeysuckle scent is, yet so recognisable.
‘honeysuckle smuggles her scent,
no more than a whisper at the start.’
Marsden Mechanics up next Friday 16th September
The next event is my first local hosting since I moved to The Colne Valley five years ago and I am hoping for a good turn out at Marsden Mechanics.
Tickets available here:
September 16th 7pm doors. Event 730-10pm
Co-host Rose Condo
Rose Condo is an award-winning Canadian poet and educator based in the UK. A multiple slam champion, she has performed throughout the UK and internationally.
Rose has written and toured three solo shows: The Geography of Me (Spoken Word Award, 2021 Buxton Fringe), The Empathy Experiment (Best Spoken Word Show, 2019 Greater Manchester Fringe), and How to Starve an Artist (Runner Up Best Spoken Word Show, 2017 Saboteur Awards).
She runs workshops for people of all ages, exploring wellbeing through creative writing. Rose’s debut collection, After The Storm was published by Flapjack Press.
Writer / Performer / Poet
Jack Faricy is a poet and English teacher who is studying for a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Huddersfield. He is working on a series of poems exploring the M62 and the landscapes it connects/divides. His first collection, ‘Traces’, is published by Calder Valley Poetry.
Technician of science and kinetic arts.
Teller of tall tales, word of mouth disciple.
Hapless creator of oratory confusion.
Traveller of inconspicuous highways and occasional wearer of dubious trouser.
Has been seen here and there and is preyed upon by the parasitic influence of space rock and roots reggae.
Confused by the likes of Zappa and influenced by short term absurdity of life.
Sent out on a renewable 5-year mission to seek out words and breathe life into them.
This is the past, future and present biographical fate of one poet called Felix.
Please accept my humble apologies…
Tahira Rehman is a Performance-Poet and an Outreach support worker in Leeds. She has headlined at festivals and events such as Spoken Weird, Punk in Drublic, Cellar Stories at the Lawrence Batley theatre and she has supported a touring show at the Gosforth Civic Theatre.
Her poetry has been published in the US by Our Verse Magazine, Soul-Lit and locally by Make Our Rights Reality Charity. She is also the author of Mirages to Reality and ‘Inspirational Quotes From The Journey Of Reality.’ She also hosts the Tahira Rehman Poet Show which an be accessed on www.tahirarehman.com/podcast
“Tahira Rehman is a vibrant and vital addition to the scene. Her poetry has that unique combination of being timeless and fiercely contemporary. ” – Matt Abbott
“A uniquely styled performance that was atmospheric and powerfully thought provoking!” – Blur The Lines | Leeds Playhouse.
Tim Taylor has published two poetry collections, Sea without a Shore and LifeTimes, both with Maytree Press, and two novels. His poems have won, or been shortlisted in, a number of competitions and appeared in magazines such as Acumen, Orbis and Pennine Platform and various anthologies. Tim lives in Meltham, teaches Ethics part-time at Leeds University and enjoys playing guitar and walking up hills (not usually at the same time).
Anna Tuck is a poet, writer and DJ. She is inspired by many things including nature, womxn and music. Her work often includes the themes of beauty, community and the strength of the human spirit.
Joe Williams is a writer and performing poet from Leeds. His latest book is ‘The Taking Part’, a short collection of poems on the theme of sport and games, published by Maytree Press. His other work includes the pamphlet ‘This is Virus’, a sequence of erasure poems made from Boris Johnson’s letter to the UK during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the verse novella ‘An Otley Run’, which was shortlisted in the Best Novella category at the 2019 Saboteur Awards. Despite all of that, he is probably most widely read thanks to his contributions to Viz.
Workshop at Mario’s 2-4pm
Tickets for Showcase event and open mic (Limited 2 min open mic spots. Please book).
7pm doors. 730-10pm event.
For both the workshop and the showcase there are limited free and half price tickets available for those who could not afford to attend otherwise.
Hosts – Sarah L Dixon, The Quiet Compere and Dave Pitt, A Poet, Prattler and Pandemonialist.
Siegfried Baber was born in Devon in 1989 and his poetry has featured in a variety of publications including Under The Radar, The Interpreter’s House, Butcher’s Dog Magazine, online with The Compass Magazine and Ink, Sweat and Tears, and as part of the Bath Literature Festival. His debut pamphlet When Love Came To The Cartoon Kid was published by Telltale Press, with its title poem nominated for the 2015 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. In 2020, he published London Road West, an ebook of poems and photographs. A debut collection of poems, The Twice-Turned Earth is forthcoming, and he is currently working on a book-length study of the medieval Grail romances.
Ruth Kelsey lives in Leeds. She is a member of Otley Stanza and reads her work regularly at events such as Otley Poets, Soundbites, Lit Up and Oooh! Beehive. She’s had poems published in various anthologies and magazines such as Dream Catcher, Obsessed with Pipework and Ink, Sweat & Tears, and was placed third in the 2020 Yaffle Prize. Her work was selected to be read as part of the 2021 Leeds International Piano Festival.
Jonathan Kinsman (he/they) is a trans writer living in York. He is a BBC Edinburgh Fringe Slam finalist and his poetry has appeared in many publications. He has three pamphlets: & (joint-winner of the Indigo Dreams Pamphlet Prize 2017), witness (Burning Eye, 2020) and Genderfux (co-written with Jem Henderson and JP Seabright, Nine Pens, 2022). His debut collection will be published by Broken Sleep Books next year. Find him on social media @manykinsmen.
Gill Lambert is a poet from Yorkshire where she writes and swims.. She has been widely published online and in print. She was the winner of the 2016 Ilkley Literature Festival Open Mic. Her first collection ‘Tadaima’ was published by Yaffle in 2019 and her second collection ‘A Small Goodbye at Dawn’ earlier this year. Along with her partner Mark Connors she runs online poetry workshops as well as running some in various locations in real life.
Sharon Larkin’s poems often begin with a visual stimulus but soon become ‘infected’ with psychosocial concerns, as is evident from her poems in ‘Interned at the Food Factory’ (indigo Dreams, 2019), ‘Dualities’ (Hedgehog Poetry, 2020) and over 200 poems in anthologies, magaxines and e-zines. A former civil servant, she runs Eithon Bridge Publications https://eithonbridge.com, edits ‘Good Dadhood’ e-zine http://gooddadhood.com and blogs at ‘Coming up with the Word.’ http://sharonlarkinjones.com Sharon’s academic background is in literature/art history and modern languages, with an MA in creative writing. She is proud of her Welsh heritage and enjoys photography, the countryside and the natural world.
Hannah Linden is from a working-class Northern background but has been based in Devon for many years. She is widely published and recent awards include 1st prize in the Cafe Writers Poetry Competition 2021 and Highly Commended in the Wales Poetry Award 2021. Her debut pamphlet The Beautiful Open Sky is forthcoming with V. Press in autumn 2022. She is working towards a full collection. Twitter: @hannahl1n
Nicky Longthorne is a poet, performer, playwright and part-time pillock from Leeds. He often tackles challenging issues to raise awareness including mental health, specifically men’s mental health, domestic violence, toxic relationships, grief and loss amongst other things. He is currently working on his first poetry collection. Photo to follow.
Liz Mills was first on stage aged two and has never stopped performing, although now she sticks to her own words rather than learning an entire playscript. She taught as well as acting in semi-pro shows and the occasional film. She’s working on her first pamphlet, currently titled ‘ Clearance.’ She lives in Staffordshire tending her garden and wayward husband.
Finola Scott’s poems scatter on the wind, tapestries and magazines. They are in The High Window, New Writing Scotland, I,S & T and Lighthouse. She has been a winner in many competitions – recently Gutter Mag’s Ewin Morgan Competition, Paisley Arts Gallery’s Joan Eardly Competition, Speculative Fiction’s Eardly Competition, The Scots Language Society’s Sangschaw Competition. Red Squirrel Press pubish Much left unsaid. Dreich publish Count the ways, while Tapsalterrie publish Modern Makars: Yin. When not performing, Finola enjoys teasing grandchildren and blue-tits, not necessarily in that order. Poems & event information can be found at FB Finola Scott Poems.
