May Diary by Sue Wallace-Shaddad
I came to the end of my Arvon course at the beginning of the month, which has been excellent and caused me to write several new poems which I am pleased with. We were given a lot of strategies to help pull together a collection which I know will prove very useful. I have kept in touch with a couple of people from the course who came to my book launch, which was lovely of them.
I have been trying to get to grips with screen sharing which I need to do for a reading from my book for Oxford Stanza 2 on 5th June, I will share both the poems and images when I read. I think I have got the hang of it! There is always something new to learn on the technical front! I should have learnt this a long time ago!
This month I have been very busy helping organise the 9th Festival of Suffolk Poetry 12/13 May. There were very successful workshops led by Jo Bell, Helen Ivory and Martin Figura. I did Martin’s workshop on ‘Punctum’, based on finding the punctum in a photograph. I had fun looking out some old photographs to act as prompts. On the Saturday we had a brilliant readings by Mina Gorji, Joanna Ingham, Sue Mobbs, Roger West and headliners Helen and Martin, with much else on offer besides. Always a long day, but well worth it, and I sold a few books!
I would like to highlight three new books which I recommend: Latch by Rebecca Goss (Carcanet), Hard Drive by Paul Stephenson (Carcanet) and Say It With Me by Vanessa Lampert (Seren), all by wonderful poets. I am trying to go to as many readings by them as I can. On 11th May there was a lovely gathering of Poetry School MA friends at the A.P.T. Gallery in Deptford. Tamar Yoseloff with curator and sculptor Poppy Whatmore had invited five poets to respond to work by the artists in the sculpture show ‘A Body A Part’. They spent time with the artists in their workshops and it was clearly a very productive and enjoyable collaboration all round.
I have attended several open mics this month (mostly on Zoom), always a good way to get known and to promote a new book, even if it is only reading one poem. There were two open mics at the Festival of Suffolk Poetry with a great standard of poetry. Rodney Wood, who did the Arvon course with me, runs Write Out Loud Woking open mic and I enjoyed reading for them. I quite often go to the Cheltenham Poetry Festival online events which run throughout the year This month I signed up for one featuring Caleb Parkin and was able to read a poem.
I enjoyed Jodie Hollander’s reading for the Charles Causley Trust on 24th May and would like to flag up my own reading for them on 19th July, free to attend but it is a fundraiser so do support the Trust by coming along and making a donation! Book here! Please spread the word. I will be reading from my two books Sleeping Under Clouds and A City Waking Up and I hope the artist, Sula Rubens, who is running a landscape painting course that day, will be able to join the Q &A to discuss our collaboration.
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