I recently did something I have NEVER done before – a poetry session in a real classroom with real children - YIKES! How I came to meet Miss Lowe, their teacher, is another story (see Audlem Poetry Slam) but the children of Adderley Primary School were fab, and everyone made me so welcome. With her kind permission, I read some children’s poetry by Emma Purshouse, plus poems by some young winners of the Poetry Society competition from various years, and a couple of my own. Adderley is a small school and the age range in the class was from 7 years old, to a young lady who will be 12 in September and off to high school. We finished the session of readings and chat, by asking the young students to write an eight line poem, which I stressed did not have to rhyme! Miss Lowe was in the classroom with me at all times together with her TA’s (phew) but the kids were super-duper and really chatty and lovely. AND just look at the book they have made for me as a thank you gift. Terrific stuff. As my thanks I will be donating a copy – not my signed copy - of Emma Purshouse’s book “I once knew a poem who wore a hat” to the school library. It’s a great book and explains the iguana and cheese photos! Hats off to all teachers, say I, and to all poems whether they wear a hat or not.
Giving it some welly at The Pretty Bricks in Walsall last Sunday night. Open mic for the spoken word and poetry hosted by Steve Pottinger - it was a fantastic summer evening with a brilliant audience. We even had Emma Purshouse to scowl at us, an ad hoc topical poetry competition (well done Jason Nicholas Smith) and headliner Brenda Read-Brown to finish off a really entertaining evening. The power of the human imagination in full flight is a thing of wonder.
Nine great poets/storytellers at "The Writers Retreat" last week. The monthly open mic session is at The Gardners Retreat pub in Boothen Stoke on Trent. Many thanks to Chloe for organising this.
I am pretty much a newcomer to the FF genre so I threw myself in at the deep end and attended the first ever Bath Flash Fiction Festival. Most of the time I was not sure if I was waving or drowning but I was kept afloat by my FF friends Debbi Voisey and Stephanie Hutton who helped me to choose workshops, recommend FF writers who are massive on that scene, but with one or two exceptions were unknown to me. It was a very early start for Debs and I, and by the time the three of us got back to our gorgeous Air B n B after a non-stop day of readings, workshops, snatched meals and the odd cheeky glass of fizz, it was well dark! Hyped up as we were, we all sat around the wood-burner reading to each other and drinking red wine until common sense prevailed. The next day was almost as crazy but ended in a very wonderful and intimate workshop where around eight of us read our work and had it beautifully critiqued by fellow “Flashers” and also had the opportunity to explain what inspired our story. We wound down with a walk into Bath city centre, a pizza, a meet up with more FF friends and finished off in Cosy Club. The night was warm and to the astonishment of the staff we all sat on the balcony reading to each other and polishing off more than a few drinks. Then back to our place for more chat, more wine and a few mini Mars bars to keep the blood sugar up. At stupid o’clock we made it to bed! The next day we were tired but still exhilarated and I now have lots more FF contacts AND I won a raffle prize to attend two literary events in Bath. Oh and thanks to Louise Mangos for organising the Flash Mob T-shirts which were much admired.
Hard to believe that this was so long ago - 25th May! I bombed - at least I think I did - which shows the importance of choosing poems that YOU YOURSELF feel happy with. It was such a great night and such fun, that I soon forgot about my dismal performance and had a great few days camping and enjoying the festival. Well done to friends Jason Nicholas Smith (4th from left) for getting to the semi's and GKA Gay (Gabriella) 3rd from left for getting to the finals. The worthy winner was Nick Lovell (front with trophy) for his flight of fantasy about unrequited love and er...spring cleaning. Mind-blowing.
Author - June Palmer