Tomorrow I will be bringing a new workshop on Protest and Conflict to the Falinge Park Writing Group in Rochdale. The group meets every Thursday morning from 10am to noon at the Community Hub in Falinge Park. Everyone is welcome regardless of prior writing experience.
In this workshop we will look at the role of writing in protest and conflict and look at examples from history and more recent work. There will be a focus on poetry but those attending will be supported to write in whatever for they prefer.
The park is just a 15 minute walk from Rochdale Interchange, and for those driving, parking is available in the park for these sessions, just drive in through the gate at the bottom of Sheriff Street and follow the drive to the tarmac area in front of the house.
On 17th May I will be compèring an open mic poetry evening at The Red Lion, in Littleborough, from 7:00pm to 9:00pm.
All are welcome and those wishing to read or perform should simply let me know on arrival so that I can include them on the list.
The free event is brought to you by Littleborough Arts Festival who will be running a wide range of arts events and activities over the long weekend from 19th to 21st May – details of all events can be found on the Littleborough Arts Festival Facebook page.
Rochdale poet, writer and workshop facilitator, Eileen Earnshaw, runs the Falinge Park Writing Group and has led several writing projects in Bolton after completing her BA Honours Degree in Creative Writing at Bolton University. This workshop is suitable for anyone interested in starting to write poetry and those who are relatively new to writing.
Eileen’s track record in helping new writers to gain confidence will ensure and engaging and inclusive workshop where everyone will leave with new knowledge and some new poetry.
Freeform Poetry – Gaia Holmes
Calderdale poet, Gaia Holmes, has won several awards for her poetry and was recently awarded a fellowship by the Arts Foundation Futures, for her place writing. Gaia is an experienced workshop facilitator who always brings positivity and fresh viewpoints to her sessions.
This Freeform Poetry session is aimed at those who want to develop their writing and look at new approaches to their poetry. Participants are sure to enjoy the session and leave with some new writing.
Polish and Perfect – Seamus Kelly
Littleborough based poet and artist, Seamus Kelly, has led a number of successful writing projects including the 2022 Poetry in the Park project in Littleborough with a series of workshops culminating in the publication of a large print poetry book of the participants’ work.
This workshop is suitable for those who have written some poetry and would like to finds ways to polish it and prepare it for publication or performance. The workshop will include techniques for using a microphone while reading your polished words.
Poetry performance – 12:00 to 1:00pm
Following the workshops there will be a performance session in Hare Hill House where participants, and perhaps workshop leaders, will share some of their words.
April sees a new, exciting, one day, poetry event at Hare Hill House, Littleborough.
The morning sees three FREE poetry writing workshops by published poets (further details to follow in my next post) plus poetry performance, followed from 2:00pm to 4:00pm, by an Afternoon with James Nash.
James, hailing from Leeds and Bridlington, is a popular poet, workshop leader and speaker with 8 collections of poems published so far and has been a frequent guest and host at literature festivals. James’ latest collection “Heart Stones” is his third collection of sonnets; information about the book is shown below, beneath the online booking link.
during the afternoon James will talk about his passions, his writing and will share some poems with the audience.
Tickets for this not to be missed event are available now on Eventbrite using the link below, or can be purchased from me in person for just £5.00 each.
In his third volume of sonnets, James Nash examines urban and seaside environments in a Yorkshire he has known through fifty years living in the North. His sonnets soar over the land – from Leeds, a predominantly Victorian city, to the Wolds in the East Riding of Yorkshire, walking and cycling into the natural world with a pen and paper never far from his hand.
James openly shows his debts to the great poets and writers of previous generations, from Winifred Holtby to Philip Larkin, from Matthew Arnold to Dylan Thomas – and with this sparkling new collection, lays a fresh claim to be named among them. To borrow some of his own words, James’ gift is to be a “clear microscope” for our times, finding hope in the many “miracles of detail” that pass through his unwavering gaze; into verses that glow with warmth, insight and poignancy. He thinks his old English master would be quite proud.
