After a busy 2015 (the birth of my first child, Ruby ‘the marvellous’ Rose, publication of book, and tour with Shruti Chauhan and Jean Binta Breeze) 2016 has begun fairly sedately. As my partial maternity leave continues and in the wake of Christmas and visitors, the house has never been so wiped to its factory settings clean…all things relative, of course. It is my firm belief that the only thing standing between me and really clean grouting is full time employment, Netflix, and of course a child. Tomorrow, the plumber arrives to swap all the taps in the bathroom with shiny ones I have purchased on ebay – low, do internet shopping and the pipe-dreamt spirits of Find-a-Plumber pages combine to cheat at domesticity.

Ebay shopping, baby-rearing and Netflix aside I have nonetheless been starting to plan and look forward to some specially selected and enjoyable bits of work for 2016, the first of these being a new course for Writing East Midlands’ Writing School, kicking off this month on January 28th. Sort of ┬ádusting the bookshelves, I’ve begun to assemble a reading list, or at least set of titles for me to refer to, enthusiastically photocopy and build copious handouts and exercises in the light of…

books

The course, Writing Poetry for Performance – will build on one I led for WEM in 2015, to explore poetry as performance across a range of genres, styles and forms. Across a series of eight, two hour weekly sessions we’ll be exploring the history of performance poetry; debating the differences and similarities between writing for page and stage and drawing on a wide range of resources (ahem, see above) both written and recorded. From the live performances of Linton Kwesi Johnson, Jean Binta Breeze and Hollie Poetry (AKA Mcnish) to the poetry, letters and prose of Warsan Shire, Elizabeth Bishop and Margaret Atwood. From Gilgamesh to Ginsberg to Tempest – and via the philosophical lyricism of Gaston Bachelard (my new fav dead writer crush). We’ll be aiming to look afresh and explore familiar subjects in unfamiliar ways. How is writing a journey? How is the poem a house? From places lived, to the structure of reverie and the building blocks of form, the course will explore the practical applications of different approaches; how the music of language can move from intimate to public and how both voices can work in performance.

All in all I’m quite excited by it – not least as the process of teaching and writing often go hand in pen for me, and with the latter potentially suffering when weighed against dusting, Netflix and babying – don’t even get me started on cat-keeping…

jones with toy

Kitsch Cat

Anyway, updates on other stuff to follow as grouting allows – including Venus Papers book touring – and plans for WORD! (our new season launches in February with some VERY exciting acts).

Meanwhile should you live EM locally and fancy joining me on said course, it would be lovely to meet you – or see you again – more details HERE.