Saturday, 27 October 2012

Worcestershire Laureate is lost!

October 27th, 2012

These days I feel as if I have multiple personalities.  I am, of course, still me - a fact I find thoroughly refreshing and re-assuring.  As readers will already know I am also a Decadent Poetry Diva (in hibernation at present but still sifting ideas for our next outing); I am, of course, Maggie Doyle - performer of the spoken word, supporter of most things poetic and spoken, and book launches; Bard of Worcestershire.  I am, on occasions, a whirling dervish in my attempts to be here, there and everywhere, and I have the most loving and supportive family any human being could wish for.  I also have a wealth of friends, many extremely talented, with whom I also spend time.  Ah, time. There's the rub.

So, to bring you up to date.  I was out-bling-ed at an event I attended hosted by the Mayor of Worcester (at least six sets of mayors and deputies).  I joined the Worcestershire Literary Festival in an awards ceremony held by Destination Worcester in which the WLF came second and is now through the national finals.I have been storytelling and workshopping at a library in Worcester; the Decadent Poetry Divas made an appearance in Birmingham; attended opening ceremony of a Care Home in Worcester; attended the premiere of The Big Brum Poem (an initiative of Write Down Speak Up - see website) as part of the Birmingahm Arts Festival; also performed as a Diva too; judged a junior story writing competition; did a workshop for children at a school in Redditch; did a workshop at Worcester Cathedral (in the crypt) on National Poetry Day; took part in a Poetry Trail at Avoncroft Musuem - still on view until 2013 and certainly well worth a visit; visited Split Screen at the Manchester Arts Festival - most of these events required new pieces of written work plus the performance. And last but by no means least, the Malvern Hills Walk in the mist last Sunday when I became er separated from fellow poets, a couple of poems on my  other blog site. Oh, and I have bought wallflowers and tulip bulbs for planting in my garden.

A very busy and thoroughly enjoyable couple of months - see more on the Worcestershire Laureate blog (details in August blog).  Now planning for the Victorian Fayre in Worcester and, of course, Christmas, but more of that next time.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Worcestershire Poet Laureate

Well, guess who is the second poet laureate and FIRST female poet laureate of Worcestershire?  Yes, it is me!  In mid June this year I was again a finalist for Bard of Worcestershire and, despite stiff competition, I won the laureateship.  It has been a bit of a roller coaster since then as my time is now committed to various events for which I have to write poems and stories; I am also appearing with my wonderful co-Decadent Poetry Divas at the Birmingham ArtsFest in September, getting ready for the winter season of Murder Mystery plays performed by the extremely talented Worcester Pub Theatre Group, of which I am a member, which commences at the end of October and runs through to March 2013 - performances weekly in Shropshire; my first book is due out in late summer and I am still me, writing as me!  Fortunately, retirement is not a word understood in our household!

I now have another blog spot as Poet Laureate which can be found at worcspoetlaureate.com.  More news and info about me, events and the Worcestershire Literary Festival.  Pop over and take a look.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Decadent Poetry Divas pay their respects to Worcester


Not only do I have an alter ego as Maggie Doyle, I am now firmly established as one quarter of the Decadent Poetry Divas, of whom I have written before. 2012 is the year in which we intend to titilate, fascinate and dedicate a completely different style of writing and performing to the written word/poetry circuit.  We intend to be thought provoking, slightly risque (so be warned), topical but above all, humorous.
I have found the whole process of being a Diva liberating.  Things Maggie would not contemplate are now tumbling around in my head as if I have been taken over by some alien being.  It's great!  I can now hide under the cover of "Diva" and emerge with ideas Maggie would never even think about.

Working with the lovely Charlie Jordan (past Birmingham Poet Laureate) brings an air of tranquility to the Divas writing workshops (an upper apartment in an undisclosed area of Birmingham where hummous and toast are provided in liberal quantities); a Gothic, dramatic and slightly off tangent element is provided by the talented Lorna Meehan, actor and poet; and the more youthful element (although Lorna is not too far behind) is provided by our pin-up blonde Laura Yates - who, in one line, can disprove all the negatives about blondes.

Grandma Moses of this group, me, can't get away from rhyme and wouldn't want to, and mostly provides the more nostalgic and sentimental sections of our collaborations - well, I do have age on my side.  Basically, we are NOW liberally mixed with a bit of THEN and a shot of WHENEVER.  Our introductory piece - "Decades" gives snapshot images of life in our 20s, 30s, 40s, 50, and slightly beyond.  Of course it has a feminine slant but we are sure that the male contingency will recognise one or two observations and maybe, just maybe, understand the female psyche just a little better after seeing the Divas.

Ground-breaking?  Well, not just yet but watch this space.

The Decadent Poetry Divas can be seen as headliners at Worcester's top monthly Spoken Word event, Parole Parlate, at Little Venice, Worcester on Thursday, January 5th from 7.30.p.m.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Generosity

I would so much have liked to attract your interest with a picture but I'm afraid I have tried and failed.  I have a facebook page and I have this blog but neither are of my own doing.  I try, but there is much in this fast-moving technological world which I don't understand.  But I DO have a blog AND I am on facebook thanks to the generosity of two people.  They offered their help and expertise in an area in which I am unsure and a little uncomfortable.  It was offered willingly and without bribery or emotional blackmail!

