Thursday, 26 November 2009

What a month...

November has seen a lot of poetry related events, so I thought I'd sum them all up here.

Monday the 2nd of November saw the second River View Open Mic Night where we held a raffle, with proceeds donated to children in need. We had three prizes donates (thanks to Theresa Codd, Liam Brayd and Martin Ward) and raised just over £30.

Sunday 8th, Sunday 15th and Sunday 22nd saw Helen and a host of poets taking to Vintage Radio to read some sublime poetry and have a bit of a natter about themselves. They were excellent programmes, so well done to Helen and everyone else involved for making them so interesting to listen too.

The last WAPs meeting was on the 14th of November and we discussed the many events, and projects that people have going. Among the things talked about was: Wirral's Winter Words, a poetry event in Oxton (see the main WAPs site for details), Helen Hughes becoming the WAPs press officer, and the friends of Birkenhead Library. Minutes will (hopefully) be available somewhere.

Friday 20th, saw the new Wirral Young Poet Laureate being chosen in the presence of the Mayor. Liam Brayd, Clare Kirwan and Holly Green were the judges this year and as soon as I find out who was chosen I shall post to the blog congratulating them!

On Monday 23rd, the first poetry book featuring the Wirral Alliance of Poets, Wirral's Winter Words was finalised and made ready for printing. I have also had the opportunity since to look at an actualy copy (there is only one at the moment as the first batch are not quite ready yet) and it certainly brought a smile to my face. Advance copies of the new book will be available online from the WAPs website and direct from the publisher on December 1st. There will be several copies available to buy at a special River View Open Mic on the 7th. The book will be launched and available to buy in shops in January.

I have also been busy working to get some spots on local radio and a launch event or two within the near future so watch this space!

We also had all the regular poetry events, The Bards and Ode Show.

Best of all the month isn't quite over, so we've still got Moreton Arms Live Poetry and Tales Around the Fire still to come!

What is even better is that it seems that future months are set to be just as busy!


Martin Nelson

Sunday, 22 November 2009

"Wirral's Winter Words" Goes to Print!

Yes, that's right after three long months and a lot of missed deadlines, the first Anthology of Wirral poets goes to print.

"Wirral's Winter Words", the debut collection featuring poets from the Wirral Alliance of Poets goes to print tomorrow. Once the initial print run is done watch out for advanced copies of the book hitting our website.

The book's official launch will be in January and will be available from many places on Wirral.

So watch this space for more information coming this way soon!`

Saturday, 10 October 2009

New Look Website

Hello Everyone!

Well it's finally up. The new look Wirral Alliance of Poets website is up and running.

We now have a page for each of the regular poetry events/groups on the Wirral. We also have a bit more information on each group and have some short videos and photos for you to enjoy.

I hope to be able to expand the site to include a few other bits and bobs and help to showcase the wealth of talent that exists on Wirral.

We will also soon be editing the look of this blog to bring it more in line with the new look website.

So stay tuned for more information about WAPs, the local groups, events and even more really cool stuff.

Until then, why not check out some of the events.



Thursday, 8 October 2009

Live poetry now EVERY WEEK on Wirral - the ‘Poetry Peninsula’

It’s THE BARDS quick-fire, open mic poetry in New Brighton on Monday evening, 12 October.

The Bards is one of FIVE regular poetry and spoken word groups now operating at the urban northern tip of the Wirral peninsula.

It means that EVERY WEEK within the Birkenhead / Wallasey area there is a live open mic session – more than is currently available across the water in Liverpool.

Poets from all five groups in north Wirral now support each other’s nights and co-operate formally as the Wirral Alliance of Poets (WAPs).

Co-ordinating the development of Wirral as ‘The Poetry Peninsula’ is John Gorman – writer, humorist and ex-member of the hit 1960s group The Scaffold.

Fifteen poets, drawn from all the Wirral poetry groups, performed new pieces (each inspired by various Victorian paintings) live at the Williamson Museum and Art Gallery, Birkenhead, on Thursday 8 October – as their contribution to National Poetry Day.

