Swindon Poetry Festival Man for a Day Film Premier

Swindon Poetry Festival is sublime: fun, fascinating and f—ing mad. I dragged my husband along for a Saturday afternoon’s party and then red carpet premier of the Man for a Day film made of our transformations for last year’s festival. It’s only six minutes long but it absolutely captures the essence of the project.







Posted in event, photos | Tagged | 5 Comments

Swindon Men Redux

It’s a year since we had our Man for a Day outing at Swindon Poetry Festival 2014. We’ll be at this year’s festival (NOW ON) tomorrow for our film’s premier. There’ll be joy and warmth and poetry, based on last year’s experiences. Do come and share the day if you can. Or try some of the other festival events. I feel trepidation about how the film will come out (as it were) but can’t wait to find out and, above all, to meet up with everyone involved again: special poets and friends. There’s nothing like bonding over breast-binding and strategic socks.

I have a new poem to share. Now … what to wear?

"Alex" Fox performing at the Arts Centre, 2014

“Alex” Fox performing at the Arts Centre, 2014

Me, Rachael Clyne and Hannah Linden at the start of the day

Me, Rachael Clyne and Hannah Linden at the start of the day

Posted in event, poetry | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Shame No Shame

At the start of the summer I went from my usual part time work to doing two jobs (my full time boss’s work plus my own) for nine weeks – a shock to the system – hence the dearth of proper blog (or, indeed, any writing). Exhaustion coupled with those images (refugees) left me miserably wrung out.

The news that our ally Saudi Arabia has sentenced a teenager to crucifixion (but this is the Twenty-first Century so he will be beheaded first, so that’s ok) made me sick. The news that Saudi Arabia will now head a “key UN human rights panel” must mean satire is truly dead, along with anyone who protests the Saudi regime. Meanwhile London hosted a massive arms fair and many regimes with unpleasant records will have attended.

Our leaders have no shame.

But here are glimmers of light. Yesterday’s #piggate #snoutrage Twitterstorm was sublime though, yes, satire must be rolling in its grave; four years ago Charlie Brooker imagined a storyline in Black Mirror where the PM is forced to have sex with a pig.

We know the Eton/Bullingdon elite are bound by shared experiences but we had no idea they were so hilarious – and that the rivalries would be so childishly exposed. So Cameron did something gross? Ashcroft hardly comes out well with the expose – which also begs the question, What have all your other friends been up to, chaps? “We’re all in it together” really does apply for them.

And what is the Daily Fail aiming for with this? A swing to the right for the Tories? Or a Fail switch to supporting UKIP as a “balance” for some British plebs’ shocking surge to the left? Should we be afraid? Well, yes and no: yes in that we need to be ready for the Fail’s brand of divide-and-conquer hate to spew but no because it is fear that feeds that kind of hatred.

The Tories were rattled even before #piggate; the contexts in which “security” have been invoked lately are mind-boggling. I particularly recommend Margaret Attwood’s recent blog on “freedom”.

Meanwhile, here are a few photos from that weekend visit to friends in Devon I mentioned in my previous post…

IMG_1879a_resize IMG_1887a_resize IMG_1906a_resize IMG_1930a_resize IMG_1946a_resize IMG_1960a_resize IMG_1963a_resize IMG_1969a_resize IMG_1978a_resize IMG_1988a_resize IMG_2007a_resize IMG_2013a_resize IMG_2016a_resize IMG_2031a_resize IMG_2045a_resize IMG_2060a_resize IMG_2062a_resize IMG_2064a_resize IMG_2073a_resize IMG_1909a_resize

Posted in non-fiction, photos | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments


I’m off for a weekend in deepest Devon with old friends. Apologies for what this will do to our “summer” weather.

This was the view from our kitchen one morning a few days ago. Not exactly sunny but rather gorgeous.


Zoomed up to Birmingham after work last Tuesday and had a wonderful time at Stirchley Speaks, held at the artsy but warm and friendly P Cafe: amazing venue run by lovely people.  I read/performed a weirdly varied assortment of poems, including trying out a new poem that went well.

Meanwhile, here are the last few pictures from Ty Newydd.

