September 2012- What’s On, Midlands Spoken Word

Birmingham Artsfest – 7th-9th

Wirksworth Arts Festival, Derbys 7th-23rd Sept

Stafford Arts Fest 15th

Click to access Stafford-Arts-Festival-Timetable.pdf

Warwick Words 28th Sept – 7th Oct

Wellington Literary Festival , Shrops29th Sept- 20th October


Saturday 1st Simon Fletcher will be talking about Offa’s Press at the Assembly Rooms, Ludlow, South Shropshire, as part of a Writing West Midlands networking afternoon. 2-4pm Free.

Sat 1st Sept Buddy Wakefield, MAC Birmingham, 7.30pm £5in
The two-time Individual World Poetry Slam Champion visits Birmingham with his raw, rounded performance style. This is a unique chance to catch Buddy Wakefield on one of his very rare European tours and witness see one of the top spoken word artists in the world live and unpluggedin an intimate venue. Buddy will be supported supported by up-and-coming West Midlands poets Mstr Morrison, Jodi Ann Bickley, and Rehema Njambi.

Where: mac Birmingham, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham, B12 9QH
Tickets: £5
Booking: / 0121 446 3232

Sun 2nd Sept Buzzwords, Exmouth Arms,Bath Road Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL53 7LX, 7pm Workshop, open mic plus Michael Thomas

Mon 3rd SW&N ClubThe Newhampton Inn, Riches Street (off Newhampton Road West) Wolverhampton WV6 0DW 8pm £3 in,Storytelling, poetry, a tune, or a song!

Tues 4th Mee Club, Kitchen garden cafe , Kings Heath,7.30pm: £7 in, a variety and cabaret night for singles. Cat Weatherill hosts, Amy Rainbow stars

Tues 4th Night Blue Fruit, Taylor Johns, Canal Basin Coventry,8pm start, free in, Tony Owen hosts-ope mic sign up on the night.

Tues 4th Word ,Y Theatre, East Street, Leicester LE1 6EY, just opposite Leicester Train Station7pm performers, 8pm, Audience, Open mic plus headliner. £6in
WORD! is the longest running poetry and spoken word night in Leicester. Based at The Y Theatre, Leicester, it takes place on the first Tuesday of every month, between 8.00 and 10.30pm. The evening is composed of an open mic, followed by a booked act- Sophie Blackwell

Thurs 6th Good Impressions Spoken word, Cafe Impression, Atkins Building Hinckley, LE10 1QU,7.30pm £5in Hosted by Tom Phillips,ist Thursday Monthly

Thurs 6th Yard of Tales,Joules Yard, rear of 53-55 High Street, Market Harborough, Leicestershire, LE16 7AF.
Joules Yard is a unique venue with a licensed bar after 7pm, also serving tea and coffee. If you would like to order a vegetarian meal for the evening, provided by ‘The Green House’ please telephone 01858 463250. Market Harborough, Leicestershire, Meets first Thursday in the month.

Thurs 6th Parole Parlate, Autumn Special, Little Venice, St Nicholas st , Worcester, 730 pm, £3 in: Gary Longden & Amy Rainbow Headline with:
Polly Robinson
Christopher Kingsley
Euginia Herlihy
Andrew Owens
Ian Ward
Jeremy Holtom
Damon Lord

Fri 7th, 8th/9th Birmingham Artsfest- the Uks largest Arts festival;
Poets include Sammy Joe, Shabz Ahmed,Brendan Hawthorne,Kimmy Sue Anne, decadent Divas, Jan Watts and Dwayne Reads.

Sat 8th Poetry Reading, Polewsorth Abbey 2pm: Free in a celebration of the results of Dig the Poetry including an exhibition of finds and poetry written.

Sunday 9th Nick Pearson will be running an Offa’s Press bookstall (with volunteers) at the Birmingham Independent Book Fair, Council House, Victoria Square, Birmingham, B3 3BD, part of the Birmingham ArtsFest 2012. 11am-6pm.

Gary Longden will be at the launch of “Here Comes Everyone” by Silhouette Press

Mon 10th Pub Poetry Nottingham The Canal house, 48-52 Canal Street, Nottingham, NG1 7EH,8pm, 2nd monday : Free in, Open micContact Nick on

Mon 10th pure and good and right, Sozzled Sausage, Leamington Spa, CV32 4NX,This month’s guest poets are..
Vois:Vois are an acoustic and a cappella collective, whose mission is to release the talents of musicians throughout the midlands. Combining soulful song, righteous rap and melodic musicianship, Vois are a rare blend of talent and technique who provide a real treat for appreciative ears.
Armadeep Dhillon:Armadeep Dhillon is a young poet who wowed on PGR debut with the soulful power of his writing. Returning for a long overdue feature slot, Armadeep is the kind of young voice our world so urgently needs.Admission £3 (£2 Student/OAP)
From time to time we are located upstairs, so please let us know if you require disabled access before the event.
If you would like to know more about the night email:

Tuesday 11th Jane Seabourne and Nick Pearson will be reading at ‘City Voices’, City Bar, King Street, Wolverhampton. WV1 1ST 7.45pm Free admission.

