Spoken word @ Caffe Del Nino’s – 12.10.17

poetry

As always, I returned to Spoken Word at Cafe Del Nino’s this month. The spoken word event takes place monthly, and you can keep up to date with event details by looking on their Facebook page – Speaking out Midlands.

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Scarlett Ward – IG: @scarlett.ward

I was pleasantly surprised arriving at Nino’s to see a crowd and no seats! With the evening at Nino’s I have found, in comparison to other events, that these evenings are very intimate and genuine. So, to arrive struggling to find a place to sit and drink an unhealthy amount of coffee, was actually rather nice and intriguing.

After discussion with some of my friends who are also poets, we all agreed that Nino’s provided the perfect setting and audience to debut a new piece, or to test a new approach to your performance. I would also say, that it is the ideal evening for any new poets who want to share their work. The first time I read aloud was at Caffe Del Nino’s, and I can say from experience how welcoming and beautiful the familiar faces are there.

Things were ran and maintained a little differently this month, working on some feedback that the evening lost some momentum by the 9pm mark. I must say, all compliments to Charlotte Postings, event host and organiser, for wanting to work on this and achieving it to its entirety. The evening overall, was the perfect blend of exciting and genuine.

The evening began with a beautiful headline set from Emily Galvin. For the next year, I am shadowing Emily in our laureate positions, and her set reminded me how lucky I am to be doing so. Emily introduced us all to her new collection ‘Anna’  which is truly beautiful, and definitely worth grabbing yourself a copy.

I was lucky enough to follow Emily onto the mic, performing two of my poems which I hadn’t before: ‘Me, and Her’ and ‘Loose women’

 

I am also always grateful to hear Scarlett Ward read her poetry. I would hugely recommend looking at her Instagram (link above) as she creates the most wonderful visual poetry. Scarlett is also a graceful and inviting reader, who seems to take you away with her words in an instance.

Nino’s also implemented a mix of live music, with an acoustic performance of ‘Starships’ by Nicki Minaj which honestly painted smiles across the audience.

 

If you’re interested, keep updated with Speaking up Midlands on their Facebook page.

 

 

 

 

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‘me, and Her’ – World Mental Health Day

poetry

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I don’t usually take a moment on my blog to sit and talk in depth about a poem, its meaning and purpose. However, as it is World Mental Health Day, I want to speak more about this poem and this post.

Mental health is as important as physical health, so why is it that we feel unable to talk openly about it?  There is a scary stigma surrounding the conversation of mental health which builds a huge barrier to helping each other and often reassurance.

This lack of open and welcomed conversation can lead to the reclusive feelings of being alone whilst struggling with a mental illness. I can only advise to reach out to a close friend or family member at this point, and to be so strong in which you break the barrier created by the stigma.

However, I know it is not always that easy, and not many people reach out for help or reassurance. Instead, we seem to tame our mental health and find our own ways of dealing with it or taming it. An example of this is self-help calming videos for anxiety on YouTube. Poetry and writing is also an incredible self-help mechanism for mental health, and is also an art form which allows you to express and communicate difficult feelings.

‘me, and Her’ is my first poem which I have transformed into visual poetry. I wanted to do this, not only to test myself and my imaginary drawing skills, but to demonstrate exactly how interests such as poetry, art and painting can be used as a coping mechanism.

I never thought that I would be thankful for some of the things that have happened to me, although they could have been much worse. But from time to time, things happen for a reason, and I am certain that these things were meant to happen to me to put me where I am today. A majority of my work is a result of these things,  and although I have a long way to go, I am grateful.

“Art allows the unspeakable to be spoken”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q&A – Poetry

Personal, poetry

As part of my role as Staffordshire’s Young Poet Laureate, it is part of my job to promote poetry for young people. It was recently suggested to me that I answer a few questions and share my experience of how/why I started, in hope that it may encourage you to engage too.

Q: When did you start writing poetry?

A: I don’t think that I could certify a certain point in my life in which I totally started writing, and had not done so before. When I was younger, I used to write all the time. Not so much poetry, but short stories. However, if I really had to state a date, I would say mid-2016 was the point where I starting writing seriously.

Q: What inspired you to start writing?

A: Without sounding cliche, I started to write as a recovery / coping mechanism. I gradually built up a great amount of anger and upset towards something that had happened to me, and so I wrote endlessly about my feelings which resulted in ‘The Coward of Charlemagne’  and ‘I fear white father, it was my own fault’.  However, I have poems before these two, and these were produced out of interest. I love the layers of meaning within a poem, and how one poem can mean one thing to someone, but something entirely different to another.

Q: Favourite poem or poet?

A: I find this question really difficult.  My first favourite poets were Charles Bukowski, Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac. But now it ranges, I am a huge fan of T.S. Eliot.

Q: What would you say to young people that are interested in beginning to write poetry?

