A Month in Performance

June was busy, to say the least. Alongside the onset of busy season in my day job, I had 4 performances across 2 weeks (Verbose was in May yes, but it was the end of May). Here are my thoughts on each night I did.

Verbose was a night of folklore and fairy tales, and ghosts, first loves and selkies abounded. I saw Amy Kinsman (of Riggwelter Press, 3 Drops in a Cauldron and Gorilla Poetry) for the first time and immediately bought their pamphlet ‘&’. If you get a chance to go to a Saboteur Award Winning literary night, Verbose is definitely worth checking out.

Verbose is on the 4th Monday of every month in Fallow Cafe, Manchester. 

Testify was a little stranger. Set in Hanky Panky Pancakes, I walked in (late) to the smell of some thoroughly delicious seeming pancakes and some equally delicious poetry. There were first timers, seasoned veterans, a battle rapper and some OAP almost-erotica. The stand out of the evening was Jay, a black queer writer from New York who I will most definitely be trying to see more of in future.

Testify is on the 1st Tuesday of every month in Hanky Panky Pancakes

 

I’m sad I didn’t get to do Soapbox at the Manchester Histories Festival, but sometimes sickness strikes at the worst possible moment. I did, however, perform at the launch. And that was a great deal of fun. I was supposed to perform in the foyer but it didn’t quite work out. So, there was a last minute swap. Whilst somewhat chaotic, I still had a lot of fun performing and taking in part in such a wonderful event. By the nature of the event, I didn’t get a chance to see the other performers (we were all performing simultaneously in different parts of the gallery), but I have no doubt they were all phenomenal.

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In all, June was fun, demanding and absolutely exhausting. I wouldn’t have dropped any of these nights, and I wish I could have managed Soapbox, but I am determined not to overbook myself like this again.

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An Amateur Review of Sunfish, by Shelby Eileen

First published on Patreon on 14th June
I follow Shelby on twitter (@briseisbooks), and I really enjoyed her first collection Soft in the Middle so when she put out a call for anyone who wants an ARC, naturally I said yes.
I’m not a poetry reviewer and, despite writing so much of it myself, I know precious little about what makes one poem good or bad. But I do know that Sunfish is good.
It’s easy to read in that none of the poems punch you in the face (unlike Donika Kelly’s amazing collection Bestiary) but this is a good thing. It’s gentle, patient, meets you where you’re at rather than forcing to look.
When I’m reading Sunfish it’s not like talking to a friend, because I don’t know Shelby like that and it’s much too honest a book for that kind of presumed familiarity. It’s not like a conversation, because there is nothing for me to say back to her. This collection feels like sitting on a bench in an empty park in early spring and listening to a stranger talk. It feels like a moment of unearned intimacy that reminds you how important it is for humans to connect. It feels a little uncomfortable, because Shelby is all but a stranger and there’s nothing for you to say, because I’m sorry doesn’t ring true. It feels like understanding how she feels, but having no words for but that’s OK, because the only words needed are hers anyway.
Sunfish feels like silence. It’s the reminder that silence, loneliness and powerlessness aren’t the same thing. That not everything requires a response and sometimes you just need to listen. Sunfish makes you want to listen.

Mercury with MoonPark Review

In the middle of last year I submitted a prose-poem to MoonPark Review. It was rejected. After picking myself up and dusting off my bruised ego, I noted that my rejection included an offer to submit again in future. So I logged that away and knew that when I had a better piece of short prose I would submit.

Then, late last year I wrote a story/poem/monologue called Mercury. I took it to a workshop where it was torn apart by the facilitator. After once again picking myself up and dusting off my bruised ego, I used the critique I got to almost completely rewrite it.

I submitted the new and improved Mercury.

It was accepted for their summer issue.

I highly recommend going back through prior issues too. There’s some good stuff there.

Thank you Mary Lynn and Lesley for giving me the encouragement I needed to submit a second time and for publishing this piece.

Find Mercury Here

Not NaPoWriMo: A Reflective

Published on Patreon 10th May

Scroll down if you want to skip straight to the poem itself.

This was fun, which is good. It was not as much of a challenge as I anticipated, which is less good. I don’t know if I really pushed or stretched myself at all but I did have a good time. I think I just went about this the wrong way. I let myself write what first sprung to mind, rather than use rules or prompts. At least I know this now, and next time I do something like this (and there will be a next time) I can get more out of it.

On the whole, the poems I wrote were not good. I was expecting that. What’s a little more surprising is that it wasn’t so nerve-wrecking to share my unpolished/unfinished/lower quality work. It was almost freeing. I didn’t have to worry about whether or not it would be well received because it didn’t matter. It was enough for these poems to just exist, in all their contrived, stilted, awkward glory.

My favourite from the month was #2. I don’t know if it was the best, but it the one I felt the most deeply as I was writing. Loneliness is a problem. I don’t have all the solutions but I do know that my generation are isolated and cut adrift. I know that loneliness leads to a host of health problems like chronic stress, depression and anxiety. I know that it’s not sustainable.

 

Continue reading “Not NaPoWriMo: A Reflective”

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