A mad month packed full of great poetry with the festival season in full swing. Local events are equally strong too with Poetry Alight in Lichfield playing on Tuesday 13th May with Jean Atkins and Tony Stringfellow. If all the festival events were counted individually, we would have over 200 events in 30 days!
Sat 26th Apr Stratford upon Avon Literary Festival -until 4/5:
6th May-11th May Chipping Campden Lit Festival
sat 3rd-5th May Shrewsbury Bookfest
1st-14th May Swindon Festival of Literature including youth and adult poetry slams
17th May-24th Nailsworth Festival inc Poetry Slam
22nd May- 26th Audlem Festival, Cheshire including Poetry Slam on the opening night
22nd May -1st June Hay Festival
Leek Arts Festival May30
Day by day
Thurs 1st Poetry Jam, Urban Coffee Company, Church St, Birmingham City Centre, 7pm, free
Come jam with an open community of creative minds for yet another Poetry Jam!!!
FREE ENTRY starting promptly at 7pm to fit as many performers in as possible (advised to come early as seats have proven to fill up fairly quickly).
OPEN MIC, sign up on arrival we welcome poetry, spoken word, rap etc.
If you have a spare moment and want to help us keep these events as good as they can be, please give us some feedback: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/5WVZ5FT
For more info please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Look forward to seeing many of you there,
Spread the word!
Thurs 1st Shrewsbury Coffee House Poetry, Castle Gates, Shrewsbury, 7.30pm, With Liz Lefroy ,An open mic with special guest appearance – author Peter Wright – all the way from bonnie Scotland! Peter is author of three books about the Watershed of Scotland, including ‘Ribbon of Wildness’ Friends of the Ribbon of Wildness Open Mic slots – Peter Shilston Lucy Aphramor Ted Eames Stuart Favill Paul Francis
This is an extra-special evening as we’ll be moving our regular first Thursday poetry evenings to a new venue on 5th June. We LOVE the Shrewsbury Coffeehouse, and Jessicah Kendrick and all her staff have been wonderful and kind, but the poetry events, which started over two years ago as small gatherings in the basement, have got bigger and bigger, and we all need to be able to get close enough to hear the words. So I’m especially looking forward to this one, and I might even cry a bit, especially if Evie Donnelly and / or Keaton Kendrick are on shift. But, we will return for special events, I hope.
Sun 4th Buzzwords, Leckhampton,Cheltenham First Sunday (ex August) 1900- 2200 Exmouth Arms in Leckhampton, Cheltenham, £5in. Worksop 7pm-9pm. Open Mic and guest poet after Charles Bennett
Sun 4th Kiddi Creatives Poetry Slam, Boars Head, Kiderminster. 7.30pm:
Admission £3 (free to performers)
To find out more, read Fergus McGonigal’s interview with himself:
Q. What on earth is a poetry slam?
A. It’s a wild and euphoric poetry event – for people who wouldn’t normally do anything involving the word “poetry” (and also for people who would) and we’re having one in Kidderminster on Sunday May 4th at The Boar’s Head.
Q. How does this unlikely marriage of “poetry” and “wild euphoria” happen?
A. You have a dozen or so poets all competing to be the Slam Champion while the audience cheer, stamp their feet, whoop, holler, clap, and generally make a highly-charged atmosphere (but, you know, not while the poets are speaking).
Q. Sounds very combative – do the poets fight?
A. Er, no, they don’t fight; watching poets fight is a bit like watching Pete Docherty playing tennis: ridiculous, amusing in its own way, but they all have to have a bit of a sit down after about 30 seconds and everyone goes home feeling a bit useless. I imagine.
Q. So, what do the poets do then, if not hand-to-hand combat?
A. Each poet has 3 minutes to recite or read a poem which s/he has written. They are then given a score by some randomly selected audience members (who have no connection to any of the poets) and the best five scoring poets go through to a second round.
Q. How do you score a poet?
A. On three things: (i) the quality of the writing; (ii) the quality of the performing; and (iii) the “warmth” of the audience reaction.
