Sunday, 29 October 2017

Postcard from Home: Either dead, dying or hazardous in Autumn

"Unfortunately it has become necessary to remove this tree as it is either dead, dying or hazardous" - LB Camden.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

October Update: 5 things

1. Reading List (in brief): We Need New Bookcases...

My reading list has grown exponentially over the last year, and shows no sign of slowing. At some point, I'll have to cull some books, if I'm going to achieve balance in my life!

In the meantime, one book I'm VERY excited about it the biography of Patrick Nelson by Gemma Romain, and it's just in time, incidentally, for Black History Month. I've been waiting for my copy since I first read about the book and subsequently wrote a monologue based on Patrick, 'Safest Spot in Town'. I can't wait to geek out properly on this slice of history.

I've also got Danez Smith's collection (OMG!!!) on the go and The Complete Works anthology, which has me struggling to read and breathe at the same time; there's some brilliant writing in there - and I was glad to be at the launch last week and see most of the poets read. 

keeping me company at the university office

2. Balancing Act (basically a rant.. tl;dr)

Right now, things are chaotic. I've just started what is set to be my final year of PhD study. I'm also:
- running seminars for a module at university
- running a couple of schools projects
- occasionally leading creative workshops
- performing poetry (I have a few events coming up in the next month or so, but won't be doing many more after then).
- doing some occasional mentoring
- writing the occasional poem/essay/short story
- about to take on some more research...

I also do all of my own admin (including tidying my flat, chasing invoices, replying to demanding emails that go back and forth for days and spread across different formats until I lose track - Messenger/Whatsapp/email/text but rarely a call -, posting on social media - if that counts as admin -, answering calls about 'that accident you had in the last 2 years?' etc. instead of actual calls)

I'm also trying:
- to keep up an active artistic life (reading some of the books I've been buying of late, going to galleries and poetry gigs, seeing new films and trying not to fall asleep in the cinema)
- to look after my physical and mental health (sleep is non-negotiable right now; and I didn't know antibiotics rage was a thing until this week when it became A THING)
- to keep a half-decent personal life (friends and family are apparently THE MOST IMPORTANT THING).

 As a result, I have my priorities - PhD; sleep; close friends/family and so on - and I know other things will just have to fall back in line, but I have had a couple of overwhelm moments lately where I've wanted to throw stuff at people. I've been assured this is normal and this is what I've been missing out on for most of my adult life. So yay!   

3. TOMORROW! 

I'm performing at Backstory Cabaret as part of the Bloomsbury Festival at Goodenough College. There's so much to look forward to, with music, dance, poetry and storytelling taking centre stage. It's gonna be brill! And... I've heard there are only 10 tickets left, so get them while you can.

4. Next Up

My 'Upcoming' tab is up to date, yay! I don't have many London poetry gigs coming up: in fact, next week's Stablemates is the last time I plan to hit the stage in London with a full poetry set for a while, so please come! And if I can't convince you, I hope Hollie McNish and Kate Fox can - two amazing fellow poets I'm performing alongside. 

5. And finally... 

In case you missed it, here's a link to my performance (intros in Spanish - and my accent is a little weird at the beginning - eek!) the other week at Naves Matadero. I had a lot of fun there and hope to be back again! 

Monday, 16 October 2017

Upcoming: MIR:Live Anthology reading

MIR14 anthology reading 

Image may contain: 14 people, people smiling, people standing and indoor

Tonight, from 7.30pm, I'll be reading my short story, 'Mug' at The Harrison (my local venue!), alongside some of the other writers in this brilliant anthology. Please come!


Also, coming up: Backstory Cabaret - on Friday (20th); Forbidden Fruits on Saturday (21st); Stablemates next Thursday (26th)... more info soon.

Friday, 22 September 2017

September Update (the Keith Jarrett experience)

1. READ


I have a story coming out in The Mechanics' Institute Review, Birkbeck's annual anthology of short fiction. MIR14 (yep, it's been running for fourteen years!) will be launching next week and copies will be available here (or you can ask me nicely and I'll source a signed one for you).

I'm also keen to have my latest book of poems read more widely. So, anyone who orders a copy of Selah directly off me (either through Paypal link on this page, or by emailing me) will also get a copy of my last pamphlet I Speak Home.  

If you've already got copies of those, and you're sick of reading me, then MIR14 has some great stories by other people... and I have plenty of other reading recommendations!


2. LISTEN

There's just over a week left to listen to me on the BBC Radio 2 Arts Show with Jonathan Ross. Tori Amos, among others, is interviewed in this episode, but if you just want to hear me, I come on around 1:13:15.

