SO-Write Literature Development Project

Press Release – June 2016

150k funding secured for city writers

Southampton writers are set for a significant boost in opportunities to create, advance, and showcase their work, thanks to a new literature development programme in the city.

SO-Write, a 2-year project, will draw together resources and expertise from a delivery consortia including ArtfulScribe, Apples and Snakes, John Hansard Gallery, The Mayflower Theatre, The Nuffield, Southampton Festivals, and Southampton Libraries.

Led by ArtfulScribe, with generous support from Arts Council England, the project will develop links between schools, local business, charity partners and cultural organisations to raise the profile of writers and writing in the area by providing a structural platform to enable creative talent to flourish.

School poetry slams, a young writers’ group, writing residencies, publishing opportunities, open access workshops, a women’s writing group, and facilitation training for writers to lead outreach sessions will get underway from June 2016 with live showcases featuring national and international acts also scheduled for delivery from autumn onwards.

ArtfulScribe director and city laureate, Matthew West, said: ‘I’m delighted to have opportunity to build on foundations laid by SO:To Speak – Southampton’s Festival of Words, Apples and Snakes, The Art House and artists throughout the area who work so hard to enhance the cultural offer of Southampton. Our aim is to raise creative aspirations for people in the city by encouraging growth from grassroots production to a professional standard through low-cost educational offers and showcase opportunities that inspire and motivate creative expression through written and spoken word. This significant investment is a real boost to the cultural economy and will hopefully lead to a legacy of local writers producing work of national and international value.

James Gough, director of Southampton Cultural Development Trust, said: ‘SO-Write sets out to identify and support writers in developing sustainable portfolio careers, combining writing with workshop leadership and other training opportunities. The project aims to reduce barriers between educational institutions and a general public, empowering anyone who’s interested in working with words, so we’re very happy to support it.’

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said: “Our National Lottery funded Grants for the Arts scheme exists to help bring great art and culture to everyone, wherever they live and whatever their circumstances. We believe literature plays a key part in contemporary culture and so we are very pleased to be supporting SO-Write. With such a strong and experienced consortia of partners the project looks set to nurture the literature scene in the city, building on the foundations already laid.”

SO-Write delivery will commence from the summer of 2016. For further information, to get involved, or to volunteer, please email matt@artfulscribe.co.uk.

 

Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2015 and 2018, we plan to invest £1.1 billion of public money from government and an estimated £700 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. http://www.artscouncil.org.uk

‘Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.’ T. S. Eliot

Two slams, two workshops, three panel discussions, a lecture on Edward Thomas and main readings by a dozen major poets in three days appear to be my limit. By Sunday night I’m suffering from  symptoms of a poetry hangover; an earquake involving dullness in the cerebral cortex, still-born words falling from a slack jaw, glazed eyes and un-wiped dribble glistening from the hair on my chin. Business as usual, some might say, but no, no more business for me occurring until Monday afternoon.

Friday 12th September 2014 marks the start of the first Winchester Poetry Festival, coinciding with ArtfulScribe’s showcase in Southampton. The day begins with a final workshop for homeless charity, Nightshelter, as part of WPF’s outreach, followed by attendance at Maura Dooley’s packed workshop ‘The Matter of the Poem’ with twenty minutes to spare before welcoming teams from Alton, Peter Symonds, and Itchen Colleges to showcase their poetry and compete in the Free Range Poetry Slam, the first performance event of the weekend’s festivities. Then to Southampton to set-up at The Art House for Anthony Anaxagorou’s headline set as part of September’s Archimedes Screw.

Saturday dawns early with a 5am rush of faux pas and follies from the day before. Did I really refer to Brian Patten as Ben when I thanked the judges at the Discovery Centre? Did I fail to inform and excite the audience in Southampton about our local guests and headline act? Did I not say goodnight to mother over Skype and steaming cocoa? Propelled from bed by such thoughts, I’m back in Winchester at 9.30am, clutching a large coffee and perhaps already shaking slightly whilst waiting for the day’s proceedings to get underway.

As can be the case, the day’s highlights come from unexpected quarters. Like most, I’d been impressed by a main reading featuring David Constantine, Julia Copus, and Michael Longley. I’d also heard bits of Patience Agbabi’s ‘Telling Tales’ on Radio Four earlier in the year, so knew that was going to be a treat as well. Yet it’s Modern Poetry in Translation, ‘The Singing of the Scythe’ that makes me sparkle, in particular hearing Jacques Réda’s poetry and prose both in the native French and via interpreter and translator, Jennie Feldman. Questions from the floor about acts of composition in different languages lead on from Réda’s assertion that perhaps poetry is untranslatable because of the inherent musicality of words in the mother tongue. A fascinating topic warranting far more coverage than this blog can hope to achieve.

In the afternoon I attend the New Voices session with Jacqueline Saphra, Olivia McCannon and Liz Berry. That none of these voices feature in the recent Next Generation Poets list only illustrates the limiting nature of such proclamations. In particular, Liz Berry, an infant school teacher from the West Midlands, mesmerises those present with a reading from her collection ‘Black Country’, published by Chatto and Windus and shortlisted for The Forward Prize for Best First Collection. Berry’s performance and writing skills are second to none and hopefully we can convince Liz to return to the South Coast in the near future as a headline act for an ArtfulScribe event. As enjoyable as both the ‘Arlott, Poetry and the BBC’ discussion and then seeing Julia Copus as part of the main reading are, for me, and I’m sure for others as well, seeing Liz perform is a defining moment of the festival.

Sunday morning, and word weariness starts to set in. Mercifully, organisers opt for an outdoor activity, ‘Sites of Special Poetic Interest’ or a workshop as a means of starting the day for those who hadn’t yet overdosed on their poetry fix. A full house turn out for Professor Edna Longley’s talk on ‘The Poetry of Edward Thomas, and many stay to catch former Faber editor, Christopher Reid, in discussion with Magma as part of The National Conversation about Poetry launch event. An announcement that Peter Symonds’ Dom Cramp has won the Magma pop-up poetry competition, and performance by Ros Barber, reading from her verse novel The Marlow Papers followed by Jackie Kay’s warmth and humour bring the first Winchester Poetry Festival to a close.

Now, on Tuesday morning, poetic sensibilities are starting to return. I’m not sure if the same can yet be said for organisers whose planning and execution led to such a successful event. Attendance figures clearly indicate widespread support for the enterprise and it is an absolute joy to have such high-quality poetry offerings on the doorstep. Organisers may wish to think about means of involving more young people in future festivities but other than that, it seemed a flawless entry to the stage of quality UK poetry festivals. Heartfelt thanks and appreciation to everyone who helped make this event happen.

Further thanks are in order to organisers of fringe activities that complemented the main festival. Open mic events and local poets were represented at venues including the Art Café in Jewry Street and at The Railway Tavern, thanks to the Rum Eg’s Teapot Collective, Syd Meats and Cat Randle, and Poetry Platform’s Stephen Ripper Mizen who made sure there was opportunity for marginalised voices to have their say. Angela Chicken, Steve Scholey, Rob Casey, Stewart Taylor, Songul Bekir and a host of other local performers added to the success of Hampshire’s finest poetic offering.

That should be enough, but no, there’s still need to delay you further. Congratulations to Simon McCormack for winning the Archimedes Screw in September and earning paid gigs with Apples and Snakes and Verbal Remedies, Bournemouth. You can see Simon perform at 451 on October 20th 2014, supporting Richard Marsh’s critically acclaimed show ‘Wingman.’ Congratulations also to Clare Dussek for earning the audience vote and an opportunity to feature as a local poet in November’s showcase as support for Martin Figura who’ll be performing his show ‘Whistle’. There will also be opportunity to see  Helen Ivory and Martin Figura in ‘An Audience with…’ on Thursday 13th November

In case anyone needs reminding, this weekend there are two poetry workshops taking place within a 30-mile radius of Southampton. Those wishing to explore poetry’s sillier side can join us for Nonsense Verse at Vita Nova in Boscombe on Sunday 21st September whilst on Saturday 20th September, I’ll be offering my first session as resident poet at Winchester Discovery Centre, Poetic Manoeuvres, following the twists and turns of a poem’s journey. The Winchester workshop is entirely new, whilst the Boscombe workshop features fresh exercises for those who may have attended in Southampton. For further details about either workshop, please contact matt@artfulscribe.co.uk. Also, on Sunday 28th September, there’s a poetry crit group meeting at The Art House between 11am and 3pm when poets have a chance to receive constructive feedback about works in progress. Please bring along 6 copies of any poem you wish to share.

That said, enough is nearly enough. For some readers, we may have gone too far already. Those who stayed to the very end, please join me in offering every best wishes to Stewart Taylor when he takes part in the Hammer and Tongue National Finals on Saturday 27th September at The Royal Albert Hall.

If I’ve missed anything or anyone, please forgive me. Bells are ringing in my ears again, I’m feeling dizzy, I hope I’ll make it…

Until next time, happy scribing.

Matt

First Thoughts Poetry Workshop

On the 29th of June, I (Azra Tabassum) attended my first poetry speed writing session. The morning had gotten off on a rather calamitous start which, for someone who is superstitious, did not bode well. Having forgotten to set my alarm, I crawled out of bed at 10 past 4 thinking it was 7am and that I had plenty of time. Needless to say, I rushed around with all the grace of an insect and somehow managed to be outside of the Art House Café (make-up fully done) at 10:34 where I met Matt and did not even attempt to pretend that I wasn’t a sweaty flustered mess. Now, this being the first time I’d done something like this, I was apprehensive to say the least. I don’t do speed-writing. Or I do, but only when it suits me, only when the words tend to fall out of my mouth like descriptive vomit. Prompts and writing the first thing that comes to mind was new to me. As a somewhat perfectionist when it comes to my writing, it sounded like the single worst thing ever. Not to mention that as always, the crowd of people who showed, always seem to know what they’re doing. They’re unapologetic in their poetry, even if it’s not quite up to their expectations of their usual standards. This disregard towards trying to make something perfect is perhaps what made some of the work I heard that morning so incredibly raw. People were also (probably) pleasantly surprised about some of the things that were coming out of them at such short notice. Rob Casey’s poem was probably the favourite of my morning. Based on the prompt “I have not done this…but I have done this…” it led to a downright tear jerking short about his fear over the silence of his newborn child. As a self confessed humour poet, it was certainly a part of him that I hadn’t seen before. There is something incredibly strange and yet infinitely tender about seeing an individual’s vulnerability so readily splashed across a page. That’s one of my favourite aspects of writing, that you can show so much of yourself in as few words as you need. The prompts which ranged from “the beach” to “embarrassing moments” to “the last thing I thought before I passed out…” gave me an insight into the people around me. You can get to know someone when you hear about how they pooped in their mother’s shopping basket as a young child. It’s certainly an eye-opener into the whirring moving, microcosms that exist inside of everyone. The session itself, in terms of how it was set up and executed was great. The aim, to create poetry without self doubt, to do it quickly and efficiently was certainly met. It happened like this: a leaflet full of poems were given to us, we then read the poems and offered a prompt. 10-15 minutes later we had a fully fledged word baby which we then swapped with a partner and edited. The editing process was another thing that was interesting for me. Poets are a sensitive lot, and it was nice to be in a place in which that sensibility could be overlooked in an attempt to better ones work. What I didn’t expect was to be so pleasantly surprised by the amount of work my brain can do when it’s under pressure. To be sitting in a roomful of people who were struggling with the same effort of expression as I was, was refreshing. It made me feel like maybe I could put my pen down, write and whatever came out couldn’t be the worse thing ever because I’d done it in ten minutes and that was certainly something. The next event happening at The Art House is on 11th July with the Archimedes Screw Showcase feat. Inua Ellams who carves candy-coated unicorns from a base mix of classic literature, and hip-hop. Also features support from May’s Audience Choice poet, Aaron Carpenter, and local poet Alec Harkness. There’ll also be a poetry open mic that’ll see plenty of talent signing up at 7pm to compete for a chance to earn paid gigs with Apples and Snakes and Verbal Remedies Bournemouth. It looks to be an absolutely amazing night so whoever can make it, should, to be moved by good poetry, good company and a sparkling atmosphere. On Sunday 13th July we’ll be back at Vita Nova from 11am-3pm tinkering with poetic structure by exploring how twists and turns can enhance our poetic creations. Please email matt@artfulscribe.co.uk if you’d like to come along or need further details.    

Summer’s here and Spoken Word’s sizzling in the South. We’re midway though Archimedes Screw Phase 2, and to date have seen David Allen, Angela Chicken, and Azra Tabassum voted as Archimedes Screw champions by our audience in Southampton. These poets have taken their individual blend of wordsmithery to partner events, ‘451’, and Verbal Remedies Bournemouth, spreading a love for language like butter over toast.

There have been festivals, including a debut for Spoken Word at Pulse on Sunnyfields Farm, when Joe Selby, Rob Casey, Dave Allen, Stewart Taylor, Antosh Wojcek, and Jenn Hart attracted a fine audience and where poetry’s first mosh pit was instigated at Mr Casey’s command.

