On Monday night I went to a Poetry evening in Manchester, because I wanted to meet fellow Salt poet Andrew Philip, who was visiting the area from Scotland. We arranged to meet, together with two old friends of mine, Steve Waling, also a Salt poet, and John Calvert, a very versatile poet who like me writes for both children and adults.
The event was dreamed up and hosted by poetry pixie Jackie Hagan, who made it all magical to fit in with her title. There were glittery table cloths, candles and iced fairy cakes with quirky messages on them. Jackie showed a powerpoint throught with some fantastical, surreal and sometimes cutesy images which was on a loop behind the performers. THis gace a great visual focus and occasionally fitted in with the poems being performed. It was a lively event at The Sandbar, with a huge variety of poets. I wouldn’t class Andy or myself as performance poets but we managed to hold our own, partly because the audience was supportive of every performer, which is exactly what these events ought to be like. Jackie’s idea was that people should be able to use the regular event as a platform to try out new things. She has a confident manner and hosted the whole night very entertainingly, with slick links between each act.
This event was a little out of my comfort zone, but was thoroughly enjoyable.
Last night’s reading at Northwich Library was fun. As usual (well it is only the second one) I started off the night, then Peter enthralled us with his gritty, down to earth and sometimes funny poems. I still love the tree poems best. Peter has a lovely way of writing: close to conversation yet heightened. The readaround section was interesting, with a wide variety of material. The audience was different this time and it was nice to see some new faces.
I have a tight deadline for a teachers book for GCSE new specifications on teaching poetry, which is jobbing work for a poet but it does help pay the bills. I am still working steadily on the John Clare book, dying to get to the chapters where I can write about my top favourite poems, and putting poems in order for a new submission.
Just been reading Chris Hamilton-Emery’s excellent book, 101 Ways to Make Poems Sell. It’s given me lots of ideas about how to reach a wider readership and work more effectively to help publishers. Since my last publisher disappeared from the earth’s crust, this is all fascinating for me. It’s good to know I am doing a lot of the right things already, but it has given me some fun ideas on more things I can be doing. So watch this space.
Am still VERY excited about Salt doing my children’s collection as a solo collection for the short people has always been a dream of mine – it will make poets-in-schools bad much less cumbersome! Awaiting a delivery of natty postcards to contact local schools, with my poem ‘My Thumb’ on the front. I loved the two days I did in Huyton.
Meanwhile, I await news of my Oxford application, determined not to be downcast if I do not get on the course. What will be will be.