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Lentil and Stone Radio Love

Every Wednesday a thoughtful, glorious show airs out of Boston’s WMBR: Lentil and Stone. Hosted by Valentine Chamorro, David Colbus and Diana Rodon, Lentil and Stone is a poetry show with a focus on the theme of ‘home’. We pre-recorded on Zoom, and I am the privileged first at-large guest, bridging the Atlantic with them in Brighton, UK. Seagulls, sheep and modern parenting pressures were topics of conversation and I read some poems, too. You can catch our episode here and while you’re there it’s definitely worth browsing WMBR’s extensive back catalogue of shows for treasures, curios and the obscurios (wasn’t a word, but I’ve written it now).

Instagram: @lentilandstone

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BSMS Poetry in Medicine

Just wanted to write a little note to say what an incredible time I had performing with this group of poets at Brighton and Sussex Medical School’s first ever Poetry in Medicine event (20th November). Here is a group of poets representing every stage of career, right from performing for the first time to a seasoned poet on their sixth published collection (Jackie Wills). There are also students from the SSC module convened by Dr Neil Singh that inspired this evening. I had the honour of facilitating a workshop for them on Trauma and Empathy in Poetry and was blown away by their insight, so it was wonderful to hear them read poetry written on the module and developed from it. It can safely be said that the evening was enjoyed by all – even my baby!

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A Workshop About Running Workshops!

A wonderful morning was had at The Writers’ Place (New Writing South’s hub in Brighton), attending Evlynn Sharp’s ‘Running Brilliant Writing Workshops’. This thorough, thoughtful and inspiring workshop was for those who have creative writing skills and feel ready to begin passing their knowledge and experience on. Initially, I was sure that this event would dwell mostly on the structure of workshops, the admin behind them and planning a successful session. The schedule contained these points, but they became supplementary to topics of far greater value. Of the two and a half-hour workshop, one hour was dedicated to opening a session and ‘checking-in’ with the participants; how putting a bit of consideration and time in to this part could culture a safe and empathetic environment. 

Expectations, those of the attendees and of the facilitator, are important guylines that pull the structure of a workshop into shape. At the beginning we were given the opportunity to voice our expectations and hopes for the workshop and this act alone shifted the mood of the room, as we felt we had some say in how our time would be spent. It is often forgotten that workshops exist to produce something creative and hopefully learn a new skill. A facilitator who projects rigid ideas across the room can stifle or intimidate a writer who hasn’t been putting pen to paper long, or hasn’t previously shared words aloud and in person. 

Evelyn’s approach could not be further from this. Her workshop style is subtle and her exercises are prepared with back-ups and alternatives for every occasion. This practice is a result of a blend of empathetic understanding and decades of working in every kind of workshop environment. Although I am in comparison a new workshop facilitator, the knowledge Evelyn imparted this morning has given me confidence in my ability and a drive to pursue an open, considerate and empathetic style of creative writing facilitation. 

New Writing South always has fantastic events, but their line up for the coming months is especially exciting for me, and I’m really hoping to attend ‘Writing Around the Kids’ with Anna Jefferson (12th June) and ‘Pitching Your Work and Marketing Yourself’ with Anna Burtt (18th July). If you’re a writer, there aren’t many better places to live than Brighton!

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Hammer & Tongue

Hey hey – if you know anything about poetry slams in the UK, then you’ll know that Hammer & Tongue is the hottest night around! As the winner of Brighton’s April slam, I’ll be hitting the airwaves on Radio Reverb’s Hammer & Tongue Show. Hosted by Michael James Parker, the Hammer & Tongue Show is on at 2pm (BST) on 25th April with me and Mia Craze as guests, talking about writing poems, slams and reading our own work. Check out Radio Reverb here and our show will also be on Listen Again: http://radioreverb.com

Also, I will be doing a feature set at Brighton’s next Hammer & Tongue night, on 2nd May at Komedia. Turn up to see Brighton’s best slam poets battle it out for a slot in the regional finals – if you’re lucky you might get to be a scoring judge! Doors open at 7.30pm and tickets are £7