A fantastic free event and great opportunity to hear passionate performance poems and readings. Always a brilliant way to spend part of your Saturday - listen and be entertained and inspired, and support your local library.
Today, 31st August, City Voices went into the community as they so often have before. Many thanks to Hanley Indoor Market in the Potteries Shopping Centre for providing us with a great space to perform in, chairs, a table and a PA kit and mic. Special thanks to Steve Parkin the Market Manager. It was great that so many CV members turned out to promote the group and our writing. We stuck to poetry today but there are many writing genres within the group. We had some interest from the market shoppers, and we are discussing a similar day at another public venue. Thank you all who turned out today, to read or to support.
WELL DONE CITY VOICES STOKE – THE CREATIVE WRITERS AT THE HEART OF THE POTTERIES
City Voices are at Hanley Indoor Market on 31st August 2019 between 11.30am - 2.30pm, as part of the market’s Fun Day. There will be poems and stories about the Potteries and Staffordshire and other subjects to reflect the past and present, and the changing landscape of the county. There will be books for sale, maybe a bit of silliness and dressing up too! Plus a chance to hear about City Voices Creative Writers Group and what we do – we write of course, but there is so much more to us; a sense of community and friendship, our fab writing workshops with guest writers, poets and speakers, and our literary events with City Central Library in Hanley. City Voices are the friendly and inclusive group in the Heart of the Potteries.
I am thrilled to announce that Staffordshire Poet Laureate Emily-Rose Galvin will be at City Voices on Saturday 17th August. Emily will be reading a selection of her poetry and also running a poetry workshop for us. Emily is soon coming to end of her tenure as Laureate - she has been a wonderful and hard-working representative of our county.
A bit about Emily - Emily Rose, current and first female Staffordshire Poet Laureate, has been writing for both page and performance since joining a local poetry group in Lichfield in 2014. With a raw and emotive style, Emily is known to focus on intimate experience to create raw and passionate writing from the heart of human emotion, frequently tackling resonant subjects such as mental health, personal growth and the complications of human relationships.
As well as running workshops and poetry classes within schools and poetry groups (including the Stoke Poet's Corner project within Stoke Sixth Form College), Emily performs regularly across the county and the UK, from local Spoken Word evenings and festivals to supporting best-selling Canadian poet Sabrina Benaim in Nottingham in 2017 and guest features on BBC Radio Stoke, Derby and West Midlands. Her debut poetry book 'Anna' was released by Fishbowl Publishing in 2017 - an independent group set up to promote the work of unknown and upcoming poets, of which Emily is co-founder and editor.
In the last year, Emily has co-organised the successful WordCraft poetry evenings at BottleCraft in Hanley, and has had the honour of curating poetry showcases for Lichfield's Fuse Festival in both 2018 and 2019. Most recently, she has formed music and poetry collaboration project Rose&Cloud, who, on the back of successful performances in Newcastle, Leek, and Stockport, have just released their first EP 'It's Only Thursday'.
A silent-screen ocean,
sand gritty as grave-yard gravel.
A bitter monochrome day to wait,
to watch aimless black-backed gulls
sweeping the upper air.
Moon dust dunes wax and wane,
shape-shifting the scoured landscape
where marram grass, colour-leached
and sharp as glass,
flows like beds of eels across the blown-out beach
reaching out to where the salt steel sea
closes in on treacherous sands.
I sight a riderless horse, still and pale,
below a sky
wide and white as an empty sail.
This poem has undergone many edits, several title changes and indeed this is an edited version of the entry, after advice from the esteemed Bert Flitcroft.
Commendations were 'Dandelion' by Andy Wooton and 'Amy' by Heath Ackley.
