Sarah James

the possibilities of poetry…

Browsing Posts tagged reading

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.

Despite the fact that my life sometime has tendency to demonstrate chaos theory all on its own, I do believe in a universal sense of balance.

Nature’s/God’s /life’s (select according to your own personal beliefs!)system of ‘give and take’  has rarely felt more evident to me than in my email inbox this week!

A message arrived on Wednesday with the disappointing news that my planned National Poetry Day (Thursday, October 7) workshops, pencilled into the diary two months ago, would not unfortunately be able to go ahead after all. Then on Friday, I received an email with the great news that one of my poems on the national poetry day theme of ‘home’ has been chosen by Jane Yeh for September’s Poetry News, hurrah!

Of course, this all helps to remind me that the best way of dealing with bad news is just to get on with things while you wait for the good news, which always arrives eventually!

On the topic of waiting, I can’t wait to see the ‘Waiting Room’ installation which has just gone in today at Kidderminster’s Swan Centre  as part of the town’s two week arts festival. The project organised by Sarah Tamar and Natasha Roberts includes recordings of two of my poems on the theme of waiting. (There is a taster trailer on You Tube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsN_YgDW2zE .) I can’t wait to check the whole thing out on Monday!

I also can’t wait for the charity reading I’m doing with fellow Worcestershire poet Jenny Hope at the Farrier’s Arms, Worcester, on Wednesday night. The event, which will also include an open mic, is in aid of the Worcestershire Cancer Unit Campaign and should be a fantastic evening, as well a great fundraiser for a very worthy cause.

It’s going to be a busy but fun week!

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: sophia83@hotmail.co.uk .

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’!

Stunning!

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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 (www.thenewwriter.com). (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! 😉

With just eight days to go to the launch of Into the Yell at Droitwich Music and Arts Festival, it has been a busy but phonically fun week.

Yesterday was a double whammy of listening and being listened to. Firstly, it was D-day for the Bugged writing project by Jo Bell and David Calcutt (http://buggedblog.wordpress.com/). Never one to fail to rise to the challenge – and glad of any excuse for taking an interest in life around me! – I spent much of the day eavesdropping. Or at least attempting to. Pickings were sparse but I made do, with the result that my first submission 7am Rising was one of six chosen for today’s Best of the Bugged on the blog. And I’ve still got two more ‘Bugged’ poems in the draft process!

Having worked my ears, it was my turn to make some noise in the evening, when I read from Into the Yell as well as some new and some old poems for the opening night of the Social Ritual art exhibition at Kidderminster Library (part of the town’s arts festival 2010).

Sarah reading at Social Ritual. Picture by Jackson Bollock.

Sarah reading at Social Ritual. Picture by Jackson Bollock.

Poets Jenny Hope, Sarah James, Jodie Lea Ford and Sophia Dimmock. Picture by Jackson Bollock.

Poets Jenny Hope, Sarah James, Jodie Lea Ford and Sophia Dimmock. Picture by Jackson Bollock.

Listening is definitely the theme to the coming few days, as I head off to Ledbury Poetry Festival tomorrow to see Jane Weir, Pascale Petit and Billy Collins. I can’t wait!

Then on Monday, I shall have the strange sensation of hearing my own voice on radio as some of my readings of poems from Into the Yell are to be broadcast on www.radiowildfire.com. I am so excited! The live show is from 8pm to 10pm and is also due to feature some previously unbroadcast recordings from last year’s Ledbury Poetry Festival. Happy listening everyone – wherever you are, whatever you’re doing!

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… 😉

What a suntastic weekend! With the good weather, Worcester Literature Festival 2011 discussions and so many readings coming up, I’m so buzzing with ideas and new poems that I don’t know what to blog about! (I’ll manage, of course, I’m never stuck for words for long!)

On top of the poetry, my camera has also been leading me astray this week. Yes, I’ve been busy snapping away in the sunshine when I probably should have been varnishing the fences, mowing the lawn or something equally practical (yawn!) but not so creative or fun. Well, who wants to watch paint dry?!

I’ve also been enjoying a new challenge – verbal karate, writing some children’s flash fiction as a fundraiser for a martial arts club. It’s certainly been keeping my imagination fighting fit! (Hence, the flurry of puns!)

Hope all the dads out there have had a great Father’s Day and that everyone’s enjoying the sun.

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