As an emerging poet a few years ago, I met with some well-established poets who took me under their wings.  They encouraged me, guided me, spent time with me and, most of all, gave me self belief.  They had no reason to be particularly kind to me or to include me in their events and poetic lives but they did.  Their prominence grew and still I was included.

I am extremely fortunate to have met some really genuine people over the last few years, and the one thing they have in common is generosity.  They have been generous with their advice, generous with their praise, generous with their support and, most of all, generous with their time.  Without their generosity I certainly wouldn't have a blog page and I probably wouldn't write anything either.

We all have the ability to influence others, whether that be in a positive or a negative way.  I'm sure we would all like to think that we are positive and inspiring to others.  We may not go out of our way to do so, things constantly come across our paths and the situations are there for us to react to as we will.  Sometimes it may be a situation we have been in before, a question raised before, another boring event for a good cause but, it is how we react that demonstrates our generosity.

I would never knowingly offend or demoralise those with whom I rub shoulders. However, I am not blind to the fact that some people, maybe unknowingly (to give them the benefit of the doubt), do not have the ability to be generous.  They are self motivated, confident, experienced in the world of writing and performing and seek only to further themselves.  They, too, are given the same opportunities to encourage new talent, offer a little moral support, take someone under their wing if only fleetingly.  But in an instant the new comer is dismissed, their work trivialised, their confidence shattered.  Ten people can tell you that your work is good and shows promise, it only takes one to make you put down your pen.  I was unfortunate enough to see this take place recently.  We poetry types are known for our tolerance and politeness as an audience;  shame on that person who doesn't understand the meaning of generosity.

Monday, 5 September 2011

The Decadent Poetry Divas hit Birmingham Artsfest

Four decadent poetry divas will be performing as part of the Birmingham Artsfest on Saturday, September 10th at The Mac, Cannon Hill, Birmingham (4.30.p.m.) and The Club, Broad Street, Birmingham on Sunday, September 11th (12.30.p.m.)  They will be transporting the audience back in time as seen through their eyes to their personal preceding decade.  If you have 25 minutes to remember when Oil of Olay was called Ulay, when Wagon Wheels were twice the size they are now, when pop was delivered to your door and teenagers mixed their own taped music, come and join in our nostalgia. Charlie Jordan, Lorna Meehan, Laura Yates and me would love to transport you back in time and maybe jog one or two personal memories. Go on, you know you want to hear the secrets of "women of a certain age" and we criss cross four decades.  Come and listen.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Bard of Worcestershire

Well, the Worcestershire Literary Festival is offically open and the first Bard of Worcestershire has been crowned - Theo Theobald.  According to his profile, he has a long history in journalism (national and local papers) and has won two poetry slams in the Midlands, he can now add Worcestershire Poet Laureate to his CV!  He was a highly accomplished act on the night, and a pork pie style hat, together with a couple of carrier bags, helped jettison him in to first place.  The panel of judges went out of sight to make their decision and returned an agonising 20-25 minutes later.  Congratulations to my mate, Fergus McGonigal, who has already started his duties as runner up, and also to friend Heather Wastie who claimed a very respectable third place.  The venue, Worcester Cathedral was stunning and the performers were not only dazzling but dazzled by the selection of official bling that was displayed by visiting dignitaries.

Although I did not finish in the top three, the comments from friends and strangers alike, helped overcome the disappointment which naturally crept in.  Special mention must be made to Sarah James who always delivers. Immaculate might seem a strange word to use about a poet but she literally paints pictures with her words.  I am somewhat surprised that she, too, was relegated to the losers bench.  However, we are united in defeat and go on to perform at The Marrs Bar on June 20th, Little Venice - Parole Parlate on 23rd, and the Worcester Slam, Drummonds on 26th.

The whole lead up to this event has made me knuckle down to more writing and I am delighted to say that I shall be joining ex Birmingham Poet Laureate, Charlie Jordan, Lorna Mehan and Laura Biding in a four diva show as part of the Birmingham Arts Fest later this year. 

If you are in Worcester on June 22nd, why don't you call in to the Arts Cafe and catch a couple of short plays?  A bawdy romp and a classic case of till rage!  Hope to see you there but if Birmingham is nearer to you, I shall be at the Birmingham Library Theatre on Monday, June 20th and the Irish Nite at The Old Crown, Digbeth on June 29th.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Busy and exciting June

WLF strapline master   www.worcslitfest.com

I can't believe that May has come and gone and we are almost half way through 2011.  Worse still, I didn't put anything on my blog.  Well, hopefully, June will make amends.

For me, the Worcestershire Literary Festival dominates the next few weeks.  This is the first one and congratulations and plaudits must go to Lisa Ventura and her fantastic team for bringing the festival to life from what was an idealistic dream of Lisa's.  Events, workshops, plays, slams, poetry readings etc. etc.  just go to their website for all information.  I have the honour to be one of ten poets shortlisted for Bard of Worcestershire, the first Worcestershire Poet Laureate.  The title will be bestowed on one of us on Friday, June 17th, at Worcester Cathedral.  All welcome.  A rehearsal took place at the cathedral yesterday and what a venue!  The Lord Mayor of Worcester will officially launch the festival on that night and thereafter follows ten days of literary events for all,  whatever your tastes.

Hope to see you at the Arts Cafe on June 22nd (two plays, one especially written for the festival), Parole Parlate, Little Venice on June 23rd, and the Worcester Slam at Drummonds on June 26th.  Dozens of other events to choose from too.

Enjoy!