IMG_1826a_resize IMG_1825a_resize IMG_1824a_resize IMG_1675a_resize IMG_1672a_resize IMG_1666a_resize IMG_1662a_resize IMG_1668a_resize IMG_1655a_resize IMG_1653a_resize IMG_1652a_resize IMG_1647a_resize IMG_1646a_resize IMG_1644a_resize IMG_1641a_resize IMG_1639a_resize IMG_1637a_resize IMG_1642a_resize

Posted in event, photos | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Sarah James reviews Fox Unkennelled

Blog posts like buses … After uploading last night’s pictures I noticed a flurry of mentions on Twitter which turned out to be thanks to Sarah James who has reviewed Fox Unkennelled in the same micro-review blog post in which she review’s Jo Bell’s fabulous new collection, Kith. Blimey, I am in ace company there and, as I’d not canvassed for reviews, an unexpected joy to discover how Fox Unkennelled is met by a poet I so much respect. The full reviews are HERE but I shall quote:

The bold opening poem’s image of Hallucigenia on a baby’s face is a haunting one, and the pamphlet’s poems are full of vivid imagery. ‘Cwmmy Crab’ is so beautiful and evocative that it reminds me of the gorgeous, lush illustrations to my childhood favourite Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast.

In Fox Unkennelled, there are poems of science, of man’s impact on the world, endangered animals and class/politics. But there is also humour, and literary illusion; all brought together in a poetry of precise details and precise sounds. Very much a pamphlet I enjoyed, and one also for re-reading.

And now for some more photos from Ty Newydd last week, this time mostly from costal explorations:

IMG_1823a_resize IMG_1821a_resize IMG_1820a_resize IMG_1819a_resize IMG_1816a_resize IMG_1813a_resize IMG_1809a_resize IMG_1807a_resize IMG_1805a_resize IMG_1800a_resize IMG_1794a_resize IMG_1790a_resize IMG_1789a_resize IMG_1788a_resize IMG_1785a_resize IMG_1781a_resize IMG_1775a_resize IMG_1766a_resize IMG_1765a_resize IMG_1704a_resize IMG_1706a_resize IMG_1711a_resize IMG_1714a_resize IMG_1717a_resize IMG_1718a_resize IMG_1723a_resize IMG_1724a_resize IMG_1726a_resize IMG_1703a_resize IMG_1702a_resize IMG_1693a_resize IMG_1691a_resize IMG_1687a_resize IMG_1686a_resize IMG_1681a_resize IMG_1676a_resize

Posted in photos, poetry, review | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Myth Making

It’s been busy. Excuses, excuses. The sci-fi is progressing with some critiques and comments from generous beta-readers. The day job is on an overtime spree but I have just managed a week’s holiday for a poetry Myth Making course at Ty Newydd in deepest north Wales: bliss.

There will be writing. But, for the next few weeks, it will be the sci fi or new-hewn poetry (thanks to Ty Newydd and the excellent tutors, Pascale Petit and Daljit Nagra): probably not work to share here. In the meantime, and for the use of anyone else on the course who wants reminders of our close observations on our walk(s), here are some pictures. More will follow.

Ty Newydd is beautiful and old. I shared an attic room with a very quiet friend in the main house. We had a view over the back gate walnut tree.
IMG_1606a_resize IMG_1618a_resize

The stairs were a challenge with a big suitase.
IMG_1626a_resize IMG_1625a_resize

And we were never sure who had the room with the small door above the library …

There was a blue moon, someone said.

IMG_1751a_resize IMG_1754a_resize IMG_1756a_resize IMG_1758a_resize

More photos to follow …

Posted in event, poetry | Tagged , | 7 Comments

A Shrinking of shrugs, mermaids and carbon monoxide poisoning – Worcester blog

Originally posted on Quiet Compere Tour 2014:

On arriving at the Hive I met Steve Wilson (after so many phone calls and emails in planning stages) who was taller and didn’t have the right colour hair for my phone vision. The Hive and Steve were brilliant hosts. I discovered the venue was unlicenced and decided to grab a pub lunch with a pint before the event, low on time my cheap B and B/pub agreed to bring it up to me at no charge. Height of sophistication fish and chips on my bed in pyjamas with Porridge on the TV.

Catherine Crosswell: Catherine’s lively style that jumped between weird and dark and funny made her a perfect person to start the evening. Her tape measure that measures arms lengths is genius. She warns that ‘we will continue to auto-correct those who do not suspect/or believe.’ www.catherinecrosswell.co.uk

Mike Alma: put beautiful postcards of war on chairs to accompany…

View original 790 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment