Blue day at the Lyric Lounge. Rain streams the windows but inside is sunny as ever. Tables are littered with fascinating, rust-bitten objects from Leicestershire Museums. In the corner, the Book Doctor has her stethoscope out for a surgery with two writers. People begin to pull chairs around and I find myself kicking off the open mic lunchtime set with 2 poems in blue. At the last minute, a bus-load of children arrive and I am weaving between them as I unfurl this arctic story:
'... like a ribbon of blue
green or violet
your breath will
loose in the sky ...'
(Last Breath Singing)
Mark Goodwin reads a series of poems from the Behind the Scenes workshops inspired by museum objects. As he does so, the curator Nikki Clayton opens a mysterious box-case and sets out 6 Victorian dolls' house chairs. I lay a porcelain dolls' head amongst them and Mark moves on to a spooky poem about a doll dressed in Red Riding Hood clothes. The children are snapping pictures on their mobile and digital cameras. Some of the young Lyric Lounge attendants read their own poems, fresh from this morning's workshop. Jean Binta Breeze drifts across to throw in her 'Third World Blues' poem and a musician takes up his guitar, sings us through to the end of the set.
Lydia rushes off to take some young people to a Truvan film project that is part of the Lyric Lounge festival. It transpires that the children who were snapping were part of a press pack that now descends with forms to sign away permission for those pictures and requests for an interview. My mini-interview is written onto a speech bubble card and I'm photographed beside it. A creative chaos emanates from the Lounge. As I pack up my things to go, people of all ages are crouched with crayons and pencils for the afternoon's Drawing workshop. I'm half reluctant to leave but I'll be back for the Write Way Up evening performance. Seven poets inspired by museum artifacts ...
And a quick evening post: Home from Write Way Up - a fabulous show at Lyric Lounge putting really original work by young writers together with film and music - why isn't poetry presented like this more often? Kevin & Pam did a great job with these performers - cheers all round ...
Writing is a journey, both imaginary and physical. My first book took me to the Arctic to 'catch the colours' of the Northern Lights. Then I hunkered down to catch the wind-blown voices of polar explorers on Shackleton's 1914-17 Endurance expedition. More recently I'm obsessed by space: the race, the rockets, the final frontier.
Hear a BBC Radio Leicester interview about my space poetry at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03wfpyp
Explore my digital narrrative PHILAE'S BOOK OF HOURS, published by the European Space Agency, at:
My prose-poetry collections FIREBRIDGE TO SKYSHORE
and MAD, HOPELESS & POSSIBLE are both published by Original Plus Press at:
Contact me for signed copies or bookings at:
- Leicester, East Midlands
- As a storyteller, my work crosses boundaries of myth, science, history and spoken word. It has been presented in the British Science Museum, Ledbury Poetry Festival, National Space Centre and the European Space Agency website. In 2014 I ran a digital residency on WW1 for 14-18NOW and Writing East Midlands. I teach Creative Writing at De Montfort University and have experience of leading school events, workshop tuition and mentoring.