Olivia Tuck’s poetry has appeared in print and online journals including The High Window, Under the Radar, Perverse and Ink Sweat & Tears, as well as Tears in the Fence and Lighthouse, where she interns on the editorial teams. She was the winner of the Poetry Society Young Poets Network Keats Challenge in 2021. Her pamphlet Things Only Borderlines Know is published by Black Rabbit Press.
The venue often feels like an extra performer. Bradford City Library (hosted by the excellent Dionne V. Hood) was no exception to this. They provide a cosy space between the shelves and a bust of Humbert Wolfe, a locally famous poet.
We had a good turn out for both the workshop and showcase event despite Arriva bus strikes. Two people from the workshop had never written poetry before and one attendee read the poem they wrote in the afternoon in the open mic section of the evening.
On the open mic Maz dedicated each of her four short poems to women in the audience who had been part of her writing journey which started in the last year or so. Yazmin read us a piece about quiet words and ended with ‘silence’. Steve shared a moving poem about how ‘the guys in here say I was born sad… I was born happy.’ Kellie gifted us a haiku.
Steve was an excellent co-host and even invited me along to his workshop in the morning at the town hall and introduced me to the massive hot chocolates and Manchester tart at Café. Steve dedicated his poem Carrot Girl to Eileen Lumb and his mum. I enjoyed the defiant celebration of ‘We are people. We are here and we abound.’
And genius rhyme-play from Party to it:
‘Eyes squint, upturned collar,
Desires and designs on you
As your mates dance on the sofa
Because your folks are in Corfu’
from collection, Extrano (from Flapjack Press who have a Spring sale on until 30th June).
I enjoyed the rhymes ‘nervous/epidermis’ and alibied/inside. Trevor also read a positive and hopeful poem about health, ‘give me ten more years and I’ll think I’ve got a bargain.’
There was such compassion in the poem Some Men, especially the lines ‘they remove slugs so you can be comfortable… Some Dad’s…create new stories each night, they teach you how to grieve the loss of failure and how to ensure victory.’
The phrase ‘don’t cramp her into a tiny jar of your expectations.’ ‘let her sing in the spring and dance in the rain.’ Such gentle and seemingly simple freedoms.
Nabeela performed a poem in Urdu with no translation and instructed us if we didn’t know the language we could enjoy the music of the sounds. This surprised me and made me think. Loved the fact Nabeela did not feel any obligation to share a translation.
I love the sad rhythm in the line ‘midges mass and mingle. We stay single.’ ‘Choke on your own hat/ charge you VAT’ made me smile. And the ‘ripples on love’s lake’ in your vibrating hotel rooms poem.
Sharena Lee Satti
Sharena shared a strong set of poems and particularly emotive lines were ‘Every planted seed is picked before it can blossom.’ and Sharena talked of sometimes being ‘just seen as a tick box in other people’s lives.’
Music seems to be one of the themes of Kathleen’s set. A rock n roll poem talking of ‘signing autographs on soft-skinned groupies’ and ‘how to stack a never-ending arsenal of 45s’. This reminded me of the time I found out I could load up more than one 45 and the Dansette would play them after each other. There as such tenderness in Kathleen’s poem about teaching her parents to twist ‘if twisting was their only foreplay I would have never been conceived.’ And in Things clouds get up to, ‘conjuring kidnapped mists into foggy lovers.’ A varied and strong set.
Photographing David was a challenge because of how active he is. ‘a human goldfish, insanity season and the madness in bloom.’ I loved the 80s references in I want to be bionic – muppets, Dusty Bin ‘The Ceefax of all knowledge’. I remember following soaps and jokes in Ceefax. And from Barstool know it man ‘He’s welded up the Titanic. Been a Formula 1 mechanic. Tamed a Bengal tiger and didn’t panic.’ This guy is referred to as having ‘done everything and been everywhere’ whilst in reality he’s never left the pub.
The next Quiet Compere gig is Wolves on Friday 1st July…
The convention is for Dave Pitt to say how he’s a performance poet, playwright, a third of the Poets, Prattlers and Pandemonialists, a fifth of Stories From the Smoke Room, Arena Theatre Associate Artist and Shouty MC and then go on about winning awards and stuff. But conventions are just there to make you feel comfortable and sometimes, it’s nice to get out your comfort zone, ay it?
Mogs mostly writes, what he laughingly describes as, ‘humorous poetry’.
He regularly performs at open mic events and is a member of 2 writing groups based in Stourbridge in the Black Country.
He has had 2 books published by Black Pear Press.
‘Poems Your Parents Won’t Like’. Which is aimed at the younger reader, but should be safe for adults to read if supervised by a responsible child.
‘Griff’ – a children’s novel about a stone dog that comes to life.
You can hear him on SoundCloud and Youtube, or get more info on his website:
Casey Bailey is a writer, performer and educator, born and raised in Nechells, Birmingham, UK. Casey is the Birmingham Poet Laureate 2020 – 2022. Casey’s second full poetry collection Please Do Not Touch was published by Burning Eye in 2021. Casey’s debut play ‘GrimeBoy’ had a sold out run at Birmingham Rep in April 2022. He is a Fellow of the University of Worcester and in 2021 was awarded an honorary doctorate by Newman University.
Alex Jakob-Whitworth is based in Cumbria, near the Lake District (but up on the fells, where there is more wind).
The first poem she “performed” was at an open mic, written on the back of an envelope an hour before – truly! Alex attended a series of workshops during lockdown – was hooked and hasn’t stopped scribbling since. To someone who talks too much – poetry is a welcome channel.
She enjoys the arrival of voices in her poems, the natural world; enabling near mythology to step in, and letting the pen go for a walk.
Priyanka Joshi is a London-born Wolverhampton-based performance poet.
Having ventured onto the spoken word stage just 3 years ago, she has gone on to become a multi slam champion, poetry headliner and placed 3rd in the UK SLAM championships in March earlier this year.
Her emotive body of work explores love, identity, mental health and motherhood through the lens of a British Asian female. Prepare to laugh, cry and have your heart break.
Gerald Kells is a poet from Walsall, sometimes serious, sometimes funny, sometimes thoughtful, sometimes all three at once. He has performed in a number of slams, including winning the Shrewsbury Festival slam. He won the Sandwell leg of the ‘Stay Up Your Own End Competition during lockdown. His work has also been included in a number of magazines and anthologies and has published a collection of 51 Poems (called 51 Poems). He has a YouTube channel as well as poems on Soundcloud. He also likes walking, gardening (after a fashion) and going round art galleries to get inspiration.
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.
Return to the bay
I went back to Morecambe, a place I fell hard for last year. One of the places I felt I could escape from the lockdown hangover and find pockets of normal, where I met such a supportive and friendly bunch of creatives. I return when I can. On arrival, I went for some drinks with my co-host, Matt Panesh and on my way home I found myself almost passing Popworld. I asked how much the entrance charge was and it was free so instead of seeing that as a reason not to go in, I decided to venture inside as I could leave when I was ready.
I made friends with a group who were out celebrating the birthday of their 23-year-old son and was dancing with son, sisters and their Dad. A good two-hour dance with a couple of Smirnoff Ice bottles. I was still up for a sea-swim by 10am and joined Matt in the cold bay. The hangover was banished!
Workshop at The Nib Crib
I ran a workshop at The Nib Crib with many of the creatives I had met on my previous visits and a couple of people new to the venue who were attending both workshop and reading at the open mic. The variety and quality of the pieces produced was impressive and some new poetry connections were made.
West End Playhouse
We started with an excellent open mic section from LaGrif, Clodagh Delahunty-Forrest, Voirrey Wild, Jim Lupton, Louise Hart and Rebecca Mélusine Samuels.
Matt stormed the open mic hosting and treated us to a couple of his own poems from his book Tribe: Collective Monkey Poets.