Tuesday 11th Dave Reeves guests at ‘Mouth and Music’, the Boars Head Gallery, 39 Worcester Street, Kidderminster, DY10 1EW. 8.00pm Tickets £3.00

Tues 11th Spire Writes, Havana Whites,12 Corporation St, Chesterfield. 7.30pm, Open Mic, Helen Mort officiates, Matt McAteer headlines

Tues 10th Scribal Gathering The Crown Stony Stratford:7.30pm,Get ready for another fantastic feast of musical mastercraft and poetical proficiency, bringing together lachrymatorially lyrical local live talent and perfervid performers from perfurther afield. We have headline performances from special guests Dan Plews and Alan Wolfson, as well as the open-minded open mic, welcoming all to muse upon their views, share their wares, show their stuff, shine before their peers and shout what it’s all about, to a tolerant and very forgiving audience. Join us, and invoke the spirit of gathering…
When: Tuesday 11th July 2012. Doors open at 7.30 for a prompt 8.00 start.
Where: The Crown, Market Square, Stony Stratford MK11 1BE.
How: Free entry. Sign up for open mic on the night. Arrive early to avoid disapproval.
Performance slots are available to anyone who has learned their times tables or is hard enough; there will be special guest headline performances and a lunch-money / cigarette racket from Kevin Sullivan and the SAKS duo and Antipodean exchange student Liz Breslin. We welcome musicians, poets and performers of any style, genre or level of experience to share their creativity, show off their talent, pass notes around or just try and fit in and get through the whole ordeal without being noticed. So get your tie and blazer on, tuck yourself in and get embroiled in a footwear-based elitist social hierarchy system. We’re jumping on the Scribal Gathering Back To School Bandwagon. Join us…
…or you’ll have to do it next time in your pants and vest.

Tues 11th Mouth & Music 6,Boars Head Gallery, Kidderminster 8pm, £3 in:The 6th in our monthly series of totally & utterly acoustic spoken word & music nights! Open mic sign-up from 7.30 5 minutes / 2 songs each, Admission £3 (free to performers) Presented by Heather Wastie & Sarah Tamar for kaf creatives

Tues 11th Tales at the Edge, White Lion Inn, Bridgnorth, Shropshire,Tales at the Edge is one of the country’s oldest and most established storytelling clubs, meeting in Bridgenorth on the 2nd Tuesday of every month (except August) at 8 pm.

Wed 12th Spoken Word,Old Cross, Church Street, Stapleford 7.30pmThe third evening of poems and stories from two local performers – Dave Wood and Richard Young.This time featuring Jackie Brewster.Those wishing to read/perform are welcome to for (depending on circumstances) approximately 5 minutes.Anything spoken word is fine. A great chance to try out your writing in a fun way and there may even be cake for saleEntrance is £1.There will be no microphones and all seating will be in the round.

Wed 12 th The Quad Derby QUAD, Market Place, Cathedral Quarter, Derby, DE1 3AS Second Wednesday 19.30 Free in, A monthly night of performed poetry for everyone, new performers always welcome or just come and listen, More details from QUAD or contact Les on T: 01332 206 734,

Thurs 13th Shipping Forecast The Rude Shipyard, 89 Abbeydale Road, S7 1FE Sheffield,7.45pm An open mic night of poetry, prose, music, performance, raffles and fun.
This is a very informal cosy monthly night of joy in the snug environs of the marvellous Rude Shipyard in Sheffield (UK). The night provides a platform for established and first-time performers to play to a warm and appreciative audience.
Always a surprise, always a treat, grab yourselves a cuppa, some tasty homemade cake and join the miss piggy or stan skinny host.

Thurs 13th Coffeehouse Poetry Open Mic, Shrewsbury Coffee House , Castle Gate, Shrewsbury with Liz lefroy, 7.30pm, free in. David Calcutt and Gary Longden headline

Thursday 13th Jane Seabourne will be reading at Coleshill Library, Warwickshire, 7pm, as part of the Literature on Your Doorstep project. Free.
Fri 14th Open Mic, Wednesbury Museum & Art Gallery, 7.30pm, free in

Thurs 13th Hit the Ode,The Victoria, 48 John Bright St, Birmingham B1 1BN 7.30 pm, £5 in,Hit the Ode brings the most exciting poets from the region, the country and the world to the heart of Birmingham. Join us! We have poems. Poems which look good in red; poems displayed under protective glass cases; poems cobbled together from kite string and transistor radios. Great poems. Come and get them.Line-up:Al Hutchins, Harry Baker, Luanda Casella,A very few open mic slots will be available on the door (the pre-bookable slots have all been claimed). For more info, contact

Fri 14th Wednesbury Art Gallery and Museum, open mic poetry, 7.30pm, free admission

Fri 14th Two way Street,Bookmark Bloxwich,B​loxwich Library, ElmoreRow,​ Bloxwich,W​alsall. WS3 2HR. 01922 655900
Appletree Theatre and Film Company will present their most recent piece, Two Way Street at Bookmark Theatre Bloxwich on Friday 14 September at 7.30pm. The popular, Midlands-based company returns to the Bookmark following their hugely successful tour of The Browning Version last year. They will perform an evening of comical duologues using both live performance and recorded footage and featuring 3 duologues by local writer/ producer David Tristram. This performance will showcase the work of the company’s professional West Midlands based actors as Appletree’s profile continues to rise.

