December 2013, What’s On Midlands Spoken Word

And so December draws 2013 to a close, although the Christmas period is generally fallow with the notable exception of Word Wizards in Buxton on Friday 27th, the first few weeks are suitably vibrant. Wordsmiths, on Monday 2nd , featuring the stellar Helen Mort and a supporting bill, looks particularly strong. Worcester Speakeasy on 12th goes from strength to strength.

Sunday 1st Buzzwords, Upstairs at The Exmouth Arms, Bath Road, Cheltenham- Workshop, led by David Morley 7pm,Guest readings and open mic 8pm
Guest poet: David Morley
£5 waged, £3 unwaged

Monday 2nd Wordsmiths, Warwick Arts Centre Coventry, CV4 7ALat 7:45pm
With poets Salena Godden, Helen Mort, Claire Trévien and Ben Norris

Join us for the UK’s first live poetry talk show, featuring a crossover of poets you know from the pages of books and from the festival stages. Jo Bell, your host for this celebration of all things spoken, brings together four poets and encourages them to share secrets, tell tales and share the magic of words and wonderment with the audience in this intimate performance space.

This is a rare opportunity to witness some of the finest established and up-and-coming wordsmiths sharing their stories, poems and opinions as they engage in a no-holds-barred conversation and performance right before your widened eyes!

This series of events is collaboration between Nine Arches Press and Apples and Snakes, with support from Warwick Arts Centre.

Find out more about Wordsmiths and Co:

Twitter: @WordsmithsandCo
Wordsmiths & Co Films on You Tube
Wordsmiths & Co Podcasts on SoundCloud

Start time: 7:45pm Running Time: Approx. 90 mins
Tickets: £5.50

Mon 2ndPoetry Open Sandwich, Housmans Bar,27 high street, Church Stretton,SY6 6BX

An evening of poetry in Church Stretton. A delicious Open Mic Poetry filling sandwiched between two slices of our performance poetry production – A Play on Words.

Tickets are £1 from Housmans redeemable against a drink.

If you want to perform some poetry contact David or Ceri Wright for a slot.

Tues 3rd Open Mic, Nightblue Fruit , Playwrights, Coventry, 7:45pm until 10:15pm.Open Mic spaces only available on arrival (5 mins max).Free in Tony Owen hosts

Wed 4th Spire Writes White Swan,16 St Mary’s Gate, S41 7TJ Chesterfield
The nights are getting longer and it’s getting colder, but before the festive season kicks off properly, you can still cheer yourself up with an evening of live literature in Chesterfield. For December, we’ve got special guests Zaffar Kunial and Claire-Jane Carter.

Born in Birmingham, Zaffar Kunial currently lives in Sheffield. In 2011 he was placed third in the National Poetry Competition. At the Northern Writers’ Awards 2013, he was awarded £5,000 to support him to work on his debut poetry collection.

Claire-Jane Carter is a poet, climber and runner based in Sheffield. Her work has appeared in The Sheffield Anthology as well as other publications. She is interested in kinaesthetic and temporal experience in nature and has researched the links between poetry and choreography.

As usual, there’ll be an open mic (since it’s December, feel free to bring a festive poem, or just waft a sprig of tinsel about) and a fine selection of ales at the bar.

We’ll finish in time for the last train back to Sheffield and there’s a large car park next to The White Swan for drivers.

All welcome

Wed 4th Poetic essence. Talk Bar, Priory Queensway, Birmingham City Centre, 7.30pm
Poetic Essence home to all spoken word artists, musicians and singers to express themselves freely to a diverse crowd jam packed with networking opportunities and a platform to success!!!
Wed 4th Simon Fletcher and Jeff Phelps, a reading from The Poetry of Shropshire at Wolverhampton Central Library on Wednesday of next week (December 4). The event will be at 5.45pm and is free. All are welcome

Wed 4thBlack Pear anthology launch,Drummonds, The Swan with Two Nicks, 28 New Street, Worcester WR5 1BU, 7.30pm

The stories in the anthology reflect the diverse talents of people living and writing in Worcestershire, the Black Pear County. Black Pear Press will regularly publish novels, poetry and short stories, with some of its publications originating from the Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe.

Thurs 5th Dec, Shrewsbury Coffee House, Castle gates, 7.30pm;It’s a free event, but we will be asking for donations. I had been thinking of selling tickets for £5 each, as a guide to what you might think of bringing along.
Still warm from our Edinburgh Fringe appearance, Someone’s Mum, Jay Walker and Ms Beeton will entertain, challenge and perplex with a mix of drama, poetry and baking. A fundraiser – details to follow.

Lilian Bates (aka ‘Gran’ to those of us who were her neighbours in Shrewsbury) died earlier this year at a grand age, and her family set up the charity in her memory. Lilian’s Haven is part of a bigger project now called the Cedar Trust which works in an impoverished fishing community in Chennai. Gran’s part of the charity works with children (which is appropriate because she loved children, and used to work as a dinner lady, or lunchtime supervisor as I think the role is now called). The charity offers some teaching to young children who wouldn’t normally get to school, plus very basic but essential care such as feeding and weighing. Lilian’s son John, who has links with the charity, and others of her family will be coming along.I wanted to do something to honour Gran’s memory, and the themes of Threesome, and in particular the take on achieving liberation through baking (!) seemed appropriate as Gran was also known for her excellent Christmas Cakes and Victoria Sponges. She may have been less impressed with some of the language we use – it’s not gratuitous, but expect some honesty, and don’t bring your young children. Teenagers, however, would find it disappointingly mild.

Thurs 5th Poetry Jam, Urban Coffee Co. Birmingham.7pm
Poetry Jam is rocking up a storm in Birmingham. Come Jam on the first Thursday of every month at Urban Coffee Company (Church Street) and see for yourself. Come along for coffee, cake and real talk. Jam with a diverse array of poets and spoken word artists from across the region. Everyone welcome!

Fri 6th Word Smack,The Roland Music Academy at Rotherham College,Rotherham College of Arts and Technology, Eastwood Building, Eastwood Lane, S65 1EG Rotherham, 7.15 £5

The word Smack Cabaret finally returns to Rotherham in December with a fine cast of performers ready to entertain your socks off and then iron them and hand them back all toasty and warm. Featuring … Precious Cleaver is a ‘folkish’ singer who has a song about a dog on a bicycle and one about a little pig and one about the world coming to an end – that one’s a bit gloomy. People ask him “Why are you singing?” and he tells them “I sing to bring a little happiness into people’s lives…whether they like it or not.” So, bring along your tambourines and join in with the Precious Cleaver Folkish Sing-along! “Had everyone in stiches and singing along” Shambala Festival “Wonderful strange song and hilarious too!” Bakewell Festival “I laughed so much I nearly wet myself and then my face hurt.” Audience member – Cabaret BoomBoo Gav Roberts Rotherham’s heart and soul poetry activist, social commentator, founder of ROMP and all round good egg ROMP Madame Zucchini- vegetable theatre “My favourite Squash-based entertainer” – Tracey Johnson “what a triumph! She has turned a seed into a sumptuous harvest” “Loved it! The Romeo and Juliet denouement had me falling over with laughter” Sean Morley alternative stand up comedian and night sparrow Byran 200 robot from the future back to battle the forces of admin and Andrew Costa classical guitar supremo all hosted by Stan skinny doors open at 7.15pm cost £5

Sat 7th Hard Graft ,Wednesbury Town hall, 7.30pm
Debut performance of this new musical commemorating the centenary of the 1913 Tube Strike.

Standard tickets are £5 and Special Addition Tickets, which include a copy of the script are £10. All proceeds will be going to the Major’s Charity.

Tues 10thWalsall Central Library,Lichfield Street, Walsall, WS1 1TR,
from 4-5pm. Tel: 01922 653120 or 653121
Jonathan Collings’ much loved adaptation of this,Charles Dickens Christmas classic.
Families welcome (children from 7 years old).