Q. The warmth of the audience reaction?
A. The audience are the most important feature of any slam: they create the atmosphere with all their noise-making; the louder the audience are in response to a poet, the higher the marks for the warmth of the audience reaction.
Q. What happens to the poets who don’t make it to the next round?
A. They then become part of the audience. In our slam, they’ll all receive a poetry book for their efforts (albeit a second-hand one). After the first round, there is an interval.
Q. And the five poets who do make it through to the second round: what do they do next – same poem, different poem, a game of tennis, what?
A. After the interval, they each have another 3 minutes to read/recite a different poem. They’re scored again and the highest two go through to a final.
Q. What happened to those poets who don’t make it through to the final?
A. They become part of the audience. In our slam, though, they’ll receive a poetry book (shiny and new).
Q. I’m guessing that the final is another 3 minutes each with the highest scoring poet emerging as Kidderminster Creatives Slam Champion?
A. That’s right. The Runner-up will get a hardback poetry book and a free Mouth and Music badge while the winner will receive the much sought-after bespoke Kidderminster Creatives Slam Champion Trophy, made by our very own Coz. Oh, yes, and £50.
Q. 50 quid!? Can I enter?
A. The slam is open to anyone who has ever written a poem and would like to take part. The poem doesn’t have to be 3 minutes – it can be shorter. It doesn’t have to be learned by heart; it may be read. The poem can be serious, funny, fast, slow, rhyming, non-rhyming: anything, so long as it’s original. Anyone who wants to enter can email me at email@example.com. Several places have already been taken, but there are plenty still left. Places in the slam will be given on a first-come/first served basis.
Q. Is that it then?
A. Pretty much. Slams are fast and furious and seem to be over before they’ve begun. They are always great fun. They’re raucous, exciting affairs and may just change your attitude towards poetry (even if you’re already a fan, and definitely if you’re not), so do give it a try – you won’t be disappointed.
Mon 5th Gorilla slam, Delaneys bar, 17 Cemetery rd Sheffield, S11 8FJ 7.30pm start, with William blake and Addie Abbot
Tues 6th Open mic, The Sitting Room,3 Upper Galdeford (above Thai Box), SY8 1QD Ludlow, 7.30pm.
Join us again in The Sitting Room for an evening of poetry and revelry in very soft sofas.
Your compere for the evening, will be James Sheard if he’ll agree to it…
Tues 6th Word ,Y Theatre, East Street, Leicester LE1 6EY, just opposite Leicester Train Station7pm performers, 8pm, Audience, Open mic plus headliner.
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-
WORD!…With Panya Banjoko
Supported by Liz Gray
The Y Theatre, 7 East Street, Leicester
8pm (performers 7pm)
In May we warmly welcome Panya Banjoko – supported by Liz Gray…
Panya the Poet is a spoken word artist and writer. Her work has been described as ‘hip hop energy with plenty of shrewd words’. She has been artist in resident at the International School, Stuttgart Germany, the National Trust’s 100 verses and at Achimota Preparatory School, Ghana. She was one of the Poet Coaches for Shake the Dust and has won the Black Women in the Arts award for Outstanding Achievement.
Her first published work Brain Drain was published in IC3 – An Anthology of New Black Writing In Britain, Penguin (2000). Since then her work has been published in a number of anthologies including, the University of Nottingham’s From the Aether and Out of Bounds, Bloodaxe Press. She has also published two early year’s books – Bibi’s Museum Adventure and Hari at the Castle.
She has worked extensively with museums as a freelance creative writer and has managed a number of projects including SANKOFA, in partnership with Wedgwood. She regularly writes creative packs to accompany Museum’s Community Loans Boxes and recently published No Tears For Me My Mother about WWII Ex-servicemen. In-between working as a writer she hosts a talk show on a digital radio station.
Liz Gray wrote her first poem at the age of eight, but didn’t start performing until her first visit to Word! Since then she has written a number of ‘landmark’ poems including ‘The Ballad of the Bowstring Bridge’, ‘Richard III’ (does what it says on the tin) and a protest against the Bedroom Tax called ‘There’s a War on’. She has headlined at Pinggk!, performed at De Montfort Hall and at the Donkey for International Women’s Day. The photo shows her performing a poem specially written for Sing for Water at Bede Island Park Festival in 2013.
If you would like to share work as part of the event, arrive for 7pm and sign up with this month’s compere – Mombowie Starchild!
Wed 7th Spire Writes, White Swan, Chesterfield, 7.30pm free in.
We’re back in May with another great line up of open mic and guest readings.
Kate Fox is a Northern stand up poet, writer and BBC Radio 4 regular. She’s been Poet in Residence for the Great North Run and the Glastonbury Festival and originally trained as a radio journalist, working in Yorkshire and the North East. She has toured comedy shows all over the country and now she’s coming to the town of the Crooked Spire to share her work with us.
As usual, short open mic slots (one poem each) will be available to sign up for in advance or on the night.
Our venue is a short walk from Chesterfield train station (opposite the famous spire – you can’t miss it), It’s free to get in and the bar is stocked with local ale.
We’ll finish in time for the last train back to Sheffield.
Wed 7th Olivers Bar,36 Belle Vue Terrace, WR14 4PZ Malvern, Worcestershire
You are cordially invited to ConFab Cabaret VIII with MC Dizraeli, no less! A fabulous spoken word artist, you may also have come across him in festival fields with his merry troupe of musicians The Small Gods. If you haven’t, look him/them up and either way COME TO CONFAB CABARET!
There will also be delightful entertainment from Catherine Crosswell who is very likely to sing, Amy Rainbow – Writer who isn’t, an audience poem lovingly sellotaped together by Myfanwy Fox, some tip top prizes in The Silliest Raffle, Portuguese poetry, and MORE.
Sign up on arrival if you want your own Two Minute Talent slot in Prepare to Share (poetry, music, comedy, dance, mime, whatever) and PLEASE tell your friends.
FREE entry, well stocked bar and red walls. Lovely.
Wed 7th Earlsdon Poetry Festival, Kendall’s of Earlsdon Delicatessen
54 Earlsdon Street , Earlsdon, CV5 6EJ Coventry, United Kingdom. 8pm, open mic, with Barry Patterson.
Thurs 8th sound of the 60’s Open Mic, Tipton Library, 7-9pm, £3 in advance
Thurs 8thPUREandGOODandRIGHT 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) 7.30 p.m start
You can book an Open mic slot on the night!This month’s guest is the fantastic… Paul Canon Harris . Paul Canon Harris is a writer and poet, based in Bournemouth,who regularly performs his poetry at arts venues, festivals and special events in the UK and abroad. His first collection of poems, Best Before, was published by Creative Media Publishing in 2012.
Early this year, he enjoyed an 8 week run as a contributor on the Anneka Rice and Richard Allinson weekend shows on BBC Radio 2. Soon, Paul will be taking his People Watching People-Watching show around the UK, so catch him performing his poetry at PureandGoodandRight open mic while you can!
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thurs 8th Cafe Ort, moseley rd, Birmingham,7pm free
Welcome to the third chapter of The Book Club, brought to you by The Blogatory and Shaki Women in the Community.
This chapter we have Womanly Words – a celebration of the works of women in poetry channelled through three incredibly talented poets and spoken word artists:
Phillip Simpson a.k.a U Needza Barber
We also have Open Mic slots available for those who have inspirational, wise, funny; lighthearted or emotional words about women (but you don’t have to be a woman to be an open mic-er). To claim a slot just send us an email – email@example.com and we’ll pop you on the list.
This is a free event but still book a space with us so we have numbers via Eventbrite: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-book-club-presents-womanly-words-featuring-spoken-word-artistspoets-tickets-11414941397?aff=es2&rank=1
Poetry is an expression and a version of storytelling, stories are what define us as people as we listen and tell stories all over the world. The magic of any great story is that it is recycled and translated into every language… a bit like love. Everyone has a story, most of them are unheard, especially for women all over the world. This is a chance for everyone to come along, grab a drink, a comfy seat and just relax whilst being treated to stories translated through poetry.
