Forget Bonfire Night – come along to City Voices last meeting of 2018! No explosions, no fireworks, just great poetry in the warm atmosphere of our group – described by one of our guest poets as like being in “the comfort of old friends” and by one of our members as “sitting around the warmth of a campfire telling stories” Not that we never have explosive performances! In addition to our guest poet, the multi-lingual David Subacchi, we will also be (hopefully) hearing the winner of the City Voices short story competition read his, her or their entry. The winner will be announced at the start of the meeting 11.40am, and will receive a cash prize of £50 plus a laminated certificate. So if any person wants to know whether they are the winner, plus enjoy some poetry and a workshop, then schlep up ‘Anley duck, and get to the library on 24th November.* New members always welcome.
*City Central Library Hanley, in room 1 (J R R Tolkien suite)
Photos taken at the Leopard Inn in Burslem six years ago today - City Voices did not have a web-site then nor a FB page! It was a brilliant night and wish I'd taken more photographs. The very scary Peter Salt features here (still a member!) but there were terrific performances from Paul Williamson and Liz Mills as I recall, but everyone made their contribution to a great night at a genuinely haunted pub!
This event will replace our usual meeting, and will be in the same room at the library. This is a LIBRARY run event for the general public, but CV members will have a Q and A session with the poets afterwards. All poets and writers it will brilliant and you will also be supporting our library, so please come along.
Absolute grovelling apologies from me, City Voices Social Media Manager, to anyone who has emailed the group via the website and not had a reply. I have just discovered that since around the beginning of August, emails for City Voices Contact forms have been going into my spam folder!! This should have been spotted earlier – all I can say is Mea Culpa. August has been has very busy month but that’s no excuse. We are all busy these days. I believe I have now replied to everyone either by email or via the Facebook page, but if you are genuine please try again as I believe some emails were “bounced back”. There have been some “spammers” but I can spot them.
We were all looking forward to Neil Holland’s workshop on 4th August, and it exceeded all expectations. “Working a murder scene Part II - Murder Scenes and other crimes. First-hand information and tips on writing for authentic stories. Pitfalls to avoid.” was much more than just a “talk” – it was an inter-active crime scene re-enactment, props supplied by Neil. My photographs were not very good as the cast would keep moving around! The exception was Heath, who was “dead”! We had loads of laughs, and at the same time found this way of doing things very informative. The group also enjoyed being split into teams to identify and match finger-prints. Not as easy as you might think but actually we all did very well. It made everything around writing about UK crime much clearer – lots of writers, me included, are probably too influenced by American crime series on TV. It is a whole different procedure. There is also a short story competition for City Voices members to enter, based around a crime scene, details of which are in the newsletter. Thank you Neil for so much hard work, and sharing your own experiences at crime scenes which were only too real.
A surprised and delighted Neil Holland was the winner of City Voices Creative Writers Group first ever annual Poetry Competition. Neil eceived a cash prize of £50 and a laminated certificate of his poem “A Flower named Disability”. The competition was judged by friend of City Voices, Jayne Birch who said “What a poignant piece of writing…..excellent analogy. Thought provoking; feeling emotional after reading this…read over and over again and each time I feel its full impact. Absolutely amazing.”
There was no "theme" to the competition; entrants could choose their own subject within a limit of 40 lines. Neil was inspired by young people he has worked with in the past who simply needed some nurturing to bring out the very best of themselves. The camellia flower was chosen for the certificate for its many meanings. In China it symbolizes young sons and daughters, in Japan the coming of spring and new life. It also has a "coming of age and understanding" reference in that most famous of contemporary literary American novels "To Kill a Mockingbird". In other words, a blooming.
Neil's prize-winning poem
A Flower Named Disability
Sometimes fine blooms lie waiting there
sometimes fine blooms lie latent there
but there they are and there they bloom.
Some flowers take longer in our care
but love and nurture grow them where
they reach for life that they may bloom.
How rare these flowers that take a while
who ask so little, just love and care,
who bear such pain behind their smile,
young lives who simply want to share
a chance to grow and bloom.
With rainbow smiles of every hue
who just love life like me and you,
embrace them now in all you do
that they may bloom.
Respect is all they ask of you
support and some civility,
that they may flower and show to all,
their bloom in disability.
If you want to find out more, we will be announcing the winner at our meeting on 9th June! We kicked off the 2018 competition with a request for poetry, on any theme, the winner to receive a cash prize and certificate. Only City Voices members may enter our competitions but anyone aged 16 or over can drop into our meeting at the Central City Library Bethesda St, Stoke-on-Trent ST1 3RS at 11.40am to hear a read-around of all the entries and join in a poetry workshop too. See the rest of the web-site for what we are all about.
I was very proud to see City Voices members Pattie Tunnicliffe and Jason Nicholas Smith (seen here flanking the winner) in the final of the Audlem Poetry Slam last Thursday. The slam has been running many years and the competition is tough. Pattie performed her poems about the impact of war on individual civilians, living with a loved one who suffers from depression “the hidden disease”, and taking charge of your own life. Jason spoke eloquently and passionately about what it means to be English in our multi-cultural society, about love, and the impact of political hate rhetoric. Well done to Pattie and Jason who performed without any prompts in front of a lovely and lively audience.
The worthy winner of the slam was prize-winning poet John Mills who used strong images and humour to describe a chance meeting with an abused woman, and how he is living with Parkinson’s disease. John is a friend of City Voices and will be running a poetry workshop for us on 27th October.
I entered the slam but the least said the better! It was a brilliant night and superbly MC’d by poets Emma Purshouse and Dave Pitt.