Many thanks to all of those who attended our launch today. Extra thanks to Nick from Hare Hill House for making us so welcome and set up to room for us, and I especially admire the upside down Christmas Tree.
With tea and coffee and a table of home made cakes, proving that some of our poets are also excellent bakers, the 40 strong audience settled down to listen to an introduction from Elizabeth White, Chair of Create and Connect who organised the project. Elizabeth spoke about the motivation and aims of our project, the reasons for producing a large print poetry book and thanked our sponsors “Crook Hill Community Benefit Fund”.
Eileen Earnshaw, a superb local poet, and I shared a couple of poems each to give some idea of the range of styles and subjects that we write about and then each of the other poets who took part in the project read some of their work from the newly published book.
The participating poets are; Denise Greenall, Eileen Earnshaw, Elizabeth White, Graham Haynes, Julie Woodrup, Marilyn Allred, Nic Holliday, Ray Stearn, Sandra Buckley, Susan Benton and myself.
Cllr. Janet Emsley, Deputy Leader of Rochdale Council, always a staunch supporter of the arts and her local community in Littleborough, read a poem on behalf of Elizabeth White and also expressed thanks to the sponsors and her hopes that we will continue to see such community based creative projects in the future.
The book, and the readings, were very well received and copies will be distributed free of charge to people experiencing sight loss, Rotary will include them in Christmas parcels and they will be distributed to care homes etc. and through MeetUp at Hare Hill House.
Next week we will be releasing copies online, freely downloadable, including a version using colours and a specialist font to make it more readable for people with dyslexia.
Elizabeth White said “the launch was really successful, the poets read from their work to a very appreciative audience. Being able to offer a large print poetry book is amazing as there are very few published in this format.”
A great event and project, I have been very impressed by all of the writers and thoroughly enjoyed running the workshops and editing the anthology.
A quick glance inside one of the boxes of books ready for tomorrow’s launch.
It is always exciting opening that box and holding a copy of a brand new book in your hand. This one is a special one being produced as it is a large print anthology helping to make poetry accessible to older people and those with some visual impairment.
The work has been inspired by the workshops that the writers attended at Hare Hill House in Littleborough. I’m really looking forward to the participating poets receiving their copies, seeing their words in print and sharing some of their poems at the launch.
if you can get along to the launch you’ll be very welcome and you will be able to collect a free copy of Poetry in the Park and enjoy light refreshment and drinks.
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been editing submitted poems, selecting poems for publication, designing the layout and creating the cover for our large print anthology. After all that creative and technical work I now enter the easier, but tense, phase of waiting for copies to arrive through the post.
The book, draft cover shown here, will be launched on Friday 2nd December at 11.00am where some of the twelve contributing poets will read selected poems. There will also be opportunity to meet and speak to the poets.
Refreshments will be provided and copies of Poetry in the Park will be available to take away.
All are welcome to attend at Hare Hill House, in Hare Hill Park, Littleborough.
This morning I approved the proofs from the printers and I’ll be awaiting the box/boxes of books arriving at my door ahead of our launch at 12.00 on 17th March in Falinge Park (cafe), Rochdale.
Once I’d finished that process I worked on a second version which will be available to download. That version uses a special font and a coloured background to make it easier for those with dyslexia to read. The cover for this version is shown below – it will be made available online after the launch event.
At the launch the writers who have contributed to the book will read some of their work, there will be a chance to chat and meet members of the group and pack up a copy of the book. There will, of course, be light refreshments.
If you haven’t received an invitation but would like to attend please let me know and we’ll be happy to accommodate you.
When I first noticed my picture in the Rochdale Observer I was surprised as I hadn’t expected to be the focus of an article by Norman Warwick. I’ve known Norman, as he says, for quite a long time and have on occasion had the chance to work alongside him. Reading the words Norman had written about me I was genuinely moved.
The paragraph “He faces straight ahead into concerns that even poets often turn away from and he addresses those concerns with an honesty and courage too many of us lack” really hit home, making me think about why I write the things I do. If I can continue to live up to that in my writing and in creating and leading workshops for writers and young people then I will be more than satisfied.
