Guest blog by Robert Harper
The whole Verve Festival enterprise is such an exciting thing for the West Midlands. It’s on next month and I can hardly believe my luck, like the best belated Christmas present or a perfect addition (or antidote, depending on your way of thinking) to Valentine’s week.
When Stuart Bartholomew first mentioned Verve was happening, and that he’d like Bare Fiction and myself to be involved in some way, I got a tingle. A poetry and spoken word festival in Birmingham! All in the delightful and newly renovated Waterstones store? Double tingles. Over a few phone calls and emails, Stuart and I banged our heads together to come up with the best way for Bare Fiction to support the festival. Since BF is just myself and the festival already had a great line up of poetry workshops for people to attend we thought offering a few one-to-one sessions over the weekend of Verve would be ideal.
It’s always such a pleasure to sit with someone and talk about a poem; discuss what is working and what might not be, how a reader might stumble and how best to approach rewriting a line here or there. So, that’s what I’ll be doing between 10am and 12pm on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th February, in the comfort of the wonderful Waterstones café (I’m sure the cake will be as good as always too). The slots are half an hour each and they’re all FREE! Click this link to sign up for one of the eight available slots and bring along a poem you feel needs a little tender nudging in the right direction. See you then (and at lots of other brilliant events throughout the festival).
Robert Harper founded Bare Fiction Magazine in 2013 at the same time as he began his MA in Creative Writing (Poetry) & Pedagogic Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University. After completing his first full collection under the guidance of Jean Sprackland, later this year Robert is on track to commence a PhD in poetry with a combined critical & creative research project on American Poetry of the mid 20th Century. He has taught creative writing in Shropshire for the last 4 years and has edited anthologies and collections for several poets.
His own poetry has been published in journals such as The Interpreter’s House, Prole, Acumen, The Lonely Crowd, Ink Sweat and Tears, And Other Poems, New Welsh Reader, and in anthologies such as ‘#2PoetryAnthology’ (Vanguard Editions), ‘Fathers and What Must Be Said’, ‘A New Manchester Alphabet’, The Every Day Poet, and ‘An Anthology to Seamus Heaney’, and was Highly Commended in the Poetry Book Society Student Poetry Competition in 2014. He regularly reads his work at events across the country and, having been an actor for 25 years, often gives workshops on vocal and performance skills.