Tues 10th Mouth & Music, Boars Head,39 Worcester St Kidderminster

For our last Mouth and Music of the year, we welcome wacky Worcestershire Poet Laureate and musician Tim Cranmore who will entertain us with poetry – and a carrot. Tim has performed across the UK and on TV with the London Vegetable Orchestra playing a variety of vegetables and is skilled at turning carrots in particular into fully functioning, if short-lived, instruments.

Also featured is a popular Mouth and Music regular – singer/songwriter Humdrum Express, with his “up-tempo exasperation, poetic put-downs and bitter-sweet tales of delusion.”

This month’s MC is Sarah Tamar.

The theme for the evening is PANTOMIME and there will be a prize for the best fancy dress.

Open mic sign up is from 7.30 (5 mins spoken word or 2 songs) and the show starts at 8.00.

Wed 11thRoom 101, Library of Birmingham, Centenary Square, Broad treet,Birmingham
B1 2ND, 7.15pm Cost:£6 / £4
Join Nine Arches Press and Writing West Midlands to celebrate the launch of Maps & Legends: Poetry to Find your Way By, edited by Jo Bell. Featuring poets Matt Merritt, Angela France, Maria Taylor, David Morley, Daniel Sluman, David Hart, Roz Goddard and others.

Take a poetry-pathway less travelled and enjoy this navigation through poems from a variety of new and established voices from the contemporary poetry landscape.

This anthology celebrates five years of independent publishing by Nine Arches Press, and features a selection of poetry that they have put on the map during this time. This is poetry from the leading edge, plotting points from urban backwaters, to landmarks of personal and public histories, and way beyond; out into the poem’s wild imagined spaces, shadow places that can’t be found on the official maps or surveys and are firmly off the beaten track.

Presented in partnership with Nine Arches Press.

All ticket holders will receive a 25% discount on the anthology on the night.

How to Book:

To book your place, please contact our box office The Box on 0121 245 4455 or you can book online here.

Wed, Dec 11th 2014, 7.30pm, The Voicebox, Forman Street, Derby DE1 1JQ.

Our popular open night returns for a seasonal themed pick and mix of tales and songs and music, with hot spot special guests, musicians Ron Middleton and Paul Kearns. Also featuring our pop-up restaurant, so evening meal included.

Tickets £10 (all) on the door, but as it is a meal, please book in advance if you can – at Tel

Thurs 12thChristmas SpeakEasy. Worcester SpeakEasy, The Old Rectifying House, North Parade, Worcester WR1 3 NN 7:30pm
Friday 13th Naomi Paul will be performing a comedy set for Communities against the Cuts benefit, The British Oak,

1364 Pershore Rd, B30 2XS 8 till late £3 Phone 07582 610 944 07582 610 944

fri 13th Wednesbury Open Mic Open Mic Poetry,Wednesbury Museum and Art Gallery ,7.30 pm, £3, with Den Payne, third friday

Fri 13th Word Up Christmas Specal Yorks Bakery Café, Birmingham. More Info
Welcome to the Word Up Christmas Special – and what a special night it will be. This will be the last Word Up, both Mark and Ro will be hosting together. We urge anyone who has in any way, shape or form supported Word Up to come along and enjoy this last night with us. We want to see you all to celebrate something so special. If you fancy the usual Word Up shenanigans with an extra bit of sparkle, then join us!
Contact: email word–, or tweet us: @wordup_brum

Fri 27th Word Wizards Buckingham Hotel, opp the Pavillion Gdns , Buxton Monthly 19.30. christamas special, anythng goes More info 01298 77362

Our once a year Free for All, – No Rules – No Time Limits – Songs – Group Poems – Comedy – Sketches – Juggling – Magic
Come along and strut your stuff – or just enjoy a great evening of live entertainment.

Wed 8th Spire Writes, White Swan,16 St Mary’s Gate, S41 7TJ Chesterfield, 7.45

It’s January. It’s miserable outside. You’ve got no money…. Luckily, there’s a free poetry night happening in a cosy upstairs room of a Chesterfield pub! Sorted. Our guests for the new year will be the amazing Jo Bell and Alan Buckley.

JO BELL is a poet, boat dweller and the national Canal Laureate for the Poetry Society and Canal and River Trust. Twice nominated for the Ted Hughes Award, her work is lively and vivid.