Please note: This is a free event however we welcome donations for our Books for Schools Fund that provide schools around the Midlands with books about strong and influential women. In April we raised £100, so we would love to keep it up. Thank you.
Thurs 8th attila the Stcokbroker, katie Fitzgeralds,
187 Enville Sstreet, DY8 3TB Stourbridge, 7.30pm.
The Clash meets Hilaire Belloc! High energy performance poet and songwriter Attila the Stockbroker did his first gig at Bush Fair Playbarn in Harlow on 8 Sept 1980 supporting The De-Fex, The Condemmed (yes, 2 ‘m’s) and The Unborn Dead.
Since then he’s done about 3000 more in 24 countries – at venues ranging from the Glastonbury Festival (every year since 1983) and countless other music and literature festivals in the UK, Europe, America, Canada and Australia to freezing punk squats in Germany to Eton and the Oxford Union and a hotel basement in Stalinist Albania.
He’s released 7 books of poems and over 20 CDs/LPs, formerly with people like Unwins, Bloodaxe and Cherry Red Records, latterly via his own global cottage industry, Roundhead. (No cavalier attitudes!)
Utterly self-motivated. He’s sometimes on the radio. And all over the internet. He’s loud, radical, lyrical, reflective, will make you roar with laughter as well as seethe with anger and 2010 saw his 30th anniversary tour. Mellowing out? Bollocks.
Attila loves Wales, has done loads of gigs there, and was one of the first people to organise gigs in England for Welsh language punk pioneers Anhrefn and Datblygu in the mid 80s.
He has just published his 7th book of poems, ‘UK Gin Dependence Party and Other Poems’ (January 2013)
‘Whether he’s ranting a poem or bashing out a song, there is something magnificent about Attila in full flight’ (Ian McMillan, BBC Radio 4)
Thurs 8th Speakeasy, old rectifying house,
North Parade, WR1 3NN Worcester, Worcestershire 7.30pm.
In May “Worcester SpeakEasy” at:
****THE OLD RECIFYING HOUSE****
Worcester, at 7.30 pm, on Thursday, May 8th … all invited.
“Worcester SpeakEasy” is a monthly event of poetry and prose from the page and the stage (and a little music now and then), which takes place on the second Thursday of each month. The event promotes, showcases and encourages writers from the whole of Worcestershire and further afield; there is an invited headline poet each month. If you’d like to book a slot for June, please email Maggie and Fergus at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a message on our Facebook page.
May’s running order will soon be shown below, if you haven’t got a slot and would like to take part then four, two-minute open mic slots will be available on the night: whether you are a seasoned performer or a complete novice – we want to hear from you!
The event is brought to you by your very own Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe, via Poet Laureate Emeritus Maggie Doyle and the incorrigible Fergus McGonigal, SpeakEasy’s host and MC.
Doors open at 7:00pm for a prompt 7:30pm start; we aim to be finished by about 9.45pm.
Thurs 8th Grizzly Pear, Bristol rd, selly oak,7.30pm
Writers’ Bloc’s much-loved, raucous performance night is back. There will be open mic slots for Writers’ Bloc members and the general public, available on the door so turn up early to guarantee a slot.
We are also pleased to announce that our Grizzly Pear headliner will be the lyrical genius DIZRAELI.
Rapper, writer, poet and singer, Dizraeli is a hip hop tour de force. Taking in politics, love, rain, supermarkets, grief, drug culture and masculinity with a sense of humour and directness that can make you wince, Dizraeli is the BBC Radio 4 Poetry Slam winner, the 2006/7 Farrago UK Slam Poetry Champion. He has also authored 3 hiphop plays, one of which (The Rebel Cell, co-written with Baba Brinkman) won Spirit Of The Fringe award and rave reviews at the Edinburgh Festival, two years running.
Check him out at http://www.dizraeli.com/
Where? Bristol Pear Pub, Bristol Road, Selly Oak
When? 7:30pm (Doors open at 7pm)
Price? £3 Members £5 Non-members
sat 10th John Clare readings in Northampton,Starts at All Saints’ church at 10 am and finishes at 3.30 pm – the Church, the Museum, the Guildhall, the Library, and more. Featuring the folk group Pennyless.