Again, if you've already heard me - there's live poetry from Malika Booker on this episode which aired last night (the night of the Forward Poetry Prize announcement... drum roll...).

Seeing as it's back to school/uni/work for everyone, there's a special back to school Lunar Poetry Podcast on air, where Jacob Sam La Rose, Miriam Nash and I discuss poetry and education. Please check it out!

And again, there's a whole host of other interviews on the Lunar Poetry site also worth checking out.



3. SEE

I'll be updating my Upcoming tab soon. In the meanwhile, I'm popping up at various places: Madrid in two weeks (I'll talk about that in another post), then Cheltenham for the literary festival, and doing some teaching and reading and general life stuff. I've just started my (projected) final year of my PhD so that will be the biggest priority for me for the next year - and I'm likely to go AWOL at various points.

My only London poetry gigs in the next month will be Backstory Cabaret at Bloomsbury Festival on October 20th (my local!) and Stablemates on 26th October at the (new, improved) Poetry CafĂ©.

As far as other people reading/performing, I'm looking forward to National Poetry Day. There are so many events going on, it's ridiculous! I'm also going to Southbank's Poetry International Weekend on October 14/15, which looks promising.



Ok, back to work! 





Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Brief End of Summer update!

1. The Arts Show with Jonathan Ross


Post-carnival, I rocked up to the BBC Radio 2 studio and had a conversation with this legend and read out two poems. You can listen in soon here or catch it live tomorrow (Thursday), 10pm.

2. Safest Spot in Town

It's been a real joy hearing from some of my friends who watched this, but nothing lasts forever. This monologue will be going off air Friday just after 10pm, so you have 48 hours to watch. Last chance! (Some of the earlier Queers monologues are already expired, but go to the website and check out the ones still left).

3. Upcoming

Tomorrow, I'll also be stopping by for a pre-launch edition of Reverb Chamber in Gravesend (and I'll be featuring there in November!) Can't wait... I hear there's a few special guests, so it's one to look out for.

I've tried to keep September free as I'm cramming in lots of reading for the beginning of the new term. And I'll be teaching at uni from October, but that's another story...

I have a story published in the Birkbeck anthology, The Mechanics' Institute Review* (14th edition), coming out in a couple of weeks. And there's a few other gigs to come in October/November. All of that will be updated in the Coming Up tab over the next week or so.

*fun fact: In addition to MIR14, I also have a story published in MIR5 (i.e. 9 years ago), the only creative work I had published under my pseudonym J. D. Keith. Sadly, I killed off the pen name in a quest to be more 'authentic', and to try and own whatever I wrote, however embarrassing...

Ok, finally, if you don't have a copy of my book, Selah, and you want one, free of charge*, email me with the subject END OF SUMMER in the next day or two (or before I delete this part of the post) and I'll send you a copy. (*excludes non-UK addresses unless you can pay postage!)

Friday, 4 August 2017

Coming Up: Wilderness and Edinburgh (3 Things)

NOTE: I will be updating this post over the next few days as things develop


1. Wilderness

I'm heading over to Wilderness Festival in an hour, and I'll be there today until Sunday. I'm performing at The Forum on Saturday evening, with some amazing people - including Sophia Walker and Sophia Blackwell.

I'm also looking forward to catching up with Raymond Antrobus (running the Apples & Snakes event this eve) and Katie Bonna (whose show is on TWICE today).

And of course, hearing Renni Eddo-Lodge and other writers/speakers... and Grace Jones and Bonobo and plenty of musicians. I'll have to pace myself but, hey...

If you're there, please come say hi! If not, wish me dry weather! :)

2. Edinburgh (so far)

I'll be one of the BBC Edinburgh Fringe Poetry Slam judges this year. The heats are on at 8.30pm from 7-10 August; the final is on the 13th.

So far, I'm also guesting at Other Voices on Tuesday 8th in the Banshee Labyrinth 

I may have a spot at Hammer & Tongue one of these days...


BUT :
My biggest single aim this year is to see at least half as many NON spoken word poetry shows as I do spoken word ones. I'm always keen to be signposted to any unmissable theatre/comedy/art/whatever, but I'm on a limited budget after forking out half my life savings on accommodation [ouch]. I'd forgotten what last minute room finds can be like!

3. Safest Spot... update

Well, the first ever script I've written was aired on TV 2 nights ago. And I feel great about it. I could write a much longer post, but I won't. In the meantime, it will be on iPlayer for another 28 days, alongside all the other monologues - and if you order a book, you can read along with it at home, like I did :)

Well, I'm off to find my tent!




Wednesday, 2 August 2017

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UPCOMING....


See Coming Up tab at the top of the page