Two Way Street forms part of Bookmark Theatre’s Autumn programme of events. Their touring piece of 2011, The Browning Version, attracted much acclaim and caused audiences to leave feeling entertained and impressed.

Fri 14thNew Mills Festival presents a Poetry Slam at the wonderful new Spring Bank Arts Centre
Spring Bank, New Mills, High peak, Derbys SK22 4BH Tel 01663 3082022 7pm-10.30pm,£5 /£4 concessions Tickets on the door,A Spring Bank Production, Everyone welcome to read or listen

Sat 15th Stafford Arts Festival, Poetry at the Council Buildings, 10-4pm. Free in
Poetry @ Stafford Arts Fest: Programme

10:00 Jack Edwards
10:10 John Mills
10: 20 Jae Alexander Linsey
10:30 Helen Mort
10:40 Ian Ward
10:50 Liz Mills
11:00 Richard Faulkener
11:10 Sammy Joe
11:20 Rohit Ballal
11:30 Deborah Alma (Provisional)
11:40 Mike Tinsley (Provisional)
11:50 Ian Bowkett
12:00 The Trent Vale Poet

12:10 – 13:00 BREAK

13:00 Helen Calcutt
13:10 Tom Wyre
13:20 Gary Longden
13:30 Janet Jenkins
13:40 Janet Arnold
13:50 Rosina Trotman
14:00 Daniel Shelley Smith
14:10 Al Barz
14:20 David Calcutt
14:30 Emily Oldham
14:40 Tony Stringfellow
14:50 Veronica Shepard

15:00 – 16:00 OPEN MIC

Sat 15th Notes From the Underground, Hollybush PH, Newtown lane, Cradley Heath, 8pm Start, Free in, Poetry and music Open Mic with Jack Edwards and William Shatspeare

Mon 17th Shindig, Western PH, Leicester:7.30pm, free in:Crystal Clear Creators and Nine Arches Press present Shindig! Open-Mic Poetry Evening: Free and Open to All.
Featured poets are: including featured writers Rory Waterman, Sarah Jackson, Daniel Sluman and Angela France
Sign up for open-mic slots on the door.
Email Jonathan Taylor ( for further details.

Mon 17th Gorilla Poetry,Dada Trippet Lane Sheffield S1 4EL,8pm,Slam Winner Stan Skinny is our headliner. A comic force of entertainment from Spots to Eye Pads you will be taken on a journey were your funny bones will jiggle.Flex your prolix and were all suffer obesity verbosity.An evening of top poetry and be prepared to be captivated.

Tues 18th Mee Club, Kitchen Garden Cafe , Kings Heath,7.30pm: £7 in, a variety and cabaret night for singles. Cat Weatherill hosts,

Wed 19th , Storytelling Cafe Kitchen Garden Cafe,York Rd, Kings Heath, 7.30pm (Doors 6.30pm)
Summer is in the air and we dream of lands far away. Take a journey into your imaginations with the Christine McMahon. Enjoy a relaxed and compelling summer’s night of storytelling with a glass of wine and a relaxed sociable atmosphere. Food Served from 6.30, Stories start at 7.30.
Tickets: £7
Tickets available from the Cafe or

Wed 19th Templar Poetry, Lamb & Flag, The Tything, Worcester, 8pm; Open mic, third Wednesday, Alex officiates contact:Alex McMillen, Alex McMillen,Templar Poetry, PO BOX 7082, Bakewell, Derbyshire, DE45 9AF,Tel: 01629 582500, Mobile: 07918166975

Thurs 20th Goblin Poetry and Folk Club, Giggling Goblin Cafe, Ashby de la Zouch; 7.30pm start. Brian Langtry hosts.

Fri 21st Spoken Worlds 19:30 The Old Cottage Tavern , Byrkley St,eet, Burton-upon-Trent DE14 2JJ Open mic

Fri 21st Word Up – SixEightCafe ,Temple Row Birmingham. 6.30pm fre in,Fourth Friday,Word Up’ is a spoken word night with a difference. Created and run by Mark Watson and Rosina Caldwell. It is a monthly event held at the highly renowned ‘Six Eight Kafe’ ( in Birmingham, who kindly provides a fitting venue for the night.

Saturday 22nd Emma Purshouse is running a variety evening at The Imperial in Bilston, Wolverhampton, 7.30pm. Tickets are from £10 and can be reserved through Emma by emailing:

Sun 23nd Sunday Xpress Fourth Sunday Doors 1500, Start 16:30 Adam & Eve Bradford Street, Birmingham B12 0JD Open mic

Sun 23rd Sept Powwow, Prince of Wales Lit Fest, Alcester Rd, Moseley,
It’s great value for a line up which includes R J Ellory (million selling crime writer), S F Said (Award winning children’s author), Luke Brown (Tindal Street Press), Charlie Brotherstone (A M Heath Literary Agency), Tim Broughton (Harper Collins) and William Gallagher (freelance script writer – credits include Doctor Who audio dramas for Big Finish).

Sun 23rd Pooley Country Park, 10th Anniversary Celebrations,11am, readings from the Polesworth Poetry trail

Sun 23nd Rhyme and Tells at the Six Bells in Bishops Castle, Shropshire,Meets every 4th Sunday of the month (except for public holidays) at 8 pm – 10.30 pm. It is free admission and an open session for poetry, prose and storytelling.
For further details please contact Mike on 01588 680685.

Mon 24th Poetry Open Mic, calahouse, Nottingham, 8pm

Tuesday 25thPurple Penumbra Open Mic, Barlow Theatre, Oldbury:7.30pm
Bring your poetry and your pals to this open mic event, or just come and be entertained.
Those with a musical bent who can fill in a gap or two with something melodic and acoustic are particularly welcome.
Enliven, enrich and enhance the experience of the famous Barlow Theatre bar with your presence, why not?

Tuesday 25th Fizz, Polesworth Abbey, Poleworth, Open Mic and Guest Gary Carr.7.30pm, Free in

Tues 25th The Telling Space, Mythstories, *NEW VENUE* (relocated from Wem) Mythstories,The Shrewsbury Coffeehouse,5 Castle Gates, SY1 2AE,Wem, Shropshire,The club meets on the 4th Tuesday of every month unless otherwise stated. Please check the website under ‘opening hours and events’ or contact Dez or Ali on 01939 235500 for further information.
Meet at 7 pm for refreshments (bring food to share) or at 7.30 pm for stories. A chance to listen or an opportunity to tell. Admission is free.

Tues 25th Word Wizards Buckingham Hotel Buxton 19.30. Open mic three minute slam format More info

Tues 25th , Poetry Bites Kitchen Garden Cafe,York Rd, Kings Heath, 7.30pm (Doors 6.30pm) Christine Coleman and Jan Watts guests, Jacqui Rowe hosts, loads of open mic, £5in

Wed 26th Phenomenal Women 5, Library Theatre, Birmingham, 7.30pm: Free in,A showcase for the top women poets in the region, men welcome as part of the auidience

Wed 26th “42″ Open Mic Night (Gothic, Horror, Sci-Fi & Fantasy) Lunar Bar, New St Worcester, 7.30, Free in:last wed monthly E-mail:

Wed 26th Smart Poets Open Mic, Veggd out, Fletchers walk, Paradise Circus, Birmingham City Centre, 7pm.With Penny Hewlett

Wed 26thPackhorse Poets,The Packhorse Inn, Crowdecote, near Longnor,Derbys on the fourth Wednesday of each month, 7.30pm

Thur 27th Bilston Voices Cafe Metro 46 Church Street, Bilston WV14 0AH Fourth Thursday 19:00 Only booked poets perform:

Thurs 27th Rob gee@ Speech Therapy, Bar Deux, Nottingham 8.30pm: Speech Therapy returns from its summer break with a fast fading suntan, weary smile on its face and a carrier bag full of cheap duty free plonk. This month we are tickled to bits to welcome as our headline performer, the amazing Mr Rob Gee.

Poet, comedian and reformed psychiatric nurse, Rob has clocked up over two thousand shows, toured extensively, and performed with acts such as Jimmy Carr, Harold Pinter, Jo Brand and Frankie Boyle. Appearances at festivals include the Glastonbury and Edinburgh Festivals
, the Sydney International Poetry Festival, the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word and the Austin International Poetry Festival in Texas. He is sometimes sent into schools as a warning to children.

There will also be appearances from Miggy Angel, who mainly does poetry and swearing, John Marriott, who will once again be treating us to the thoughts and inner workings of the mysterious Bobby Shoes and of course there will be the infamous Raffle of Rammel.

MulletProofPoet will be on hand too, generally not getting people to behave. Anyone wishing to take part in the open mic section should e mail in advance.

£3.00 entry. See you there
Fri 28th Poetry Juke Box, The Unitarian Chapel, warwick 9pm: £5in, Maria taylor, Luke Kennard and Dan Sluman,Nine Arches Press presents a poetry reading with a unique twist: the audience has a hand in choosing the themes of the poems. So prepare for work that touches on the big issues, and some of the little ones too – everything from love, death and madness to laughter, losing and indulging our vices!

This promises to be a show full of surprises, with three poets who are among the most striking voices in contemporary British poetry.

Sat 29thSaturday 29th Jeff Phelps will be at Wellington Library, Shropshire, from 10am to 2pm as part of the Wellington Literature Festival local authors’ events.

Saturday 29 th Whistle with Martin Figura,Bridge House Theatre,7.30pm: £8,Profoundly honest and at the same time joyfully entertaining Independent on Sunday,When Martin Figura was nine years old, his father killed his mother.Whistle uses family photographs and striking visuals to explore themes of identity, forgiveness, loss, adoption and family with insight and gentle humour, to tell a unique coming-of-age story. After a successful Edinburgh Festival Fringe run in 2011 this award-winning spoken-word show is touring across the UK including a week at the Roundhouse London, before heading to the USA and Europe in 2013.

Whistle is a tender, beautiful, funny and moving childhood and coming-of-age story, which the poetry conveyed vividly to my imagination, as did Martin Figura’s telling of it, which was spellbinding. Chloe Garner, Director Ledbury Poetry Festival

Winner Poetry Society’s Hamish Canham Prize 2010
Short-Listed – The Ted Hughes Award for New Work 2010

Tickets: £8.00
(£6.00 concessions)
Tickets available from Festival Box Office 01926 776438.

Sun 30th Sunday Xpress, Adam & Eve PH, Bradford St , Digbeth, Birmingham: 4pm, free in,Birmingham’s long-serving open mic afternoon. People say “The Sunday Xpress? Is that still going? I must come down to that again sometime.” Well, yes, it is, and it’s still worth a visit. To paraphrase John Peel talking about The Fall, the Sunday Xpress is “always different, always the same.”

Hosted by Birmingham’s answer to Carol Ann Duffy – the bard of Yardley Brendan Higgins – the Sunday Xpress is the ideal platform for the beginner, the seasoned professional, and the artist who wants to try something
hat’s a bit different or some new material. Over the years we’ve had many acts perform and find their voice, and who have gone on to bigger things because of it. The Sunday Xpress offers a strict freedom of speech policy. Anything goes.

Anything goes indeed – the Sunday Xpress is an open mic that encourages performers to do what they want to do – we’re spoken word friendly (indeed, the event was created from a writers’ co-operative) so we welcome poets, storytellers, fiction and non-fiction writers – we showcase drama, one-person-shows, stand up comedy, even people talking about their artwork and on some occasions – interpretive dance!! Musicians will find a great atmosphere to play in – we have a mixing desk and a mic/stand set up – but do bring any spare cables if you think you need it.

Doors open at 3, show starts around half 4 and goes on until everybody’s been on (usually around 7ish) The afternoon is compered by Brendan who will devise the running order and introduce you – it’s up to you to do the rest. The Adam doesn’t offer any grub so you’d be advised to have your dinner before you get there.

Hope to see you all there!

Sun30th Sept “Written on water” Aylestone Meadows, Leicester :Written on Water is a community event where writers, artists and the local community will come together to create words and pictures celebrating Leicester’s largest nature reserve. The event is planned for 30 September 2012 and all are welcome.

On 30th September participants will be encouraged to share their Meadows’ memories, words and stories with a team of volunteer Word Rangers. The Meadows is for everyone and everyone’s words will go towards a new Written on Water website and anthology. Artists and photographers will also paint, sketch or photograph this diverse environment in the heart of Leicester.

Written on Water is part of the Everybody’s Reading community festival, to do whatever it takes to get every child in Leicester reading. Written on Water is also supported by Leicester City Council, Aylestone Meadows Appreciation Society and Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust.

————————————————–Coming soon—————————————————————–

Mon 1st SlamGorilla Poetry – Poetry Evolution, Dada bar, Trippet Lane, Sheffield, S1 4El, (Off West St) 8pm (7.30 doors)

Thursday 4th Word Birthday Special with Kwame Dawes,Central Lending Library, Bishop Street, Leicester 8pm:

Join us at Leicester Central Library for this ‘Lyric Lounge’ and ‘Everybody’s Reading’ special -marking National Poetry Day, Black History Season, , World Mental Health Month -and Word!s 11th Birthday !

£6/£4 concessions

It will feature the Emmy Award winning Kwame Dawes. Born in Ghana and raised in Jamaica, Kwame will share work from his rich body of writing, including his latest poetry collection, ‘Wheels’, and his edited anthology of 50 great Jamaican poets, ‘Jubilation’.

Prior to his performance Kwame will lead a special WORD!Shop, at Leicester Central Library.2-4pm.£3/£2 . To book please email

Performers should arrive at 7.15 to sign up

Word! is brought to you by a committee of volunteers and visuals are by film-maker, Keith Allott.

Thursday 4 Poetry Brunch with Birmingham Poet Laureate 2011/2012 Jan Watts,Festival Bookshop, Central Library, Chamberlain Square, Birmingham, B3 3HQ,11am-1pm

Meet the poets who have been shortlisted to take over as Birmingham’s Poet Laureate 2012/2013. With coffee and croissants!

Admission is free, just drop in.

Thurs 4th Double Takes, Ludlow Library,2.30pm free,
A programme of readings in celebration of National Poetry Day

Gareth Owen and Liz Lefroy

Gareth Owen was born in Ainsdale, Lancashire and left school at 16 to serve in the Merchant Navy. For four years he taught in a London Secondary Modern School, before becoming a lecturer in English and Drama at Bordesley College of Education, Birmingham.

He began writing his poems for children while a teacher and his first published collection, ‘Salford Road’ won high praise from fellow poet Patric Dickinson:
‘…original,beautiful, serious, funny, real and imaginative. Nothing quite like it has been done before.’
His second, ‘Song of the City’ won the Signal award.
Over the years he has published four further volumes of poetry, the last a collection of football poems: ‘Can We Have Our Ball Back Please?’ (Macmillan in 2006).
His work has been published in over a 100 anthologies.
In addition to the poetry, he has published four novels, as well as books for younger children.
An accomplished verse reader, he has won both the Welsh Academy Spoken Poetry Award and the National Speak a Poem Award. For two years he presented the BBC’s long-running Poetry Please!