Tues 13th Poetry Alight, kings head, bird st, lichfield, 7.30pm,free in open mic plus jean Atkins, Tony Stringfellow and Phil Binding
Tues 13th Mouth and Music, Boars head, kidderminster, 7.30pm
Stand-up poet, the brilliant
“Acute social observation, intricate humour, surreal fantasy”
FOUR TART HARMONY
Cracking 4-part womanly group with lush harmonies
MC Heather Wastie
Open mic sign-up on the night from 7.30 (5 minutes or 2 songs)
Admission £3 (free to performers)
Tues 13thCity Voices, Second Tuesday 19:30 the Lych Gate Tavern, 44 Queens Square Wolverhamtpton, it’s down the walkway by Barclays bank the leads to the Civic Centre with Simon Fletcher, set bill. £2.50 entry, featuring new work by…..Simon Fletcher!
Thur 15th Alice oswald. Birmingham uni,Arts Building (R16 on campus map) – Lecture Room 7,17:15-18:45
Creative Minds at Birmingham’, the School of EDACS Writers & Artists Distinguished Speaker Series, continues on May 15 when Alice Oswald will read from her work.
Alice’s second collection, Dart, won the T. S. Eliot Prize in 2002. Her third collection, Woods etc, was a Poetry Book Society Choice and was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection and the T. S. Eliot Prize. A Sleepwalk on the Severn appeared in 2009, as did Weeds and Wild Flowers, her collaboration with the artist Jessica Greenman.
Last year Alice became the first poet to win the Warwick Prize for Writing with Memorial, a reworking of Homer’s Iliad.
Attendees will also have the opportunity to meet Alice during a complimentary drinks reception.
Tickets for this event are free for current University of Birmingham staff and students, £6 to the general public. Registration for this event is essential:
fri 16th WordLife Poetry the shakespeare 146-148 Gibraltar St, S3 8UB Sheffield
We’re back at The Shakespeare for another selection of the best in spoken word.
‘A Fantastically Entertaining Evening’ – The Yorkshire Post
‘One of the purveyors of the new literary night out’ – The Independent
The Shakespeare, 7:30pm
£5 Full/£3 Concessions
Salena Godden been described as ‘The doyenne of the spoken word scene’ (Ian McMillan, BBC Radio 3’s The Verb); ‘The Mae West madam of the salon’ (The Sunday Times) and as ‘everything the Daily Mail is terrified of’ (Kerrang! Magazine). Her most recent book of poems, Under the Pier, was published by Nasty Little Press in 2011. A new collection of poetry selected from 1994 – 2014 is out this summer with Burning Eye Books. She’s known as The General of The Book Club Boutique, London’s louchest literary salon, and as lead singer and lyricist of SaltPeter, alongside composer Peter Coyte. She appears on BBC radio as a guest on Woman’s Hour, Click, From Fact To Fiction, The Verb and as a resident poet on R4’s Saturday Live.
Gav Roberts is a force of nature, hes been performing across South Yorkshire for a couple of years but has made a huge impact, from his political pieces charting the struggle of an honest family on DSS to poems about the four sheet rizla boys you find in your kitchen after a house party. One of our favourite poets anywhere, we’re happy to bring him back for a featured slot at Word Life.
‘Impossible to dislike’ – Write Out Loud
This is for you, (yes you) to sign up for your own slot on the Word Life stage. Slots are limited to 5 minutes. Email email@example.com to book in, or post your name on the wall.
***NEXT WORD LIFE EVENT – 21st June Ft. JESS GREEN (Dear Mr.Gove Poem) and MATT ABBOTT (Skint and Demoralised) ***
Fri 16th notes from the underground, Hollybush PH, Cradley heath, 7.30pm, free in,Spoken Word & Music event featuring music from Bo Pilar and the Mountain Valley Boys and reading from “Portraits of Prose” the debut collection of stories by Andrew Owens.
