So much to say…part one:

Standard

It’s been a while since my last blog, but it has been a creatively (and children) filled summer…

June saw the second Worcestershire Literary Festical, with eleven days of literary events. I ran a family-friendly poetry/writing workshop which took place in Worcester Country Park, and yes, trees were very much involved. The next literary festival takes place from June 14th to June 23rd 2013. More information can be found via their website: http://www.worcslitfest.com

I also co-ran a music and poetry workshop in June with the very talented Deborah Rose (www.deborahrose.co.uk) at the Cob House, Wichenford. Children were invited to draw something that inspired them, then wrote a poem, which was then set to music by Deb. My daughter, Lissy, took part, and drew a bat. Here’s a link to her poem, set to music with her artwork:

Six illustrations from Petrolhead by Cheryl Howard

Image

Six illustrations from Petrolhead by Cheryl Howard

These illustrations were created by Cheryl as a reponse to six poems in Petrolhead and were exhibited in May as part of a collection of work by 2nd-year illustration students at the University of Worcester.

The poems which inspired these illustrations were:

High Tea
I watch my Mother climbing up walls
A Walk through the Forest
Red Coat
Beef
Strange Bedfellows

Mad-crazy-beautiful:

Standard

Well it’s now May, and despite being soggy with much needed rainfall, there is still sun of a kind. I found out in April I’d been accepted on to Room 204, a Writing Development Programme run by Writing West Midlands, which is to assist and mentor writers in the development of their careers. Needless to say, I am thrilled and very, very excited!

It’s been an exciting month on the poetry circuit too. March ended with Earth Hour, an evening of poetry, spoken work and music to raise awareness of Earth Hour. In April I read, with Sarah James, as support for Templar Poets Nigel McLoughlin and Kathleen Jones at Templar Poetry’s monthly poetry readings at the Lamb & Flag, The Tything, Worcester, (Third Wednesday of every month) I also read at Ludi Cereales, “A Celebration of Spring” which was raising money for the Worcestershire Breast Unit Appeal.

Besides readings, I ran a family-friendly poetry workshop at The Hive, Worcester’s new library and information centre, as part of Worcestershire Literary Festival’s “Literally in a Day” event.

Finally, still on the poetry theme, I spotted this registration plate recently:

In like a lion and out like a dragon…

Standard

Spring has well and truly stirred with trees pinched with green and blossom. The Dawn Chorus is making itself known, and lambing is soon to start in earnest.

March started with the roaring success of Live Lit at Arts 4 All in Droitwich, a wonderful event of music, spoken work and poetry organised by local writer and poet Sarah James. I was one of many local performers taking part, and it was my first reading for a while. Park’s Coffee Shop was an excellent venue with many of us making it home for the day and sampling many delights from their menu as we enjoyed the talent on offer.

I did a fire-walk for a local charity, Sight Concern Worcester, this week, it was oddly something I had always wanted to do, so having the opportunity, and raising money for a local cause was something I couldn’t not do. We had a two-hour motivational session beforehand, where it was explained that the material we’d be walking on burnt at 1,236 degrees Fahrenheit/668 degrees Celsius. It was then explained that a mix of wood chippings are used, as wood is a good generator of heat but doesn’t retain heat. (Think wooden spoons you use to cook with) Plus your foot is in minimal contact with the material. Then forty of us walked over hot wood to the beat of drums and whoops from the large crowd watching. Everyone’s feet survived and we all retired to the nearby bar for refreshments and our certificates, although nothing beats photographic evidence.

Walking on dragon's breath

Finally March was completed with Earth Hour, where the world’s population is encourage to switch off at 8.30pm local time. We celebrated the event in Worcester with music, poetry and spoken word, and some very, very good samosas.

I read my poem Earth Hour at this event:

And into April, which is sometimes fondly referred to as NaPoWriMo, where basically the aim is to write a poem every day for a month. Find out more here: http://www.napowrimo.net/

Pinch, punch, err fifth of the month.

Standard

Another month, March already has a briskness about it, heading into Spring, but with one eye still on Winter, the land is starting to wake.

Asleep in the woods

It’s been a busy month. The weather is far milder than this time last year. The snowdrops are still out in force, but were joined in February by Periwinkles which were spotted at the local monthly Teme Valley Farmer’s Market.

The Farmer’s market have a good line in cakes too, and my daughter was very taken with a selection of Valentine’s inspired cup cakes, which tasted even better than they looked.

It’s held on the second Sunday of every month outside The Talbot Hotel in Knightwick, Worcestershire. They have excellent transport parking facilities should anyone wish to visit.

I recently recorded a poem inspired by the market, called Market Day:

Some exciting events are scheduled for March. On Saturday 10th March it’s the fourth Arts 4 All in Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire, I’m reading alongside many, many talented writers, poets and performers at Park’s Cafe. The event runs 11.30am-4.00pm. I’m due to read at 1.20pm.

And it’s Earth Hour at 8.30pm on Saturday 31st March. The Worcestershire Literary Festival and Transition Worcester have organised Earth Hour Unplugged, an evening of Poetry, Performance, Music and Fun. It’s at The Hand and Glove, Sidbury in Worcester and starts at 7.00pm. Tickets are £5/£3.

More more information on Earth Hour, please visit: www.earthhour.org

Finally, my poem, Earth Hour, is due to be broadcast on Radio Wildfire’s live broadcast tomorrow from 8.00pm. radiowildfire.com

So a busy month, and the next month looks to be busier still.

January, February…

Standard

It’s early February, Imbolc has passed, the days are drawing out, and the light is becoming longer each day. The snowdrops have been out since early January and are holding their own against the cold bite of Winter.

It’s been a good start to the poetic year, with the start of an exciting programme of poetry workshops co-ordinated by Half-Moon/Valley Projects. The workshops will be monthly and will explore the UK’s wonderful landscapes, both rural and urban. Each workshop will be run by an experienced poet.

January’s workshop was located on Wenlock Edge, and was led by Helen Calcutt. It was a cold day but the light had a magic of its own. A sharp purity which cut to the bone.

Friends and I had an inspriring day. My daughter, Lissy, aged 5, joined us on her first ever poetry workshop. She braved the cold and jotted down words and images in her notebook.

She wrote a stunning poem from her notes over lunch.

Winter Poem

It is winter.

Winter is a cold place.
I have been outside

with mummy’s friends
and my friends.

The snowdrops are covered
in a frosty dew.

by Lissy

For more information on future poetry workshops please visit: halfmoonpoetry.wordpress.com/

I’m one of Half-Moon’s writers and will be leading a future workshop, which will be based in Worcestershire.

The next workshop is the Spring Moon workshop and will be led by David Calcutt and is on Saturday, 17th March and is in Stratford-upon-Avon. Particpants are asked to bring a line from Shakespeare as an inspirational starting point.