Two bites at cherry for Bookerplays in Lost Theatre’s 5 Minute Festival

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARobots, husbands and small bars of soap feature in two plays by Claire Booker which each won a place in the Finals Night of Lost Theatre’s Five Minute Festival earlier this month.

Thirty two short plays were inititally selected to be performed at the 7th annual 5 Minute Festival in Stockwell, south London, over four nights in front of a panel of industry judges. Ten plays won places into the Grande Finale.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlleluiah was performed by Stephanie James, despite running a high fever on the night. She snatched victory from the jaws of the flu with her wonderfully nuanced performance as Bridget – a woman who shares a bed and bathroom with husband Barry – but not the secrets of her heart.

To view the 5 minute film of the play, please click on:

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Ever wondered what life would be life after the Bomb has dropped? Wonder no longer. The food’s unrelenting, the West Wing’s tiny and the staff are work-experience robots. Nuclear Bunker offers a comic take on life underground as Lady Kay (Victoria Otter) struggles to control her scheming robot Grimaldi (Michael Hutchinson) and his side-kick Sasha (Lucy Tippett).

To view the 5 minute film of Nuclear Bunker, please click on: “NUCLEAR BUNKER” by Claire Booker – LOST Theatre 5 Minute Festival

Lost Theatre is a purpose built 180 seater conveniently positioned on the Wandsworth Road (SW8 2JU) between Stockwell tube and Vauxhall tube/overground stations. Lost 5 mInute Fest 15 It has a vibrant and ecclectic programme throughout the year. As well as running the 5 Minute Festival, Lost also runs One Act and Solo festivals. If you’d like to know more about the Lost Theatre, or are interested in entering the One Act Festival (submissions now open) click on:  http://www.losttheatre.co.uk

10 years of Templar Poetry celebrated at Keat’s House

What a joy it was to be invited to Keat’s House in Hampstead as part of Templar Poetry’s tenth anniversary celebrations last month. Could there be a more appropriate setting? Keat's House

Six poets (Claire Booker, Catherine Brennan, Oliver Commins, Mark Fiddes and Tanya Prudente) shared their work with a lively audience and some fascinating medical glassware in display cabinets at the front of the room!

Skein (Templar 2014)I read two of my poems from the new Templar anthology ‘Skein’ which contains work selected from Templar’s 2014 Pamphlet & Collection Awards. Beautifully produced and reasonably priced, it’s one more example of the quality publications we’ve grown to expect from Templar, including their latest poetry collections – Mesopotamia by Damian Smyth; The Fool from Christopher James and Beetle by Matthew Henley.

Templar Poetry publishes full collections, short, medium and full length pamphlets plus Iota Poetry Magazine. Three Annual Poetry Awards bring new poets to Templar, so look out for submission deadlines in 2015 if you’d like to be part of this impressive stable. You can also enjoy more Templar Poetry readings live at Keat’s House, including Jane Weir and Patrick Toland on Tues 24th Feb at 7.00pm

For more information about Templar Poetry awards and publications, or to purchase a copy of ‘Skein’ price £10, please click on: Templar Poetry

Ginosko open for Poetry and Short Story submissions

Ginosko (Issue 15)California-based literary magazine, Ginosko, is looking for innovative poetry and short prose. Submitting is just a click away on-line.

Inside the latest issue, you’ll find poetry by  Mark Belair, Claire Booker, Joanna Chen, Catherine Gonick, Jed Myers, Sandra Kohler and Terry Anne Thaxton with prose contributions from C G Fewston, Signey Thompson and others.

Ginosko – means to perceive, realize, come to know; knowledge that has an inception, a progress, an attainment. The recognition of truth from experience. The magazine has been published twice yearly since its launch in 2003. It’s edited by Robert Paul Cesaretti and Maggie Heaps, who are based in Fairfax, CA.

To find out more, or to download a free copy of Ginosko (Issue 15) please click on the following link:

Grab some Light Fantastic tonight at Poet in the City!

Poet in the City’s drop-in event tonight is hosted by John Mole on the theme of tripping the light fantastic.  The Drop-in is a FREE monthly event (6.30pm for 7pm start), in which regulars and newbies bring along themed poems to share (their own, or by poets who inspire them), all in the comfortable setting of the poetry section of Waterstone’s, Piccadilly.

WebI had the pleasure of c0-hosting last month’s event with fellow poet, Louise Warren. November’s theme was ‘Rumours’.  Not an easy one, but after scouring my book shelves, plus a trip to the Saison Poetry Library, I ended up sharing: ‘To Others Than You’ by Dylan Thomas; ‘I saw a Peacock with a Fiery Tail’ by Anon (one of my favourite poets!); ‘Macavity: The Mystery Cat’ by TS Elliot; ‘I’m Nobody!Who are you?’ by Emily Dickinson; plus two of my own poems.

