Guildford Poetry Scene Thrives at The Keystone and Bar Des Arts

Keystone Anthology 2015_0002Two visits to Guildford in one week and I’ve begun to feel like a poetry commuter! First up I was there for the launch of The Keystone Anthology, which is a roller-coaster of a read. Concrete poetry, free-verse, traditional form, politics, love, humour, anatomical conundrums  and amorous fridges all jostle for the reader’s attention.

Poems in the anthology have been written by the 1,000 monkeys (aka poets who performed at The Keystone or Bar des Arts last year) and is superbly edited by  Janice Windle. Keystone Anthology 2015_0001

There’s a generous 164 pages of poetry by 56 poets including Chrys Salt MBE, Bernard Kops, David Cooke, Ghareeb Iskander, Wendy Klein, Amy Neilson Smith, Bethany W Pope, Claire Booker, Nancy Charley and Steve Pottinger.

The first edition sold out, but more copies will shortly be available at Dempsey&Windle – books, pamphlets and poems

Pop Up Poetry June 15 Surrey’s capital city beckoned again only days later, as I’d been invited by the 1,000 Monkeys to perform a set at the monthly Bar des Arts poetry shindig alongside Elaine Stabler and Hugh Greasley. So it was Clapham Junction (platform 11, swarming with cut-throat commuters returning to roost) and due south to this lovely venue, nestling by Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud theatre. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe turn-out was lively and perfectly formed, including some wonderful open mic madness by Alex Twyman, Donall Dempsey and a top-hatted gothic bard. The 1,000 Monkeys meet at 7.30pm every third Tuesday of the month at The Bar des Arts, Weymead House, Milbrook, Guildford GU1 3YA. It’s a FREE event and all are welcome.

Ned Kelly rides again in The Australia Times

KoalaThe Australia Times Poetry Magazine goes walk-about this month with a link to a film poem ‘My Campfire’s My Home’ by Manfred Vijars, which is beautifully shot and will have you cocking an ear for those kookaburras. There’s also a Sound Cloud link to a wonderful set of folk ballads about Ned Kelly by Leanne M. Murphy:  https://soundcloud.com/leanne-murphy-16/track-8

Poems from three continents find connection in this issue, including ‘A Little Boy Dreaming’ by Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923);  a Petrarchian sonnet by Shelley Hansen; Banjo Patterson’s  ‘Shearing with a Hoe'; ‘Here is the Man Planet’, a powerful poem inspired by a trip to Pakistan by M F Moonzajer; plus one of my own poems about an earthquake.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADo check out the magazine (22nd May 2015) by clicking the link below. If you write poetry, you might like to consider sending in your work.  Submission guidelines are included towards the back of the issue. http://www.theaustraliatimes.com/magazine/poetry/issue/311/

Magma 61 hits the Street running

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve cracked and finally bought myself a two year subscription to Magma. It’s just too good a read to miss (use it or lose it!)

So what does issue 61 have in store for the eager reader? Well, some strong poetry for starters, including work by Simon Barraclough, Claire Booker, Lisa Kelly, Ian McEwan, Amali Rodrigo, Kathryn Simmonds, Paul Stephenson, Christine Webb, Kate White and David Wheatley among a host of other talents. Particular stand-outs for me include an extraordinary paeon to the ordinary – ‘World Away’ by Gram Joel Davies, and the precocious talent of teenager Daniella Cugini whose ‘mrs dalloway’s last white poppies’ is a mind-blower.

Magma 61Co-editors Jon Sayers and Nick Sunderland serve up more delicacies with a test drive of Tamar Yoseloff’s ‘Walking London: An Audio Tour’ which takes you on a psychogeographical tour of the hidden parts of the capital and is available for £5.00 from The Poetry School website.

If that doesn’t get your creative juices flowing, then read the rib-tickling article on wit by Finuala Dowling. She’s embedded writing prompts throughout her piece. So how about writing a poem in which the title is longer than the poem itself, or listing ways of breaking up a marriage (careful!), or ending a poem with the line: ‘This is just a poem’?

Half-time and the wine flows

Magma 61 launch – half-time and the wine flows

Plus Magma brings young voices into the mix with a fine crop of Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award winners (aged 11-17); the results of an online survey of what poetry means to the person in the street; and the usual quality reviews of poetry collections and pamphlets.

And should the summer turn out to be a damp squib – don’t complain. Read Simon Barraclough’s response to Byron’s poem ‘Darkness’ (published in full) and discover the dystopic nightmare of a never setting sun. I’ll take a few drops of rain any day.

Magma (issue 61 – The Street) is available at £8.60 for a single issue or as a one year subscription (3 issues) at £18.95.  If you’d like to buy a copy or submit your poetry (deadline for Magma 62 on the theme of ‘Conversation’ is May 31st) please visit:

Alleluiah’s marital secrets gets mini-tour

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter two fantastic nights at the Lost Theatre in February, I just couldn’t bring myself to put the lid on my 5 minute play ‘Alleluiah’. Stephanie James was stunning as Bridget, a woman on the cusp of adultery, walking the fine line between humour and pain brilliantly. So a mini-tour was born. (yes, let’s push the envelope – more than one performance qualifies as a tour!!)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAStephanie performed first at ‘Beyond  Words’ in Gipsy Hill, followed by another gig at Loose Muse at the Poetry Cafe. Audiences were warm and appreciative. Watch this space for news of further performances in the coming year.

If you missed the show, here’s a film of ‘Alleluiah’ courtesy of The Lost Theatre:

Poetry for everyone in The Australia Times Poetry Magazine

KoalaThis Pommie has just gone  ‘down under’ (in a virtual kind of way) thanks to The Australia Times Poetry Magazine which has published my poem about an Alaskan Husky (yes, spot the irony!)

I reckon Australia has something to teach us about how poetry can be made accessible and enjoyable to a wider range of readers. Twice monthly, The Australia Times Poetry Magazine hits the worldwide web in a glory of beautiful photographs, spacious layout and a rich variety of poetry from household names to ballads about Bush life, from  comedy to moving memorials.  And – get this – there are real adverts too. Yes, adverts for everyday things!

Edited by Maureen Clifford, this latest issue includes work by Frank Prem and John Summers, Claire Booker and Pam Davies, plus a touching tribute for Ellen Johanna Larson Smith by her grandson together with her finely worked poem ‘The Farmer Feeds Them All’. There’s also excellent Bush poetry from W John Moss (aka croc) and Sonnet 130 by the up-and-coming W. Shakespeare!

Jellyfish

If you have time, please check out the magazine (27th March 2015) by clicking the link below. If you write poetry, you might like to consider sending in your work.  Submission guidelines are included towards the back of the issue.

 

http://www.theaustraliatimes.com/magazine/poetry/issue/307/

New drama alive and kicking in Clapham’s Bread & Roses Theatre

Unheard 2015Some stunning new dramas played at Clapham’s newest theatre, The Bread & Roses, last month as part of ‘Unheard’ – a four day festival of plays that explored themes of abuse and violence.   Vagina Monologues 2015 phto Ricardo Correia

From rehearsed readings to scratch performances and full productions, many of the twelve events organised by activist theatre company Goblin Baby played to capacity audiences. These included charity fund-raiser ‘The Vagina Monologues’ and two evenings of short new plays including ‘Deliverance’ by Amy Bethan Evans and ‘Bathroom Secrets’ by Claire Booker. Hot from its success in New York, the  ‘Maison des Reves’ shook audiences with the story of a woman who murdered over a hundred men in Czarist Russia, written and performed by the amazingly versatile Talie Melnyk.

Bathroom Secrets(Photographer Kenneth Jay)Tickets cost as little as £3.00 in keeping with Goblin Baby Theatre Company’s policy of bringing thought-provoking theatre to people at a price everyone can afford.

Susan Hodgetts

Susan Hodgetts

‘Bathroom Secrets’ was performed with touching honesty by Susan Hodgetts in the role of Bee, whilst Mark Lisseman brought poignancy to the role of her husband.  A big thank you also to director Suvi Peisanen and Goblin Baby Theatre Company for producing my work.

Goblin Baby Theatre Company are now preparing their next production due in April/May  – a contemporary take on August Strindberg’s Miss Julie featuring Tessa Hart & Rebecca Pryle. Do check out their website for further details at.:

Goblin Baby Theatre Co.

The Bread & Roses Theatre has been building audiences rapidly since it opened earlier this year. You can enjoy theatre, comedy or Open Mic events only a few minute’s walk from Clapham Common/North tube stations on most nights of the week. For a full programme go to: The Bread & Roses Theatre

Photographs curtesy of Kenneth Jay.

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