More recently, the RejectorSlip Festival was revived after EjectorSeat fell by the wayside, and featured a showcase of former champs, including Kayleigh O’Reilly and SO:Fest slam winner Ben Lawrence, Ricky Tart, The Biscuit Poets, storyteller, Michael O’Leary, Cat Randle and Syd Meats. Our RejectorSlip Slam Champion was a new face to ArtfulScribe events and the winner, Myriam San Marco, also won a local poet slot in September’s Archimedes Screw Showcase. RejectorSlip concluded as an emotional swansong for Jenn Hart, part of her long goodbye to ArtfulScribe and Southampton.

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Our community will miss Jenn at events, workshops and showcases over the forthcoming months, along with her energy, generosity of spirit, and ever-changing hair-colour. We’ve shared some fantastic times together over the past couple of years, and it has been both an honour and a pleasure to watch Jenn’s progress in terms of both style and confidence as a Spoken Word performer. We wish her every success with future endeavours, and offer heartfelt thanks for her contributions.

A Jenn-sized void is hard to fill, yet the following day a message arrived at ArtfulScribe HQ volunteering support and assistance, a message reminiscent of Jenn’s blind shot email that asked ‘Can I…’ back in June 2012. Some days you’ve got to love the way the world works. One of the priorities at ArtfulScribe is to get the blog back back up and running, and as our new volunteer is also the current Archimedes Screw Champ, it made sense to ask for an introduction that charted the journey of rising star, Azra Tabassum.

‘The first time I heard about Artfulscribe, and more precisely, slam poetry in Southampton, I was sitting around a table at Poetry Society and my ears perked right up. Like most, but not all poets I know, I enjoy words, attention and praise, in that exact order. All three things at the same time, on a stage no less, sounded perfect.

So I went, not alone of course, as I rarely like to do things alone. Barely prepared with new poems meant for a book but ones I desperately wanted to share. I didn’t know what I was expecting but it wasn’t what I got. Part of me thought I’d find a large room full of bearded, twenty something hipsters who listen to the same music I do and spend their mornings in the café downstairs talking about global warming. (In genuflect, I did find that in Mr Lawrence, who may or may not be deeply concerned about the climate. In this, I’m not too sure.)

What I do know is that I found a dimly lit upstairs room buzzing with an expectant sort of warmth that I can’t quite define. It warmed me absolutely, even if I was taken aback by how much older everyone was than me. I looked around the room and thought “God, they’re going to hate me.”

I don’t often like to be wrong, but I’m glad that in this case, I was. That night, I met a lot of incredibly warm but vivacious people. Talent aside, the community itself is very welcoming. It opens its arms and keeps them open and doesn’t seem to mind that sometimes your knees go shaky and your voice doesn’t always work.

It was my first time performing to a roomful of poetry aficionados and needless to say I was nervous. That lessened slightly once I found out that I’d been voted back to be pitted against Ben Lawrence (who I admit, terrifies me slightly with his grasp of the English language) and came back full force when I was up there again. I didn’t expect to win, in fact, I was certain that I wouldn’t so when I did, all I could think was “shit. It’s the Nuffield Theatre now.” I needn’t have worried. Like the Art House, like Artfulscribe and all its earnest enthusiasm, it was an environment that made me feel safe. Even if I hadn’t gotten to the next round against Ben Lawrence I would have thought “hell, they really like me.” And that’s something.

So today, I sat across from Matt West discussing wanting to help out more with this community and he told me “I’m going to need you to make a blog post about your experience,” and I thought “this is going to be tough,” but it turns out, I was wrong. Again.’

Hopefully this will be the first of many offerings from Azra, as she finds her feet and gets more involved with ArtfulScribe as an organisation. As a ‘not-for-profit’ we rely on the goodwill of our community members to help wherever possible and we’re always grateful for any support that we receive.

In other news…

We’re looking forward to hosting a new workshop at the Art House on Sunday 29th June based on Allen Ginsberg’s notion of ‘first thought, best thought’. There will be a variety of poems presented to the workgroup, leading to discussion and writing on the theme of each poem. To keep the critical mind at bay, at least temporarily, a tight time limit will be imposed for each writing exercise, leading to some really raw material that can be refined and honed, through collaborative editing, followed by feedback to the group. At only £7.50 for a four-hour session (11am-3pm) you’ll be hard-pressed to find better value. Please email matt@artfulscribe.co.uk to guarantee a place.

On Friday 11th July, the Archimedes Screw showcase returns with a headline set from Inua Ellams, and local poet sets from Alec Harkness and Aaron Carpenter. As always, sign up from 7pm for an open mic slot that could lead to selection as the audience choice and the potential of paid gigs with Apples and Snakes and Verbal Remedies Bournemouth.

Sunday 13th July sees ArtfulScribe return to Vita Nova for a workshop on poetic turns and how these can be best employed to engage and surprise readers. We’ll also be looking at poetic structures to see how arguments and alternative perspectives can open up a poem’s possibilities. Workshop takes place at 11 Roumelia Lane, Boscombe, from 11am-3pm with a break for lunch. Email matt@artfulscribe.co.uk to reservce a place.

On Sunday 27th July there’s a chance to get together with like-minded people and workshop your poems at a critique session at The Art House in Southampton. These sessions are proving increasingly popular as a means of obtaining peer review in a safe environment, before unleashing that monster of a poem on an unsuspecting public. Admission £5.

If you’ve got this far, you deserve an ice cream. Thanks for reading, and until next time, happy scribing.

Archimedes Screw Phase 2

As some readers may be aware, following our recent announcements on Facebook, ArtfulScribe has received confirmation that Arts Council England and Apples and Snakes have approved funding for Phase Two of the Archimedes Screw project. Those familiar with the initial project will know that the Archimedes Screw was devised as a means of elevating grassroots poets and poetry to a professional level by developing experience and techniques through monthly workshops and bi-monthly showcases.

The first year went well beyond initial expectations, resulting in an international prize winner, both national and regional Hammer and Tongue slam finalists in strong territories like Oxford and Cambridge, a Roundhouse poetry slam champion, and the first-time publication of several poets. Also, let’s not forget the six poets who earned their first paid performance and all those who found courage to share words with an audience for the first time, as well as new audience members who were introduced to the diverse and vibrant world of Spoken Word.

As much as we might like to take full credit for such triumphs, it is perhaps fairer to say that Archimedes Screw offered a confidence-building platform for these emerging artists to share their talents and enthusiasm with others. The dedication and motivation of everyone who took part in the project has helped create a strong community of poets in the region and boosted Hampshire’s reputation for both page and performance poetry on a national level.

Phase Two of the project will offer a series of 12 poetry workshops in Bournemouth on poetic form and technique for both performance courtesy of generous support and venue provision from partners Vita Nova. These workshops will be aimed at both beginners and improvers. The workshop series will be led by ArtfulScribe director, Matt West, and feature guests who are specialists in fields like performance, page poetry, and publishing. Local poet and performer, Joe Selby, will provide a supporting role.

To encourage intercity participation and avoid saturation, showcases will be held in Southampton and continue in a similar format to the structure used last year. There will be a sign-up for open-mic participants in the first half of the show, and the audience will select one of these performers to receive an extended guest slot in a future show. The second half of the show will feature two extended guest slots, followed by a national or international headline act. There will, however, be a twist to the Screw.

We feel it’s important for poets or Spoken Word artists to embrace the idea of travel if they’re serious about progressing in the profession. Those prepared to go the extra mile and travel beyond existing comfort zones are most likely to succeed in terms of gaining new audiences for their work and attracting attention from promoters of poetry nights elsewhere in the country. Our two second-half guests will, therefore, be hoping to secure a majority vote from the audience in order to be acclaimed as an Archimedes Screw Champion, to be awarded a paid gig with Apples and Snakes, AND to be offered a paid gig and travel costs to perform as a guest at Verbal Remedies poetry night in Boscombe.

The next showcase will take place at The Art House, 178 Above Bar Street, Southampton on Tuesday 12th November, featuring the incredibly talented Ross Sutherland, and guest poets Kayleigh O’Reilly (Audience Choice poet from July’s showcase) and Ben Lawrence (ArtfulScribe’s SO:FEST Chatterbox Stage Slam Champion). Both guests are exceptional, so please come along, show support, and save us the unenviable task of having to choose between them! The showcase will also feature one of our January guests, who could be you if you manage to impress the audience during the open mic.

Archimedes Screw Phase Two will also offer four poetry masterclass workshops in Southampton, led by leading figures of page and stage to further skillsets of poets in the area. The masterclasses are due to take place on a quarterly basis at The Art House and will hopefully enhance an existing schedule of events that include bi-monthly critique sessions at The Art House where poets can receive peer review and feedback on works in progress, and bi-monthly Poets Evenings at The Frog and Parrot where poets are encouraged to share and discuss poetic influences and favourite poems within a social community forum. In addition, there are also plans to support a couple of workshops led by emerging facilitators.

A full schedule of events for both Southampton and Bournemouth will be available online and in print, as soon as details are finalised. Our first Critique Session will take place on Sunday 24th November at The Art House at 11am.

In other news: we are also pleased to confirm that Rob Auton will be performing his Sky Show at The Art House on Saturday 21st December, and tickets are now on sale, priced at £7.00. Rob will be supported by SO:FEST Chatterbox Stage slam finalists Simon Richiardi, Rose Drew, and Fermoy International Poetry Prize Winner, Ben Johnson. The show starts at 7pm and will be followed by ArtfulScribe’s annual Christmas dinner at Panda Chinese in Bedford Place. Please email matt@artfulscribe.co.uk if you’d like to attend the meal.

If you’ve got this far, you must be as passionate about poetry as we are. In turn, accept this salute, poet, and we hope to see you at an ArtfulScribe event in the near future. Until such times, happy scribing.

ArtfulScribe Review: Freshfields 2013

Thanks to Ben Johnson for this blog post.

The poet John Heath-Stubbs wrote in his poem The Great Storm:

At Barton-on-Sea, Hampshire,
A block of flats collapses;
A man is trapped in the rubble. Well, well, well –
And this was the place I spent my earlier years in!
The first time, I’ll be bound,
It’s ever got in the news.

Nothing much changes and New Milton which encompasses Barton-on-Sea is not known for being especially newsworthy. Among Wikipedia’s list of notable points of interest is that Britain’s first reinforced concrete bridge was built just outside New Milton in 1901. If anything the area is more famous for being a place to retire to and write letters to the local paper complaining about change and young people. This weekend the inhabitants had something extra to complain about, Freshfields 2013. Now in its third year this musical festival is somewhat of a hidden gem. This year boasted a funfair, a main stage, acoustic stage, ska stage and dance tent among other attractions all for the bargain price of £10.

At this point you might be wondering how does this involve  ArtfulScribe? Last year the acoustic (Cultura) stage which is run by Terry and Rachel Muller of Cultura Press provided slots for poetry. This year they were planning on dropping those slots and just focusing on music until Matt West stepped in and offered to provide a selection of poets who would spice up the day and bring a little extra culture to the Cultura Stage.

 The day started out grey and around midday decided to dampen down the festival spirit which worked well driving fair weather punters under cover and into the Cultura tent in time for Matt to climb the Poetry podium and educate the audience in the levels of applause that poets expect to receive. Not for them the hollow Guardian level clapping reserved for polite distaste. After three attempts Matt was satisfied enough to allow Carrie Aaron to don her elbow length green gloves and take to the stage.

A brave new world was opened to people who had last heard poetry at school and thought it was all dancing through daffodils and dying in some foreign field. Suddenly poetry was brought into the Cyber age of Cyclopsian web cams and hearts which were quite unlike onions and more like train *crashes*.  After wowing the audience Carrie departed and allowed the music to resume once more.

Thus began a regular cycle of the audience having to suffer through 30 minutes of music before being treated to 10 minutes of poetry. Next up was Paul Harris who read from his collection Best Before. His series of deeply human poems carefully constructed in rhyme gave way to a carefully hidden rebellious streak in his Keep off the Grass in which it was clear he had no intention of keeping off the grass “Do not try and stop us/pathetic little plaque./We will have our fun/in the summer sun/and steal you coming back.”

A little more music and then Terry announced to Matt that we were running a little ahead of schedule and needed the space filling which was really just a roundabout route to begging for more poetry to be read. Matt saved the day by drawing his amazing alphabetical animal poem from the canon of his memory and thus filling in the extra space before inviting Ben Johnson up to the podium. Ben continues the long tradition of poets hailing from Barton-on-Sea starting with John Heath Stubbs (previously mentioned), followed by Robert Graeme Galbraith and… well that is about it. Ben spent the next ten minutes, elaborating on his various difficulties in communicating through poetic form. The rain redoubled its efforts and drew him one of his largest audiences to date. Since this article has mainly focused on the poetry and this was a music festival it is only fair at this point to mention the next music act, the amazing Louise Jordan. Louise sung her first song almost totally unaccompanied and was the first person to make the PA sound incredible. She even managed to perform her folk music to the accompaniment of the drum and bass bleeding in from the tent next door. Her performance was good enough to allow her to be forgiven for not knowing which side of the Dorset/Hampshire border New Milton resides in.