Jean Sprackland has described ALAN BUCKLEY’s work as “…alive with the need to understand. These poems are like X-rays, which see through the surfaces of things…”. Alan’s pamphlet “Shiver” (tall-lighthouse) was a Poetry Book Society choice. He has been widely published in magazines including The Dark Horse, Magma and The Rialto and he was shortlisted for the inaugural Picador Poetry Prize. He works in Oxford as a psychotherapist, and as a school writer-in-residence for the charity First Story.

As usual, there’ll be open mic slots, real ale at the bar and we’ll finish in time for the last train.

All welcome.

Thurs 9th Tea on the Square, Much wenlock, Liz Lefroy is our special guest at Poetry Breakfast this Thursday morning at Tea on the Square. Liz runs the now famous Shrewsbury Coffee House poetry readings every month and won the 2011 Roy Fisher Prize for new work in poetry, endowed by Carol Ann Duffy. Gillian Clarke said Liz’s first published pamphlet was ‘a triumph’. Join us to hear Liz reading and enjoy coffee & croissants and good company, at Tea on the Square this Thursday, January 9th, at 9am. What a way to start the day! All very welcome.

Thursday 9 January 2014 Worcester SpeakEasy, the Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe spoken word evening takes place at 19:30 on the second Thursday of each month at The Old Rectifying House, North Parade, Worcester WR1 3NN. Next event is . To book a slot email Maggie or Fergus at or via a Facebook PM (private message)

Thursday 9 January 2014PUREandGOODandRIGHT is an Open Mic poetry event taking place at The Fox,32 Clarendon Ave, Leamington spa, CV32 4RZ

Every second THURSDAY of the month (except December)

Next event: Thursday 9 January
7.30 p.m start
This month our special guest is …Dwane Reads

Hailing from Derby and performing in different guise since 1985 (Live Art, Music & Poetry), Dwane has taken his poetry out and about and clocked up 160 gigs across the country to date. Performances include festivals, a support slot for the legendary John Cooper Clarke at the Flowerpot Derby (Oct 2011), and a successful One-man show “Big Bet Boy & Tales Of other Crazy Fools”, which opened at the Buxton Fringe in July 2012.
His anthology ‘The annoying megaphone pigeon’ was recently released via Piggy Bank press, and his poetry has been described as:’ funny & serious & quite magnificent’: Silhouette Press (2013)He has featured his poetry on BBC radio Derby, Nottingham, plus community internet stations. Trips are planned for Eire and Germany later on in the year including gigs & radio appearances. Catch him in Leamington Spa while you can!
DEFINITELY AN EVENING NOT TO BE MISSED! You can book an Open mic slot on the night!
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:

Friday 10th January 2014Culture, Real Ale and Poetry” Burton Pub Poetry night at the Old Cottage Tavern (Byrkley Street, behind Town Hall). Starts 8pm.
Usual format. Please bring along your favourite light-hearted poems, monologues or limericks to share. Original or borrowed equally welcome. Do invite any interested friends. Hosted by Adrian Thompson.
Check for up to date info.
Join in or just sit back and enjoy!

Sunday 12th January hoodwink elixir The Stables Bar,Behind The Bull Hotel,High Street
Stony Stratford,MK11 1AQ8pm – 11.00pm

Spoken word returns to its spiritual home in The Stables Bar, behind the Bull Hotel in Stony Stratford.

This is the Hoodwink Elixir – an open forum dedicated to the performance and promotion of spoken word in all its forms and guises: poetry, storytelling, stand-up, public speaking, dramatic monologue, oratory and soliloquy – anything with a vocal point. All are welcome to enter this creative space and give a voice to thought.

The Hoodwink Elixir will host regular open mic spoken word events on the second Sunday of every month, with performance slots available to anyone who has something to say. Each month will bring a featured performance from a special guest speaker and this month Red Phoenix, international storyteller, word-weaver and myth-maker will regale you with tales to leave you spellbound.

This is the Hoodwink Elixir – an open space dedicated to the performance and celebration of the spoken word in all forms and guises.

Poets, storytellers, speakers, stand-ups, orators, versifiers and soliloquisers, all are welcome to speak out and share their words and thoughts.