Four of his plays have been produced by the BBC, in one of which, ‘The Game’, he played the lead.

In 1993 he was prize winner of the Leeds Playhouse/W.H.Smith Play-Writing Competition. The play became the novel: ‘Rosie No Name and the Forest of Forgetting’

He lives in Ludlow, Shropshire where he writes and performs the occasional satirical Country song under the stage name of Virg Clenthills.

Liz Lefroy won the inaugural Roy Fisher prize in 2011 and has published two pamphlets – ‘Pretending the Weather’ and ‘The Gathering’, both by Long Face Press. Her work has appeared in Mslexia, Magma, The Frogmore Papers, Shoestring, and on The Writers’ Hub and Psychogeographic Review. She lives in Shrewsbury and runs the monthly Shrewsbury Coffeehouse poetry event.

Thurs 4th Birmingham Poet Laureate launch with Elvis McGonigal and Deborah Alma, aka, The Emergency Poet ,Yumm Café, Zellig (The Custard Factory), Gibb Street, Digbeth, Birmingham, B9 4AA:6 – 8pm

Free, please book to avoid disappointment

Birmingham Book Festival, Birmingham Poet Laureate 2012/13 & National Poetry Day

Special Guest: Elvis McGonagall – One Man & his doggerel!

Join us as we launch the fourteenth Birmingham Book Festival, celebrate National Poetry Day and announce the new Birmingham Poet Laureate 2012/13.

Writing West Midlands’ Programmes Director, Sara Beadle, will say a few words to introduce the Festival and some of the wonderful events to come over the next ten days. Festival staff and volunteers will also be on hand to tell you more and to answer any questions.

The annual Birmingham Poet Laureate programme is run by Birmingham Libraries. Each year a new Laureate is appointed to encourage local people to get involved in poetry. This year’s contenders have been through a rigorous selection process and we wait with anticipation the announcement of the winning poet. To lighten the tension, the out-going Birmingham Poet Laureate, Jan Watts, will be hand to perform alongside the new Laureate, handing over the honorary title with some choice wit and wisdom.

And to round off our evening’s celebration who better than Elvis McGonagall, stand-up poet, armchair revolutionary and recumbent rocker! Elvis, we are told, is the sole resident of The Graceland Caravan Park somewhere near Dundee, where he scribbles verse whilst drinking malt whisky and listening to Johnny Cash. He is also a former World Slam Champion, compere of the notorious Blue Suede Sporran Club and is one of the poets occasionally in residence on BBC Radio 4’s “Saturday Live”. Oh, and he is very, very funny!

The Emergency Poet – The World’s First & Only Mobile Poetic First Aid Service

‘Between the Fountains and the Green Man’, The Custard Factory, Gibb Street, Digbeth, Birmingham, B9 4AA

1 – 6pm. Free, drop in!

As a service to the City of Birmingham, we present the Emergency Poet – a vintage 1960s ambulance in which ‘Dr’ Deborah Alma can minister to the poetic needs of all and sundry. No appointment necessary, simply drop by if you’d like the ‘Dr’ to offer an up-lifting couplet or a life-enhancing stanza or two. Free at the point of demand and unaffected by NHS reforms, let our highly trained medic use the latest diagnostic techniques to prescribe just the write (ha, ha!) poem. Why feel worse? Take Verse!

Friday 5th Somon Armitage, walking Home,Adrian Boult Hall, Birmingham Conservatoire, Paradise Place, Birmingham B3 3HG, 7.30pm,
£10 / £6

In summer 2010 poet and writer Simon Armitage decided to walk the Pennine Way. The challenging 256-mile route is usually approached from south to north, from Edale in the Peak District to Kirk Yetholm, the other side of the Scottish border. He resolved to tackle it the other way round: through beautiful and bleak terrain, across lonely fells and into the howling wind, he would be walking home, towards the Yorkshire village where he was born.

Travelling as a ‘modern troubadour’ without a penny in his pocket, he stopped along the way to give poetry readings in village halls, churches, pubs and living rooms. His audiences varied from the passionate to the indifferent, and his readings were accompanied by the clacking of pool balls, the drumming of rain and the bleating of sheep.

Walking Home is the story of that journey, about facing emotional and physical challenges, and sometimes overcoming them. It’s nature writing, but with people at its heart. Contemplative, moving and droll, it is a unique narrative from one of our most beloved writers. Join him at the Birmingham Book Festival to explore this extraordinary journey.

Simon Armitage was born in 1963 and lives in West Yorkshire. He has published ten volumes of poetry including Selected Poems, 2001 (Faber & Faber). His most recent collections are Tyrannosaurus Rex Versus the Corduroy Kid and Seeing Stars. He has received numerous awards for his poetry including the Sunday Times Author of the Year, one of the first Forward Prizes and a Lannan Award. His most recent book, Seeing Stars, was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize and was a Poetry Book Society Choice.

He writes for radio, television and film, and is the author of four stage plays, including Mister Heracles, a version of the Euripides play The Madness of Heracles. His recent dramatisation of The Odyssey, commissioned by the BBC, was broadcast on Radio 4 in 2004 and is available through BBC Worldwide. He received an Ivor Novello Award for his song-lyrics in the Channel 4 film Feltham Sings, which also won a BAFTA.

Fri 5th Oct, 4th Malvern Slam plus Attila the Stckbroker, the Cube, Malvern: Attila is sharp tongued, high energy, social surrealist rebel poet and songwriter. His themes are topical, his words hard-hitting, his politics unashamedly radical. Inspired by the spirit and the ‘Do It Yourself’ ethos of punk rock, and above all by The Clash and their overtly radical, political stance.

The fourth Malvern Poetry slam will be held over two rounds. 10 Poets go head to head, in a battle of verse and wit until the last one standing is crowned Malvern slam champion 2012. Hysterical, poignant, moving. Not to be missed.Doors open 7.30 Entrance £ 7.00

Sat 6th Being Human,The Custard Factory Theatre, The Custard Factory, Gibb Street, Birmingham B9 4AA 8pm,£10 / £6

Charting the drama of our lives, Being Human presents thoughtful and passionate poems that will touch the heart, stir the mind and fire the spirit; poems about being human, about love and loss, fear and longing, hurt and wonder. Being Human is a dramatic performance of poetry drawn from the anthology Being Human (Ed. Neil Astley), published by Bloodaxe Books. Directed by Steve Byrne of Interplay with design and music from Talking Birds, it is performed by Barrett Robertson, Benedict Hastings and Elinor Middleton. After sellout performances in the Midlands in June, Being Human is now on a national tour and this is one of your last chances to see a show that audiences have described as ‘…an amazing theatrical experience’ and ‘absolutely stunning’. We think it is this year’s best poetry experience!

Copies of the anthology, Being Human, will be on sale during this event and at the Festival Pop-up Bookshop.


Sun 7th Oct Buzzwords, Exmouth Arms,Bath Road Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL53 7LX, 7pm Workshop, open mic plus Daniel Sluman

Tues 9th Spire Writes, Havana Whites, Chesterfield, 8pm, free in:
After a great gig from Chesterfield’s very own Matt McAteer in September, we return next month with two very special guests from further afield.

HELEN IVORY is a poet and artist. Her fourth Bloodaxe Books collection Waiting for Bluebeard is due in May 2013. She is an editor for The Poetry Archive and edits the webzine Ink Sweat & Tears. She teaches for The Poetry School, The Arvon Foundation, The Poetry Society and UEA. She is co-editor with George Szirtes of In their Own Words: Contemporary Poets on their
Poetry (Salt, October 2012)

MARTIN FIGURA is a photographer and poet living in Norwich where he works for Writers’ Centre, Norwich and Chairs Café Writers. His Collection and one-man-show Whistle (Arrowhead Press) was shortlisted for the 2010 Ted Hughes Award for New Work. He won the 2010 Hamish Canham Prize. A new pamphlet Arthur due out with Nasty Little Press in November. http://​

As usual, there’ll be open mic slots (please let me know if you’d like to perform), doors open at 7.45 and we’ll finish in time for the last train back to Sheff. Havana Whites is two minutes from Chesterfield train station (or two seconds if you’re Usain Bolt).

FREE ENTRY so you can spend your money at the well-stocked bar instead…

Tuesday 9 October, CBSO Centre, Berkley Street, (Off Broad Street) Birmingham, B1 2LF,£10 / £6. 7pm
Caitlin Moran grew up in Wolverhampton. Her feminist handbook for modern times, How To Be A Woman, won the Galaxy Book of the Year Award 2011 and set the record straight on a number of important issues. Her new collection of writing, Moranthology, sets Caitlin free to talk about just about everything else. It proves that she is no slouch when it comes to wrestling with cultural, social and political issues, including ‘The Big Society’, Big Hair, The Welfare State, caravans, Doctor Who, binge-drinking, Downton Abbey, pandas, library closures and poverty (so, something for everyone, then…).

And if this level of top-rank wisdom wasn’t enough, we are delighted to welcome back to the Festival polymath, Birmingham resident and all round good bloke Stuart Maconie, a Patron of Writing West Midlands but more importantly author of brilliant books about our life and times, including Hope and Glory: A People’s History of Modern Britain and Pies & Prejudice.

Together, Caitlin and Stuart will talk about important stuff and manage to be high-minded and frivolous in equal measure. How to be a Woman and Moranthology by Caitlin Moran and Hope and Glory, Adventures on the High Teas, Pies & Prejudice and Cider with Roadies by Stuart Maconie will all be on sale at this event and at the Festival Pop-up Bookshop throughout the Birmingham Book Festival.

Supported by the new Library of Birmingham.

Wed 10th October at the Guildhall Theatre, Derby – Katy Cawkwell and Sarah Llewellyn Jones with “The Kingdom of the Heart” Book in advance and quote “Flying Donkeys” to get a special discount that brings it down to our normal Flying Donkeys ticket prices. (Book direct with Derby Live!)