Showcase poets: I loved the fact the event was so varied in style. I think, if I put a bid in for 2023 I will make the variety a part of it. 10-minute platform slots for storytellers, comedians, prose writers, short excerpts form one person shows, verse novellas, flash fiction, pretty much anything you can do with words in ten minutes. Zoe and JJ Journeyman’s sets in particular, had these bid-writing cogs seriously firing.
J J Journeyman
I enjoyed JJ’s props (a hi-vis poetry vest and eye pad – sigh! and a suitcase he took on his trip dowsing for poetry). I liked the playful rhyme of wiser and Trip Advisor. JJ stepped in at quite short notice when one of our other performers could not perform and he wrote the piece especially for The Quiet Compere Tour. At the end of JJ’s set Martin Palmer had one task to throw a Paddington bear into the suitcase…
I was amused by the fact Martin had to take to the stage immediately after failing to throw Paddington into a suitcase. I was impressed he remembered the name of The Quiet Compere mascot, Alex, the non-binary komodo dragon and greeted them as he took to the stage showing he has an affinity with some of the cuddly animal kingdom even if he was not able to throw them accurately.
I love the music in Martin’s line ‘damp pet millipede on a doily’ a surprising contrast between doilies and insects and ‘the disused lidos of our dreams’. Martin read poems about the sea air bringing ‘notions of childhood.’
I definitely feel more childlike when hanging around in Morecambe, scouring shores for sea-glass, taking brisk swims and swapping hats, which somehow became a thing during my two visits last year. I did leave my hat behind at the B & B but the host sent it to me and said not to worry about the postage, so I sent some of my poetry books for his guest library. Bit of bartering.
Zoe used props well – the coat, Awake! magazines and a Count Duckula diary. To me, as a teenager of the 90s there is a lot of charm in the references that date this piece (Duckula and Tammy Girl, to name two). Zoe told us ‘at thirteen I know how to say no to boys’ but that resolve and confidence changes with age, which is telling and true.
Sarah treated us to a poem stuffed with singing comparisons that was like a lullaby, ‘he was pulse to her beat’, ‘she was sky to his fall,’ and ‘a flower grown for a word dropped in soil’. There was a lot of detailed landscape in Sarah’s pieces and she told us of ‘closed in valleys, like gossip.’
Such concise observation was apparent in Peter’s ‘this is how we say hello/this is how we say goodbye’ piece. The line ‘the sun rose on nothing new’ has stayed with me. And the Ukranian refugees poem that tells us ‘you cannot erase a bird’s memory of flight’ was beautiful and fitting.
It amused me that after Peter’s money-throwing (he asked us to throw notes at him) and the universe gifted me a tenner on the prom the next day, blowing along with no-one chasing it, so I took it as tour income from the universe.
Big Charlie Poet:
Big Charlie talks eloquently about depression and anxiety. ‘I don’t want to admit I am struggling at a time I should be happy.’ And ‘light will come if we just let it.’
And, from The Touch of you:
‘I know the touch of you
And how it makes me feel like I’m worth saving.’
And there was an after party, a hangover, a Sunday morning sea-swim and a long train ride home. Next up Bradford City Library on 11th June.
Oh! And I will be back in Morecambe for The Morecambe Poetry Festival in September.
Steve O’Connor is a Mancunian living in West Yorkshire, where he teaches creative writing at colleges and libraries and runs bespoke distance learning courses. He devised and co-hosted Free Up, which revolutionised the Manchester poetry scene, worked with Write Out Loud and transformed their Trafford-based poetry open mic night, and co-edited all three volumes of Best of Manchester Poets. Steve’s Poetry collection, extraňo, was published by Flapjack Press in 2019. He wants more people to write; it’s his mission in life.
Nabeela Ahmed is a writer, multilingual poet, spoken word artist and storyteller. She writes and shares her work in English, Urdu and Pahari. Her poetry was the main feature of Keighley Arts and Film Festival in 2020. She teaches creative writing and poetry workshops. She has had poems published in England, America, Pakistan and India. She self published her book, Despite our Differences via Amazon in 2018 and is currently working on her novel.
Trevor Alexander is a retired Chemical Engineer living in Bradford, West Yorkshire. Since retirement in 2013, he has taken up writing, mainly poetry. To date he has had a number of poems published in anthologies and magazines in the UK and USA, in addition to his own book published in 2017. Trevor has also read his work at several Literary Festivals and is a regular contributor at poetry/spoken word groups.
David Driver is an English writer, author, published poet, storyteller and broadcaster born and bred in Yorkshire.
He has written a novel, short stories and poetry for children and adults. David has performed with The World Storytelling Café, https://worldstorytellingcafe.com/ been involved with Settle Stories. His work has been published both in the UK and the USA.
In September 2020 three of his poems were published in `Viral Verses, Art in Exceptional Times`, https://www.viral-verses.com/
The ELI 24 project brought a successful bid to Silsden in October 2020 as part of Bradford`s, Culture Is Our Plan.
Sharena Lee Satti
Sharena Lee Satti, a poet and independent artist from Bradford whose inspiring words have been inscribed on park benches in Bradford to uplift local residents on their local park walks. Nominated for the National Diversity Awards in 2022 and as one of the ’21 of 2021′ creatives most likely to impact Bradford’s cultural scene, Sharena is a familiar voice on local and national radio. Her poetry collection She was published by Verve poetry press in 2020. Her work focuses on social and environmental issues.
Kathleen Strafford is a graduate of Trinity University holding an MA in creative writing. She has been widely published on webzines and anthologies. Her first collection of poetry Her Own Language was published by Dempsey and Windle in 2017. Kathleen’s second collection Wilderness of Skin was published by Yaffle in 2019. She is the chief editor of Runcible Spoon Webzine and publishing. Her new collection Girl in the Woods and pamphlet Life Under Glass will be published this year
Nick Toczek is a Bradford writer and performer who has published more than fifty books, released dozens of recordings and done other stuff. For example, he’s a best-selling children’s poet, a professional magician and puppeteer, a journalist and radio presenter, and a bald bloke who has won prizes for his sudoku skills and for being able to eat hotter curries than is normal.
‘The most exciting and visual performer we have this side of Benjamin Zephaniah.’ – New Musical Express.
‘Toczek is bitter, disturbing and political. His language gets harder and more effective with each publication.” – The Guardian.
FREE EVENT – Showcase and open mic tickets available here:
Free 90 minute workshop (230-4pm) tickets here (limited to 10 attendees):
On the way to Quiet Compere – Chatham, I called in to The Stag Café in Canterbury to perform my first live guest set since COVID started. It felt so good to be up there and engaging with an audience again. Brilliant sets from Tim Taylor, Christopher Horton, Gary Studley, Claudia Volpe, Kat Peddie, Sam Tate and Karen Smith. I loved it. Thanks for the invite and putting on a great event Gary and Christopher. I loved the sign as I feel a lot of us have been hungry for shared words, company and hugs in the past few months.
On arrival in Chatham I met up with my co-host and fellow ale drinker, Barry Fentiman-Hall. We had a beer or three and it was good to reconnect ahead of the gig. I bet Barry was quite relieved to see that I had arrived and he would not be hosting workshop and showcase himself 🙂
The Quiet Compere Live and Online Tour 2022 is supported using public funding by The National Lottery through Arts Council England.
The workshop sold out and a dozen of us wrote to three exercises and shared our pieces. The attendees were all ages and there were such a variety of takes on the prompts.
Open Mic Section
We started with a stellar open mic section with poems from Sue Puddefoot, Timothy Green, Zack Davies, Maria McCarthy, Richard Cooper and Sarah Tait. Zack Davies pointed out it was Shakespeare Day. Richard Cooper read a poem of Rosemary McLeish’s from I am a field (Wordsmithery, 2019).
Barry had a lesson for life about knowing ‘the proper way of caring for Lego.’ and said ‘we all get our sunshine how we can’. His theme seems to be things are dark but there is some hope and it might be in the small things, so look carefully. His exquisite eye for detail was evident in the line ‘ It keeps the tiny ones amused, so that restless feet don’t wander in the life-stained footsteps of afternoon casualties’.