City Voices Creative Writers will be announcing the winners of the second annual Poetry Competition, at the meeting 6th July. All welcome to come along and listen and meet our judge… who this year is Bert Flitcroft, Staffordshire Poet Laureate 2015-17. For a number of years, Bert ran week-long residential poetry-writing courses for sixth-formers in Staffordshire, working alongside guest poets in residence such as Carol Ann Duffy, Adrian Henry, Linda France and others. Over the years, Bert has been Poet in Residence at The Southwell Poetry Festival, The Wedgwood Museum, and The Brampton Museum. He has performed at a number of national Festivals including the Edinburgh Fringe (twice!) Bert is essentially at home in any place where people are interested in poetry. He has two published collections of poems ‘Thought Apples’ and ‘Singing Puccini at the Kitchen Sink’ available from Offas Press offaspress.co.uk/shop/ or the contacts page on Bert’s website. www.bert-flitcroft-poetry.com/contact.htm
What they say about Bert –
‘Bert is a joy to listen to. His sonnet to a bacon sandwich is a wry, insightful comment on the dynamics of a relationship. Like all Bert’s work, it’s delivered with a twinkle in his eye. A master of his craft’ Steve Pottinger : Writeoutloud
‘Bert Flitcroft is an honest, genuine writer - his poems are accessible without being simplistic, honed and well crafted without being clever, eschewing obscurity in favour of direct and clear human speech which has the ring of true poetry, much in the manner of Edward Thomas and Robert Frost.’ David Calcutt - poet and novelist
In 2017, working with Staffs County Council, Bert curated The Staffordshire Poetry Collection which is now available on-line at Poetry Collectionstaffordshirepoetlaureate.wordpress.com/2017/04/25/the-staffordshire-poetry-collection/
Needless to say City Voices are thrilled to have Bert as our competition judge and he will announce the winner and the two commended places. I cannot thank him enough for stepping in so graciously at the 11th hour and I felt very cheeky for asking him! After the read-around of poems Bert will lead an inter-active critique for those who wish to join in -
The meetings will be at the usual venue at City Central Library Hanley, in room 1 (J R R Tolkien suite) 11.40 - 13.40
Image courtesy of Dawn Jutton
City Voices Creative Writers welcome new member Roy Jones. We are delighted to have fiction writer Roy with us, and having heard an extract of Roy's book 'A New Me' it sounds like it's well worth a read, and has a very contemporary theme. Available in paperback www.amazon.co.uk/New-Me-Edwin-Roy-Jones/dp/1912457172
We hope that Roy is enjoying our friendly group!
City Voices are delighted to be involved on an open day and fundraiser for Bethesda Chapel and Community Centre. The Friends of Bethesda have been tireless in their efforts to raise funds for this historic building, and make it a hub for the community. www.bethesda-stoke.info/
On 8th June 2019 City Voices members will be reading their poetry and prose, with musical interludes from local musician and friend of City Voices, Richard Faulkner. Our programme (starting at 12.30pm) will in great part be a tribute to the late Lily Meigh, a long standing and much-loved member of the group. There will be a special performance of Lily’s poem about the roast potato machine which used to stand in Hanley Market Square. We hope to see not only our current members and performers, but maybe some old friends and Lily’s family too. The tribute will, we hope, encourage the passing public to donate to the Friends of Bethesda fund, of which Lily was also an active member. Bethesda Chapel was dear to Lily’s heart, as she was dear to ours at City Voices.
City Voices’ workshops are my great escape, journeys without a roadmap, setting my creativity free to make connections, never quite knowing where it will lead! … like the ‘colours’ workshop that resulted in an acrostic poem in memory of my Grandmother, ‘Beryl’, or an origami inspired cinquain, ‘Creation’ . Or having fun with what the ugly sisters did after the ‘Happy ever After’! And from a recent workshop a ‘found’ poem, ‘Moving On’, patched together from the opening page of a favourite novel. So if you are reading this and thinking of joining City Voices, I’d say come along and see where the journey takes you!
Author Bev Adams
All Poetry is the copyright of Beverley Adams
Every time I hear
Barcarole, it brings to mind
Overtures of your memory.
No longer here to play,
Your music still resonates in every chord.
bird of paper,
shaped well by gentle hand,
fly free from folded form to soar
If only I had dainty feet,
I’d meet a wealthy fella.
And live a life of luxury
Like my sister, Cinderella.
But wait a sec…Oh what the heck!
I have a cunning plan,
to make a stash of lovely cash -
Who needs a flippin’ man!
A trendy shop, with lots of stock
for girls with great BIG tootsies.
Sequined shoes and kitten heels,
and thigh-high kinky bootsies!
An idiot watches,
eyes wide with febrile excitement
the confetti of Carnival;
spinning, sparkling, fairy-tales.
Dragons heads lolling on narrow necks
ride the tide of greasy scents
and trailing ribbons
to where I stand
beside a brown-eyed dog.
For he and I the world
returns a new, unstoppable lustre.
This is Jason. He’s a performance poet, and works with vulnerable people in Stoke-on-Trent in his role in the probation service. Jason is also a member of City Voices and a former prisoner, and was described at a recent poetry slam as 'the busiest man in poetry' The image is of Jason at the BBC, recording for National Prison Radio, a radio show broadcast throughout prisons within the UK, which airs a show called, 'Outside In.' This is a radio show that brings together people with lived experience of the criminal justice system, to talk about leaving prison – and the highs and lows, opportunities and frustrations associated. It’s produced monthly by BBC volunteers, although it goes out exclusively to people currently in prison. It’s an informal roundtable discussion with 3 guests and 2 presenters. Thursday 16th May sees Jason N Smith share his experience and how poetry has helped. Recording for the show will take place at BBC Broadcasting House London.
Jason has published a book of poetry, and is involved in numerous events across the UK. City Voices will be blogging more about Jason N Smith soon, if we can keep up with him!