Monday, 5 December 2011

On being involved in a vibrant poetry community.

Some brief updates for anyone who’s interested (the egotistical part of me hopes that despite having no followers, I’m not the only one who will read this). For a start, Trashed Organ last Thursday was excellent. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the other performers and discovered the beautiful tuneage of Matt Stalker and Fables. The crowd, too, was exceptionally good given the Metro strikes. All round, a fantastic night and one in which I largely stuck to my ambition to read mostly new material.

Some of that new material came in the form of sections of the sequence of poems I’m writing for the Seachange initiative in South Shields. This project’s first phase began in the summer and will culminate in spring and early summer next year with a rolling series of interdisciplinary billboards containing some of my poetry at the seafront in Shields. Unfortunately, I can’t reveal much more at this stage, but suffice to say I am excited.

Other exciting projects are shaping up, too: tonight I’m going to Newcastle City Library to record for BBC Radio 4’s Poetry Workshop programme. The show won’t go out until January, so watch this space, but it should be a totally enriching (and somewhat terrifying) experience to critique poems for a radio broadcast. The group who I’m doing that with are also the same group taking part in New Writing North’s new poets’ development programme – a series of weekend workshops led by Clare Pollard. We had the third session on Saturday and despite feeling fairly under the weather, I still managed to thoroughly enjoy it. Not only is Clare a brilliant workshop leader and editor, the group itself is warm, intimate and supportive, without being too cosy, so the sessions sit well between friendly banter and useful critiques. It’s great being back in such an environment, talking about writing and generating loads of new ideas. For my part, I hope that we can continue working together; continue building on this 'scene' and continue to make Newcastle and the North East a place in which to write, read and share brilliant literature.

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