As a poet I don’t always choose my topic or subject, often they tend to choose themselves in the way that events are thrust upon us and cannot be ignored. Sometimes when things happen I find it impossible not to respond poetically; such responses are not always immediate and I tend not to use writing as a catharsis.
The poems that emerge from life events are some of the hardest to create and I feel that I only write well when I am thinking clearly and although emotions have a massive part in that writing they must take a back seat in the drive to a finished piece.
When we write all of us are influenced by our own personal experiences but when we write for an audience, for readers, then each person hearing or reading the work needs to feel a connection to it. If I write about a personal event I don’t want to exclude others so I talk about the feelings that all of us will have experienced at some time. For example when I wrote about the loss of my own Dad in “A platform I don’t know” I didn’t talk about the amazing man I had lost but rather about how that loss makes you feel about we respond to it. You can listen to “A platform I don’t know” but clicking HERE or you can find it in my book, Thinking Too Much, which you can buy HERE.
The Rochdale Literature and Ideas Festival 2019 took place in late October at various locations across the borough of Rochdale. For local creative writers a highlight is the Writers Showcase event which on this occasion took place in St Mary’s in the Baum, one of Rochdale’s impressive historical churches.
I was delighted to have the chance to close the session with a set of my own poetry following some great performances from others including a standout set from Sue Devaney and a remarkable and moving performance from “Sing Along With Us” – Jade Kilduff and her younger brother Christian.
The newspaper review of the event is shown in the image below.
The second Altrincham Word Fest will run from 11th to 26th May 2019 at various venues in the town and promises to be even more exciting that the first edition held in 2018.
Last year’s festival followed a poetry event created by Anne Early and Yoko Isami as part of the Hidden Arts Festival in 2017. That first festival in 2018 proved to be a great, popular success with demand for new events and bigger venues for 2019 and Anne and Yoko are putting the finishing touches to the schedule of events in May.
So why am I, a Rochdale poet, so keen to promote this event?
Is it because I’ve been invited back to Altrincham for the 3rd year in a row (1st year was the Hidden Arts Festival)? Perhaps a little bit….
Is it because it has a great line up of talent? Well it does….
Is it because it celebrates writing and literature? Well it does….
Is it because it is different from other Literature Festivals? Yes, absolutely!
This is a festival that does something different, this is a festival for writers; it puts its energies into encouraging all of us to go out and create, to write our own literature and to share the joy of writing; and it does that through workshops, performances, writer events and of course the open mic (that I’ll be hosting again in 2019).
As a writer I experience and see the benefits people from all walks of life, of all ages and with all levels of experience can gain from putting their thoughts and ideas into words. I know the value in terms of enjoyment, fulfilment, health and well-being that writing can bring and to be involved in a festival that promotes this is both a privilege and a great pleasure.
Dates for the specific events will be appearing soon on the www.altrinchamwordfest.com website and on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
I’m delighted to announce that I’ve been asked by Oldham Library to produce and facilitate a new poetry workshop in Oldham’s Art Gallery.
The workshop is linked to a current exhibition of work, A to Z: The First Seven Years, by artist David Ball. The exhibition runs until March 2nd in Gallery 2. The artist is producing a drawing visualising every word in the Concise Oxford Dictionary – starting from A (with 461 words) the work is currently at the letter C. The project has taken 7 years so far and Dave expects to take another 28 years to finish. Some of the drawings and photographs produced so far are currently exhibited in the gallery in Oldham and some can be seen on the artist’s website by CLICKING HERE.
Taking the work by Dave Ball as its inspiration this poetry workshop will give writers the chance to create some brand new poetry themed around words from the dictionary beginning with A, B and C. We’ll look at how inspiration drives creative people and how inspiration, such as this exhibition, can be turned into a plan or outline for a new poem and will take participants through the evolution of the piece. There will be opportunities (for those who want to) share their work during the workshop and the gallery and library have kindly agreed to display writing produced in the workshop.
No specialist equipment is required and all writers are welcome from those just starting out to professionals.
The event is listed on the Oldham library website HERE and you can book places through EventBrite by CLICKING HERE