Yes, we are considering, digesting, celebrating and, gosh-darn-it, just totally absorbing all things poetic today. Below I am posting the video of myself doing the Sing for Water Poem ‘When the Rain Falls’ at last weekend’s Riverside Festival, and I hereby formally invite you to send me your own poems so I can put them on here.
Please let me have anything you’ve done that you’re happy with and would like others to see and comment on. I’m interested to see what people are writing so don’t hold back – if you don’t want anyone to see it just yet you can email it for my comments or if you definitely want it on the blog, then send it in a comment below and I’ll include it in next Monday’s post. Poems can be in any style or format but no more than 50 lines please. Just email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or include them in a comment below.
And now! let us celebrate what a wonderfully poetic scene Leicester has become in recent years. Nowadays we not only have Word! where the latest act was John Hegley; we have Pinggk! which nurtures new talent from within as well as bringing in known poets from outside (more of this anon): we have Carol Leeming who has just been made a FRSA* – and we have an ever-expanding roster of venues which are prepared to consider hosting poetry performances. Just this week I have been entertained by Leicester Calligraphers who have made works of art from some of my poems and many of whom purchased my latest pamphlet, ‘The Ballad of the Bowstring Bridge’.
Life can be utterly serendipitous too: on Saturday night on the bus I bumped into Ruthie, a musician of my acquaintance. She was sitting at the front nursing a guitar. ‘Are you off to play somewhere?’ I asked.
‘I am,’ she said: apparently Steve Cartwright had organised an evening at the Shed, a dark and dingy but well-loved music venue in town. I know Steve from various poetry and music groups including Yesim’s and Word! so having sold Ruthie one of my poetry pamphlets I thought I’d accompany her for half an hour and a half of beer. Alas! there was no proper beer at the Shed so I was forced to make do with a rather nasty tin of John Smith’s; however, the company made up for the poor quality of the ale. And just as I was thinking how great it would be to do a couple of poems there, Steve came up and asked me if I would do a couple of poems! And I did: I gave them two about local bridges, the Ballad of the Bowstring Bridge and the rather less lament-like Ode to the Upperton Rd Bridge. The latter is done in the style of William McGonagall and usually raises a laugh or two: they didn’t laugh much and the lights were so bright I couldn’t even tell if they were smiling, but they listened intently and afterwards a couple even asked me to sign their pamphlet and write on the back which venues I regularly perform at.
So that was a great end to Saturday.
As if this weren’t enough, this month’s other news is that, following in the footsteps of Mike Brewer and his partner Graham (the Two Old Rhymers) who headlined at Pinggk! last month, I, too, am down to headline there in the not-too-distant future! So thanks to Bobba and I’ll let you know when it’s coming up.
In the meantime, here I am, along with the good people of Bede Island Park and the Sing for Water choir, doing the poem ‘When the Rain Falls’:
Hope you like the new format of the blog. Please comment whether you do or not. And now, off you go to get those poems ready. Go on! That’s it. Bye now….
*Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts