Spring time. We celebrate by putting the clocks forward. The natural world celebrates by shagging itself silly. The jolly
sound of duck rape fills the air by my boat: the countryside heaves with evidence of reproduction, as I saw during a little walk in Cheshire. Any good the walk did me was undone at a debriefing dinner with the Fourpenny Circus crowd. We ate copiously, congratulated ourselves on the tour and casually avoided the subject of whether we should do another show.
Fantastic news on Wednesday, when I heard that National Poetry Day has been successful in a bid for funding to help us in 2010/11. The recession and other factors have had an immense impact on funding applications. Many worthy and established projects have had grants declined: it was a huge relief that this one, at least, has made it through. The theme this year will be HOME – which covers ideas like identity, place and family. So get planning for October 7th.
After that walking-on-air moment, it became a week of loveliness and inspiring, productive meetings with creative folk. In Birmingham there was a meeting about the Arvon Foundation, and I went on from it to MC Charlie Jordan’s showcase performance at West Brom Words. Not only Charlie but Matt Man Windle, Dan ‘Babyface’ Cullen and Byron Vincent gave stonking performances. All our Brum chums were in the audience and you could, as they say, feel the love. You couldn’t have thrown a faggot and peas without hitting a Birmingham Poet Laureate. Read a review here.
I was back in Brum at the weekend with Leila Rasheed and David Calcutt for another Writing Squad. There were energising and lively conversations with them and with Jonathan Davidson – what a well of good ideas he is – then straight up to Kendal for a brief appearance at Kendal’s Brewery Arts Centre. Marvin Cheeseman was the main reader and he was brilliant. On the way back to Macc I called in at Preston for a planning meeting with Jenn Ashworth, to firm up plans for our new show Too Much Information which oddly enough, opens at the Brewery in a fortnight.
This week’s new discovery is Fourteen magazine, a dinky little journal devoted to 14-line poems. I’ve also joined Second Light because despite my reservations about single-gender groups, the quality of the writing is wonderful.
Brace yourselves, because in a week or two I’m going to have you writing renga. It won’t hurt a bit and you’ll be helping me with a big national project…. For now, however, your mission is to write a piece inspired by myth, legend or fairy tale. Try not to do a Carol Ann Duffy and produce a ‘Mrs Santa’ etc – but give me a fresh take on an old story, and post it in Comments before next Sunday. Fab!