Sarah James

the possibilities of poetry…

Browsing Posts tagged droitwich

Some weeks are so poetically sumptuous that it’s hard to sum them up with any other word – except, perhaps, eclectic. This last week has been one of them!

My brain has been buzzing with limericks for when I go into a local first school on National Poetry Day on Thursday, October 7. Laughter was also a strong feature of another fabulous Phonic Room spoken word evening at the Boston Tea Party in Worcester. And, for once, I could just enjoy listening to others without reading myself.

But I’ve enjoyed being interviewed for Robert Lee Brewer’s fantastic Poetic Asides site at: On Thursday, I also got to chat, read and talk poetry to some lovely people at The All Welcome Drop In Club (for those aged 55+) at the Heriotts in Droitwich.

Meanwhile, I’ve been planning for my guest poet reading alongside the fantastic Fatima Al-Matar and Adele Falconer at Poetry Bites in Birmingham on Tuesday and for a 10-minute slot at the Thomas Oken Tea Rooms as part of the Warwick Words festival on Friday. (More details can be found on my website news page at

What else? A poem in the latest Poetry News and  proofs through for two poems I have coming up in Magma, with a launch reading at the Troubadour in London on Monday, November 15.

Closer to home, plans for next year’s Worcestershire Literature Festival (June) are now well under way. For those who couldn’t make last week’s public meeting, more details about this exciting project can be found on the group’s Facebook page or at the festival website at:

Now all I need – besides a refreshing cup of tea –  is to find some inspiration for this week’s writing prompt ready to post on my website fans’ blog later tonight…


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Join in the Droitwich Salt Day Poetry/Art Display

1) Choose a salt cube.

2) Write your short (three or four lines) poem about salt, Droitwich or ‘home’ (the theme for National Poetry Day on October 7, 2010).

3) Choose where to place your poem on the display. Either:

a) Sprinkle your salt onto the chips. (But remember healthy eating! Too much salt or fat can be bad for you!)


b) Add your cube to the pyramid of salt being poured downwards. How big can we make this heap of salt?


c) Build the pillar of salt upwards (Lot’s wife turned to a pillar of salt when she looked back in the Bible story).

Poems may be anonymous. But please feel free to include your name and where you are from. Children may also wish to add their age and decorate their poem.

Poems may be photographed by the organiser for display purposes.

If you can’t make it in person on the day, then please feel free to email your poem to me at, telling me where you’d like it to go on the display. I can then copy it onto a salt cube for you.

Below, I’ve included two of my own short poems written for the display to help get ideas flowing.

Pillar of the Community

It was his wife’s Lot in life, looking back.

A common trait, that left her

thoughts and body frozen in the past, alone,

when she could have been looking forward, with him.

Sarah James


salt chips chunks of flavour

tingling the tip of my tongue

with the taste of town history

Sarah James

Striking out!

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There’s nothing like a change of scenery for blowing the cobwebs away – or helping one to appreciate the beauty in those very cobwebs.

Five days at Center Parcs in Nottinghamshire has been a great chance to relax with my family, search out leaves and shadows to photograph, get closer to nature and enjoy some great cycle rides through the beautiful forest.

Like most holidays, it’s also been a chance to put everyday life into perspective and if not strike out a new path, to strike out a new sense of perspective.

This sense of re-energisation was further boosted by another lovely review of Into the Yell, by writer Sophie Shanahan on her blog at: and the news that one of my poems has come joint first in the Exmoor Society Poetry Competition.

Once the inevitable unpacking and washing are sorted, I shall be putting this energy to good use to enjoy the last few days of the holidays with my boys and prepare to run another collaborative poetry/art display/drop-in workshop at Droitwich’s annual Salt Day festival on Saturday, September 11.

Hope everyone else is enjoying the bank holiday!


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Where to begin? I think by synonym word connection, I’m ironically going to start at the end with ‘Inception”.

