Sarah James

the possibilities of poetry…

Browsing Posts tagged launch

Small Thinking

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With the Birmingham launch on Thursday, I’m thinking ‘bugged’ for this week’s prompt.  Not in terms of overhearings but of things you can hold on your palm: insects.

Now, you don’t have to actually physically catch one in your hand but if you can find a live one to watch all well and good. If not, choose a bug-size insect and see what pictures or video you can find on the internet. If you have time, do a little research. Does it have any interesting or unusual habits? Is there anything that interests or intrigues you? Either in terms of the animal itself or as a symbol or part of something else…

If all else fails, with Halloween coming up, why not try placing your creepy-crawlies into a spooky setting and see where that takes you. But watch out for things that go bump in the dark!

Home Stretch

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National Poetry Day may be over but I’ve been making the theme stretch by enjoying a part-relaxing, part-heavily-MA-laden week at home.

It’s back on the road next week though with a reading at Inkberrow near Redditch on Tuesday lunchtime to prove that this area really is full of talent and variety.

Then on Thursday evening it’s the Birmingham launch of the Bugged anthology at the Ikon Gallery as part of the Birmingham Book Festival. I won’t be reading person this time but the launch will feature other live readings and my poem video version of 7am rising, which is my poem in the anthology.

Meanwhile, if you’re at home, the new Birmingham Book Festival The Loop is now playing on www.radiowildfire.com and includes my Helen Bamber Foundation National Poetry Day poem Silent Traffic, as well as lots of other spoken word gems!

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: http://blog.writersdigest.com/poeticasides/2010/09/23/InterviewWithPoetSarahJames.aspx. 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 http://www.sarah-james.co.uk/?page_id=184.)

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: http://www.worcslitfest.com/.

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…

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 (www.gary-carr.me.uk/worlds.html ), 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.

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 (http://www.bugged.org.uk ) 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!

I’ve been thinking a lot over the last few weeks about my previous fansite blog about the criticism/praise that really matters to me as a writer.

One of the Mums from school, whose son is in the same class as my younger boy, is a singer, musician and songwriter. It was lovely when she read the collection to get almost instant feedback from her while she was in the process of reading it in the form of a series of text listing her favourite poems. And when she said that she’d like to borrow one of the lines for a song…Similarly, when a poet friend said she’d like to use one of the poems in some of her poetry workshops.

Of course, all this means the more to me as Into the Yell F-day, festival-day (or should that be L for launch day?) approaches and I get progressively more nervous. (The tell-tale signs including a tendency to insomnia and eating too much chocolate!) I am looking forward to it though, fingers crossed for nice weather, and have been distracting myself with some more advance haiku for the collaborative display. I even got both my sons to write a short poem, though one had to be bribed to do so!

Anyway, here’s my latest offering, ready for the day:

festival of arts
music, painting, poetry
fun for all ages

It’s been a fantastically busy but productive week on the poetry front.

The Into the Yell display is  sorted, ready for the collection launch at Droitwich Arts and Music Festival of July 10. The collaborative haiku project I’m organizing for the festival on July 10 is also well in hand. And my Window on the Arts poetry, photography and art display is now finalised for July 19 to August 2 in Salters Shopping Centre, Droitwich.

Into the Yell has also received its first post-printing review this week – and a fantastic one too! – from Magdalena Ball at Compulsive Reader: http://www.compulsivereader.com/html/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=2521 .

I had a great time reading from Into the Yell and other poems at The Phonic Room at Boston Tea Party in Worcester on Thursday night. (It’s a great venue!) And the same day I also found out that my poem Preparing had been chosen as Ledbury Poetry Festival’s winning May theme poem for the festival blog at http://alwaysbeapoet.blogspot.com/!

All this – with a children’s party also organised for tomorrow – and I still managed to squeeze in a leisurely breakfast on the decking in the sunshine this morning, complete with Derek Walcott’s White Egrets, which I’m still dipping into. Of course, the same time tomorrow morning and I may not be feeling quite so relaxed… 😉

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