October Diary – Sue Wallace-Shaddad
At the beginning of the month, I enjoyed Suffolk Poetry Society’s annual reading to the waves at The South Look Out, Aldeburgh Beach, to mark National Poetry Day. A good 20 poets turned up, and the weather was favourable. The following weekend, I was involved in organising the awards ceremony for the annual Crabbe Poetry Competition. Judge Tamar Yoseloff shared her comments on the winning poems and read from her collections as well.
Jane Wilkinson had a lovely event in Norwich to launch her debut collection Eve Said (published by Live Canon). Elizabeth Cook was due to read at Bury St Edmunds Literary Festival, but sadly, the flooding in Suffolk prevented this. I hope Elizabeth will return another time to read from her collections published by Worple Press. I also attended, by Zoom, Winchester Poetry Festival’s fascinating event focusing on Cornish poets. It was great to hear readings by Ella Frears, Aaron Kent, and Taran Spalding-Jenkin and the discussions with them afterward.
Following on from my sessions about my book Sleeping Under Clouds with St Helen’s School Year 6 pupils last month, I went along to see how the artist Sula Rubens would run her art sessions with the same class. She had brought along several of her paintings to see, which they found fascinating, asking lots of good questions. Some of the children’s drawings look very promising. I am in some early discussions with another organisation that would like to facilitate us doing a re-run of our workshops next year which I hope will happen.
I ran another of my occasional poetry evenings (which I like to call a ‘salon’ to myself!) at the Green Room Café in Ipswich. It was very well attended and we had lovely readings on the theme of East Anglia from my guest poets Anne Boileau and Sara Impey, both from Essex. Sara has a lovely book of poetry, The Stitching Woman, just published by Tom Fenton.
I have been following up on a number of opportunities recently. The Friends of Ipswich Museums, have kindly agreed that I can be a resident poet for their newsletter. I wrote a poem about a painting in the current art exhibition at Christchurch Mansion (its grounds back onto my garden), which they published in the summer newsletter. As they wanted a ‘wintry’ poem for the next newsletter, I went back around the Mansion to see what I could find; luckily, there was a relevant painting (the only one, in fact), so I wrote a poem about that. Their newsletter comes out three times a year.
Poetry Worth Hearing is an online poetry podcast magazine that Kathleen McPhilemy runs. I contacted Kathleen about her call out for the next issue (no.18) on the theme of illness and wellness to say that I was keen to share poems from a pamphlet manuscript I had written on the topic of hysterectomy. Poets are invited to send in a recording of up to four minutes of unpublished poems. However, Kathleen invited me to do a 15-minute feature in which I would read some of my poems followed by a question and answer session. The resulting audiotape will be on the website at the end of October. The site has many other fascinating audiotapes, so it is worth checking out.
I am now part of one of Tamar Yoseloff‘s monthly workshop groups and very much enjoyed our first session. I have also just started working with Rebecca Goss as my mentor. Her feedback on the first batch of ten poems I sent in encouraged me. As well as commenting on the poems, she has suggested some wider reading, which is helpful. I can see I need to push myself a bit further with language and image at times. I am sure I will learn a lot over the next few months.
If you would like to contact me to comment or follow up, please send me an email via the contact box on my website. You can also contact me to buy a signed copy of my books.
Sleeping Under Clouds (Clayhanger Press) and A City Waking Up (Dempsey and Windle). Forthcoming end September 2024: Once There was Colour (Palewell Press)
Sue Wallace-Shaddad was born and brought up in Suffolk and now lives there. Sue has an MA in Writing Poetry from Newcastle University with the Poetry School London. She is Secretary of the Suffolk Poetry Society, organizes poetry events and reads her poetry regularly in venues around Suffolk. Sue is the digital writer in residence for Causley Trust’s ‘The Maker’ blog.