Tag Archives: Swindon Festival of Poetry

Remembering Poetry Aloud at the Swindon Festival of Poetry

2 Oct

Today is National Poetry Day and the theme is ‘remember’. It’s also the start of the third Swindon Festival of Poetry.

The first event was Poetry Aloud at Swindon Central Library, where an eclectic bunch of talented poets – from first time to professional – read in an open mic format.

And – to celebrate – what better way than with a poem about the first event? (Okay a good poem would be better)

Remembering Poetry Aloud

Children bring Wilfred back to life,
David tearfully remembers his wife.
The Heavy Brigade charges to car horns
Before windows are closed with an ongoing drone
While Chaucer READS LAURIE LEE POEMS. Continue reading

Swindon Festival of Poetry Finale

12 Oct

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Claire Trevien. A beautifully spoken poet in holey tights. Professionalism stripped when asked to speak in French on stage. She’s been in a Best British Poetry 2013 book, so, class act. I liked Introduction to Love, which was what would happen if the rules of writing a thesis were applied to a romantic relationship. You can probably guess.

(I missed Kim Moore. Soz. Apparently she was rather good.)

Elvis McGonagall. Richly deserved one-time World Slam champion. Hilarious lefty comedic political rantings. Harpooned the Queen, Prince Charles as ‘Prince of Biscuits’, Iain Duncan Antoinette ‘Drowning in debt? Then give us a wave / Sell yourself in Poundland. Try to save / Dance as you dig your own pauper’s grave / On 53 quid a week’, and Margaret Thatcher in A bed at the Ritz. Really doesn’t like Tony Blair either. Continue reading

Bardwell O’Neil are Game – Swindon Festival of Poetry

9 Oct

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Bardwell O’Neil are Game turned out to be the perfect format for a seven year old to write poetry. Basically: a running around game, followed by writing down words about it, followed by another running around game, followed by more words, then poetic genius, followed by more running around games followed by more poetic genius. Wears me out just remembering it.

Yes, I’m probably biased because it’s my seven year old writing the genius poetry. But here’s the evidence: he’s had a story blog since he was four, loves to recount tales (and is addicted to Doctor Who and most other things that happen to be on TV), and going without his bedtime story is the ultimate punishment. However, by the time he’s sat down (what seems like the whole day) at school, and has done his homework (still getting my head around homework at his age) he doesn’t want to concentrate on any more writing.

So Sue Bardwell and Heather O’Neil, both with young sons, embarked on this experiment on Sunday (Broadgreen Community Centre at the Swindon Festival of Poetry) to get kids, boys in particular, writing poetry. So – by way of playground games such as Fruit Salad, Chains, Bulldog and What’s the Time Mr Wolf? – they get kids energised, then thinking about words associated with their actions and emotions, then writing them down into verse and stanzas. Continue reading

Roger McGough – Swindon Festival of Poetry

6 Oct
Roger McGough

Roger McGough

Roger McGough’s Friday event at the Swindon Festival of Poetry, As Far As I Know, was a masterclass in brilliant delivery.

Much of the time I was laughing out loud, which made his more thoughtful pieces hit even harder. What I really like about Roger’s work is that his poems at first seem really straight forward and easily understood, but then Roger plays around with the words like a Wimbledon champion, slicing and top-spinning until they flick a winner over the net when I was expecting a passing shot.

Such as A Fine Romance which is about dementia, Alzheimers and, er, love.

Or in As Far As I Know, where he lists the awful things he hasn’t done, before comically mixing them up: ‘molested a bomb soaked in voicemail.’

Poet Laureate Carol Anne Duffy called Roger the patron saint of poetry, so he wrote a response to her best known anthology, The World’s Wife (see post), by way of, for example, Mr Nightingale (spouse of Florence Nightingale) and Enid Blyton’s husband. Mr Blyton is fed up with his wife’s fictional characters supplanting him in their marriage, so he wishes that a haunted cave would collapse on the Famous Five or ‘five famous skeletons wash up on some distant shore’.

And I think I’m with him on that.

Sliproad Poetry – Up the Junction! at Swindon Festival of Poetry

6 Oct

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Yesterday I went down the M4. Well, physically I crossed the great divide of the M4 from the Marlborough side to the Swindon side. But poetically I travelled from Bristol to London, being a bit late for Swansea and Cardiff.

Up the Junction!, part of the Swindon Festival of Poetry, was the loose theme for sticking a bunch of poets together in a room (at the impressive youth centre The Platform) for a large chunk of the day. And it worked in the same way cabaret works – some you like, some you don’t and some passes you by.

At this point I must share that I took my (almost) six month old along and, as any parent will tell you, things tend to revolve around them. Sometimes because I have to tend to her needs, sometimes because I realise I’ve been stroking her head and not paid much attention to anything else.

Heather, who had her third child a couple of weeks after mine, was there with baby in tow. We are both pretty tired. ‘Are you getting much of this?’ I think she asked me, or I asked her. ‘Sometimes I catch a line I like, or one I don’t. Both good,’ she said. 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