"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde
We did make it back from Wychwood Festival without injury, and I’m not bloody surprised. A more genteel festival I have never seen. The Levellers were brilliant, Pauline Black was great….but the whole site was silent by midnight, and it was all very grown-up. Hot air balloons, not one but two Waitrose stands, and a lot of small children called Hermione dressed as bumblebees. Also, I have been completely spoilt for other festivals – we took the camper van. No more tents for me….
After the bumblebees, a week of running around like a blue-arsed fly. In That London, I had a meeting about National Poetry Day and the Olympics (no, really). There were little elephants on the streets of Soho as I exchanged air-kisses with Graham Henderson of Poet in the City. He’s amongst many helping to promote Bugged – it’s really taking off! Thanks folks for your support.
Back in Cheshire I read with Joy Winkler and John Lindley – and in Herefordshire there was a board meeting of Ledbury Poetry Festival. Ours is another quietly festive festival – sofas on cobbled streets, world-class poets popping into the Prince of Wales (as it were), cucumber sandwiches and blisteringly good poetry all round. It starts on July 2nd. Come on down/up to see Billy Collins, Pascale Petit, Don Paterson and a marvellous poetry slam.
To Chester on Friday for a last mentoring session with Liz Loxley, who certainly doesn’t need any more mentoring from me. The young writers of Birmingham, however, may do, and my Writing Squads session there happily coincided with a big food fair in the city centre .
On to Cheltenham, for Slam the Atom!, one of the liveliest affairs in the spoken word calendar. My luck was in. Though great performers like Jonny Fluffypunk and Mark Niel fell in the first round, I squeezed through to the second. The worthy winner was Spoz who gave us this appallingly poo-based poem as a finale. We will have an equally jolly time at the Pull the Other One cabaret in Macclesfield next weekend. After months of planning, the rejuvenated Barnaby Festival will give the town its cultural mojo back. Come on down and enjoy it with us.
And so on to Crewe, as poet in residence for the National Women’s Register at their Golden Anniversary bash. The coming week sees me based entirely at home – an easier week, and the Barnaby Festival at the end of it. Meanwhile…