I think a jaunt to Kent is the way I get some of my sunshine from catching up with good poetry friends and making new ones.
Nina took us from intro to poem with an ease that tricked us into already being in the verse and shared such music with us in lines like ‘the journey gives up to the angering deep’ and ‘venture again into mist’. A line from her meme poem, ‘sipped Lipton with Kermit the Frog’, made me smile and I can’t stop saying this line over and over, give it a go, it is so satisfying.
Setareh shared with us several insightful pieces. I loved her description of ‘the exact moment you are new enough and actually alive.’ And later ‘in this moment, we are survivors’.
Ooo! The idea of ‘insects rubbing on the altar of the night.’ and ‘a pale bird in the wildling high’. Christopher’s set and delivery was spell-binding. And ‘sky is a grounded spell’ is a line I am still unpacking now.
Clair continues the spell theme, actually I would say, if there was a theme running through the event it was magic or spells. Clair shared her poem Thread and she ‘gathers spider webs in the contours of her dress.’ and this poem ends with the gentle finality of ‘night closes with a catch’. Clair, then, gifts us the weird, but totally right ‘memory turns a corner with your mouth.’
The spell-like rhythm of incantation is continued by Katy in the line ‘No antidote. No amulet. No way to avoid being charmed.’ And I enjoyed Katy’s description of ‘the sun itself in which the skin and heart both harden.’ from her poem Croonerisms from Broken Cities (Smith/Doorstop 2017). Katy also read a poem in honour of Shakespeare Day.
‘I pick up blue-sky lilies from the shores of Tsushima.” (Great game!) I had to look this one up. Sounded like more weaving of magical places, and it is, a virtual magic, but still magic.
And Nathaniel ended the event with the line “I’m just playing and acting out fables of generations past.”
Thanks and Morecambe is next on the 14th May
Thanks to Barry and Chatham Library Hub, showcase and open mic poets and to all who attended the workshop or reading or shared the event for us. Thanks to the Arts Council for the funding.
It was so lovely to have some time with poets in The Command House beer garden after the event too. So often I spend the time after a Quiet Compere gig in my hotel room looking through feedback forms and drinking a small bottle of Prosecco.
I went for an affordable and really filling and tasty turkish meal at Taze. I would highly recommend it.
Bios of all poets are available on this site under the Chatham Bios blog post.
Workshop at The Nib Crib 330-5pm £10 + booking fee (one free ticket left) Please book as limited capacity.
Showcase and open mic at West End Playhouse 7pm doors 930ish event end £5 (+ £1 booking fee)
Booking advised for open mic and audience. Limited capacity.
The Quiet Compere
Sarah L Dixon, The Quiet Compere of Huddersfield, is taking her unique show on a nine-date tour. Six live and three online events. This series will feature 73 performers and there will be short open mic sections at each event and workshops ahead of each showcase event.
The tour brings together a diverse selection of poets of all ages, cultures styles and experience, designed to entice an audience that may never have experienced spoken word events before. Sarah has been running spoken word events under her guise as The Quiet Compere for eleven years.
Quiet Compere events are unique. There are no lengthy introductions to poets, no-one is designated as ‘top-of-the-bill’ – all performers considered equal in Sarah’s eyes. Each line-up boasts a varied and diverse mix of poets, ranging from established local poets, some new to the scene who are ready to stun audiences with their talent, plus a generous sprinkling of nationally well-known poets and performers.
Matt Panesh was a multi award winning performance poet until 2015 when he “gave it a rest”. His material flitted between political social comment and crudity, and was polemic to the verge of confrontational, his shows had walkouts, sell-outs and in one memorable incident, a bottle-bin was hurled thankfully missing performer and audience. That show won two awards.
He’s written and performed several acclaimed one-man theatre shows including Welcome to Afghanistan, Love Hurts Actually, Greyhound and 300 to 1 which was selected for the Thespis Festival in Kiel, Germany and was performed on the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice in 2018.
In 2016 he moved to the West End of Morecambe where, with Nick Awde, he founded the Morecambe Fringe Festival and re-established the UK office of the International Theatre Institute.
Director of the Fringe he has seen it grow 625% since 2017.
He also opened up the Storefront venue The West End Playhouse, runs a “Make your Fringe show” Course, and produced and wrote the music for the local radio show The Alternative Space Programme putting Morecambe Spoken Word artists next to national and international voices.
Sarah Corbett is a prize-winning writer of poetry and fiction. She has published five collections of poetry, including the verse-novel, And She Was (Pavilion Poetry/Liverpool University Press, 2015), and most recently, A Perfect Mirror (Pavilion Poetry, 2018). She received an Eric Gregory Award for her first collection The Red Wardrobe (Seren, 1998) and her work has been shortlisted for the Forward and T.S. Eliot poetry prizes. Sarah is Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Lancaster University, and lives in Hebden Bridge. A new collection of poetry is forthcoming from Pavilion in 2023.
Charlie Hart is a poet who has performed across the North, and at the Edinburgh Fringe, under the guise of Big Charlie Poet for over 10 years. His work is honest, from the heart, and tries to explore topics men aren’t encouraged to talk about. He is currently working on his debut pamphlet.
Joni j Journeyman is a local to the Lancaster and Morecambe area and has recently quit his job in the NHS, following a short illness, to lead a less stressful life. So why on Earth would he agree to do a spoken word slot, with very little material? Surely this is not stress-free occupation!? Jon does agree with this fact but as a lover of tbeing involved in the vibrant open mic scene and performing arts he wanted to dive straight in to create something. Jon is a fan of the creative process and in particular the rhythm of words, ideas, or just nonsense, evident in his song, I’ve got a horse called Jake.
Pete Kalu’s poetry can be found online on YouTube, at Lancaster University’s writers gallery, in the Bloodaxe Out of Bounds anthology, scattered across other anthologies, as lyrics to various songs (also on YouTUbe) , in his own poetry collection, Mongrel Moon, within his forthcoming short story, “Want me want me want me”(Lancashire Libraries) and at the back of his sc-ifi novel, Black Star Rising. His novel One Drop is published by Andersen Press in July 2022.
Zoe Lambert is a Mancunian expat slumming it in Lancaster, whose short stories have been published here and there, including Short Fiction in Theory and Practice, various anthologies by Comma Press, Confingo and other places. Comma Press published her connected short story collection, The War Tour. She is currently working on a book about losing her religion in Paris, which she is infuriatingly refusing to call either a novel or a memoir.
Martin Palmer is primarily a poet and is based in Morecambe. His long poem Till Roll was published by If A Leaf Falls Press in 2018, and he has been published in two Literary Lancashire Award Anthologies. He has performed at a number of events across the Northwest of England and is now enjoying being part of Morecambe’s creative community at The Nib Crib, a hub for writers and creatives that he helped to set up along with local, like-minded friends.
Workshop 1030am-midday. Showcase and open mic 1.30-4pm FREE EVENTS
Book here: 01634 337799 or visit any Medway Library
Please note spaces for the workshop and open mic are limited and we could do with having an idea of the audience capacity so please book as audience too.
Barry Fentiman-Hall is a Medway based poet and mythwalker who is an indeterminate fraction of Wordsmithery. He is also the editor of Confluence Magazine. His works include City Without A Head (2013), The Unbearable Sheerness Of Being (2016), England, My Dandelion Heart (2018) and Sketches (2020) which are all available from www.wordsmithery.info/books He has an affinity with hares, cats and moomins.
Setareh Ebrahimi is an Iranian-British poet. She has been published numerous times in journals and magazines, including Proletarian Poetry, The Menteur and Ink Sweat & Tears.
Setareh released her first pamphlet of poetry, In My Arms, from Bad Betty Press and her full-length collection, Galloping Horses, from Wordsmithery. She regularly performs her poetry in Kent and London, has hosted her own poetry evenings and leads writing workshops. Setareh is currently an editor at Whisky & Beards Press and a reviewer at Confluence magazine.
Katy Evans-Bush is the author of two poetry collections from Salt, and a pamphlet, Broken Cities (Smith|Doorstop, 2017). Her former blog, Baroque in Hackney (‘The Guardian of poetry blogs’ — Roddy Lumsden), was shortlisted for the George Orwell Prize for political writing, and her essays, Forgive the Language, are published by Penned in the Margins. She is writing a book on the rise of hidden homelessness and the housing crisis (for CB Editions), and a new poetry collection. Her Substack page is A Room of Someone Else’s. She is a freelance poetry tutor and editor, and lives in Faversham.
Christopher Hopkins is Welsh writer living in the Canterbury area of Kent, England. His poems have been published in The Honest Ulsterman, The New European, Morning Star, 14 Magazine (Vanguard Readings), The Cortland Review, Indianapolis Review and Rust + Moth. He has three chapbooks with Clare Songbirds Publishing House, New York.
Clair Meyrick is a mother, poet, performer and artist. She regularly performs poetry in and around Kent and London. She also has a regular slot on radio. Published in a couple of journals and online she is now looking forward to illustrating her first collection of poetry, combining her love of painting and words.
My name is Nathaniel Oguns
An actor and a poet. I’ve lived in Kent for most of my adult life. I came to Kent from South East London. At first it was hard to adjust to this quiet area. The atmosphere and the pace of everything felt strange to me but now it’s become home.
After doing a creative writing course I was inspired to start poetry nights in the heart of Rochester. For spoken word artists and poets. It’s called ‘Kent Dreams’. So follow your dreams and use your gifts to inspire others. That’s my motto.
Nina Telegina is a poet, write and performing artist with over 10 years international experience. Nina is a multiple slam winner, including the Kent Championship Slam. Her debut poetry collection Llama on the Loose was published by Whisky & Beards in 2021 and her solo poetry show of the same name toured across Kent in 2018. She has featured in projects commissioned by The Marlowe Theatre and the Philharmonia Orchestra. Her work featured nationally on BBC Sounds as part of The Best of Upload 2020.
The Quiet Compere Stop 1 - Online - 19th March Workshop: 10-30-midday £10/5/FREE Showcase & open mic: 1.30pm start. 4pm finish.
Hosted on Zoom
Book for workshop, showcase and open mic here: http://thequietcompere.eventbrite.co.uk/
Please note open mic and workshop places are limited.
Tony Curry is a performance poet, host, and facilitator. For the last 5 years he has been the host of Word Central. He has had three collections published through Flapjack Press, The Noble Savage, Tall Tales for Tall Men Who Fall Well Short and We Kid Ourselves.
‘Tony’s words dance off the page and into your bloodstream, leaving you pulsing with anger, humanity and love.’ Charlotte Oliver, writer
‘He is the minstrel whose strumming voice consoles and illuminates us.’ Neil Bell, actor
‘This is our poetry, these are our poems. They smell of home and friendship.’ Tony Walsh, poet
Bio: Holly is a mature student currently studying at the University of Leeds. Her poems have been published since January 2021 by Ink, Sweat & Tears, Fragmented Voices, Porridge, Anti-Heroin Chic, Runcible Spoon, Spilling Cocoa Over Martin Amis and more, as well as appearing in anthologies. Holly writes about trauma, grief, council housing, being a mum, and living with a systemic health condition. She is currently working on her debut collection, which will be focused on surviving childhood sexual abuse.
Chaucer is a poet and the author of In an Ideal world I’d Not Be Murdered (Against The
Grain 2021) She has been published in journals, magazines, including: Under the Radar,
Poetry Salzburg, The North and Tears in the Fence, and was shortlisted for Live Canon 2021
International Poetry Competition for Single Poem. Chaucer is creator of Wild Whispers an
international poetry film project, and regularly curates and presents poetry film at events and
festivals. She is co-editor of the online magazine Poetry Film Live.
Dalton Harrison is the founder of StandFast Productions (a collective of ex-offenders who use art and performance to tell their stories). Their play High risk was made into a radio play for chapel FM writing on air. Dalton performs his work at poetry events which explore many themes. His book ‘The boy behind the wall’ has now been published and brings you more of these hard conversations. Dalton has written articles for Inside Time, Pink News and Sister X TGN magazine, and his poetry has been published in the award-winning anthology Bloody Amazing and TransVerse II: No Time For Silence.
Pete is an accidental poet who spent most of his life knowing he couldn’t write, before discovering in a night of crisis a decade ago that he had to. Published in a best of 2020 Anthology and Obsessed with Pipework, he is a bicyclist, dancer, programmer, and guitarist for a Morris Dance side, living in Hull with four cats and one human being. Al Head Photo
“Rebecca Lehmann started writing poetry in 2019. Her poems are inspired by her love of nature, but are pervaded with a sense of disconnection and awareness of our own domestication. From Faversham, in marshy North Kent, Rebecca writes frequently about her local landscape. She published her first pamphlet ‘She is the Wild’ in 2021 and has recently started performing her work.”
Shortly after the death of her father, poet Derek Mahon, in 2020, writing poetry became a strong element of Katy’s life. Her poems have appeared in Drawn to the Light Press, Ink Sweat & Tears, Northern Gravy, The Liminal Review, The Waxed Lemon and Dreich. Later this month her work will appear in the Irish Independent. Katy writes from her garden studio in York while her dog Sylvie chases the birds.
Jessica Mookherjee is a widely published poet. She has been twice highly commended in the Forward Prize for best single poem and her work is included in notable anthologies such as ‘Staying Human’ (Bloodaxe). She is author of 2 full collections, her second Tigress (Nine Arches Press) was Shortlisted for best second collection in the Ledbury Munthe Prize. Her latest pamphlet is Playlists (Broken Sleep Books) and she has her next full collection “Notes from a Shipwreck” out with Nine Arches Press in Summer 2022. She is a co-editor of Against the Grain Press.
Adrian Salmon lives in Bingley, West Yorkshire. Birmingham born, he was brought up in and around the Black Country and Worcestershire. His poems have appeared in several online and print journals, including Algebra of Owls; Ink, Sweat and Tears; Prole; and WRITE where we are NOW. In 2021 he was commissioned by the Edvard Grieg Korene in Bergen, Norway, to write four poems to be set to music by their associated composers. Adrian’s first pamphlet, Moonlight through the Velux window, was published in June 2019 by Yaffle Press.
Daniel Sluman is a 35-year-old poet and disability rights activist. He co-edited the first major UK Disability poetry anthology Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back, and he has published three poetry collections with Nine Arches Press. His most recent collection, single window was released in September 2021, and was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize.
Julia Webb is a Norwich based writer from a working class background. She runs online and real world poetry workshops, mentors writers and is a poetry editor for Lighthouse. In 2018 she won the Battered Moons poetry competition. She has two collections with Nine Arches Press, and her third collection The Telling comes out with Nine Arches in May 2022.
Paypal address for any donations to the tour is email@example.com
Donations will be gratefully received. The tour is funded which means all performers, co-hosts and venue payment is confirmed. However, 80% of the income to pay myself for plotting, promoting, liaising with venues and performers, hosting, thanking poets properly and sharing photos (for live events) and blog write-ups comes from tickets, workshops and PAYF donations.
This is subject to change but I will endeavour to keep it up-to-date.
ONLINE GIG – 19TH MARCH
Time: 1pm – 4.30pm (2 short breaks)
VENUE: ONLINE ON ZOOM
Co-host: Tony Curry
Open Mic spots x 12
Zoom Workshop: 1030-midday
(limited to 10 attendees) £10
(2 1/2 price & 2 free tickets available)
Book all tickets here from 6pm 1st Feb:
CHATHAM LIBRARY HUB – 23RD APRIL
Chatham, ME4 3TX
Time: 1pm – 4pm (1 short break)
Co-host: Barry Fentiman-Hall
Open Mic spots x 12
(limited to 10 attendees) FREE
Book tickets here soon:
MORECAMBE WEST END PLAYHOUSE – 14TH MAY
22c Yorkshire St, LA3 1QE
Time: 6.30-9.30pm (1 short break)
Co-host: Matt Panesh
Big Charlie Poet
Voirrey A. Wild
Open Mic spots x 12
Workshop: 330-5pm Nib Crib,
5 West Street, LA3 1RB
(limited to 6 attendees) £10
(1 1/2 price & 1 free ticket available)
Book gig tickets here soon:
Book workshop tickets here soon:
BRADFORD CITY LIBRARY – 11TH JUNE
9 Aldermanbury Centenary Square, BD1 1SD
Time: 5.30– 8pm ( short breaks)
Co-host: Steve O’Connor
Sharenà Lee Satti
Open Mic spots x 12
(limited to 10 attendees) FREE
Book all tickets here soon:
WOLVERHAMPTON ARENA THEATRE – 1ST JULY
Wulfruna Street, WV1 1SE
Time: 730-1030pm (short break)
Co-host: Poets, Prattlers & Pandemonialists
Open Mic spots x 12
(limited to 10 attendees) £10
Book all tickets here:
ONLINE GIG – 17TH AUGUST
Time: 6pm – 9pm (2 short breaks)
Venue: Online on Zoom
Co-host: Poets, Prattlers & Pandemonialists
Open Mic spots x 12
Zoom Workshop: 1400-1530
(limited to 10 attendees) £10
(2 1/2 price & 2 free tickets available)
Book all tickets here soon:
MARSDEN MECHANICS – 16TH SEPTEMBER
Peel Street, HD7 6BW
Time: 7pm – 10pm (short break)
Co-host: Rose Condo
Open Mic spots x 12
Mario’s, 9 Peel St, HD7 6BR
(limited to 10 attendees) £10
(2 1/2 price & 2 free tickets available)
Book all tickets here soon:
BRISTOL HOURS SPACE – 15TH OCTOBER
10 Colston Yard, BS1 5BD
Time: 7-10pm (short break)
Co-host: Caleb Parkin
Open Mic spots x 12
(limited to 10 attendees) £10
(2 1/2 price & 2 free tickets available)
Book all tickets here soon:
ONLINE GIG -12TH NOVEMBER
Time: 7 – 10pm (2 short breaks)
VENUE: ONLINE ON ZOOM
Co-host: Poets, Prattlers & Pandemonialists
Jennifer A. McGowan
Open Mic spots x 12
Zoom Workshop: 14.00-15.30
(limited to 10 attendees) £10
(2 1/2 price & 2 free tickets available)
Book all tickets here from soon:
‘Road-signs’ in The Journal #63
25th ‘Book-fort haven’ Haiflu haiku
Haiflu – Liv Torc (9 photos as part of this project too)
Stream A Northern Idol (for Clare Shaw) by Sarah L Dixon | Listen online for free on SoundCloud
‘Happiness in my lockdown sock drawer’. Ink, sweat and tears.
**Shortlisted for March Pick of the Month (online)**
Sarah L Dixon on Mother’s Day | Ink Sweat and Tears
‘Questions from a five-year-old’ Up! Magazine Childhood edition
‘The place I go to get away’ Poetry Wivenhoe (online)
Events | poetrywivenhoe.org
‘The only monsters I am scared of are those I invent‘ Poetry Village 7th (online)
Sarah L Dixon – The Poetry Village
‘Woodlouse’ Dreich – Summer Everywhere anthology
‘Lockdown sundial’ Lighthouse Literary Journal #22
‘Kathi makes heart-shaped toast’ Spelt 2
‘Moving counties.’ Prole #39
‘2020 by the Colne’ The Lake Literary Review
The Lake – contemporary poetry webzine – July21a (thelakepoetry.co.uk)
‘To Frank, on going to high school.’ Ink Sweat and Tears
Sarah L Dixon | Ink Sweat and Tears
‘The Leadboilers practice alchemy’ Ink Drinkers (online)
Issue #4 – FOLKLORE – Ink Drinkers Poetry
‘Valley lights’ Lighting out Beautiful Dragons Anthology
Upcoming publications: Rialto #97, Rainbow Poems.
Thanks for reading, your comments, support and feedback. Sarah x
Mechanics Institute, Marsden, April 2022
Venue TBC, Chatham, April 2022
West End Playhouse, Morecambe May 2022
Bradford Libraries, date TBC 2022.
The Arena, Wolverhampton date TBC 2022
Venue TBC, Bristol, October 2022
Plus 3x online zoom events as part of the tour.
Watch this space!
Monday 11th Jan 2021 7.30-9.30pm Guest – Cafe Writers event Norwich (zoom)
Cafe Writers January 2021 Tickets, Mon 11 Jan 2021 at 19:30 | Eventbrite
Sunday 7th February 2021 7.00-9.00pm ‘Alf Ender guest – Yes We Cant, Walsall (zoom)
Poets, Prattlers and Pandemonialists team. Please contact Emma Purshouse or Steve Pottinger for the link to this event.
The Sky is Cracked (Half Moon, 2017) /Adding wax patterns to Wednesday (Three Drops, 2018)
Also, both of my presses no longer exist. But I do have some of both books here and would be happy to send some out into the world – £6 each plus P & P or £10 for both plus P & P.
Pennings workshops 1400-1530 (zoom prompt workshops- 2 zoom sessions with writing time break) alternate Sundays and Tuesdays at the moment. £5 per session or £10 if you want to subsidise a place for a poet who could not attend otherwise.
Praise for Adding Wax Patterns to Wednesday
‘Here dance the figures of anger, frustration, resentment and desire, following the skewed steps of Surrealist spells and charms for coping. Bob Beagrie
These poems search for alchemy within the domestic, they dig through the ash to find stars.
One is never quite sure what is real and what is not. A perfectly lovely collection of Monty pythonesque poems. Wendy Pratt
Electric rain sparks off Wedgwood carpets as the everyday is made strange and startling.
#TheJanuaryChallenge #64Millionartists Feathers – make a bird.
Thanks for visiting
I will endeavour to update this page more regularly and share links to publications, photos, video and audio as these become available.
I am delighted to feature in this podcast hosted by Matt Chamberlain along with Bethany Goodwill and David Dykes.
My poems from the podcast are below:
I could talk of childhood beaches
of the rock-pools at RhosColyn,
and the eel that brushed passed our legs,
eliciting squeals and a swift, slippery exit
across weed-draped rocks.
But then I wouldn’t be here in Broadstairs,
one-fifth of a mile from Dicken’s holiday home
but only caring for the lap of brine,
to lean into the waves, to lie back and be uplifted,
to be pulled and pushed
to be part of the tide.
I could talk of a Maryport sea-wall
the wind from the North
almost blowing us over.
But then I wouldn’t be here in Margate
swimming with friends I made half an hour ago
and drinking a Margate mule.
I could talk of childhood beaches
but I am always a child when by the sea.
315 fine line horizons.
Two dozen seaside sunsets.
11 actual swims in the oceans
unable to touch the bottom.
I could talk of childhood beaches
but in shell years, in sea-glass time
I am not yet even one.
(First published on Thanet Writers, 2019)
Sold out, closed down
You can buy a table lamp for £39.95
but you cannot afford to light it.
Instead, you spend hours gazing
at a stained-glass glow
you can never own.
A haircut at the barbers is a fiver
but you and your money are turned away
because you are a woman
requesting a crop cut.
Your cut should take longer,
be coloured and curled
and be more costly to maintain.
You resort to hacking your hair with scissors.
Buy an over-priced pint with the note.
Abdul’s corner shop,
the smaller schools.
Then the good old standards go:
Marks, Debenhams, Peacocks.
Those who complain
only ever buy online.
It is cheaper and delivery is free
if you keep spending.
is dismantling itself
one over-worked nurse
or PA at a time.
as the lonely find a self-serve checkout ,
a machine for train tickets,
an instruction to disembark
at the centre of the bus.
The smiles and civilities have been sold
to the same place the grit is
and tarmac for potholes.
I am reminded of the time Kwik Save closed for good.