Mon 19th Shindig, Western Ph, Western rd, leicester, 7.30pm, free in
Free and Open to all! Crystal Clear Creators and Nine Arches Press present Leicester Shindig! Open-Mic Poetry Evening, featuring guest poets Rennie Parker, Siobhan Logan, Emma Lee and Josh Ekroy. Sign up for open-mic slots on the door. All welcome!
Wed 21stFind the Right Words, The Cookie Jar,68 High Street, Basement, LE1 5YP Leicester,3rd wed, 7.30pm
Wed 21st unity in the community
Centre for Oneness, Great Western Street, Wednesbury, WS10 OAS, 7pm free in
Celebrating its 1st year anniversary. The theme is ‘One Love’ Singers and poets are welcome to share a song or poem to unite us all in the feeling of unity and love. FREE entry and complementary samosas.
Wed 21st ‘Funny Women’ at Bilston Library, Mount Pleasant, Bilston, Wolverhampton, WV14 7LU, 5pm. Come along and enjoy a laughter-filled poetry reading with Jane Seabourne, Emma Purshouse and Win Saha. Free event.
Thurs 22nd Drummonds,28 New Street, WR5 1BU Worcester, Worcestershire, 7pm, free in
Black Pear Press presents the launch of “Portraits of Prose” the short story collection by Andrew Owens. The event will be hosted by Polly Robinson and will include readings by Andrew and performances by special guests.
The Humdrum Express
Thurs 22nd Audlem Poetry Slam,Bridge Inn
12 Shropshire St, CW3 0DX Audlem, 8pm, free in
this will be the third year that we’ve done it. The winner of the slam will get £50. The slam will take place in The Bridge Inn, Audlem on the opening night of the festival Thursday 22nd May 2014 at 8pm.
It’ll be over 3 rounds/3 minutes per round.
Tues 27th Word Wizards New venue* Buckingham Hotel, opp the Pavillion Gdns , Buxton last Tuesday Monthly 19.30. Open mic three minute slam format More info Poetryslamuk@aol.com 01298 77362/ 0781 3289358
Tues 27th Poetry Bites, Kitchen garden cafe, york rd, kings heath, 7.30pm, £5 in, open mic plus headliner with jaqui Rowe
Wed 28th Purple Penumbra,Oldbury Rep Theatre,3 Spring Walk, B69 4SP Oldbury, Sandwell, United Kingdom,Everyone and anyone is welcome to attend, 7.50pm
and bring along a relative or bring along a friend
to hear the spoken word – oft times not heard before –
regaling love and nature and sealing wax and war.
If you’ve a mind to contribute, whether wench or feller,
to sing a song with your guitar or even a cappella
or read a little tale or poems while we drink a beer,
then please come and enjoy the feast of words we love to hear.
Wed 28th 42 at Drummonds, Worcester:Gothic, Horror, Sci-fi & Fantasy event “42 Worcester” last Wednesday of the month at Drummonds, Worcester 7pm for a 7:30pm start. MC Andrew Owens.
42 Worcester, the Worcestershire gothic, horror, sci-fi and fantasy event, returns on 30th April 2014. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Wed 28th The Poetry Train* New Venue* the Lych Gate Tavern, 44 Queens Square Wolverhamtpton, it’s down the walkway by Barclays bank the leads to the Civic Centre. at 8pm, upstairs in their function room….It’s a great little pub last Wednesday email@example.com
Thurs 29th Hit the Ode, Last Thursday 19:30 The Victoria 48 John Bright Street, Birmingham B1 1BN 3 featured acts + limited open mic firstname.lastname@example.org
Sun 1st june Sunday Xpress Fourth Sunday Doors 1500, Start 16:30 Adam & Eve Bradford Street, Birmingham B12 0JD Open mic
Thursday 12 June, at The Old Rectifying House, North Parade, Worcester WR1 3NN when Worcestershire Poet Laureate, Tim Cranmore, is joined by Polly Robinson and friends to celebrate the launch of his new book ‘Barred’ and Polly’s pamphlet ‘Chatterton’.