The Bell Jar: Jo Bell's blog

"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde

Sleeping with Gordon Brown


And still it does not rain. Our upside-down summer continues. The dry weekend gave me the chance (with friend

Up on the rooooof.....

Up on the rooooof.....

John) to try and make my portholes waterproof again. When the monsoons return, we’ll see if they still leak. That would mean a lot of tedious dismantling….


No Point in Not Being Friends With Someone If You Want to Be Friends With Them is the writers’ night which happened for the third time in Manchester on Tuesday. It’s nicely produced, although in the desire to include everyone they’ve made the bill too long. Twelve headliners is too much writing to take in at once, even without an open mike in the middle. The venue, at the Deaf Institute bar on Grosvenor Street, is phenomenal – disco balls, swagged red curtains – and the audience was lively and large. It seems that prose writers are as bad as poets for talking into their sleeves in a monotone. Readers unite – LOOK UP, SPEAK UP! It’s not arrogant, you’re just doing your audience a basic courtesy.


Ann Atkinson, Poet Laureate of the Peak (who needs to get her own website, buck up!) came over on Wednesday to exercise her dirty laugh and share poetic gossip. Ann is an asset to cultural life in the Peak and more importantly, likes a drink and a chat. In fact we drank so much that I dreamed of a romantic dinner date with Gordon Brown.


Our poetry roadshow for spring 09, Fourpenny Circus, is at the very beginning of the scripting process and we met

Here we go again

Here we go again

with director Kevin Dyer for a read-through of our material so far. As ever, Kevin applied a Zen-like calmness and creativity to the situation, and we made real progress. It’s bloody tiring, this thinking and planning; we were all fit to collapse after a day of discussion and innovation.


National Poetry Day is now just over a week away. All seems surprisingly calm. Listings are coming in, posters are going out, media coverage looks like being good and I have even found time to buy a posh frock for the Forward Prize ceremony which happens on the eve of NPD. Fingers crossed for Thursday 9th, when I hope you will all be sending our groovy (free) e-poems to colleagues and friends. 


Best of all, I even fitted a little boating adventure in this weekend. Behold the Macc Canal in sunshine: a thought to treasure through the winter nights! 


Working boat on the Macc

Working boat on the Macc



This entry was posted on September 29, 2008 by in Writing exercises.
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