We went to see this at the cinema yesterday and I have to say it is the most fantastic film I’ve seen in ages. Given the usual dregs on offer for adults at the cinema over the summer, I’m guessing this is probably as well. I’m not even going to attempt to sum up what the films about or say why it’s so brilliant, it just is. Suffice it to say that I’m still stunned 24 hours later.

Equally stunning, in a different way, are the winning poetry collections from the new writer’s annual contest ( (The winner Maitreyabandhu also won this year’s Ledbury Poetry Contest  and it’s easy to see why). I have to say the cover to the new writer latest issue (July/August) containing these winning poems is also eye-catchingly stunning.

This week I’ve been dipping into a variety of poetry collections, including Pascale Petit’s ‘What the Water Gave Me’ (Poems after Mexican artist Frida Kahlo) and ‘The Zoo Father’. I’ve found them both moving and full of the stunning guide of poetry that makes my stomach gasp!

Visual art too has been a general theme of the week, as I put up my own combined poetry/painting/photography exhibition in St Andrew’s Square shopping centre in Droitwich on Monday. My display, also featuring some of the illustrators’ artwork from my poetry collection Into the Yell, is part of a local scheme to place art into the windows of empty town centre shops and will be up until next Monday. Hurrah!

Me (left) with Into the Yell artist Sam Hutchcocks (right)

Of course, I’m not looking forward to having to take the display down again, not least because I will need to find space for all the canvases. Yes, they will probably end up taking over the supposedly spare room! Still, I am looking forward to both our poetry group’s stanza meeting next week and Poetry Bites in Birmingham on Tuesday. It should be a great night, not only taking part in the open mic but also listening to the particularly good line-up of guest poets – Mike Barlow and Jane Routh. Stunning! 😉

One thing – besides the poetry itself – that has struck me most about both Ledbury Poetry Festival and my own collection launch at Droitwich Music and Arts Festival on Saturday is the friendliness and generosity of poets. (Or the ones I’ve met recently, at least!)
I was lucky enough to be taken into the Ledbury festival inner sanctum (the common room for performers and sponsors) by Angela France last week.  She also introduced me to Penny Shuttle was wonderfully welcoming and inclusive, given my smallness compared to her greatness in the poetry world.
When she found I was launching Into the Yell, poet and Bugged editor/organiser (as well as National Poetry Day organiser) Jo Bell also kindly offered to pass on details to the Bugged audience. In fact, it was in this way that I met local poet Maggie Doyle, who came to Saturday’s launch.
It was also lovely to meet another local poet, who I had been in communication with via email some months ago as she had hoped to join the stanza (poetry group) I run. Unfortunately, she’s been unable to make any of the meetings but on Saturday I got to meet her in person for the first time, which was great.
And, of course, it was unbelievably fantastic to share what was such an important day for me with both my family and my so many wonderful friends. So a big thank you to you all.

At last I am now Into the Yell! Yes, the poetry collection is now officially published and launched!

Luck was definitely on my side on Saturday as we had some gorgeously sunny weather for the start of  Droitwich Music and Arts Festival. The music at the opening celebrations was fantastic and the haiku\short poem collaborative display project I ran also proved to be both colourful and popular. All in all it was a great day, thanks to my family, friends new and old and all the people who turned up to take part and support me.

What with some great events and catching up with some lovely poets at Ledbury Poetry Festival too, it has definitely been a wonderful fun-packed week. I also finished the ‘mini anthology’ of work by children on my series of poetry workshops and had a second piece chosen for publication on Jo Bell and David’ Calcutt’s Bugged blog ( ) on July 4.

Launch over, I’ve no time to relax – not yet, at any rate. I’m busy judging a poetry competition at the moment,  recording some poems tomorrow for a fantastic Kidderminster Arts Festival installation organised by Sarah Tamar, shall be writer in residence at Worcester’s Oxfam Bookshop as part of Oxfam Bookfest on Thursday and I am going to be talking to a local writer’s group at Droitwich Library on Friday. Oh, and I’m hoping to squeeze some breathing in somewhere along the line!

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