Tag Archives: Agnes Meadows

14 Great Poetry Gigs to Celebrate

Postcards (Collage 3)Writing poetry is one thing. Marketing it, quite another. This is where poetry gigs can come into their own. Over the last year, I’ve taken my poetry pamphlet, Later There Will Be Postcards, on a whistle stop tour of some great venues.

Green Bottle Press launched the pamphlet last October at SLAM Kings Cross – a delightful venue with an ornate horseshoe balcony and music hall feel.  So far so great – a nice turn out of friends and poetry well-wishers, plus stablemates Tracey Rhys and Yvonne Piper launching their own books too.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGBP Postc (Joolz pic)My editor, Jennifer Gregg, had arranged a pre-launch at The Torriano Meeting House – a little piece of literary history tucked away in Kentish Town, which is also home to the imprint Hearing Eye.  I featured there with fellow Green Bottle Press poet Sarah Sibley, reading from her PBS acclaimed pamphlet The Withering Room.  I was there again two weeks later to feature with poets Alan Price and Louise Warren, and enjoy the usual high quality open-mic readers.

In February I was invited to read two of my poems at Palewell Press‘s launch of a powerful book about refugees – Three Days in Damascus, a memoir by Kim Schultz. The venue was The Hive in Dalston, a really wacky, welcoming space full of contemporary art, great coffee and a happening feel to it.  Handy for the Jeffrey Museum too.

Magma 67 launchMagma being one of my top three favourite literary mags (no, I’m not telling!) I was thrilled to be asked to read two of my poems at the launch of its 67th issue (Bones & Breath) at The London Review Bookshop – handy for the British museum. The distinctive L-shaped room is surprisingly good acoustically, and there’s a real buzz sitting in such close proximity to so many books. Perhaps most inspiring is the quality of listening you get at a Magma launch.

Best-of-British-cover[1] And now let’s hear it for Royal Tunbridge Wells, and in particularly that adventurous publisher Paper Swans Press, who launched their Best of British Anthology at The George, not so far from the pantiles where Jane Austin may have sipped a Bacardi Breezer or two (or the Regency equivalent). My fellow contributors gathered from all corners of the UK to share offerings on the topic of British Life.

PAE Centrala 2April saw me in Birmingham’s Centrala Gallery, a great space which specialises in Eastern European art, and overlooks the Grand Union Canal. It was all part of the Birmingham Literature Festival. With Arts Council funding, our UK/Romanian collective PoetryArtExchange could afford to pay for three British poets and two Romanian poets plus a Polish saxophonist to perform poetry to an avant-garde sound track of words and musical sounds. I really let my hair down on castanets, tambourine and ball point pen! PAE - John Riley

Written in Water Constable event 6 May posterBrighton Museum, inside the Prince Regent’s fantasy palace with its minarets and flamboyant painted dragons, is a unique venue. For this year’s Brighton Festival, The Frogmore Press invited a contingent of Brighton-based poets to read their work inspired by clouds and sea. What a delight to share words in front of a magnificent collection of John Constable paintings and sketches.  There was an excellent turn out from the public, some of whom didn’t expect this added extra but stopped to listen to such poets as Clare Best, Maria Jastrzebska, Mandy Pannett, Jeremy Page, Lyn Thomas and Marek Urbanowicz. Thank you to Alexandra Loske for inviting us.

Beyond WordsIf you live within reach of south London, count yourself lucky. Beyond Words at the Gipsy Hill Tavern, is one of the most consistently enjoyable spoken word events and punches well above its weight. Hosts Angela Brodie and Caroline Vero invited me to feature in the summer, alongside Jim Alderson. What could be more convenient than a 2 minute walk to the train station and then up to Victoria in an eye-wink? I got home to Brighton in time for a nightcap.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALoose Muse Covent Garden, run by the inimitable Agnes Meadows, welcomed me as feature poet in June, alongside novelist SV Berlin and blogger Naomi Woddis. Later in Ocober I had the pleasure of featuring at the Winchester’s Loose Muse, alongside Jessica Mookherjee. I had time to visit some Winchester’s wonderfully preserved heritage (including King Arthur’s round table) before heading for The Discovery Centre, which was buzzing with interested poets thanks to organiser Sue Wrinch’s warm and efficient hospitality. I even managed to sell ten copies of Later There Will Be Postcards which is (and will probably remain) a personal best. We were the closing act of the UK-India Festival of Words set up by Sue, which included a flash fiction workshop, a free Bollywood film, poetry workshops and performances by Mona Arshi, Rishi Dastidar and Martyn Crucefix. Aminur

The Indian subcontinent continued to exert its effects, this time through the Bangla poet, Aminur Rahman, who was over in the UK to promote his latest collection, Perpetual Diary. Agnes Meadows organised an evening at The Sun Covent Garden, where Aminur charmed us with his readings in English and Bengali, and Isabel White, Racheal Joseph and myself were the supporting acts.

Petersfield Write Angle 2017Petersfield in Hampshire is a delightful  town with a market-place, herb garden and lovely winding river that runs through its Tudor and Georgian houses. It’s also home to a wonderfully eclectic poetry night – Petersfield Write Angle – run by Leah and Jake Cohen. Petersfield - Claire Dyer They invited myself and novelist/poet Claire Dyer to fill the feature slot for August (always the third Tuesday of the month). The venue is intimate and quirky, and the open mic drew some extraordinary performances, including a wonderful harpist.

Ver poets poster 17I travelled up to St Albans, burial place of Harold (arrow-in-the eye) Godwinson to feature at a Ver Poets Reading, alongside John Mole and Caroline Vero. St Albans public library was a joy – warm, bright and inviting, with an attentive mix of Ver poets and members of the public making up the audience.  John was reading from his Shoestring Press collection Gestures & Counterpoints, and Caroline shared some of her most up-to-the-minute poems.   Chroma 1d

Chroma 1And the final event I featured in this year, was the launch of the brand new lit mag Chroma at Brighton’s bijou ONCA Gallery.  Chroma will focus on a different colour each issue. Issue one is red and heart-stoppingly gorgeous to look at. The launch was awash with talented young artists, musicians and writers, and there was a beautifully curated exhibition of some of photographs and poems  (including my own I’m proud to say).  So thank you to Emma Phillips for fashioning such a sumptuous read!

Copies of Later There Will Be Postcards are still available at £6.20 plus p&p from: GREEN BOTTLE PRESS

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Loose Muse hits Manchester, London and Cornwall with Women’s New Writing

MMMmmm, luscious cover and when you open it – what an assortment! So many melt-in-your mouth fabulous poems and short stories to choose from.

Loose Muse Anthology Spring 2014It’s Loose Muse’s fifth anthology – triple-launched in London, Manchester and Cornwall and celebrating the creative talents of 50 women British and international writers aged between 20 and 91!

Some of my favourites? Balaba Aseka’s ‘The Boda Boda Rider’; Anne Macaulay’s terrifying ‘The Dive’; Sue John’s powerfully damning ‘Instructions for a Summer Wedding’; Nancy Charley’s touching ‘Finding Gold’; the street-wise ‘Dyke Spotting’ by Emma Wootton; the witty ‘Apple’ by SaraMae Tuson; plus some great stories by Hilaire,  Isabel White, Fiona Read and Joolz Sparkes.

I’m lucky enough to  have had three of my own poems included, together with my short play ‘Enemy’ (set on the Russian Front in 1943) which was performed at The Lost Theatre Company’s 5 Minute Play Festival last December.

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To view a film of the play, click on: http://youtu.be/7yvt1Z34rEo

Loose Muse is London’s only regular women’s writers night which has been running continuously since 2005 at The Poetry Cafe, Covent Garden, London. It meets at 8pm on the second Wednesday of each month (except August). It offers a friendly and fun atmosphere for women to perform open mic. Men are always welcome to make up the audience!

To buy copies of the latest anthology (or back-copies of the previous four) go to: www.loose-muse.com or contact Agnes Meadows at agnespoet@gmail.com The anthologies are also available to read in the reference section of The Saison Poetry Library in the Royal Festival Hall, South Bank, London.

The anthology’s front cover artwork is ‘Dismantled’ by Lorraine Clarke, who has also designed all the previous Loose Muse covers. Loose Muse Anthology Spring 13Loose Muse (Autumn 2013)

Cropped Loose Muse Anthology

Poems break down barriers on the Northern Line

Tube travel. You know the score. No chat. No eye-contact. There I am, nose deep in my hot-off-the-press Loose Muse anthology, when a handsome young Spaniard leans over, points to a word in Steph Pike’s poem ‘Sea Shanty’ and asks “What does ‘shore’ mean?”  Cue an interesting discussion on semantics before the interchange at Oxford Circus parts us forever.Loose Muse (Autumn 2013)

The moral of the story?  A Loose Muse anthology can seriously pep up your love life!  The latest (and fourth) issue is packed with poems by the likes of Cath Drake, Zena Edwards, Rosie Garland, Sue Johns and Agnes Meadows, plus short-stories by Niki Aguirre, Isabel White and Leila Segal among others, as well as a 5 minute surreal comedy by Claire Booker which explores the tribulations of youth unemployment and irritating parents.

