Saturday 11 May 2019

The Writing Squad - Lunch Poems in Leeds


 As a graduate of The Writing Squad, I was delighted to get the chance to visit Leeds to take part in a workshop with poet Andrew McMillan and photographer Lizzie Coombes.

 At Yorkshire Dance, our base, Andrew shared some poems capturing place and city life, and we discussed them. Lizzie gave a presentation on the history of street photography, from which I learnt a lot. She gave us some tips, and then we headed out into Leeds to take some photos.

 It was great to be reunited with my friend and fellow writer Laura Potts. We ate lunch together, and it was lovely to catch up.

 Some of the things I spotted and try to capture on our travels were a brolly in a bin, a lone baby boot sitting on a post, a rainbow mosaic, fruit sellers at the market, multicoloured rolls of carpet, many pigeons, and a man working in a sweetshop, who inspired a poem I wrote on our return to the group.

 I hope to do something more with these photos, so for now I will abstain from posting them, except for the rainbow above. I performed the first draft of my sweetshop poem to the group, and it received really nice feedback. It may well be appearing online soon, so I look forward to sharing it with you.

 I returned to Manchester feeling happy and accomplished, having drunk three hot chocolates, taken lots of photographs, written a few poems including one I really liked, and spent the day with cool people.

 Thanks to Steve, Andrew, Lizzie, Laura, Lydia and the rest of the crew for creating such an encouraging and relaxed atmosphere. I hope to be able to take part in many more workshops.

 Liz x

Queers of Manchester, and "Arrival"


Photograph by Tom Quaye

 I felt incredibly proud to be featured by Queers of Manchester on their Facebook and Instagram pages. 

 Tom Quaye took the above photo of me, which I love, and you can also read my poem "Arrival". This sonnet describes my growing sense of belonging in Manchester, having previously lived in a number of different places.

 Many thanks to Queers of Manchester for choosing me and showcasing my writing, and to everybody who has responded so positively and kindly to the posts - it feels amazing.

 Liz x

Poetry Pop Jukebox Co-op #3


 I was very happy to be invited to perform at the third edition of the Poetry Pop Jukebox Co-op. This is a spoken-word night with a difference - each of the five guests reads their own work, a piece by another writer, and some song lyrics that they admire or which have a personal meaning for them.

 It was a beautiful evening, with spring just arriving. I made my way to Gullivers, a venue I really like and where I performed last year, at Bad Language.

 I would be reading first, which was slightly daunting, but I embraced the challenge. I was very moved when my friends Hayley and Andy arrived to support me - it was lovely to be able to share my passion for poetry and performance with them.

 I read four of my poems which, although I chose them primarily because I liked them, happened to be a good taster of my work, touching on some of my key themes.

 These included bodies and identity in "Blood ghazal", travel, nature and memory in "Peaches", destiny and chance in "17th February", and Manchester and belonging in "Arrival".

 For the poem by somebody else, I chose "Venus" by Carol Ann Duffy, as I love its simplicity, and how it combines very intimate moments with a moment watched by people all over the world - a lover's body with the transit of Venus.

 For my song lyrics, I recited "Point Hope", by Indigo Girls, written by Amy Ray. Amy is a big inspiration to me as a writer, and I chose "Point Hope" because its message is so important, and because for me it is a remarkable example of how to write respectfully and well about something that seems so awful as to be unwritable.

 I enjoyed hearing the other four performers, including Jane Bradley, with whom I got talking after the gig, and who had some remarkable stories to share involving togas and babies. She hosts the spoken-word night That's What She Said, which I hope to visit soon and maybe even perform at.

 I hadn't known exactly what to expect from the Poetry Pop Jukebox Co-op, but it turned out to be a wonderful night out, and I certainly intend to return for more poems and song lyrics, and the great sense of camaraderie and support.

 If you would like to invite me to perform at an event, please do get in touch.

 Thanks for reading,

 Liz x