Sarah James

the possibilities of poetry…

Browsing Posts tagged into the yell

I’ve small stones in my stomach today – looking forward to this evening’s guest poet slot at The Fizz in Polesworth!

If you’re in the Staffordshire area, the evening, which includes an open mic, kicks off at 7.30pm in Polesworth Abbey Refectory. I hope to read a few of my small stones, as well some poems from my collection Into the Yell.

Meanwhile, here’s small stone day 18:

the red wheelbarrow of water ripples
breaks my reflection into patterns of light
stray grass sticks to the side

Polesworth Abbey

Polesworth  Poets Trail Sculpture

It’s been a wonderful week enjoying poetry, the sunshine – and some natural beauty.

I was delighted to hear on Friday that some of my Christmas photos had proved the inspiration for this wonderful poem by Claire Knight. (You can check it out at: )

A walk out on the Clent Hills in today’s sunshine also proved inspirational for me, on both the writing and photography front, as did last week’s excellent Parole Parlate at Little Venice in Worcester.

The next date for this Worcester Literary Festival and Apples and Snakes spoken word evening is Thursday, February 3. Meanwhile, I can’t wait for their next Learn:Eat:Perform workshop and open mic with Francesca Beard at Worcester Arts Workshop on Sunday (January 16). (More details at: and

Following on from reading at Parole Parlate, I’m also looking forward to my guest poet slot at Polesworth’s The Fizz on January 18. The publicity details for the event, which also includes an open mic, are below.

Have a good week everyone!

“The Fizz number 5 will take place on Tuesday 18th January at Polesworth Abbey Refectory

We are pleased to welcome the Worcestershire based poet Sarah James to read from her first collection “Into the Yell” which was published in 2010 by the Circaidy Gregory Press.

Sarah’s imaginative narrative delivered in her distinct poetic voice explores the world from familiar to the fantastic. Her confidently crafted poems excite and engage the reader into her descriptions of the world, often bright, sometimes dark, but always inviting us to examine the theatrical complexity of our daily lives.

Copies of Into the Yell will be available for sale at the Fizz.

Admission is FREE and soft drinks will be available for a small charge.”

Ice Alight

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I’m reading at Parole Parlate in Worcester tonight, where I shall be sharing some of my small stones,  a favourite from Into the Yell and some other new poems. So here’s a sneak preview of small stone day 6, which will be making its debut at Little Venice this evening.

jack frost feathers
the patio table,
combs quills of ice
across the glass

my flash turns
its daylight surface
to ridged night sky
bursting with fireworks

Fizz Bug!

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I have been bugged this week by seasonal ailments – but am now back up and fizzing fit, ready for my trip to Manchester next week for some MA on-campus days.

Not only does MMU have some great workshops, seminars and a reading from Carol Ann Duffy lined up for us, I’m also looking forward to meeting some of my ‘virtual’ classmates in person for the first time.

While I’m up in Manchester, I’ve promised myself a splash in the 50m Olympic pool – I’m inordinately excited about this, as only a swimmer can be! And I’m planning to treat myself to a little Christmas  shopping – fortunately for my husband, my already bulging suitcase should help keep spending under  control.  Though there might just be space for a pair of new shoes 😉 I am now starting to feel a tiny bit festive, so if we also get a light sprinkling of snow this week, so much the better.

Time has definitely borrowed angel’s wings this year as, even writing about Christmas, I still can’t believe it is nearly December already.  It will be 2011 before we know it and I am fizzing this week after receiving the fantastic posters from Malcolm Dewhirst  for my reading in Polesworth Abbey Refectory  on January 18 .

I also have some other exciting projects in the poetry pipeline for next year. But first my trip to Manchester and a 3000-word MA essay assignment to get out of the way 🙁 so that I can truly chill in the warm spirit of Christmas! 🙂

Having spent much of the week indoors nursing a cold of the virus kind, it was great to get out on Saturday night to enjoy a different ‘chill’.

Yes, it being Halloween weekend, it was the shivers of spooky tales and poetry – along with some more generally themed pieces for the less ghoulish – at Worcester Arts Workshop’s Word and Sound that helped put me in better ‘spirits’. As well as enjoying a wide range of others’ music and poetry, I also read some of my own gravely and not-so-gravely themed pieces.

Of course, despite dressing for the occasion, my costume didn’t even come close to some of those celebrating Halloween this year!

But Halloween ghouls, beasts, witches and black cats aside, I’ve also been focussing this week on a more important kind of wild animal: the tiger. This big cat is in severe danger of extinction and Tiger Tiger ( is trying to put creativity to good use by asking writers to put their talents to good use by writing about tigers to raise awareness and funds for the World Wildlife Fund Save the Tiger Campaign. This week’s poem by Ruth Stacey ( is well worth reading. And submissions are still open for those who’ve not yet submitted themselves.

And if you need some more writing inspiration, check out my fansite blog post prompt or my train journey people-watching/eavesdropping article in Friday’s Worcester News (

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!

I’m still buzzing today after a great Worcester Festival charity reading last night with fellow poet Jenny Hope.

Not only was it an enjoyable evening but we had some great poets and music in the open mic section of the night and managed to tot up £133.62 for the Worcestershire Breast Unit Campaign. Hurrah! A big thank you to all those who organised, helped, supported, performed, attended…

I’m also looking forward to reading in the Worcester Festival Phonic Room event at the Boston Tea Party, Worcester, tomorrow night from 7pm.

Then I’m going to treat myself to a few days off – maybe enjoy a week with my camera searching trees for shadows and leaves – before gearing up for my guest poet slot at Burton’s Spoken Worlds when it relaunches next month.

The evening at Rangemore House on Friday, September 17 will also be a trip down memory lane for me as it’s nearly ten years since I stopped working for the Burton Mail.

The evening kicks off at 7.30pm and will also feature an open mic of poetry, prose and sketches. Organised by Gary Carr ( ), Spoken Worlds is on the third Friday of every month. Entry is £2 and other guests lined up include Rachel Pantechnicon on October 15 and James Nash on November 19.

Poetry has been largely replaced for me by journalism for once this week – and I’d forgotten how much I enjoy it!

I’ve been working on some writing/poetry/art-related pieces this week. Much though I sometimes miss the buzz and pace of the newsroom, I have to say the creative part of my brain way prefers the greater scope for playing with words, metaphors etc that features offer.

I’ve also been on the receiving end, so to speak, of journalism, having done a ten minutes with…interview style piece with the local paper and sent out press releases for my fast-approaching charity reading (from Into the Yell) with fellow Worcestershire poet Jenny Hope. The evening in aid of Worcestershire Breast Unit Campaign includes an open mic and takes place at the Farrier’s Arms in Worcester on Wednesday, August 18 (more details are on my news page).

Anyway, in keeping with tabloid news style, I’m going to keep by blog post snappy today and finish with brief details of another poetry event, organised by Worcestershire poet Sophia Dimmock.

The family poetry and picnic event takes place at Gheluvelt park in Worcester (free parking in the pump house car park) on Saturday 28th August, 12pm-2p. Bring your own food and drink…and poetry.

The first half of the event will invite poets to read their poems based on the theme of Nature and the environment, while the second half will be open to poems of any theme.

For more information, and if you intend to read, please contact Sophia Dimmock on: .

Trying to review the past week, I found I’d been so busy I’d almost forgotten half of it already – from cycling to golfing, poetry readings to art exhibitions and great reading group and stanza poetry meetings!

Fortunately, there are lots of readers out there who are amazing at reviewing and Into the Yell now has five fantastic reviews upon Amazon (not that Amazon has any stock to sell – but don’t worry, the publisher and I still have copies!). It’s so lovely to hear how people have enjoyed it. A big thank you to all those who have left comments.

I’ve just started some new reading myself – Worcester poet Helen Kitson’s latest collection The Family Romance, which I’m very impressed by, as well as collections by the fantastic Mike Barlow and Jane Routh. I’m also dipping into some short stories ahead of next month’s reading group book, The Thing Around Your Neck (short stories by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie).

Writing has taken a bit of a back-seat for me this week, so in an attempt to spark some inspiration, my prompt today is to pick up the book nearest to you right now, turn to the fifteenth page and read the first word. (Yes, if this sounds familiar, it is elementary, dear Watson, as you too must have been watching Sherlock on BBC 1 last night!) This is your ‘trigger’ word for today. (If you find it’s something you really can’t work with, then either choose the word next to it, or try the next nearest book!)

So, The Norton Poetry Anthology being closest to me at the moment, I’ve either got the first word on the fifteenth page, ‘his’ or the next word, ‘born’. What have you got? Feel free to share your ‘spur’ word in the comments or even the resulting poem/story that it will hopefully inspire. Meanwhile, I’m off to ponder my writing ‘rebirth’!


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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! 😉

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