Tag Archives: Isabel White

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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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.

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.

 

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