Midsummer Poetry Picnic.

 

Blimey, I’ve been invited to read again this summer!

This time it will be at the gorgeous Martineau Gardens in Edgbaston, Birmingham, for the launch of a Meredith Andrea & Fiona Owen collaboration entitled,’Sea of Brightness,’ published by Cinnamon Press.

An oasis in the city.

An oasis in the city.

The Martineau Gardens really are wonderful, an oasis in the middle of the city and a fine venue to hear some great poetry.

There are some excellent poets on the bill,including the mighty fine Charles Wilkinson. I’m in the same writers group as Charlie and he’s an excellent orator as is Jacqui Rowe and Meredith Andrea. I don’t know Joan Poulson but I’m sure she must be good.

Below is the invitation.

 

 

Invitation

‘Screen of Brightness’ is a poetic collaboration by Meredith Andrea & Fiona Owen, published by Cinnamon Press. It will be launched on Sunday 16th June at

A Midsummer Poetry Picnic

in the beautiful Martineau Gardens
27 Priory Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, West Midlands, B5 7UG

2 – 6pm, with poetry readings from 3pm. Cakes & drinks provided – bring a picnic and listen to Fiona & Meredith
supported by guest readings from
Garrie Fletcher
Joan Poulson
Jacqui Rowe
Charles Wilkinson

All welcome – RSVP jan@cinnamonpress.com

To find out about Martineau Gardens and how to find them click here.

To read about ‘Screen of Brightness’ click here.

My take on the Martineau Gardens can be found here.

 

Naked Lungs

I was asked to read at the launch night of Naked Lungs a Birmingham based spoken word night in the heart of the city. This happened nearly two weeks ago and to be honest I didn’t know what to expect; spoken word nights can be a bit hit and miss and this was the first one. I’d met Chris Baker two weeks before and we’d chatted about what he was after, I was impressed with his enthusiasm and laid back approach to getting a project like this off the ground and promised him some stuff for the launch magazine. The magazine was the clincher really, not only would Naked Lungs be a spoken word night but it would also comprise a magazine that would feature work from all the writers on that night’s bill.

The Greenhouse Cafe is the venue for Naked Lungs and a mighty fine venue it is at that. Situated in the Custard Factory, the beating heart of Birmingham’s creativity, it is cool without having to try too hard, they do good green tea which was enough for me to give it a ringing endorsement.

The bill for that night was Seasick Fist, Annie-J, Garrie Fletcher (me,) Ben Jones and Keiran Goddard. I didn’t know any of them and I was that busy leading up to it that I didn’t even Google them, if I had of done I might have had an inkling of what a treat I was in store for.

Seasick Fist is young, vibrant and almost electric with words. He attacks the mic at such a rate that you’d be forgiven for thinking that someone had gone crazy with a diction machine gun, cutting down the rows of onlookers with nothing more than well aimed words. Annie-J is a wonderful poet that reflects upon her grandmothers courting rituals whilst extolling the virtues of playing Tomb Raider, both of these proved to be insightful and very funny. Both these performers had recounted their thoughts almost entirely from memory so I let the side down by having to read direct from my story, well, it is nearly 3000 words. I went down well and was really pleased with the crowd’s reaction to my story ‘Kowalski’ which is a tale of an elderly Polish man befriending a young Pakistani boy. Keiran Goddard was the last on and treated us to a fine selection of poems from his next collection, tales of rag-and-bone men, lost loves and city streets, which I shall definitely be checking out. However, for me, the evening was stolen by the marvellous Ben Jones and he wasn’t even in the room! Ben found himself double booked and unable to attend so he sent along a Powerpoint and audio track to stand in for him. Ben is a philosophy lecturer at Halesowen College and the flyer had promised ‘Free form philosophy, live on stage.’ Ben’s presentation, even though it wasn’t live, was enthralling to say the least. For twenty odd minutes he kept us all hooked upon his every word as he ruminated upon the philosophy of masturbation, yes, wanking. A few people I’ve mentioned this to have looked at me aghast to say the least but it wasn’t sordid or cheap; it was well constructed, painfully funny and penetrating (no pun intended.) Yes, it really made you think about wanking.

Anyway, those wonderful guys at Naked Lungs have posted a video of snippets from the first evening with a gorgeous soundtrack. Check it out, see what you missed and make sure you’re at the next one.

We’re All InThis Together.

Poetry From the West Midlands.

Tomorrow night, Friday the 19th October at 7:30 in the Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Wolverhampton, I shall be helping to launch the latest book from Offa’s Press.

West Midlands finest.

We’re All In This Together is a fine collection of poetry from writers across the Midlands with an environmental theme. I have two rather lovely poems in the book, which I shall be reading and I’ll be joined by a host of writing talent from across the region. Speakers include Michael W Thomas, Emma  Purshouse, Marion Cockin, Iris Rhodes, Ramesh Gaat and Romalyn Ante.

As well as this aural treat we also have Linda  Nevill a printmaker. Linda has designed the cover and will be  exhibiting some of the other designs submitted for the cover in a pop-up  exhibition at the gallery.

There will be light refreshments and copies of the book to purchase. Get the weekend off to a great start and come down.

Free Writing Workshops in Birmingham

I’ve just booked myself a place on a series of free writing workshops based at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts in Birmingham. The workshops are to be run by Andrew Killeen a local author who writes historical fiction. Andrew has just had his second book published and you can find more information about that and him here.

I have it on good authority, from Karen, Andrew’s wife, that there are still a number of places left. This is an ideal opportunity to hone your writing skills with the help of a published author, to read your work, or have your work read, at the Birmingham Book Festival and to possibly have you work published in  a book linked to the project. I for one think those are three excellent reasons for signing up, oh, and its free! so there’s four.

The Barber Institute situated in the grounds of Birmingham University.

I attended a writing course at the Barber a few years ago when Jack Kerouac’s original manuscript for ‘On the Road’ was on display. It’s a wonderful venue, Birmingham’s finest Art Deco building that the Observer described as “one of the finest small art galleries in Europe.” I’m not going to argue with that. Here’s the info I received with my booking confirmation.

Calling All Writers!

Andrew Killeen. Writer in residence at the Barber Institute.


Would you like your story to be read at the Birmingham Book Festival? Or even published?

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts invites aspiring writers to join a series of free writing workshops exploring the theme of ‘The City in Art’. These 3 workshops will be led by novelist Andrew Killeen; this year’s Barber writer-in-residence.

Participants will write and develop stories inspired by the fascinating exhibition Cityscapes: Panoramic Views on European Coins and Medals as well as other city-themed works in the collection. A selection of stories will then be read out at a live event during the Birmingham Book Festival, on Thursday 11 October, at the Barber, and may be published in a book produced as part of the project.

Workshop dates (all workshops 1pm to 4pm):

Sunday 12 August Exploring exhibitions/collections and developing ideas

Sunday 2 September Sharing and discussing drafts

Sunday 16 September Reading and celebrating finished stories

Participants must commit to attending all three workshops.

For further information and to reserve your place, please contact the Learning and Access Team on: Tel. 0121 414 2261 / 7335 or Email education@barber.org.uk

Five minutes with (Sir) Andrew Motion

I’ve nicked this straight from the BBC site. It’s well worth five minutes of your time to hear him talk about the distinction between prose and poetry and why he thinks poetry is still the most powerful art form. Click on the link below to go to the BBC site. It seems the Beeb wont allow me to share their vids.

Sir Andrew Motion.

There’s also a great one with Philip Pulman where he talks about who he writes for and what’s important to him as a writer. Some nice slagging off of the UK’s restrictive National Curriculum in schools as well.

Philip Pullman.

City Voices (part 3)

This coming Tuesday, April 10th, I shall be reading at City Voices in Wolverhampton. This will be my third reading at City Voices and it will be the first time that I’ve read prose, in the past I’ve read poetry. I suppose I should point out that I will be reading my own work, I thought that was obvious but somebody recently asked me who’s work I read out, so there you go.

City Bar, Wolverhampton.

City Voices is run by Simon Fletcher and performances are through invitation only, there is no ‘open mic’ slot, so it’s an honour to be invited back again.

The venue is the City Bar on King Street, which is a very relaxed and understated place, and the audiences have always been friendly and enthusiastic. They are a discerning bunch and wont applaud any old crap, so fingers crossed for next Tuesday.

I have written a number of fine short stories recently as part of the Tindal Street Academy Masterclass. ( I attended the Masterclass from January to March and I promise I’ll write something about it soon. )

 

If you enjoy tales of loss and longing, despair and redemption, destructive youth and the naivety of old age then you really should get down there on the 10th of April.

 

City Bar, tucked away near Wolverhampton train and bus stations and very close to ample car parking.

 

If you’re in Wolverhampton, or striking distance, then come down to the City Bar for fine words and excellent company. See you there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

City Bar location.

The City Bar,
2-3 King Street,
Wolverhampton
WV1 1ST

Radio Gar Gar

Two radio highlights for me this week. Yesterday I was on the Jeremy Vine show ranting at Vanessa Feltz and some daft Tory Community Nurse from Devon and I’ve just discovered that my reading of my very own ‘Notown’ poem is now ‘in the loop at Radio Wildfire.

Yesterdays phone in was about pensioners loosing their ‘perks’ to help pay for the current financial crisis that we find ourselves in. The person who proposed this wonderful idea cited an example of a pensioner he spoke to saying that he was glad of the heating allowance as it helped to heat his pool through the winter! Not a typical pensioner I’m sure we’d all agree, also I highly doubt that the nurse from Devon had a typical sample of pensioners to base her assumptions on, i.e. they’re all minted and should pay through the nose for everything. I had a good rant at a researcher on the phone and before I new it I was put through to Vanessa herself. I was prompted by the researcher to repeat what I’d said as loudly as possible and whilst I was actually listening to the nurse’s claptrap I was urged to but in whenever I wanted (you guys don’t hear that on the radio.)

I was thoroughly disgusted at what these out of touch Mail readers were proposing and tried as best I could to articulate that on national radio but it’s frustrating, all the things you realise you could’ve said once it’s over. You can listen to my brief explosion across the airwaves here: Radio 2 It starts round about 108 minutes and I come in just after David Bowie’s ‘Changes’ (roughly 138 mins.) Have an earful and let me know what you think by leaving a comment here.

Some of you may have already checked out Radio Wildfire, it is an internet radio station dedicated to spoken word and experimental poetry as well as short stories and musicians. You can get a double billing of Fletchers on the ‘Loop.’ You can hear my reading of ‘Notown’ and Simon Fletcher’s ‘Creative Writing’ recorded live at Wolverhampton’s City Voices as well as lots of other lovely stuff so check that out here at the Loop.

Once again have a listen and let me know what you think by leaving a post here. Many thanks for taking the time to read this.