Tag Archives: spoken word

Andra Simons

14 Oct
Andra Simons

Andra Simons

Andra Simons blew me away.

The last poet to read at Poetry Swindon Festival – poetry was actually banned after him – and it felt a fitting send off.

“I heard him and thought he was special and wanted to share him,” said director, Hilda. This is the job of an artistic director as far as I’m concerned – to have impeccable taste.

Andra is from Bermuda; he yelled, he repeated words into a rhythm, he smeared facepaint all over his poetry film, he mentions LGBT issues, and showed his love for his mom.

Andra’s work could have been a tirade of bitterness. He’s the son of an illegitimate child who was called ‘the bastard’ at school – by the teachers – and it was assumed that neither Andra’s father or his offspring would amount to anything. Continue reading

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Zena Edwards – Marlborough Lit Fest

25 Sep
Zena Edwards

Zena Edwards

A night out with poet Zena Edwards is like having a really good guest to dinner, without the food.

The Ellis Theatre at Marlborough College, for the first event of the Marlborough Literature Festival, has the look of a school hall-cum-theatre but the intimacy of Zena’s voice and her warm demeanor made it feel like a jazz club or cabaret bar.

I must admit I got a bit of a girl crush on her voice; it was born to read poetry and sing poetry. She made words like ‘rock’ seem firm not hard and ‘ocean’ like a rolling calmness.

Zena tells us she falls in and out of love everyday; she cries, she laughs and then plucks something from it to write about. Continue reading

Exciting poetry coming down a slip road – Swindon Festival of Poetry launch

5 Sep

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The great thing about being a chronicler is that on the one hand I can write whatever I like (as long as it isn’t defamatory and all the words are wrote proper) but on the other I feel part of the team.

So going to the Swindon Festival of Poetry launch today at Swindon Arts Centre was a chance to catch up with wordsmithing friends. Continue reading

Swindon Festival of Poetry – Being Human

11 Oct

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Having the same title as one of my favourite TV shows was a big point in favour of Tuesday night’s Swindon Festival of Poetry Finale.

Okay so Being Human didn’t have werewolves, ghosts and vampires in it, but both are about the stuff of life – life stages, its ordinariness, the rubbish things that can happen, the amazing things and how we each deal with all of it.

Taken from the Bloodaxe Books anthology of the same name, Being Human is a dramatisation of thirty-four poems from different writers performed by three fantastic actors, Benedict Hastings, Elinore Middleton and Barrett Robertson. Continue reading

Taking in the 007 sites on our Magical Mystery Tour of Swindon

7 Oct

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If we’d not been so celebration-fatigued from the Olympics and the Queen’s diamond jubilee, Britain might have made more of this week’s twin anniversaries: two days in history which secured the nation’s place at the pinnacle of the entertainment industry.

October 5, 1962 saw licensed to kill secret agent James Bond blaze his way onto the silver screen in Dr No, while October 6 marked The Beatles’ first salvo in their bid to dominate the popular music scene with the release of Love Me Do.

Appropriate, then, that we should spend October 6, 2012 aboard a 1959 Leyland Tiger Cub – a bus that would have been a common site in Britain’s towns and cities in 1962 – enjoying a Magical Mystery Tour of Swindon and taking in, among other pleasures, some 007-related locations. Continue reading

Swindon Festival of Poetry – poetry darrlin’ Pam Ayres

6 Oct

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It’s fair to say that last night Swindon Festival of Poetry hosted one of Britain’s most popular poets, at The Platform, Swindon.

As well as enjoying some of Pam Ayres’s poetry, we heard anecdotes about her life and the inspiration behind some of the audience’s favourite poems, documented in her 2011 autobiography ‘The Necessary Aptitude: a Memoir’.

Pam never had aspirations to write ‘deep’ poetry – ‘other people could do it so much better’. But it’s to poetry’s benefit that she developed her own style and wrote in a way that anyone could relate to and enjoy. Continue reading

Artwords Open Mic – You’re Meat, Book

5 Oct

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Yesterday evenings lively and well-attended Artwords Poetry Open Mic festival special opened with a story from festival organiser Hilda.

Donned in her Mabel Watson persona accompanied by Barry ‘the teeth’ Dicks she megaphoned poetry at Sascos’ Cafe in Swindon’s Brunel Shopping Centre that afternoon. Apparently this was too subversive for the security guards who refused to allow them out into the precinct: ‘No poetry outside the cafe. No permission for poets in the Brunel Centre.’ Or something. So, poetry okay with tea and cake, but not other retail therapy.

First poet Bethany Pope (who will be instructing me in the way of the Sestina poetry form later today) was inspired by a death of a rat for her piece. (This is the second rat death poem today. I must write my own.) She was accompanied by the rhythmic thunder of dancers’ feet from Swindon Dance above the Central Library’s poetry space. Continue reading