July Diary by Sue Wallace-Shaddad
July has been a busy month starting off with a great deal of singing. The choir I belong to, Ipswich Choral Society, the second oldest choir in England, had an open workshop day to sing parts of Haydn’s Creation, which we will sing in full at Snape Maltings in Suffolk in 2024, with the Halifax Choir ( the oldest choir), to celebrate our 200th anniversary! We also gave a concert in a local church as part of Ipswich Arts Association’s contribution to Ipswich Music Day.
Recently I made a link to the Friends of Ipswich Museums. When I explained I was a poet who had written about some of the paintings in Christchurch Mansion, I was asked if I would write a poem about the current exhibition there which might go into their newsletter. I have drafted four poems so I hope one will prove interesting to them. So you never know where a chance contact may lead!
A couple of weeks ago I visited the Magritte Museum in Brussels. I bought a children’s book about Magritte as I thought the prompts it included might inspire me to use the surreal more often in my poetry. I also wrote a couple of poems in response to Magritte’s paintings and two poems in response to Léon Spilliaert’s work. So that was a productive afternoon. Now I need to work up the poems into final shape.
A number of poets have had launches of debut collections recently. I enjoyed Paul Stephenson’s Zoom launch of his collection Hard Drive (Carcanet). Jane Wilkinson’s collection Eve Said is now out with Live Canon and Jane did a great reading that was also live-streamed. See here. I also enjoyed the latest Red Door offering, featuring an interview with Norfolk poet Julia Webb as well as a reading by her. Red Door poets invite poets to do readings on Sunday evenings.
I have continued to promote my own poetry and art book Sleeping Under Clouds. Firstly, I ran a poetry evening in Ipswich County Library involving two guest poets Ian Griffiths and Alex Josephy. Local libraries are often open to hosting events and can be very helpful. Sula Rubens and I spoke about how we developed our collaboration over the pandemic. The next evening I was very honoured to do a fundraiser reading for the Causley Trust. The Director, Nicola Nuttall, asked me about my poetry journey and I enjoyed discussing how I write. I then read from my two pamphlets and also a couple of new poems.
That leads me on to some exciting news. Palewell Press have just agreed to publish Once There Was Colour, a pamphlet of poems that I have written recently in response to the ongoing crisis in Sudan which affected my family. This will be published at the end of September 2024. My second item of news is that I have been awarded an Arts Council Developing Your Creative Practice grant to work with Rebecca Goss as my mentor from October 2023 to July 2024, so that is going to keep me busy! It should stimulate a lot of new writing so I am currently turning over in my mind what my subject(s) might be. Or perhaps I will just respond to whatever is happening around me. It is wonderful to have this vote of confidence in my work.
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 my books
Sleeping Under Clouds (Clayhanger Press) and A City Waking Up (Dempsey and Windle).