Lysander White had the difficult task of following such a strong act. He mounted the podium with confidence his feet clad in nothing but red socks and carefully unwound the microphone from its stand, before descending among the audience and sweeping us away with his words. He ended with a most amazing poem about using mockingbirds to add beauty to the world which left us feeling that something special had been added to our world.

Another musical interlude from Aaron Ballard and then back to poetry with Jenn Hart taking to the stage. Jenn put aside her lack of sleep and aftermath of festival flu, launching straight in with a poem showing the right every woman has to wear trousers. After this she introduced herself and lead on to a poem dealing with climate change. She recited her poems with the intensity of one who has a message worth sharing and which impelled her audience to listen.

 Jenn was followed by a virtuoso performance on the guitar by Chris Woodford. Chris’ instrumental music took his twelve string guitar far beyond the usual level of guitar playing to an outstanding level of artistry. His abilities being further proved when Bob Hill, the next poet to take the podium, asked him to jam with him in an impromptu poetry/music gig. The combination of Bob’s poetry and Chris’ playing was one of the afternoon’s highlights. Bob’s poem about desiring to be a drag queen proved to be the most risque the poetry got all day, proving that poets can fit in well at family events.

If any doubts remained about poetry no longer being the domain of pale individuals competing to die youngest of TB or consumption while writing romantic epics they were blown away by the final poetry act. Matt had saved poetry’s equivalent of shock and awe to the end when Stewart Taylor mounted the podium dressed in Double Denim. New Milton will be talking for years to come about their introduction to Isadora Duncan and the strange new craze Prancerise. Lets hope a year is enough time for the populace to recover and finish their letters of complaint before we hit them again at Freshfields 2014.

Archimedes Screw: A Year in Review

Since August 2012, the Archimedes Screw project has helped over sixty-five aspiring poets through a series of  workshops and showcases,  introducing participants to  a broad range of poetic forms and techniques. The project has provided an arena for debate, and has deepened understanding and appreciation of poetry in terms of both performance and page within the local community. Archimedes Screw has also provided opportunities for established and emerging poets to share their skills and experiences. We’ve had performance workshops by poets and playwrights like Nick Field, and Steve Larkin, a Creative Writing workshop led by  Rhian Edwards (Welsh Book of the Year 2013 winner) and a fine workshop on the technical side of editing, thanks to Penned in the Margins editor, Tom Chivers. Of course, that’s not to forget our dynamic showcase headliners, Adam Kammerling, Rhian Edwards, Susan Richardson, Raymond Antrobus, Sophia Blackwell and Harry Baker who have continued to inspire both audiences and poets alike. For six deserving open-mic performers, the accolade of being an Archimedes Screw Champion has been awarded along with opportunities to perform paid gigs with Apples and Snakes South East. Former champion Issa Farrah has gone on to use his words for peaceful demonstration and has been a shadow poet for the likes of Steve Larkin, Kenny Baraka  (Writing With My Eyes) and Matthew West with Prince’s Trust workshops scheduled earlier in the year. Stewart Taylor has won a place in the Hammer & Tongue Regional Final and all of our Archimedes Screw champions had the chance to perform as part of the ArtfulScribe showcase at Ejector Seat Festival 2013.

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‘Rhythms of the City’ Workshop

For some writers through, the journey is just beginning. Dave Hubble, a local poet from Eastleigh, attended the last few Archimedes Screw events and comments here  on his personal development:

A year ago I had not written anything beyond teenage scratching. After I attended the ‘Unleash Your Creativity’ course with Jani Franck I started to write some verse. Through connections with the Art House, Southampton and fellow writers I started to perform my work at Moving Voices Open Mic Night and began to get involved with the Archimedes Screw.

With opportunities for performance, and an enthusiastic, welcoming audience, comes improvement. Only a few months later, I have made progress in my writing and performance. Certainly, I am much more comfortable at being fluid in my writing, and feel that I am finding my voice.

It may be a cliché, something poets are meant to avoid, but it’s fair to say that none of this would have happened without ArtfulScribe or Archimedes Screw. Now addicted to writing and with a great new family of fellow versifiers, it’s a life-changer!

Throughout the project, Archimedes Screw has facilitated a supportive space for aspiring poets and has opened its doors to event volunteering, blogging, videoing and editing. For Jenn Hart, Archimedes Screw has offered an invaluable experience that has helped to further her career as an organiser and professional writer;  being exposed to a wider world of poetic performances and techniques has led to her involvement with projects like One Way Ticket and Writing With My Eyes. The ArtfulScribe blog has received contributions from Carrie Aaron, Antosh Wojcik and Matthew Holiday. Our events have been documented by local photographers Clair Anderson and Michael Daish and our Youtube footage has been edited by Archimedes Screw regular Ben Johnson. We have also welcomed volunteers like Hannah Collins who has chosen to focus on performance poetry as part of her Gold Arts Award. Hannah volunteered at the last showcase and has reflected on her experience:

I went along to the Archimedes Screw Showcase at the Art House, Southampton, full of wonder at my first poetry event. I did not know what to expect upon entering. The talent was outstanding and the variety of styles created a feast of auditory delight. Poems ranged from outpours of emotion to witty reflections on society. Poems were performed in styles from the traditional recital of verse to free flowing beats and rhythms inspired by HipHop. The whole evening was wonderful. For £5 entry you get rich entertainment with a vast array of styles, tones and topics.

Susan Richardson & Kayleigh O'Reilly - Showcase 6

Susan Richardson & Kayleigh O’Reilly – Showcase 6

During the course of the year, ArtfulScribe has welcomed new relationships with surrounding poetic communities such as Apples and Snakes South East, Freeway Poets in Bournemouth, Big Up Words in Andover, The Biscuit Poets in Totton and individuals from areas around Hampshire and Dorset. We’ve also worked in conjunction with parkCulture magazine, publishing eight poets, with Voice FMcreating radio opportunities for poets and with Southampton Central Libraries, providing new and exciting spaces for both performance and writing. ArtfulScribe is currently in discussion with Ravenshead Press in relation to creating an anthology of poetry that celebrates everyone who took part in the Archimedes Screw project, with the aim of providing a historical record of their achievements.

The quality of both performers and performances has made the  Archimedes Screw showcase a regular highlight for all involved.  Carrie Aaron, has gone on to provide support for Rob Auton’s Yellow Show at the Art House in May and emerging Bournemouth poet Henry Rowe warmed up The Cellar‘s stage for Mark Grist’s ‘Rogue Teacher’. Our relationship with The Cellar also involved hosting Steve Larkin’s N.O.N.C.E, and it is hoped that both shows played their part in introducing a wider audience to the fascinating arena of Spoken Word. At this year’s Ejector Seat Festival, ArtfulScribe was able to supply international acts MC Dizraeli and Luke Wright as part of 5 hour performance poetry marathon, that engaged and entertained a substantial crowd throughout the day. Following on from this success, we are now looking forward to providing a showcase of poets at this year’s Freshfields Festival in New Milton and as part of the Boscombe Green Community Fair. Most of the poets involved in both of these forthcoming initiatives have taken part in Archimedes Screw showcases and workshops, so if you get the chance, please do come along and offer them your support.

 

It has been a pleasure to help, and to learn from, so many talented individuals throughout the past year. The Archimedes Screw project wouldn’t have been such a success without the passionate support of everyone who has taken part; poets, venue staff, audience members, sponsors and local businesses who’ve provided our marketing literature and web support. We are really grateful for each and every contribution, and look forward to offering more exciting projects and opportunities over the course of the next year.

Until next time, thanks for scribing.

Review: Ejector Seat: ArtfulScribe Presents The Spoken Word Tent

Summer spilled out on the parks of Southampton for Ejector Seat 2013 and we’ve finally managed to catch its breath. The day at the Spoken Word tent passed with languid intensity – never a dull, unpleasant moment. Verbally photographing the highlights of the day were blog contributors, Carrie Aaron and Antosh Wojcik:

Carrie: “For quite some weeks, there had been a growing excitement amongst ArtfulScribers: something, with all the sparkly inexorability of the pre-Christmas: the anticipation of Ejector Seat 2013 at Palmerston Park.

On Saturday the 8th of June I strode, notebook in bag, townwards. Not being more-than-usually geographically talented, I was by no means entirely sure where Palmerston Park was. I consulted, however, one of those maps-in-metal-billboards which the council has so considerately erected for people like me, and found Palmerston Park. Having paused, for a moment, to photograph a particularly resplendent Victorian pillar, I made my way to the nearest ice-cream van. There, I obtained my Mr Whippy. This done,  I sought the Spoken Word tent. Ejector Seat was, I am pleased to report, more than usually well-signposted. A semi-circle of poets stood to the left of the tent, in a sort of static, discussing what was going to happen and pretending, for the most part, to be all grown up and not nearly as excited as they were.

Issa Farrah was the first poet of the day to take the stage. Issa is one of those poets who seem to imprint themselves, like a watermark, onto the arts-discourse of wherever they happen to be.  He looked, on stage, amidst the variegated tassels looping rainbow-like either side of him, very happy, and very much in the right place. Following Issa’s set, the succeeding Archimedes Screw Champions performed sets. Benjamin Hayes delivered succinct, perfectly-modulated bundles of information, all of which seemed to be transferred from him to the audience intact.  A poem about not talking about being a poet (in response to not-overwhelmingly-positive familial interest) stood out most poignantly.  He came across as personal genuine and relatable-to, and the audience liked him for it.  Stewart Taylor buzzed on and off the stage for quite some time, like a sort of inverse poltergeist. The apex of his verbiosity was, in my view, reached when he decanted his epic poem about curry-related farting into our ears.   A poorly James Barnes machine-gunned us with little volleys of poems in prose from pieces of paper cut very neatly to sizes that paper has rarely experienced itself being before. Rob Casey, with a quite lovely folder with a world map emblazoned bluely on it, had the great advantage of having a prop; his lovely son.

Then there was a slam. Matt West opened with a sacrificial poem about his mobile phone being nicked. Rob Casey reappeared and  Carrie Wilde put in an appearance. In fact, she pinched my spot. (Let me explain. I used to be Carrie Wilde. I have not been Carrie Wilde for quite some time. Carrie Wilde no longer exists. I am, however, still sometimes presented as Carrie Wilde. I am Carrie Aaron now. Carrie Aaron. And don’t you forget it!) I  one-handedly gesticulated my way through a poem about the Cyclopsian nature of web-cams. The guardians of the scorecards were astonishingly kind to me, but I was not cast up to the terrifying heights of the final round. The lengthily-named Peter Allen Eaglesfield Clarke performed a very jolly poem about a murder. Mark Badbelly Lang was enthusiastically received with wave upon wave of sound and sense, telling a tale of a pirate of hearts. Antosh Wojcik demonstrated a gentle lyricism refreshing  as a soda fountain in a multi-storey car-park . Songul Bekir, looking every inch the artist in flaming red lipstick and a resplendently coloursome dress, wandered around her verse with nuanced and varied expressions and tones and phrases, until it became a splendidly synesthetic experience (which is just what one would expect from a poet who has her roots in visual art). And Jenn Hart performed – and won! Very deservedly indeed, actually – with a performance which would not have looked out of place as a headline act.

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Jenn Hart

Then Luke Wright happened. Luke Wright  is a consummate storyteller. He told us about a posh plumber. And he told us about a lion. And he told us about a bird called Barbara. And he writhed and shimmied and quaked – and, well, just generally moved more than a bowl of jelly on a wobble board – throughout. He is impossible to convey. Just go and see him, yeah?”

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Luke Wright

Antosh: “Luke Wright bounds up to the stage, ready to release his brand of beat poetry upon the crowd. He begins by delivering his ‘Essex Lion’ poem with a comedic exuberance, juggling all sorts of wordplay and social observation into poetry nuggets that anyone from the age of two to ninety two can enjoy. His rhyme and rhythm are mesmerizing and the crowd is in stitches for the whole hour set. His banter between each poem easily blends them into an almost stand up routine. It is no wonder why this man is such a proponent in the performance poetry scene. Notions of poignancy and story telling also riddle Wright’s set as he talks about the strife of parenthood, childhood, school and teachers, not for a moment dropping his playful way with words. The audience are rolling in the sun and soon, the laughs are drowning out the music from the other tents.”

Dizraeli blends the passion of a rapper with spoken word, imbuing verses with lyrical depth and wordplay that makes his set both a journey of knowledge and at moments, blisteringly funny. He has mad rap flow skills, taking on issues such as celebrity and social issues like feminism and youth culture. He unites the audience with participatory chants and stands as an equal amongst us… Only holding a guitar and a tongue that can lash out some sprinting rhythms. He apologises for his larynx; he’s quite husky after an operation, yet his melodious choruses sound all the more bluesy and complement his style of spoken word. Delivering a perfectly pitched set with shades of light and dark, this diverse and lyrical legend distinguishes himself from other MCs.”

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MC Dizraeli

And then he was gone, evaporated like a bowl of drinking water on a hot summer’s day, making way for Jo Hillier to introduce the fabulous Biscuit Poets. Their festival debut went down well with a hardcore of poetry fans who stayed to hear how the Headway crew appreciated their tea-break temptations, with poems ranging from odes to Wagon-Wheels to ginger nuts too tough to crack. Who’d have thought it?

Every day must have its end, and as time faded with the finesse of a slider on a DJ deck, Michael O’Leary appeared with a bag full of tales and stick of ear-spitting noisomeness to inject the afternoon with traditional storytelling set in defamiliarised local surroundings. His performance was appreciated by poets, parents, and everyone who sat captivated on the spot.

 

Don’t forget…

Monday 17th to Sunday 23rd June is Refugee Week 2013 in Southampton. With cultural events happening at different locations around town, on 23rd at the Quaker Centre off of London Road, Angela Chicken and Jenn Hart will be performing poetry during the day. For more information about events happening in the week, click here.

Wednesday 26th Jul 2013Freeway Poets return to the Winchester pub with open mic, guest slots and headliner act MC DIZRAELI & DOWNLOW, sign up from 7.30pm, £5/£3 NUS entry.

On Friday 28th June at the Art House, Southampton – Moving Voices Open Mic night will be hosted upstairs. Poetry and Music welcome, sign up on the door from 7pm.

Sunday 30th JuneArchimedes Screw returns to the Art House, Southampton with another all day workshop – ‘Edit Like a Pro’ which will be facilitated by Tom Chivers, editor of Penned in the Margins. Email matt@artfulscribe.co.uk to guarantee a place. More information available here.

Thanks for Scribing,

Carrie & Antosh.

ArtfulScribe Review: Rob Auton’s Yellow Show

Our latest blog comes from Winchester-based poet Antosh Wojcik and features a review of Rob Auton’s Yellow Show, as well as a round-up of forthcoming events.

‘I never usually attribute Sundays to a specific colour; I struggle determining what any day could be in terms of the spectrum, but today, Sunday the 26th May is yellow. I arrive at The Art House Southampton, to find a man strewing the room with yellow things; bananas, wet floor signs, trawlermen’s jackets, the lot. This man is Rob Auton, spoken word artist, writer and performer of The Yellow Show, which harbours a blend of stand-up comedy and poetry, along with some of the most bizarre ideas I’ve ever encountered. The night is introduced by Matt West, founder and poetician of Artfulscribe, who clutches two large yellow bags of crisps that he then rattles like cheerleader pom poms. He rallies the crowd into cries of ‘YELLOW’ and introduces Carrie Aaron, the support act for tonight. Carrie takes to the stage, ready to entice the audience with a colourful and provocative set. Her flirtatious stance on webcams is caricatured with infectious wordplay, soon pin pricking the crowd with laughter. She introduces poems with ironic phrases like ‘this is a little bit loathing,’ or ‘this one’s about how I will never be happy.’ The climactic moment of her set is when an alarm sounds on her phone and she drops a poem, mid verse, to begin freestyling about a rather bizarre holiday. The audience are in stitches and applause rings out when the free flowing images and wordplay cease. Carrie steps down from an impressive performance, signalling the beginning of Rob Auton’s Yellow Show.

The Beatles’’ Yellow Submarine’ conjures up a sing along among the audience, complete with swaying heads and finger clicks. Auton continues to dress the venue up in yellow, passing a long ribbon of yellow onto a crowd member. We become tangled in yellow, bound to our chairs, ready to receive Auton’s patented ‘yellowvision goggles;’ one of the many props this colourful character employs during his show. Auton’s delivery is casual and comedic and relying on audience participation. We have a call and response melee over the poem ‘Maroon’ in which Auton shouts about how the decorators painted his room the wrong colour. Simple yet absurd jokes and poetic situations, such as conversations between sponges, banana phones, yellow top trumps and shopping routines, riddle Auton’s show, all culminating in the theme of ‘Why Yellow?’ Auton has crafted a show of childish surrealism, yet harnesses the poignancy of remaining yellow in a dark world. He reads from his book In Heaven The Onions Make You Laugh in which he discusses naming his son ‘Dad’ and explodes with more off-the-wall performance poetry that simply rips the crowd into laughter. Soon, we are all discussing cheese, after prompted to think about our favourite yellow food. In this, I recognize the risk of Auton’s Yellow Show; often it feels as if it is about to stray away from him, that the audience are going to be lost in the freedom he gives them. But Auton builds this all into the comedy of the act, unifying the audience with his routine and connecting it to his belief in the colour yellow. The show soon comes to an end and Auton thanks the audience, who once again call out ‘YELLOW’ at the top of their lungs. The audience begin to leave The Art House beaming.  Once again, ArtfulScribe has delivered a truly talented spoken word artist to Southampton’s door.  I depart, feeling this Sunday is definitely yellow. Perhaps, the rest of the week shall be too.’

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Rob Auton’s Yellow Show at the Art House, Southampton – 26/05/13

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As the summer heads for June, here are some poetic treats for you to sink your teeth into:

Saturday 8th JuneEJECTOR SEAT FESTIVAL ArtfulScribe Presents: The Spoken Word Tent. Featuring Luke Wright, MC Dizraeli, The Biscuits Poets, Mike O’Leary, all five previous Archimedes Screw Showcase Champions (Issa Farrah, Benjamin Hayes, James Barnes, Stewart Taylor and Rob Casey) and a slam competition with prizes. Join ArtfulScribe at Palmerstone Park from 1 – 6pm.

On Monday 17th June you can see Archimedes Screw Showcase Champion Rob Casey perform a full set at Apples and Snakes ‘451‘ at the Nuffieldd Theatre. The night includes performances from Zena Edwards and Johnny Fluffypunk as well as a chance to get up on the mic yourself. Sign up from 7pm – there are limited spaces so make sure you arrive early to sign up.

Wednesday 19th JuneFREEWAY POETS present an audience and workshop with Glyn Maxwell. There are spaces available for the workshop, if you’d like to reserve a place, email the.artsbank@yahoo.co.uk. For more information on the event, click here.

Thanks for stopping by and carry on scribing!

– Antosh Wojcik

Scribes (of the Artful kind) Spring into Action

ArtfulScribe snowballs into Spring, budding with fresh blog contributions from local poets who form a core part of our activities . Carrie Aaron is the latest recruit to join our team and here’s her blog about recent events and poetic happenings in the south.

On April the 23rd (the birth and death day of Shakespeare) ArtfulScribe invaded Southampton Central Library with a freeze breeze of spoken word (headlined by the multilingual – and talented – Bohdan Piasecki) There was wine and nibbles and free books. Yes! That’s right!! Free books!!! You can read more about these splendours on my blog here.