If you’d like to attend Poet in the City’s Drop-In,  please RSVP by telephoning Waterstones on 020 7851 2419 or by e-mailing  events@piccadilly.waterstones.co.uk  Tonight’s theme is Tripping the Light Fantastic, under the expert guidance of regular host John Mole. John has been a recipient of the Gregory and Cholmondeley Awards for Poetry. He has presented BBC Radio 4’s Poetry Please and Time for Verse and, for Radio 3 he has compiled and presented Poetry Now. His most recent collection is The Point of Loss (Enitharmon, 2011).

For more information about the many events that Poet in the City organise, please visit: http://www.poetinthecity.co.uk

Smoking Can Seriously Help the Homeless

Genius Floored (Whispers in Smoke)_0002Or more specifically, Genius Floored: Whispers in Smoke can seriously help keep homeless men and women off the streets this winter, and give them real hope in 2015.

Genius Floored (Whispers in Smoke)A fistful of famous poets, together with regulars at the Camden and Lumen monthly poetry series events, have donated poems which are included in this year’s anthology, edited by Ruth O’Callaghan and published by Soaring Penguin.

Yes, POETRY does make things happen!

Featured poets include Dannie Abse, Fleur Adcock, Alison Brackenbury, Ruth O’Callaghan, Fiona Sampson, Anne Stevenson and George Szirtes,  as well as RV Bailey, Claire Booker, Josh Ekroy, Daphne Gloag, Barry Jones,  Jeremy Kingston and Caroline Smith.

All proceeds from the sale of this year’s anthology will be donated to Caris Camden, which administers Camden cold-weather shelters for the homeless.

To purchase a copy of Genius Floored:Whispers in Smoke please click on the following link http://www.soaringpenguinpress.com

To find out more about Camden and Lumen poetry events check out:  http://www.camdenlumen.wordpress.com

I was Jazzman John Clarke’s Batman!

Wash House PoetsJohn Hegley in flying form, Jazzman John Clarke and Claire Booker bringing up the rear – what a bill for the inaugural Wash House Poets’ spoken word gig last Monday. 

Launched deep in the bowels of the  St Bride Foundation off Fleet Street, the Wash House Poets monthly spoken word event is the brain child of Isabel White – no mean purveyor of verbal fireworks herself.

The poets were welcomed with open arms, including a 45 minute tour of what is one of London’s hidden gems.

Kelmscott Chaucer at St Bride Foundation

Kelmscott Chaucer at St Bride Foundation

Everything you could possibly want to know about the history of printing is here, from a working Gutenburg printing press, to exquisitely designed, modern leather-bound books and such heady items as an original edition of Samuel Johnson’s dictionary. There are more than 20,000 books tucked inside a building with more rooms and staircases than sense. Bibliophiles – this is paradise!

If you’d like to know more about the St Bride’s Foundation, join one of their craft workshops, take in a play at the Bridewell Theatre or simply relax and enjoy a drink in what used to be the old wash house, then click on: www.sbf.org.uk

John Clarke

John Clarke

You can also check out interviews made on the day with Jazzman John Clarke, John Hegley and Claire Booker at www.stbridefoundation.wordpress.com

The Wash House Poets’ lunchtime event is on the first Monday of each month, from 12.30 to 2.00pm. Next up  – Mon 1st Dec at The Bridewell Bar, Bride Lane, Fleet Street, EC4Y 8EQ. Free entry, with a well-stocked bar to quench your thirst.

Popshot Magazine – Calling all Time Travellers!

Grab yourself a copy of the latest Popshot Magazine for poetry, fiction and artwork that will send you spinning into the future and back.

Be prepared to lose your bearings! Popshot  (issue 12) by Fredrik Rättzen

Issue 12 is peppered with poems on the theme of time, including work by Claire Booker, Zelda Chappel, Aki Schilz, Jim Stewart-Evans, Roddy Williams and Barbara Wojtowicz.

Short fiction is mesmerisingly macabre this issue. Try the twists and turns of The Many Deaths of Michael Finch by Ben Whitfield or the chilling And the Glass Cold Against his Face by Thomas Chadwick. I can particularly recommend Christopher Kennerley’s The Schleepen Plan for a morally dubious solution to not enough hours in the day.

Last, but not least, luxuriate in colour and concept as you pause to enjoy the wonderful illustrations by artists such as Glenn Harvey, Tavis Coburn, Nader Sharaf, Frederik Rättzen (above), Ray Oranges (below) and Miranda Meeks.

Popshot  (issue 12) by Ray Oranges

Edited by Jacob Denno, Popshot is an illustrated literary magazine that lands twice a year on the doormats of people sensible enough to have a subscription. It’s also available at  good bookshops across the globe, or online at www.popshotpopshot.com

Submissions of poetry, flash fiction or short stories are accepted on special themes each issue. Previous themes have included journeys, birth, love, power and childhood. Details of the next theme will be up on the website in December.