Got something to say? Come and have a word!

Entry: £3.00

Tuesday 14th January 2014. Scribal Gathering The Crown, Market Square, Stony StratfordDoors at 7.30 for 8pm start

January brings with it fresh starts and new beginnings, and Scribal Gathering returns to ring in the new year with a feast of spoken word celebrations and musical resolutions.

As we cross the threshold into 2014, let us cast aside the shadows of last year and invite two-faced Janus to exercise diplomacy and see us safely forward. This is the year that all our hopes and dreams will be rewarded, and so make a start by getting yourselves down to Stony Stratford’s premiere open mic music and poetry event and supporting the emerging performers and established talent that keep the light of creativity shining through the long nights and wistful dawns.

The featured performers this month will be The Screaming House Madrigals, kicking off the first of a series of gigs and milestones for the forthcoming year, and the outgoing Bard of Stony Stratford, Richard Frost, offering an annual round up in his final official appearance before a new incumbent is instated a week later.

There are open mic slots available for anyone who wants to share their creativity and join the jamboree, as well as the usual magic and mayhem that makes Scribal Gathering the place to be to take the next steps into the future.

Thurs 16th Hit The ode Victoria PH Birmingham, 7.30pm. £5 in

Apples and Snakes presents


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 you’ve played tag with when you were younger; poems dug up by puzzled archaeologists; poems seen racing down the ring-road on big wheel tricycles. Good poems. Come and get them.

Open mic: half of the open mic slots available via email (, the other half can be claimed on the door on the day of the event.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014, Luke Wright, Birmingham uni,6:30pm-All Ages
University of Birmingham (map)

Muirhead Tower
Lecture Room G15
University of Birmingham
Birmingham, UK

The poet and lecturer Luke Kennard has asked luke wright to come and read at the university where he teaches. It’s a free event and open to anyone. It’s also the only time you’re likely to see Luke right in Brum this year. Come come.

Wed 30th January 2014 42 Worcester, the Worcestershire gothic, horror, sci-fi and fantasy event, returns with an open theme . Held at Drummonds, The Swan with Two Nicks, 28 New Street, Worcester WR1 2DP on the final Wednesday of each month, 42 Worcester starts at 19:30. You can book a slot via the Facebook page: or email Andrew at

Saturday 8th February Poetry Love Slam at the Arena Theatre Wolverhampton. 7.30pm.

It’s a great night of entertainment…

“Follow the pheromones and check out the competition as Valentine versifiers declare their most passionate poetry in a cut and thrust contest to woo and win the hearts of the applaudience.

Heavenly hosts Sara-Jane Arbury and Marcus Moore compère thee to a slammer’s way, while judges rate the writing, measure the performances and find the wordster with the X-factor.”

Tickets: £10 full price/£8 concessions (concessions are usually available if you are under 16, a student in full time education, over 60, a recipient of Job Seekers Allowance, University of Wolverhampton staff and/or alumni. Please bring proof of status.)

BOX OFFICE (01902) 321 321 (01902) 321 321
Book online (There is an additional transaction fee of £1.00 when booking online).

Tues 28th January, Poetry Bites, kitchen Garden Cafe,kings Heath 7.30pm when the guests are Angela France and Daniel Sluman. Both of them are from Cheltenham and both have collections out from Nine Arches. It’s a welcome return for Angela, editor of Iota, whose latest collection is ‘Hide’. Daniel’s debut collection, ‘Absence has a weight of its own’, is already making a huge impact. Poetry Bites also includes floor spots (about 3 minutes) where you can share your own work with an appreciative and supportive audience. To book a spot, arrive by 7.15pm or email
Future dates: 25th March (Helen Calcutt and Sarah James), 27th May, 22nd July, 23rd September, 25th November. All at 7.30pm (food served from 6.30pm). The Kitchen Garden Cafe, York Road, Kings Heath, Birmingham B14 7SA, entry through Fletcher’s, a few yards up the road. £5 (£4 concs) including readers. Poetry Bites receives no external funding, so the entry fee covers the cost of the venue and expenses.

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