A: To just write. write anything, fiction or anything based on real life experience. I think there is a quote wondering around the internet at the minute, and its something along the lines of “whatever you are most scared about writing-write that.”. Young people are often labelled as careless, I’d love to see young writers prove that wrong.

 

within darkness and light – poetry collection – compiled by Paul b Morris

poetry

 

I just wanted to share this quick video giving an insight to this flawless collection of poetry, which I had the pleasure of being involved with.

All proceeds regarding the sale of this collection are going to leading UK mental health charity, Mind.

You can buy a copy yourself for £6.99 paperback, and £1.49 kindle edition. The link is below:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Within-Darkness-Light-Collection-Poetry/dp/1975631307/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1506967200&sr=8-1&keywords=within+darkness+and+light

Staffordshire Young Poet Laureate 2017/18

poetry

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28th September 2017, National Poetry day, marks the official appointment of my new role of Staffordshire Young Poet Laureate. Even now, a month or so after finding out I was soon to be appointed, I am so overwhelmed and excited about my new position.

You can watch former YPL, Izzy Horsley, hand over the position via the link below.

Unfortunately, I was definitely the most unprepared person at the event. Not only did I improvise my speech, but also the only poem I had to hand at the time was good old ‘Norma’.

Nonetheless, I had an amazing and very inspiring evening. I am so excited to be working with Emily Rose Galvin, the new Poet Laureate for Staffordshire (and the first female one too!) – https://staffordshirepoetlaureate.wordpress.com/ 

The event also marked the offical launch of the Staffordshire Poetry Collection, In conjunction with the current poet laureate, Bert Flitcroft. The collection is stunning, and really portrays the beauty of Staffordshire.

Staffordshire Poetry Collection

You can view the collection online.

 

National Poetry Day 2017 – ‘Be Fire’

poetry

Happy National Poetry Day 2017!

This year the theme is freedom, knowing I wanted to produce something for today, I have toyed around with a variety of different ideas and topics that I feel relate to the theme of freedom. However, this poem seemed to show itself to me, instead of being something I revised in advance.

‘Be Fire’ tells the story of freedom of self.

She was a mosaic, breathtaking

blue and red and Jesus Christ.

She gave love and trusted

as condemned by He.

She would never portray herself as shattered

only a tesserae of what she had done.

When the sun shone on her picture of roses,

the pieces of stone exposed the thorns on Paradise Lost

and innocence too –

So Samson groped the temple’s post in spite,

in jealousy of her power and control of the observer.

She showed the ethereal sky

beyond the decaying trees

like the one she knelt at the bottom of,

with serpent secrets and bold words-

the prince of devils, but which one?

Shaking and frail, swallowed up, pinned up.

Far beyond the point of saying.

Strength, are you diminished

and am I so little as these thorns?

By fate taught, so small as an object,

I found the words –

is Paradise regained?

“Fallen cherub, to be weak is miserable”

“Here in the heart of Hell, be fire”.

She was never shattered.

She was a monument, a sacramental

in wait to be polished.

There were blues and reds in the night sky at her nib fingertips.

A breathtaking figure of the battles

She had won.

 

 

Something to remember

Personal

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Something I have learnt recently, and feel the need to share, is that you can do whatever you want as long as your heart is in it. There are many quotes I seem to live by, but this is one which I have especially recognised with recently.

The night before my Young Poet Laureate (somewhat) competition, I had that sudden burst of self-doubt and unworthiness towards the recognition towards my work. I was sat with my partner and expressed this, and I recall saying “You don’t understand how much this means to me“. I have been writing since I can remember, and I just could not comprehend showcasing it before judges for the first time. However, the reassurance I needed at that time, I said myself- I knew exactly what this milestone would mean to me and so all I needed to do was to display that.

This sudden change in my mindset led to me thinking about how many individuals hold back due to the power of self-doubt. Writer or not, I think that the influence of enthusiasm and passion for something you love is not something you should conceal. There is so much power in love, and allowing your passion to drive you can result in the greatest of opportunities.

So, something to remember, is that you can do whatever you want if your heart is in it. If your heart is not in it, you might consider that you are not doing what you love.

 

Reading LIVE @ Cafe Del Nino’s – ‘Norma’ & ‘Now I Know’

poetry

Finally, I returned to Speaking Out Midlands poetry night, hosted monthly at Cafe Del Nino’s. I read two relatively new poems, ‘Now I know‘ and ‘Norma‘. You can watch my performance here.

Nino’s is becoming a space for all different types of poets, from the reader to the spoken word performer, first-timers to those who are more professional. It is truly beautiful to be part of its growth, I can’t wait to see what happens over the next year or so.

If you are from Staffordshire, or fancy travelling down, Speaking Out Midlands host their poetry nights once a month, all details can be found on their Facebook page. If you fancy an insight of the evening, I recorded a short vlog not too long ago, which you can watch here.