Winner of the open mic - Antosh Wojcik.

ArtfulScribe Presents: Later at the Library – Antosh Wojcik

Skipping forward to 10th May –  ArtfulScribe coaxed 2012 World Slam Champion Harry Baker to the art-strewn first floor of The Art House, Southampton for the set that put the cherry on the cake of that evening’s Archimedes Screw Showcase. Master of Ceremonies Matt West, snazzily clad in the silverest shoes this side of the Solent, introduced the evening with all the energy of a World Cup Final football commentator in the last crucial minutes. There is no open-mic at the Archimedes Screw Showcase -What is there then? Well, there’s a sort of mini-slam. Followed by a sort of less-mini-slam. A decade of us chanted our verses at a well-stocked audience for four minutes a piece. There was a stupendously well-received poem about baldness – followed by a stupendously well-received poem about yoyos by David Allen. Eclecticism is the Archimedes Screw Showcase’s middle name. A chap in perhaps the most peculiar but comely hat I’ve ever had the perplexity & pleasure to set eyes upon, going by the name of Paul ‘Haribo’ Bailey, stormed towards his time-limit with what appeared, if nothing else to be a one-man-play in verse about war and bullets and sexy but culinary redheads. He has all the energy of a torpedo (& will go, I suspect, as far as one).

There are no words capable of encapsulating Stewart Taylor. Apart, perhaps, from “What in the world was THAT?!? It was WONDERFUL!!!” He wandered nonchalantly up to the microphone, un-twirled it from its stand (always a brave move), and proceeded to have the most plosive, explosive brainstorm of a rhyming tantrum you ever did see. School’s out for the summer!  The Cat in the Hat, otherwise known as Cat H. Randle, took us ever gently through a little series of delightful (“delight” is the word that comes to mind with Cat and her poems) poems, one of which explained the process via which teddy bears, when overwashed, become something other, something further. Syd Meats, work of staggering genius and all round good egg, amused me so much that and has amused me so much before. I didn’t perform anything. I’d forgotten my notebook. I strode up to the microphone with what I can only assume was a look of absolute terror, and made stuff up for three minutes. It mostly seemed to entail getting rained on and biscuits….

The second half encompassed the three anticipated poets of the night. Two local poets, ‘451’ comparer Rob Casey and the Audience Choice Lysander White preceded our guest poet, Harry Baker. Lysander went first. He edged, second by minute by aeon, to the microphone, teasing us. He reeled off yards and yards of the most beautifully constructed and enunciated verse. He was evocative. He was fearless. He was clasping a setlist made out of a book by Hermann Hesse. His shoes were somewhere else. 

Rob Casey was a different kettle of fish entirely. He made ‘em laugh (he can do that rare thing: write – and deliver – a genuinely funny poem). He won the audience vote (for that stage of the thing). Victory being his, he will be performing again at the next ‘451’ with Apples and Snakes at the Nuffield Theatre

Harry Baker constituted the finale of the evening. I’d seen Harry before, at a the Next Generation Slam in Bristol last year. He is astonishingly adept and confidence radiates from his form like he’s a confidence-emitting-lightbulb. I enjoyed him regaling the audience with tales from his poetical travels, touring the circuit, lighting it up, and winning a not unimpressive proportion of the prizes. Two poems stood out like perfectly-manicured thumbs. A poem about the fact that bees are not meant to be able to fly and yet do, was more complex than I make it sound, and really quite “motivational” actually. A poem about love and dinosaurs rocked my boat considerably – particularly when he made dinosaur noises.

Once all the votes were counted and considered, it was announced that I myself had been selected by the audience to perform as a local poet in the next showcase! I am very much excited by this and am barely over the excitement of Harry Baker! What a magical night. 

On Sunday 12th May, poets (Matt WestRob CaseyAngela Louise ChickenJenn HartStewart Taylor and I) decided to have a day out (as did a twain of our/their – pick whichever grammatical option you prefer/is correct – children. And our loved ones wrote the names of places on sheets of paper and put the sheets of paper in envelopes and we picked an envelope with the name of a place on it and we went there (there were two places on this particular piece of paper, actually, so we went to both of them). And we went to Portsmouth. And we went to a castle. And it was sunny and there were flowers and we wrote about war and drank never-ending coffee. And we went to a war museum. And it rained. And there was a war memorial. And there were lists of dead people. And there was rain. And the rain rained on us. And we sought shelter in the castle and drank more never-ending coffee.

Coming up on the poetry calendar is Rob Auton’s Yellow Show. Have you heard about Rob Auton’s Yellow Show? If you haven’t, this man is the best thing since sliced cheese. Honest to The Muse. It’s like falling asleep and dreaming about something very yellow and pleasantly mind-boggling, and waking up and pressing the replay button over and over again. Only – you won’t have to. Because ArtfulScribe have coaxed him over to The Art House for your delectation. – 26th May 2013 – Early Bird tickets are still available here.

On Saturday 8th June, Southampton’s Ejector Seat Festival, will have it’s very own Spoken Word extravaganza, curated by ArtfulScribe. This year’s headliners include the hip-hop Spoken Word sensation Dizraeli as well as the hugely talented Luke Wright, fresh from touring his sixth Spoken Word show. The Biscuit Poets will be there along with a showcase of Archimedes Screw Champions AND there will be a chance for local poets to take part in a slam competition that is rumoured to have a hefty prize . Thus – roll up! roll up! Brush up on your speaking and listening skills…
On Monday 17th June, Rob Casey (as the latest Archimedes Screw Showcase Champion) will be at ‘451’ at The Nuffield Theatre. The event also features Hidden Creatives 2012 Award winner Zena Edwards and the spikey veteran of performance poetry Jonny Fluffypunk. Sign up to read from 7pm – £5 on the door.

Wednesday 19th June – Freeway Poets present a workshop and evening with poet and playwrite Glyn Maxwell from 6.30 – 8pm followed by an evening of performance by Sean Street, Anthony Fairweather and Shaine Singer.Visit the event page here for more information.

On Friday 31st MayMoving Voices returns to the Art House, Southampton for an evening of spoken word, poetry and music. Sign up on the door from 7pm to perform.

If you’re looking for something poetic to sink your teeth and pen into, Archimedes Screw hosts ‘Modern Mayhem’ workshop at the Art House, Southampton – Sunday 26th May, 11 – 4.30pm. To guarantee a place, email matt@artfulscribe.co.uk.

Check back soon for more exciting updates in the realms of ArtfulScribe

– Carrie Aaron.