Open mic events coming up …

- THE BARDS takes place this coming Monday (12 October), starting at 8pm, at the historic Magazine pub, Magazine Brow, New Brighton CH45 1HP. If you’ve not been before, this is a very lively and well-supported group, founded and MC’d by Steve Regan. Every poet who attends is guaranteed at least TWO performance slots on the night. No-one goes away disappointed.

- MORETONARMS LIVEPOETRY is a new group that will hold its first session on Monday 26 October at the Morton Arms, Pasture Road, Moreton (opp Moreton rail station, 8pm, and thereafter on the fourth Monday each month.

- THE WIRRAL ODE SHOW open mic usually takes place on the third Thursday of each month at the Stork pub in Birkenhead CH41 6JN. But this month instead there will be the Ode Show Competition, which will take place on Thursday 29 October, from 8pm. Entrance fee for the competition is £2, and there will be cash prizes.

- TALES AROUND THE FIRE takes place on the last Friday (except for December) of each month in the old officers’ mess at Fort Perch Rock on New Brighton sands. This event offers poetry and story-telling, and starts at 8pm. Next session is on October 30.

- RIVER VIEW open mic is at the River View pub on the waterfront in central Birkenhead. Meetings are held on the first Monday of each month, starting 8pm. Next meeting is on November 2. This club got off to a great start last month, with musicians mixing it in a bohemian atmosphere with the poets.

Those who haven’t been before … come to Wirral – the Poetry Peninsula!

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

River View Open Mic

Hello All,

I am pleased to announce a new monthly Poetry and Music event.

We will be meeting for the first time at The River View pub on Chester Street, Birkenhead (just down the road from the police station) on the 5th of October at 8pm.

We have three 10 minute slots for acoustic musicians, so if you are interested please contact me by e-mail.

Poets will read in sets of around 5 minutes each and there will be several breaks through the night to allow you to get beer, or even a bowl of hot pot and crusty bread for just £2.50!

Hope to see you all there!



Friday, 4 September 2009

Songs and poems - the crucial difference

As a veteran of many mixed mode live events (singer-songwriters sharing the stage with poets), I think it's hard, though not impossible, to make such nights work.

From a poet's point of view, too many of the singers, and their output, can seem bland. Abd the musicians take too long setting up, are ampl;ified way too much, and their patter between songs is garbage.

Worst of all are those nights where people who sing covers are allowed slots alongside poets performing original material. There is no artistic equivalence.

Much as I quote enjoy a live rendition of "Leavin' on a Jet Plane" sandwiched between some live poetry, I really do not want to hear or see some pot-bellied, balding fool raunching it up with "Mustang Sally".

That's not to say song-writers who peform their own material are necessarily any better.

And I'm sorry to have to say this, but young female song-writers are often FANTASTICALLY BORING.

It seems that for a certain (and numerically dominant) group of whining wimmin singers the thematic seams to be mined for the the composition fo songs are limited to the following three...

(1) My man doesn't understand me.
(2) Men are awful.
(3) Errr, actually, there isn't 3 (see above, repeat and fade).

And while there are good poetic male song-writers, such as Steve Forbert, Morrissey, Paul Weller, Roddy Frame, and Bob Dylan (though it's a shame Dylan's singing voice is so awful), I can't think of ANY female ones that float my boat.

Dido might as well raise that white flag of surrender, as far as I'm concerned.

Mainly, and increasingly as Western rock and pop grows old and jaded, the newer songs are vapid and unambitious conceptually.

That's not to say mnodern pop singers or their songs aren't popular. Of course they are - because people are so thick they lap up crap and fall for all the marketing hype. Girls Aloud,Zzzzz.

Perhaps we shouldn't be too suprised at this. After all, in general terms, song-writing is about the banal expression of easy-to-please sentiment.

Whereas performance poetry, at its best, is the precise opposite of that.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Excellent to see the WAPs blog thingy up and running. Here's to the future! All together now, 'ere we go 'ere we go 'ere we go, 'ere we go 'ere we go 'ere we goooooooooo, 'ere we go 'ere we go 'ere we go, 'ere we goooooooooo, 'ere we go 'ere we go, etc, etc, etc.