We have made some changes to our programme for Sunday 19th Feb at Verve.
Most notably, Melissa Lee-Houghton has had to pull out of the festival for personal reasons. This has left a hole in the programme, as Melissa was due to run a workshop in the afternoon as well as reading at the evening headline event alongside Penned In The Margins stable-mate and Birmingham based Luke Kennard, and excellent Bloodaxe poet Shazea Quraishi.
It is a hole we have been working hard these last few days to plug, and plug it we have. Shazea Quraishi was thrilled to be asked to run a workshop in Melissa’s place from 1-3 PM. While Melissa was going to be getting her workshoppers to focus on the idea of writing to, Shazea will instead focus on writing as. Here’s the blurb…
Writing what you don’t know
In this workshop we will explore the endless possibilities that open up when the I in the poem is not you. Taking inspiration from persona poems by Carol Ann Duffy, T.S. Eliot and others, you will be encouraged to slip into someone else’s skin and imagine their truth. New poems will be generated through writing exercises.
We think this sounds like an phenomenal workshop and are so pleased that Shazea has come to our rescue. There are still a couple of places left, so grab one while you still can.
For the evening headline event, we decided to ask to excellent Ruby Robinson to read for us in Melissa’s place, and we have to say we were thrilled to bits when she agreed. Ruby has had an glorious year on the back of having her first collection, Every Little Sound, published by Pavillion Poetry – being short-listed for the Felix Dennis Prize for best first collection and the T.S. Eliot Prize. Collette Bryce wrote, ‘Every Little Sound is an extraordinary first collection from a very gifted young poet.’ We are so excited to hear Ruby read and feel she has added something to our evening headline event that it didn’t possess before. It will be a wonderful reading.
Here’s a little more about the newest poet joining our Sunday headline event: Ruby Robinson was born in Manchester in 1985 and grew up in Sheffield and Doncaster. She studied English Literature at the University of East Anglia and has an MA from Sheffield Hallam University, where she won the Ictus Prize for poetry. Her poems have appeared in The Poetry Review, Poetry (Chicago) and elsewhere. Her debut collection ‘Every Little Sound’ was published this year by Pavilion Poetry, an imprint of Liverpool University Press (edited by Deryn Rees-Jones) and was shortlisted for the Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection and the T.S. Eliot Prize.
These changes, we feel, have had a minimal impact on the calibre of our Sunday programme. We still have excellent showcases from both Burning Eye Books and Nine Arches Press; Podium Poets slots from slam genius Jasmine Gardosi and poets’ favourite, Geraldine Clarkson; workshop opportunities with Clive Birnie and Jane Commane and a drum and beats poetic happening with Antosh Wojcik. Not to mention our Brum Stanza breakfast and a morning performance from some local up and coming poets courtesy of our friends at Beatfreeks. There are great value Sunday passes still left, but they are going fast – why not grab one and come and see it all!?
One last change on the Sunday to mention is our decision to replace the 9-11pm Anti-Slam event with a Verve Poetry Festival after party. We have done this for a number of reasons, the main one being that for many such a late final event on the Sunday was proving difficult to attend. We learned this lesson and have taken action accordingly. All who are still with us after the Kennard, Quraishi and Robinson reading are welcome to join us in the store cafe bar for an hour or two to toast what we hope will have been a successful festival, listen to some music and have a good old poets’ chin-wag. We hope you are keen to join us.
Verve is less than two weeks away. We can hardly wait!