“This anthology is a fabulous cornucopia of original work by women writers,” says editor Agnes Meadows, who launched London’s only continuous Women’s Writers Night nine years ago. Loose Muse offers a smorgesbrod of UK and international guests plus generous open-mic slots every third Wednesday of the month at the Poetry Cafe, Covent Garden.

For more information on Loose Muse events, including how to get hold of the latest anthology check out: http://www.loose-muse.com

The cover image is by Lorraine Clark.

 

A Tale of Two Cities – Loose Muse hits London and Manchester!

Loose Muse Anthology Spring 13Loose Muse has just launched its third anthology of new writing by women, including work by Ivy Alvarez, Claire Booker, Miriam Halahmy, Sue Johns, Sarah Reilly and Janice Windle.

And only days after a lively launch party at Cotton’s in Clerkenwell, the All Woman Writers’ Night spread its wings and flew north to Manchester for the first of (hopefully) many Loose Muse events organised in that city by local poet and activist Steph Pike. Guest performers invited to Manchester included Agnes Meadows and Claire Booker.

Local poet Aryamati with Agnes Meadows at Manchester Loose Muse

Local poet Aryamati with Agnes Meadows at Manchester’s Loose Muse Night

Thanks to the sheer get-up-and-go savvy of Agnes and her editorial team, the Loose Muse anthology is packed with an eclectic mix of contributions from writers across the UK as well as Greece, Spain, Holland, Finland and Australia.

Celebrating her ninth year as Loose Muse co-ordinator and host, Agnes Meadows is rightly proud of the anthology: “It’s a diverse mix of high quality poetry, short stories and short plays, clearly showing that women can write with strength, passion, humour and imagination.”

Claire Booker performs 'Last Man in Watford' at London launch

Claire Booker performs ‘Last Man in Watford’ at London launch

My own contribution includes a 5 minute comedy called ‘Last Man in Watford’ set in a (dystopian?) future when women rule the world and the few remaining men are exhibited in zoos!                                     To order copies of the anthology (published by Morgan’s Eye Press) or to find out more about Loose Muse events in London or Manchester, please contact Agnes Meadows at agnespoet@gmail.com or ring her on 07789 901 667.  You can also check out the latest updates on Loose Muse by clicking the following link: http://www.loose-muse.com

Poet Angela Brodie at London launch
Poet Angela Brodie at London launch

For more information on Lorraine Clarke whose amazing art-work features on all three Loose Muse covers, please click: http://www.clarke-art.co.uk

For information on Steph Pike and Manchester Loose Muse click: http://www.about.me/stephpike                            

Appreciative audience at London launch

Appreciative audience for Caroline Vero at London launch

Natasha Morgan reads 'This Sharp Edge'
Natasha Morgan reads ‘This Sharp Edge’

Sperm Vampire takes wing at Loose Muse launch

Thanks to the verve and sheer gung-ho brilliance of Loose Muse founder Agnes Meadows (plus some very handy Arts Council funding) – another Loose Muse anthology came wriggling and squealing into the world last week.

And after a stiff drink and a deep breath, Claire Booker took to the stage at Cotton’s, Clerkenwell, to give a no-holds barred reading of her short play ‘Sperm Vampire’ at the launch party.

The latest edition of Loose Muse features poetry, prose and drama from 35 women writers living as far afield as Greece, Australia, Spain and the USA.  Highlights include poetry by Sue Johns, Cath Drake and Poets Scratching Heads’ member, Natasha Morgan, plus stories by Isabel White and Naomi Woddis.  A second play by Claire (Rainbow Baby) is also included.

Loose Muse is London’s premier Women’s Writing event that meets every second Wednesday of the month (excl. August) at the Poetry Cafe, Betterton Street, Covent Garden.  It offers a generous 5 minute open mic for any woman writer to show their work, together with UK and international invited guest readers.  Men are very welcome to attend as members of the audience. For more information about Loose Muse events and publications, please visit:http://www.loose-muse.com

To buy a copy of the Loose Muse anthology, please visit:http://www.flippedeye.net

Natasha Morgan performs at Cotton’s

Loose Muse anthology launch – waiting for kick off