Tag: Nottingham Poetry Festival

Beeston Poetry

Spring has arrived, flowers are blooming, birds are chirping, there are more daylight hours to be had…and the poets are emerging.

This issue, we’re paying attention to poetry in time for Nottingham Poetry Festival. We’ve got a few Buzzword poems for you from our competition, a round-up of events and courses happening in Beeston, and the answer to the question: what do you get if you mix science with poetry? Read on to find out!

A few Buzzword poems…

Beeston Lock – Glen Bradford

Taste that rain-washed air,
forearms firm against the iron top rail,
and watch boatmen turn lock key,
prising open slime-heavy gates
for barges to make their way.

Walk where the roaring Trent
froths and tumbles over masonry steps,
past wild Sunday League encounters,
and solemn banks of anglers
guarding over The Hero’s place.

Look. Roots grabbed hold here,
spread north, each branch
eager as a child’s probing hand
reaching to the ice cream counter
for summer’s sweet nectar.

Take it in. Dig the honeyed layers
from gravel down to limestone bed,
sifting fragments of Saxon farms,
to trail history’s hard, glittering spoor.
Because this is the land.

These are the threads.

Salad Bowl  – Cathy Garrick

Beeston, a banquet of curious folk;
The Last Post, the librarians hula hooped with clouds of smoke.
In The Star, they peruse their books;
Patrons from Denison Street and Inham Nook.
The ghosts of Beeston flicker as bygone maquettes,
while the living cruise through on mobility scooters and cigarettes.
Charlie’s Barn, Pet Mart, The Lad’s Club knocked down;
But still a lovingly patchworked market town.
The high flyers fill their bellies;
While Fast Lane runs amok in odd wellies.
Chuggers, terriers, sots and tots,
A melange of Adidas and Birkenstock.
Gaelic tones ring out from the greengrocers nearby;
Beckoning buyers to brussels, beans and broccoli.
Occidental, accidental, academic and Eastern,
The beautiful salad bowl that is Beeston.

The Tattoo – Leanne Moden

If I could paint this town onto my skin
I’d load my brush with countless memories.
I’d struggle to decide where to begin.

After all, it’s hard to place a pin
into a state of mind: a reverie.
If I could paint this town onto my skin

it would take courage and some discipline;
a bravery not seen for centuries.
I’d struggle to decide where to begin.

You see, nostalgia breeds the saccharin,
and true reflection comes through lack of ease.
If I could paint this town onto my skin –

contemplating all that we have been;
the fleeting glance of all that we could be?
I’d struggle to decide where to begin.

Excuses wearing tracing paper thin
I guess I’m just not one for artistry.
If I could paint this town onto my skin
I’d struggle to decide where to begin.

POETRY ROUND-UP

ZINES EXHIBITION
Free, now until Sat 21 April, Beeston Library
Showcasing zines made by the public and school pupils, including anthologies of poems developed with poet Andrew Graves

FAMILY POETRY (Short course)
Free, 25 April – 23 May, 16:00-17:30, Beeston Library

THE POETRY HOUR WITH HENRY NORMAL
Free, Wed 25 April, 6pm, Beeston Library
Enjoy (and potentially perform) poetry with Henry Normal and Pete Ramskill, as part of Nottingham Poetry Festival

CREATIVE WRITING THROUGH POETRY (Short course)
£36, 5 June – 10 July, 10:00-12:00, Beeston Library

JM 

Nottingham Poetry Festival

Anne 2

This year’s poetry festival, which lasted for one week from 21 – 30 April took over from what was Nottingham Festival of Literature and was organised by the comedian, writer and poet Henry Normal.

The programme for the festival was full to the brim with over 50 events featuring a wide range of poets, both from inside and outside Nottingham, and featured big names in poetry such as Carol Ann Duffy and John Cooper Clarke. I attended the following events which showcased the breadth of poetic talent in our city.

On Saturday 22, a poetry slam took place at Nottingham Mechanics, judged by poet and facilitator Jim Hall, whose only criteria was that the poems made him feel something.

There were performances from Panya Banjoko, and former Mouthy poets, Joshua Judson, Matt Miller and Neal Pike, as well as other familiar faces from the poetry scene.

In the end, Jim chose a wonderful poet Gloria for third place, whose soft-spoken poems made an impression on the judge and audience alike. Second place went to emerging performance poet Jake Wildeman, with first place awarded to Matt Miller, whose poems about love and home were poignant enough to win him £30 in prize money.

Jim, who was assisted by Jeremy, the chair of Nottingham Poetry Society, said, ‘[Matt] really thought about the time limit. It was a whole journey within three minutes and I learnt a lot about him. It was quite a clear one for me.’

On Sunday 23, Rough Trade was the home of Book Off, which began with a workshop in ‘found poetry’ whereby participants used magazines to create poems by cutting or blacking out selected words. The day continued with a performance poetry workshop by Jamie Thrasivoulou and Sophie Sparham, which covered issues such as heckling, performing politically sensitive poems and the best way to introduce yourself to your audience.

Bridie hit her teammate Joshua’s face with a wet teabag to demonstrate schadenfreude

At this point, sportswear-clad poets began to assemble for Poetercize: the Poetry Game Show hosted by Stephen Thomas. This round was the decider between Bridie Squires and Joshua Judson vs Chris McLoughlin and Milla Tebbs. The event was delayed due to technical problems, but was handled with humour. The show featured That Welsh Woman, interpretive dance and audience participation.

Bridie hit her teammate Joshua’s face with a wet teabag to demonstrate schadenfreude, and Chris ate orange peel in a desperate bid to be the best…but in the end it was Chris and Milla who were crowned champions.

On Tuesday 25, Debbie Bryan in the Lace Market welcomed Some Poets from Big White Shed for an evening of performances from poets that have been published by BWS and poets that they would like to see published.

The event celebrated what Anne describes as ‘peer publishing’ and featured poems from Neal Pike, Stephen Thomas, Midnight Shelley, Trevor Wright and Jim Hall among many others.

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Continuing the celebration of publishing was Mud Press on Friday 28 at the launch of their latest anthology Woman. Mud Press is a publishing house which was set up by Georgina Wilding.

The event took place at Cobden Chambers and replicated the festival vibe but on a smaller scale. There were live artists, music, face painting and a poetry kissing booth.

I’ve only covered a tiny portion of the poetry festival, and my experience was exactly what I wanted it to be. It was a week of celebration that both poets and poetry lovers could appreciate.

JM

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