Wed 10th oct Funny Women, Streetly Library, Blackwood Rd Streetly, 10.30-11.30 free in with Emma Purshouse and Win Saha

Wed 10th October, 2012,7.30pm, The Guildhall Theatre, Derby Live! Market Place, Derby, DE1 3AE. katy cawkwell (storyteller) and sarah llewellyn jones (cellist) – “the kingdom of the heart”

Thursday 11 Meet the New birmingham Poet laureate,Festival Bookshop, Birmingham Central Library Foyer, Chamberlain Square, Birmingham, B3 3HQ5 – 6pm

Thurs 13th Coffeehouse Poetry Open Mic, Shrewsbury Coffee House , Castle Gate, Shrewsbury with Ted Eames, 7.30pm, free in.

Thur 11th Carol Ann Duffy,Gillian Clarke at Glyndŵr University, Mold rd, Wrexham, 7.30pm,An evening of poetry with the Poet Laureate and the National Poet of Wales.

Mold Road, LL11 2AW

Sat 13th Oct 8th UK All Stars Poetry Slam at the Cheltenham Literature Festival . Twenty poets will contest the Qualifier at 3.30pm, with half a dozen places up for grabs in the Final at 8.30pm. Book early, as both events are likely to sell out quickly.

Mon 15thGorilla Poetry – Poetry Evolution, Dada bar, Trippet Lane, Sheffield, S1 4El, (Off West St) 8pm (7.30 doors)

Wed 17th Speak Up, Bulls Head, Moseley: 7.30pm Nichol Keene and Toby De Angeli from Elephant Collective headlining. Cake, beanbags and sexy babes

Wed 17th Simon Armitage, Keele University, 7.30pm:
SIMON ARMITAGE: ‘Walking Home’ – – A cancer charity reading as part of Keele University’s 50th Anniversary Charter Year.

Please join Simon for a special evening of film footage and readings from his new bestselling memoir ‘Walking Home’, which describes his attempt to walk the Pennine Way as a modern troubadour. Travelling penniless, Simon relied on bartering poetry for his B&B and bacon butties while walking the 256 miles from north to south towards the Yorkshire village where he was born. Every night he gave free readings in village halls, churches, pubs and living rooms before passing round a walking sock and asking people to give him what they thought he was worth. As he discovered, this wasn’t always cash! Simon will also read from his acclaimed translation of the medieval poem ‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’, which is associated with Lud’s Church in the Staffordshire Moorlands. Simon will be available to sign books afterwards.

All proceeds to a hospital-based charity for women with breast cancer.

Venue: Westminster Theatre, Keele University, ST5 5BG
Tickets: £5 (£2.50): ring 01782 734169 or buy on campus at the Chancellor’s Building reception (cash please), Mon – Fri, 09.00-17.00

Thurs 1st NovThe Shrewsbury Coffeehouse,5 Castle Gates, SY1 2AE Shrewsbury 7.30pm:Emma Purshouse, Jane Seabourne and Nick Pearson, all published by Offa’s Press, will be reading.

Sun 4th Nov Buzzwords, Exmouth Arms,Bath Road Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL53 7LX, 7pm Workshop, open mic plus Jo Bell

Mon 5th Slam Semi,Gorilla Poetry – Poetry Evolution, Dada bar, Trippet Lane, Sheffield, S1 4El, (Off West St) 8pm (7.30 doors)

Sat 17th Nov Book Launch, Will Buckingham, Simon Perril and Maria Taylor.The Crumblin’ Cookie,68 High Street, LE1 5YP Leicester,7.30pm: Come to the Crumblin’ Cookie for the book launch extravaganza of the year. An evening of poetry, fiction and fun, with novelists Jonathan Taylor and Will Buckingham, and poets Simon Perril and Maria Taylor. Between us, we will be launching four books: Maria’s poetry collection, “Melanchrini”, Will’s novel, “The Descent of the Lyre”, Jonathan’s novel, “Entertaining Strangers”, and Simon’s poetry pamphlet “Newton’s Splinter”.

Come for some or all of the evening: the event is free and the bar is open all evening.

Mon 19thGorilla Poetry – Poetry Evolution, Dada bar, Trippet Lane, Sheffield, S1 4El, (Off West St) 8pm (7.30 doors)

Sun 2nd Dec Buzzwords, Exmouth Arms,Bath Road Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL53 7LX, 7pm Workshop, open mic plus Kate North
Mon 3rd Slam Final, Gorilla Poetry – Poetry Evolution, Dada bar, Trippet Lane, Sheffield, S1 4El, (Off West St) 8pm (7.30 doors)

Fri 7th Dec The 1st Cirencester Christmas Slam at New Brewery Arts Circencester, where first round poems will be themed, ho ho

This entry was posted in Midlands Poetry What's On. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to September 2012- What’s On, Midlands Spoken Word

  1. Ian McEwen says:

    Gary, If ‘Midlands’ stretches as far as Bedford, we have our Ouse Muse open mic, third Thursday of the month, (i.e. 20th Sept, 18th Oct….) 8pm Harpurs, 46-48 Tavistock St Bedford, MK40 2RD.

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