We ripped out the shelves with youthful relish
unplugged the freezers.
Glad we wouldn’t be going back.
But now when places close
the shelves and freezers stay in place.
No new buyers
to make these air hangars better, brighter, vital .
These high street windows
are dead-eyed and down-cast.
The heat chokes us.
The rain soaks us.
There is no comfort
in this summer.
We are all red-eyed and irritated.
We itch for a revolution.
We are hungry for it,
but we are tired
our cores are built from broken promises
and specks of guttering hope.
These used to be what made our eyes shine
they are now lit, sometimes, by wine or whisky.
Soon to be dead and dull
For all the good will have drained
from even the most optimistic minds.
when possibilities are many
as each runway, PROW or freedom
is grown over, boarded up or denied
our hopes are put out
with the small metal hat
that used to countdown to Christmas
but instead of building excitement
each extinguishing hurts
and is permanent.
We seek relief in the cloak of songs
from when we were fourteen.
We watch superhero films
to convince ourselves
it will all be okay.
But it isn’t.
And it won’t be.
There will be good moments.
Blissful weeks away from reality.
The world is dying.
There are no buyers.
We are the dinosaurs this time
hoping for a meteor
before bland-faced, blond-mopped stupidity
ends us instead.
(First Published by International Times, 2019)
Launch at The Lloyds, Chorlton, Manchester Friday 30th November 7.30-9.30pm
Special guests: Simon Howarth. Chris Woods and Kate Garrett.
‘Here dance the figures of anger, frustration, resentment and desire, following the skewed steps of Surrealist spells and charms for coping. Dixon’s pithy and often unsettling poems are populated by creatures and people on the threshold of metamorphoses, having been pushed to the limits of themselves and in doing so reach for revelations that lie beneath the rational order of things.’
A cabinet of curiosities, Dixon casts her spell in spilled wax and wash days, roses pegged to washing lines and days that start without knickers. These poems search for alchemy within the domestic, they dig through the ash to find stars. Angela Readman
Sarah Dixon’s second book is one of dizzying, dream like fantasy, edged with vulnerability. These strange, often humorous, often moving poems swim like goldfish in a pond, rising to the surface to greet the reader in flashes of light and love. This is a collection of sharp surprises and tongue in cheek observations of life and love, where one is never quite sure what is real and what is not. A perfectly lovely collection of Monty pythonesque poems. Wendy Pratt
Electric rain sparks off Wedgwood carpets as the everyday is made strange and startling. These poems nestle together in a mosaic of dedication as tributes to transformation, and the testing (and shattering) of boundaries. Steve Nash
28th Jan 2018 Story Walk – guest – featured poet Marsden, Hudd
4th Feb 2018 Pub Poets – guest spot Blackpool
9th Feb 2018 Poets and pandemonialists support Leeds
19th Feb 2018 Queenies Cafe Night – Guest Huddersfield
25th Feb 2018 Slawit Gallery – Guest Slawit, Hudd
7th March 2018 Verse Matters Sheffield
11th April 2018 Speaker’s Corner York
20th April 2018 Manky Poets Chorlton, Mcr.
11th June 2018 Wordplay – guest spot Halifax
Updated 14th June 2018
The Finding Huddersfield Blog part 1 – Huddersfield Sounds
One of my poetry/art friends (Hannah Boyd) challenged me to be part of a project where you wrote your aims for the next year on a plate and I am reporting back on the plate I wrote on this time last year.
I have enjoyed nights at The Sair, Albert Poets, Queenies and Slawit Gallery. I am guest at Albert Poets in July and looking forward to going back. It was lovely to see friends Winston Plowes, Gaia Holmes and Ian Harker read there. I have shown Louise Fazackerley and Harry Gallagher some of the local places I love. I have still not made it to Marsden Write out Loud yet. But I have set up a new writing session at The New Inn in Marsden (which usually runs on term time Mondays) £5 a head (£2.50 for your first session).
Marsden Poetry Village: I was poet in residence for National Poetry Day and I read some poems and encouraged people to write poems incorporating a few words. I was one of the guest readers, along with Hannah Stone and Jo Haslam at the opening of Marsden Poetry Village soon after moving here.
My first book was also taken up by Yorkshire Half Moon Press after I moved across the Pennines. This was launched in November 2017 and I have read poems from it in Leeds, York, Sheffield, Slawit, Marsden, Huddersfield, Linthwaite, Haworth, Wakefield and many places outside Yorkshire. My next guest spot in Yorkshire will be 11th June at The Square Chapel, Halifax.
Tramping feet and The Colne River?
I have been loving the different moods of a valley. Been enjoying the mist, the snow, the sun and the fact the towpath and river are only a ten minute walk from our house.
In the first few months of being here I was determined to find out what was over every hill. I lot of locals said I have been to places they have never visited. Highlights are Blackmoorfoot Reservoir, Golcar Lily Day, Longwood View, Castle Hill, Imbolc Festival, Cuckoo Festival and lots of traipses down the towpath and getting lost. I also learnt I can’t rely on a wifi map signal to help me find the way back in time for school run so a few panicked scrambles back to the school gate but not actually been too late (yet).
Definitely. Trains pass through the valley and we can see them from our kitchen window, my bedroom window seat and the attic velux. I don’t catch them to local areas very often as the bus stop is opposite out house and is direct to Huddersfield and Marsden every 20 minutes. We can catch the slow bus to Manchester which takes 93 minutes on a good day. This takes us through Slaithwaite and Marsden, across the moors and to Diggle, Uppermill, Oldham and eventually Manchester. The views are spectacular and it only costs a five for a day ticket. This is if you don’t mind bum ache and you are setting back from Manchester by 17.20 (last bus home).
I made new friends after volunteering to steward the Christmas light switch-on. Pretty sure they waited another ten seconds before turning on the section I had helped replace the bulbs in to wind me up. We went to The Railway for some drinks after the switch on event was completed. I learnt you do not have one pint with morris-dancers and you better know the time of your last bus home!
I wrote a poem on demand for the Thieving Magpie and Oakenhoof Troupes. This poem was added to a Marsden Poetry Trail here:
I read some poems on the Imbolc Story walk and enjoyed the story-telling magpies. At Cuckoo Day I also met the Frumptarn Guggenband who were a lot of fun. The Imbolc Fire Festival in Marsden is in the top ten fire festivals in the world and was spectacular.
Next local events are:
Wordplay – Halifax Square Chapel: Monday 11th June 2018 7.45-10pm – £5 on the door.
Albert Poets – The Albert, Huddersfield – Thursday 12th July 2018 8-10.30pm – Free entry.
Ben Banyard review via the link above
Themes include: break-up, music, pubs, friendship, longing, love, connection, adventures and moving on.
Cost is £6 in person. Or £7.25 (incl UK P&P) either by cheque in advance, through PayPal or directly to my bank account.
Dates I will be places
5th-8th October 2017 Poetry Swindon Festival Richard Jeffries Museum
21st October 2017 Sunderland Libraries Literature Festival
24th November 2017 Pamphlet Launch ‘The Sky is Cracked’
Word Club, The Chemic Tavern, Leeds
27th January 2018 Story Walk for Imbolc Marsden
4th February 2018 Pub Poets – guest spot – Blackpool
9th February 2018 Half Moon Books – support for Poets, Prattlers and Pandemonialists – Leeds
19th February 2018 Queenies – Huddersfield
25th February 2018 -Sunday Sessions – Slawit Gallery, Slaithwaite, Huddersfield
7th March 2017 Verse Matters – guest spot – Sheffield
11th April 2018 Speaker’s Corner – guest spot – York
20th April 2018 Manky Poets – guest spot – Chorlton Library
11th June 2018 WordPlay – guest spot – Square Chapel, Halifax
12th July 2018 Albert Poets – guest spot – Huddersfield Library
More dates TBC
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.
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.
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.
2-4pm Saturday 21st October 2017. £3 entrance.
Full Festival outline here:
(For The Quiet Compere Sunderland leg)
We champions of Pallion,
we builders of ships,
we pipework wranglers.
We sons of Hendon
and Roker daughters
caught by the nets
of a slaughter trawler
who stripped our streets,
shutdown our shops,
took food from the mouths
of the bairns of the town.
We stand sundered
made from the stuff
the south cannot dream of.
The tide is ours
and it is due in.
by Harry Gallagher
Harry Gallagher has been published by The Interpreter’s House, Poets Republic, Ofipress, Rebel Poetry and many others. He performs nationwide and his new book, “Northern Lights” is out in September, from Stairwell Books.
Photo by Kev Howard
Bob Beagrie lives in Middlesbrough and is a senior lecturer in Creative Writing at Teesside University as well as being a co-director of Ek Zuban Press & Literature Development. He has published eight collections of poetry to date and his work has been translated into French, Estonian, Spanish, Finnish, Dutch, Danish and Urdu.
Pippa Little is Scots but settled in Northumberland. She is currently a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Newcastle University. Her second full collection Twist came out in March this year from Arc.
Mandy Maxwell is a poet from Northumberland. In 2009 Mandy completed an MA in Creative Writing at Newcastle Uni. Mandy has performed in venues across the UK and has been published in pamphlets, zines, anthologies and online. In 2015 Mandy began running The Stanza poetry and spoken word events to bring new and established writers with their words and voices to the stage in the North East.
Judi Sutherland is a poet who lives in Barnard Castle, County Durham. Her work has appeared in a number of magazines and in a chapbook which she shares with Lancashire poet, Jim Burns; ‘Dark Matter VI’ from Black Light Engine Room Press. She is the proprietor of The Stare’s Nest poetry webzine and she is working on her first pamphlet for publication early in 2018.
Sarah L Dixon runs regular events in Manchester/Huddersfield. She hosted a medical-themed poetry event at Cheltenham Poetry Festival in 2014. Sarah has toured as The Quiet Compere since 2014 and received Arts Council funding for 24 events in 2014 and 2015. Quiet Compere events enlist 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.
Join us for a new spoken word event at the legendary Sair Inn, Linthwaite, HD7 5SG. Perform your own creative writing, a favourite piece of published work, or come along simply to enjoy. Performance slots will be a maximum of 4 minutes. This is a free event, but we do ask that you buy a drink from the bar – a selection of fine cask ales, soft drinks and coffee will be available.
If you would like to book a performance slot in advance, please contact Deira.
Ira Lightman and Angela Topping Book Launch at Nexus Art Cafe, Manchester - Friday 9th December 2016Ira Lightman
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/
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://
Angela launches THE FIVE PETALS OF ELDERFLOWER (Red Squirrel Press).
Sarah L Dixon
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!
Venue: Nexus Art Cafe, 2 Dale Street, Manchester
Tickets £3 here: http://
Open mic section available.
Books for sale.
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.
(photo by Jill Reidy)
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).
Ciarán is described as “Thoughtful and punchy” and “One of the most exciting faces to appear in the North West circuit in a long time”
Ciarán Hodgers is an award-winning poet, performer and creative mentor. Performed and published around the UK and Ireland he was part of the inaugural Team Manchester at the National UK Poetry Slam, finalist of the Poetry Rival Slam with Burning Eye books and three time finalist of Manchester’s own Word War slams.
Anne Caldwell grew up in the north-west of England and has been a keen reader all her life. Her poetry has been published in a range of anthologies – Poet’s Cheshire (Headland) and The Nerve (Virago) and three books by Cinnamon Press who also published her first full length collection. Her work has appeared in many British magazines including Writing Women, The North, Poetry Wales and Quattrocento. Anne finished an MA in writing poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2007 and performs all over the UK. She won an award to attend the Wired Writing Programme at The Banff Centre in Canada in 2008 and published a pamphlet with Happenstance. Until recently, she also ran a company called Sources that specialised in using text and visual art together with digital artist Jack Lockhart. More recently, Anne was a Lecturer in creative writing at The University of Bolton and also worked for NAWE, The National Association for Writers in Education. (www.nawe.co.uk) as their Deputy Director. She is currently undertaking a PhD. Her new book of poetry is called ‘Painting the Spiral Staircase’. (Cinnamon, Spring 2016). She currently works as Literature Programme Manager in the North of England for the British Council.
Support Poets: Steph Portersmith, and 5 TBC – 6 minute spots available through messaging me.
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.
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 accesible venue, but moved from there due to them cancelling on the night (twice)
Emma McGordon is published by Tall Light House and Black suede Boot Press. She is a Penned in the Margins Generation TXt poet and has performed internationally. She is also a former Northern Young Writer of the Year. She is currently working on her first spoken word theatre show with support from Arts Council England.
John Calvert more info soon
Steve Nash is a writer, lecturer and terrible musician based in Yorkshire. He won the Saboteur award for Performer of the Year in 2014 and his first collection, ‘Taking the Long Way Home’, is available now from Stairwell Books. His next book ‘The Calder Valley Codex’ will be published later this year by Calder Valley Poetry, and he strongly suspects his Guniea pigs are plotting against him.
Midnight Shelley has an infectious passion, irrepressible love and rarely stays still. She pulls you into stories and you are compelled to go along.
6 minute support spots available. £4 in advance or on the door to cover promotion, printing and transport and refreshments for the guests.
Guests: Hilary Robinson and Copland Smith.
A Saddleworth resident, Hilary has been writing poetry since 2008. She is currently studying for an MA in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University. Hilary has been involved in several poetry projects, including Manchester Cathedral’s ‘Write the Cathedral’ and, most recently, A New Manchester Alphabet which was published in December 2015.
Hilary enjoys writing from her own experience and has been published by The Interpreter’s House, Avis and Beautiful Dragons Press. She has been long listed in the 2016 YorkMix competition and is involved in two collaborations with composers — the Rosamond Prize in Manchester and the Leeds Lieder Competition. Hilary loves attending workshops, readings and being a member of a local poetry Stanza and she is one of the Seven Spelks — a poetry group fuelled by friendship!
copland smith, always small case, poet, musician, playwright, Guardian letter-writer and creative writing teacher. Born in Liverpool in 1953, now lives in Manchester, as do his 4 daughters. • twice a runner-up in The National Poetry Competition. • published in many magazines including Ambit, Outposts, Orbis, The Rialto, North, The Cricketer, The South Manchester reporter… • first collection of poems, one-eyed seller of garlic, was published in 1994. currently writing a book called “The 42 rules of writing”. Rule 42 is Ignore all earlier rules. • He runs Manky Poets in Chorlton, Manchester. 3rd Friday every month.
Support Poets: Rachel Davies, Fokkina McDonnell, Penny Sharman, more TBC.
6 minute support spots available. £3 on the door to cover promotion and printing costs and refreshment for the guests.
Mark is a poet, painter and photographer. He studied philosophy and politics at the University of Central Lancashire and was awarded the Scott Trust Bursary from the Guardian to study journalism. He has won the Commonword Superheros of Slam and the Glastonbury Festival Slam and has been inducted into the British Library Sound Archive. He was BBC MediaCity writer in residence from 2011 to 2015 when he quit, live on air, via a poem. He was born in London and now lives in Mallorca and Manchester.
“…Never shy of challenging his audience or himself, Mark’s poetry is political, passionate and powerful. With undeniable stage presence, his mastery of exuberant and subtle theatrics mixed with his well woven language is totally engaging. Seeing his name attached to an event is a mark of quality and skillful, heartfelt writing.” Dominic Berry.
Jackie Hagan is a one-legged plastic-scouser who tours the country with purposely rubbish puppets and bedsit special effects. Her solo show ‘Some People Have Too Many Legs; (a Contact/NRTF Commission) won the Saboteur ‘Best Spoken Word Show 2015’ award, a literary award from Creative Futures and ‘Flying Solo 2014’.
Support Poets: Helen Lagoe, Wayne, Melanie Rees, Gerry Potter, Christopher Bainbridge.
6 minute support spots available. £3 on the door to cover promotion and printing costs and refreshment for the guests.